One thing I have discovered about Windows 7 since updating my own computer is that it is very picky about hardware drivers. You would think a newer version of Windows would be more flexible about driver installs, but my own PC gave me all kinds of trouble with my USB wireless card as well as my printer. I was able to work around them once I got the machine online and updated everything, but the ordeal added a couple of hours to the initial Windows 7 install process and left me rather unimpressed with Microsoft’s latest operating system.
If you get a Windows 7 blue screen when installing new hardware, it could mean several things. Make sure the hardware you are trying to install is compatible with Windows 7, because some legacy hardware will not work with the newer versions of Windows. You might also consider that the hardware you are installing is no longer functional. Has it been tested with any other machines? If you are installing a USB device, try plugging it into a different USB port and see if it still blue screens. If the little tab inside of a USB port is damaged, it can actually cause the PC to short out when something is inserted into the port.
Be especially careful when installing drivers that aren’t plug and play. If you have to manually install drivers where you select from a giant list of manufacturers or have to click the Have Disk button and browse to a folder, make sure you are choosing the correct driver. Windows 7 will let you force install most any driver for any device, but it’ll also blue screen if you pick the wrong thing. With whatever drivers you are installing, always check the manufacturer’s website to download the latest drivers and read any technical notes about Windows 7 installs.
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