Troubleshooting a Device Conflict

Posted by Shashank Krishna Friday, February 29, 2008


sharethis: A device conflict occurs when two devices are trying to claim the same system resource for themselves. There are three basic types of resources that devices use. These include the following:


- Interrupt Requests (IRQs). These are access paths to the processor. Each device with an IRQ can interrupt the processor�s main operations to say, �Hey, I need something here!� IRQs are numbered 0 through 15. Generally speaking, each device should have its own IRQ.
- Input/Output Range. These are segments of the computer�s memory, and each device should have its own reserved area.
- DMA Channels. These are channels, similar to IRQs, that some devices use to communicate with the processor. Sound cards and floppy drives typically use DMA channels; most other devices do not. You will probably not have any DMA channel conflicts, because there are more than enough of them to go around among the devices that use them.

The preceding resources are usually assigned automatically in Windows by the Plug-and-Play feature. Allowing Windows to assign resources is a good idea, in most cases. But some devices can have quirks that require them to use certain addresses or IRQs; and when two devices want the same resource, a conflict occurs, causing one or both devices to malfunction (or fail to function at all).

Resolving a Device Conflict in Windows
The standard way of resolving device conflicts in Windows is to turn off the Plug-and-Play assignment for a device and specify an alternative set of resources it should use.

The following steps show how to resolve a device conflict. These steps are primarily for Windows XP.
1. Open Device Manager, and locate the device having the conflict. It will probably have a yellow circle and an exclamation point next to it.
2. Double-click on the device with the conflict. Its Properties dialog box appears.
3. Click on the Resources tab.
4. Check the Conflicting Device list. If a conflict is listed, note whether it is an Input/Output Range conflict or an IRQ conflict.
5. Deselect the Use Automatic Settings check box.
6. Open the Setting Based On drop-down list and choose a new configuration. Keep trying different configurations until you find
one that reports No Conflicts in the Conflicting Device list.
7. Click on OK to close the dialog box.
8. Click on Close to close the System Properties box.
9. Try using the device; it should work now.

In rare cases, all the configurations on the list (step 6) have a conflict. If you face this situation, you can try changing the Interrupt Request and the Input/Output Range separately. Keep choosing configurations from the Setting Based On list until you find a configuration with only one conflict. Make a note of what it is (Interrupt Request or Input/Output Range). Then click on the matching line in the Resource Settings list. Next, click on Change Setting. One of two things can happen: You might see a message that the setting cannot be modified, or you might see a box containing alternate settings. If you see the latter, try a different setting. Repeat this procedure until you find a setting that produces no conflicts.

If Windows tells you that the setting cannot be modified, you have one last remedy to try. In the Conflicting Device list, notice the device that is the other half of the conflict. Then try modifying the settings for that device so that it no longer conflicts with this one

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Shashank Krishna
Bangalore, up, India
nothin much to say.........doin B.tech in IIIT allahabad loves bloggingn hacking.... :) and loooves blogging
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