Finding resource conflicts

Although, there are various ways how to check for device drivers conflicts, the most convenient tool is the msinfo32. The System Information (msinfo32.exe) tool shows details about your computer’s hardware configuration, computer components, and software, including drivers. It has three categories and a summary item:

  1. System Summary: Displays general information about your computer and the operating system
  2. Hardware Resources: Displays details about your computer’s hardware
  3. Components: Displays information about disk drives, sound devices, modems, and other components installed on your computer
  4. Software Environment: Displays information about drivers, network connections, and other program-related details

In addition, it has an inbuilt search tool that helps you narrow your search!

Start the System Information tool by typing msinfo32 in the search box of the Start menu.

  1. Expand the Hardware resources node and click on the Conflicts/Sharing item. On the right hand side pane a list of used resources by the system devices is displayed.
  2. For every device listed, you should be able to view the memory, I/O and IRQ used. Note, that certain devices share the same resource such as, same memory address or IRQ while this does not necessarily mean that the devices are in conflict, however, if you are troubleshooting a device which is problematic then this may indicate the cause of the problem.
  3. In addition, you can display information by a specific resource through the DMA, I/O, IRQs, Memory and Forced Hardware items. Forced Hardware lists devices that have user-specified settings, as opposed to system-specified resources. This list is usually empty if no legacy devices were installed or no manual resource adjustments were made to some devices.
  4. The components node allows you to view information about specific devices such as, CD-ROM, Network, Display, etc.
  5. If you are troubleshooting a device that is not functioning, the most useful item would be the Problem Devices item. This item lists devices that cannot start due to some fault or missing/invalid drivers.
  6. The Windows Environment node allows you to display software information by different categories, including drivers.
  7. The most useful item would be the System Drivers as you can check whether a specific driver is running and verify that its status is ok. 
  8. The Search tool – Find what, helps you search for a particular device, driver or parameter in one step. For example, if you are troubleshooting a problem with a driver that you installed recently, then type in the driver or device name in the Find what text box and click Find, then click Find Next if more matches are found.