Taking an inventory of devices that do not use Plug and Play

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Taking an inventory of devices that do not use Plug and Play

This section describes steps you can take if the devices in your computer do not use Plug and Play technology. For important information about hardware compatibility (including the compatibility of devices), see:

For specific information about using a mass storage controller (such as a SCSI, RAID, or Fibre Channel adapter) with a driver that was supplied by the manufacturer, see Mass storage drivers and the setup process.

Products in the Windows Server 2003 family include Plug and Play technology so that devices (for example, video and network adapters) can be automatically recognized by the operating system, configuration conflicts are avoided, and you do not have to specify each device's settings by hand. However, if you have devices that do not use Plug and Play, or you are aware that your Plug and Play devices are not implemented exactly to the standards, you might want to take steps to avoid device configuration conflicts. This section describes steps you can take, if you choose, to understand your device configuration before running Setup.

To take an inventory of your devices, if your computer has an existing operating system, use it to obtain the current settings, such as memory address and interrupt request (IRQ), used with your devices. For example, with Windows NT 4.0, you can use Control Panel to view settings (on the Start menu, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click icons such as Network and Ports). You might also choose to view system BIOS information. To do this, watch the screen while starting the computer, and then press the appropriate key when prompted.

At the beginning of an installation or upgrade, the Setup program automatically takes a device inventory as well. For devices that do not use Plug and Play, or that are not implemented exactly to Plug and Play standards, taking your own inventory helps prevent the following difficulties:

  • If two or more adapters share IRQ settings or memory addresses, the Setup program might not be able to resolve the conflict. To prevent this, you can take one of two approaches.

    You can remove one of the adapters before running Setup and reinstall it afterward.

    As an alternative, you can modify one adapter's IRQ settings and memory addresses before running Setup, so that each adapter's settings are unique.

  • If adapters do not respond in a standard way to the attempts by Setup to detect or enumerate them, Setup might receive indecipherable or inaccurate information. In this case, you might need to remove these devices before running Setup, and reinstall and configure them afterward.

The following table lists the kinds of information to gather if you have devices that do not use Plug and Play, and you decide to take a device inventory before starting Setup.

Adapter Information to gather


Adapter or chip set type and how many video adapters


IRQ, I/O address, DMA (if used) connector type (for example, BNC or twisted pair), and bus type

SCSI controller

Adapter model or chip set, IRQ, and bus type


Mouse type and port (COM1, COM2, or PS/2) or USB

I/O port

IRQ, I/O address, and DMA (if used) for each I/O port

Sound adapter

IRQ, I/O address, and DMA

Universal serial bus (USB)

Which devices and hubs are attached

PC card

Which adapters are inserted and in which slots

Plug and Play

Whether enabled or disabled in BIOS

BIOS settings

BIOS revision and date

External modem

COM port connections (COM1, COM2, and so on)

Internal modem

COM port connections; for nonstandard configurations, IRQ and I/0 address

Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI); Power Options

Enabled or disabled; current setting


Which PCI adapters are inserted and in which slots