I saw this post by 2mcabre over at http://www.graphixanstuff.com I thought it was interesting to bring here
[quote]Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
have you ever applied the following registry tweak to make "visible" devices that have been installed/ uninstalled in XP?
This would be why trying "Updating Drivers" etc. didn't work. You have to completely break the connection between the device and the "entry" in the registry.
With all the ghosted entries that you don't see right now, the system just assumes that it's not connected, so will not try to update the drivers.
All these non essential entries can cause all the "weird" problems like what you seem to get…
You might want to try it for "laughs and excrements".
I wouldn't be surprised if you didn't have dozens of previous "device" installations from your frequent "pluggin and unpluggin" of hard drives etc.
You can copy that text in the quote box to notepad and "Save as…" all files, then name it something.reg (save it to your desktop)
Then click on it and answer yes to "do you want to add…"
You will have to reboot for the setting to go into effect… Once you do open your device manager and then click on "View… Show hidden Devices…"
When you click on a device + if there are multiple installations for that device you will see a "Faded or Ghosted" entry.
If these are under any hardware entry OTHER THAN Sound, Video and Game Controllers or Network Adapters… They are safe to right click on and select "Uninstall".
MS keeps certain system specific items hidden for a reason under sound, network to keep folks from accidentally flubbing their systems.
Occasionally there may be one or two under Non plug and Play, but this is rare. And those will just be reinstalled and will not flub your system like some inside sound, video etc. will.
I.E. any extra hard drives, cd drives, video cards, modems, monitors etc. If they are ghosted… they were once installed, but are not now, and the entries in the registry were never removed. These are all safe to "uninstall".