Last updated in February 2024

How to Troubleshoot and Repair Driver Conflicts

At any one time your computer can have a hundred or more driver files working to communicate with your operating system. It stands to reason then that eventually some of that communication is going to collide. Driver conflicts can wreak havoc on your PC and your productivity. They can cause system crashes, Blue Screens or worse yet, the continual-reboot syndrome. Troubleshooting driver conflicts or incompatibilities can be very a tough nut to crack. Sometimes the issue lies in two files not playing well together, vs. just one single file creating the problem.

If you start experiencing the above problems with your PC immediately after you've installed an updated driver file or package, it's pretty easy to trace the root of the problem back to the new driver you installed. To start with, removing or uninstalling that new driver package can help , or using the Roll Back Driver feature of Windows XP and Vista. Occasionally, new drivers can be removed automatically using the Add/Remove Programs control panel found in Vista and XP.

Next, you may want to have a peek at the Windows Device Manager. The Device Manager may also allow you to remove drivers that don't show up in the Add/Remove Programs Window.

Here's how to access the Windows Device Manager:

Windows Vista:

Select Start, Control Panel, System And Maintenance, and then select Device Manager. If you get the User Access Control Dialog, just click Continue to open the Device Manager.