If a hardware device isn’t loading or is behaving oddly, one of the first places to look for the cause is the Event Viewer because a misbehaving device will likely document its problems in the System log. (If you don’t see the expected entry, make sure you check the application and service logs as well.) And even though Warning and Error events are sometimes short on specifics, they can often be good indicators of where to begin looking. Here’s what a troubleshooting session might look like.
On startup, the driver for a Sound Blaster card fails to initialize; the result is a lack of wave audio in Vista. The first indicator you get is a message informing you that at least one Vista service failed to start.
On opening Event Viewer, you’d see an Error event in the System log reported by Vista’s Service Control Manager. After clicking it, you’d see the message “The following boot-start or system-start driver(s) failed to load: sndblst.” Although this somewhat terse message doesn’t provide any specifics from Event Viewer, you could then check your Sound Blaster driver’s status by following these steps:
- Click Start, right-click Computer, and choose Properties from the context menu to open the System Properties window.
- Click the Advanced system settings link to open the System Properties dialog box.
- Click the Hardware tab, and then click the Device Manager button to open Device Manager.
- Expand Sound, video, and game controllers, right-click Sound Blaster, choose Properties from the context menu to open the Properties dialog box, and check the settings.