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What happens when your “plug-and-play” device doesn’t play after you plug it in? Often you get an error–code, like Code 22. You see this particular error after you try to access the device. For example, you’ve plugged in the USB wire for your new scanner. You try to scan and you get “This device is disabled. (Code 22)”.
While not the sort of thing you were hoping to see when you turn on your new device, it’s not the end of the world – there are several things you can try to make your device work properly.
What is a Code 22 Error?
Obviously the error message tells you that a particular device has been disabled, but what does that really mean? A device is roughly some sort of equipment that you plug into your computer. A mouse, speakers, a scanner and printer all count as devices.
Communication between and device and the operating system is controlled by a specialized program called a driver. You can learn more about drivers and how to install them here.
The Code 22 error is letting you know that one of your hardware devices isn’t communicating with Windows. This may mean that you accidentally disabled it manually somehow, or it may mean that Windows disabled the device because some critical resources were missing. Regardless of how the device became disabled, the obvious solution is to be sure that it is enabled. And that is where the resolution begins.
Enabling Your Devices
If an error messages says a device is disabled, all you should need to do is enable it. Normally, when you buy something new for your computer, it comes with software and drivers that the computer recognizes without your help. Hence, in the majority of cases, Windows enables your device for you. But if the device isn’t compatible somehow or Windows doesn’t recognize it immediately, you’ll need to do some troubleshooting to enable it manually.
Start by opening Device Manager. You can do this by searching for “Device Manager” in the search bar of the Start menu.
Once you’ve opened the Device Manager window, you’ll see a list of all the various devices that your computer is currently running or connected to.
If the device that’s giving you trouble is listed, make sure it’s enabled. To enable the device that was giving you trouble, you’ll need to drill down to it through the list in the Device Manager. For example, the image below shows the installed mouse selected from the Device Manager menu.
Once you’ve found the hardware that you’re looking for, right-click on the name of the device and select Properties.
Once the Properties menu opens, select the Driver tab for the device. In the Driver menu, look to see if there is a choice for Enable.
If you see Disabled, it means the device is already enabled in the system, as you see in the example below. If you see Enable for your device, however, click on the button to enable, or turn on, the device in question. Click on OK and you’ll be returned to the Device Manager menu.
If it’s as simple as a device being disabled, manually enabling your device is enough to get it working properly. Sometimes, however, things don’t go as smoothly as we’d like and you may still be seeing the error. If this happens, you’ll just have to try a few more solutions.
Every device has drivers – programs that help the device communicate with your computer. Every now and again, however, the drivers need to be updated so that everything stays current. If your device can’t talk to the rest of the computer any more, it may be why you’re seeing an error message. The solution to this is to simply update the drivers.
Return to the Device Manager menu. (You can search for it as before, or use the Control Panel to open Device Manager.) Once you’re there, drill down to the device that’s giving you trouble. Right-click on the device and open the Properties menu.
In the Properties menu, you’re no longer looking to see if it’s enabled. Now you’re looking for a button that says Update Driver.
Click on the button to update the driver for the device. This means the computer will look for new software associated with the device.
Unless you have a CD that came with your new device – which is increasingly rare – you’ll need to click on Search automatically for updated driver software. Once you click on this option, Windows will check online for any new updates or downloads for the drivers.
If Windows is unable to find the drivers automatically, you may be able to download them manually by visiting the website for the manufacturer of your device and searching the site for driver downloads or updates.
Once the drivers have finished downloading, follow any additional instructions on the screen before restarting your computer. Once you’ve restarted your machine, test to see if the updated drivers have made your device work properly.
Re-Enabling Didn't Work. What Now?
Restarting Your Computer
First thing’s first. Often, a good system reboot is all it takes to sort of software glitches. If manually enabling the software didn’t work correctly, close down your programs and reboot the system.
Be sure to leave the device plugged into your computer as you restart – it might “catch” correctly when the system boots up. It’s not a technical solution, but the truth is that reloading a device profile during boot can, at times, alter fundamental permissions. So a simple reboot could fix the problem.
