As a long-time computer technician, I can say with confidence that adding a new piece of hardware is the single most common source of frustration for users. It could be anything from a printer to a camera to a scanner. The explanation is as follows. In most cases, a driver is already available for the device you are attempting to install. If it works, then that’s fine. The issue is that frequently these drivers do not come with installation instructions. Or, even worse, the directions are completely inaccurate. Particularly true of devices made in other nations. If I were the owner of a company whose products were largely sold in the United States, the first thing I’d do is hire a native English speaker to create the user manual.
It’s not a big deal if a writer uses a word like “ain’t” or one that would make a native English speaker cringe. But it’s nice when the author has a passing familiarity with the language so that I don’t have to spend time getting caught up. Manuals can sometimes be difficult to find because they are occasionally buried in a text file on the software’s CD-ROM.
Go to the manufacturer’s website if you’re experiencing trouble setting up. There’s probably an update available that addresses the issue, or at least a frequently asked questions (FAQ) file that explains where you went wrong. Read the instructions if you have them. You should check the CD even if there is a printed manual for your equipment. Frequently, a CD will include a fix for a software bug discovered by the manufacturer. Reprinting user guides is costly while adding the update to the CD would cost next to nothing. The website should, of course, have up-to-date data.
Scanners, digital cameras, and printers are three common pieces of equipment that people seem to struggle with. It is usually the “twain” driver, used by the first two devices, that causes difficulties. The USB (Universal Serial Bus) is used by the vast majority of modern scanners and cameras to communicate with their host computers. As soon as you connect to a new device, any USB port will recognize it as a new addition, earning them the name “hot swap” ports. The most common mistake is to connect the gadget to power before installing the necessary software.
The majority of devices require software installation prior to being plugged in. Scan the user guide. If that’s the case, boot your computer up, plug the USB cord into the new device (which you’ve already turned on), and then into your computer. The screen should display text like “scanner found” or “camera found.” Even before the software is completely installed, you may see a prompt on the screen instructing you to “plug in your device.” If you carefully adhere to the guidelines, you should be fine.
The installation process for printers is similar. Combination printers/scanners are highly recommended if you need to print in color. A laser printer is the most efficient option for simple text printing.
The monitor is another device that people frequently inquire about. In most cases, adjusting a monitor’s settings will be required once it has been successfully connected. The image on your screen may look slightly different depending on the video card you use and the monitor you use. Make sure the monitor’s settings allow the image to fill the entire screen. If there is a black space around the edges of your screen, the monitor has to be readjusted. I’ve seen 17-inch screens that were so skewed that appeared to be 15 inches.
Be sure to adjust Windows’ internal settings for your display output. Depending on the size and resolution of your display, I typically select 1024 x 768 with 16-bit color.
If you take the time to read the handbook and then carefully follow the instructions, setting up new devices will be a breeze. You can probably find the user guide online if you don’t have it on hand. You should also look at “YouTube.” I’ve learned a lot about setting up and using new gadgets in the periphery from the tutorials I’ve discovered there.
Author and writer Randy Benjamin writes for several publications. Both the paperback and Kindle versions of his most recent publications, “FREE Internet” and “How to Publish Anything on Amazon‘s Kindle,” may be purchased from Amazon.com. Please visit his website for further details: