What does it mean when I get an error message that tells me that software that I am installing for hardware has not passed Windows logo testing in Windows XP?
This question was answered on October 21, 2004. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.
One of the biggest problems that has plagued the Windows operating system in the past was the installation of a software ‘driver’ that was not compatible with the version of Windows that was being used.
A ‘driver’ is a small software program that instructs Windows on how to use a hardware component, such as a video card, sound card or printer.
The compatibility issue comes into play when you attempt to install a driver that was not designed for the version of Windows that is being used.
In the past, if you inserted a CD with an installation program that was older than your version of Windows, it would allow it to install without any warnings.
This was a very common ailment that many of our customers suffered because they assumed that any ‘Windows’ CD was compatible with any version of Windows
The problem is that a CD that was created for Windows 98 (well before the release of Windows XP) has no way of properly working with an operating system that did not even exist when it was written.
The difference between Windows XP and any previous versions of Windows is that it will warn you when you are about to potentially destabilize the entire system with what is referred to as an ‘unsigned driver’.
An unsigned driver is one that has not been specifically certified by Microsoft to work with Windows XP This does not mean that unsigned drivers will always cause a problem, but it does mean that you could be taking a chance by installing it.
Microsoft has often been blamed for creating an unstable operation system, but much of the blame should be laid at the feet of the user who installs a program that is mismatched for the version of Windows that is in use.
As a general rule of thumb, always check any software program to see which versions of Windows it supports before attempting to install it
If you are running Windows XP and the CD that you are about to install does not specifically mention support for Window XP, you should check with the software manufacturer’s website for an updated version.
Another tip that will help you to avoid problems is to always check the manufacturer’s website for the very latest version of any driver or installation program to ensure the highest level of compatibility, even if you have a Windows XP certified CD.
This will likely be the first thing that a tech support person will tell you to do in the event of a problem, so doing it before calling for help will reduce the amount of time that you will spend on the phone with ‘cauliflower ear’.
If your system seems to be very unstable, you can also check to see how many unsigned drivers are currently installed to see if a recent installation coincides with the instability.
To check File Signature Verification, click on Start, Run then type ‘sigverif’ and follow the instructions on the screen.
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Posted by Ken Colburn of Data Doctors on October 21, 2004