Moving the Device
If you haven’t already tried, move the device from one slot to another. For example, if your scanner plugs into a USB port, try moving it to another one to see if you get a different result. If you’ve plugged something into your computer’s motherboard, try moving the device to another slot on the motherboard if it’s giving you trouble
Uninstalling and Reinstalling the Driver
If updating the driver didn’t work, you can take things another step. This time, in the same Device Manager and then Properties menu, click on Uninstall. This will remove the driver from your computer completely.
After you click on Uninstall, the device driver will be removed completely. Be very careful to remove the driver only for the device you’re having trouble with. If you remove the driver for your mouse accidentally, it will no longer work with your computer until you reinstall the driver.
After following the prompts and directions, the driver should be fully removed from your computer. You’ll now need to install the driver again.
You may do this simply be plugging in the device with a USB port and then restarting the computer. Or you may need to download software from a CD or website prior to plugging in the device. Follow the instructions for your device as if it were the very first time you’ve used it. (And it may be.)
Don’t have a CD Drive? The computer should do all of the work to update the driver, although it may take a few minutes to finish finding and downloading files for the drivers. That doesn’t mean that it won’t prefer a CD or downloaded driver if you have one. See our article on managing drivers to find out how to get the drivers you need from the Web.
Once the reinstallation is complete, try the device again to see if it is working.
If your device still isn’t working you have the option to get even more high tech. When a device won’t work because your computer doesn’t have enough resources for it, clearing CMOS might be the answer. (CMOS is the small amount of memory that is stored on the motherboard of your computer.)
To clear the data from the CMOS, you’ll need to enter the BIOS set-up right as your computer is booting up.
To do this, restart your computer (again.) Watch closely for the message on your screen at Windows is starting up or your system is starting up. The message may be different for each brand of computer.
» Soon after the restart begins, you’ll see a message about a combination of keys to enter BIOS. This will be to press a particular key – often a Function or F key. Press the key quickly to enter BIOS. You may have to press it a few times to hit the sweet spot. If you miss your chance - and it goes fast - you’ll have to restart again and try to be faster the second time.
» Once you’re in the BIOS, you’ll see a technical menu. Look for a choice on the menu that says something like “reset to default” or “set to factory settings.” You may see something literal like “clear BIOS” as well. Find the option that means to clear out the BIOS and select it. It is normally at the bottom of the list or close to it.
» Once you’ve cleared the BIOS, follow the instructions on the screen and continue to boot or restart again to boot your computer completely. Once the computer is loaded, try the device again now that the BIOS is cleared to see if it works.
Reversing Any Changes
If you recently made changes to your device that is now acting oddly or if you’ve just installed it, this may be the reason for the problem. If you made a change to the device try to revert that change back to what it was previously. Restart your computer and then see what happens – it may work again beautifully. Or it may not.
If your device was working fine previously and now isn’t, you may also try to set your system back to the point where it was working using System Restore. To use System Restore, it’s easiest to search for the program in the Start search bar. Click on System Restore and you’ll see a box pop up to prompt you.
If you feel that an update that was downloaded or a change you made and can’t change back may have caused the problem you’re having now, click on Next to return your computer to the point in time prior to the trouble – yesterday perhaps or just an hour or two ago. The computer will have the points in time saved for you, although you may have to check the box for Show more restore points to see them.
Select the time you’d like to revert to and continue to follow the screen prompts and instructions. It’s always recommended that you back up any files and images that may be stored on your computer when you do a system restore, although the process is not designed to wipe out your computer’s hard drive by any means.
If you’ve just plugged in a device for the first time, System Restore is not going to help you as your device was never working previously – there is no point in going back in time in this case.
Last Try | Inspect and Replace the Hardware
At this point if your device is still no working correctly, you’ve tried all reasonable solutions to the problem. It’s likely now that there is something wrong with the device itself. It may be that the device isn’t compatible with your version of Windows, for example. Check the packaging to see what system it was designed for.
Returning or exchanging a malfunctioning device at the store may be your best choice for a new device that isn’t working. An old device that has stopped working may be due for an upgrade if all attempts here to resolve the issue have not worked properly.