Thursday, July 7, 2011

Hardware compatibility in Windows XP

Cause: Like all operating systems, most hardware works with Windows XP and some does not. Although many hardware devices are compatible with Windows, some simply are not designed for Windows XP. However, under most circumstances, the hardware devices that you purchase will be Windows compatible. Before buying hardware, you can save yourself a lot of grief if you do just a bit of homework first.

There are two main ways to determine if a device is compatible with Windows XP:

•  Look on the box while your money is still safe in your pocket. While you are at the store, read the outside of the box. It should say “Compatible with Windows XP” right on the box. If it does not, look for a “Compatible with Windows 2000” label. If you do not see either of these, try to find a device that has one of these labels. You’ll save yourself a lot of problems. If you are not sure, ask someone in the store for help.

•  Microsoft maintains a list of hardware that has been tested with Windows XP, called the Hardware Compatibility List (HCL). The HCL tells you what hardware is certain to work with XP, a good reason to check before ever upgrading a computer to Windows XP. However, this does not mean that if something is not listed on HCL that it will not work; it just means that Microsoft has not tested it. Still, the HCL is a great site to check before you buy a device. Check it out at You can search by device and even brand name to see what items are listed.

Tip: If there is a device you want, but its compatibility with Windows XP is questionable, you can also try the manufacturer’s Web site for the latest information about compatibility with Windows XP.

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