Windows requires all device drivers digitally signed before they can be installed. The problem with device driver signing condition is if you try to install some driver which is not signed, it will fail to install. There is a workaround to install unsigned drivers on Windows. Today, through this how to article, we will show you how to disable device driver signing in Windows so that you can install them.

Digitally signed drivers are signed using code signing certificates and are enforced by Microsoft in Windows as it increases security. When a company releases digitally signed driver, the driver includes an electronic fingerprint that indicates the which company released the driver and if the driver has been modified since released. If a signed driver is modified, it will no longer have the digital signature intact. Thus indicating tampering and Windows displays an error.

Device Manager normally displays only non-Plug and Play devices, drivers, and printers when you click Show hidden devices on the View menu. It doesn’t display hidden devices that are installed but not connected anymore to the computer (also called “ghosted” devices). So, basically in Device Manager, there are two types of hidden devices in addition to the devices that are displayed; Typical, hidden devices like non-Plug and Play devices and Phantom (Ghosted) devices that are not connected to the computer.

As you go on attaching and removing different devices to Windows, the number of ghosted or hidden devices increases. This causes different types of errors related to driver install. It also hampers system performance (though often negligible), since Windows tries to find all these devices at start-up. There is a simple workaround to display these ghosted devices in Device Manager. After displaying them, you can remove ghosted devices from your computer.

There is also a simple free application which helps you remove all hidden devices in one go. More on the app later in this article. First, lets see how we can make Device Manager display Hidden (ghosted) devices. From now on, I’ll interchange and refer to hidden devices as ghosted devices or vice versa.

DevManView is a very good free alternative to the standard Device Manager of Windows.

The standard Windows Device Manager is a simple and handy tool when troubleshooting Windows problems related to device drivers. It basically lets you browse through all the devices to check for device properties and driver conflicts or driver errors. But in terms of user experience, it doesn’t offer much of a good experience. Sometimes while using it, we here have also felt how cumbersome it is to use sometimes.

DevManView is a freeware program from the popular NirSoft developers. The program takes a different approach in displaying all devices and their properties. Instead of displaying the devices in a tree viewer like in the standard Windows Device Manager, it displays them in a flat table view. In addition to displaying the devices of your local computer, DevManView is an advanced device troubleshooting program that also allows you to view the devices list of another computer on your network, as long as you have administrator access rights to this computer. The program is also capable of loading the devices list from external instance of Windows and lets you disable unwanted devices. This feature is very useful if you have a Windows operating system which is not booting, and you want to disable the problematic device to boot into the operating system.

Bleeding Edge is a Linux shell-script designed for the popular Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat) operating system, both 32-bit and 64-bit version of Ubuntu are supported. With the help of Bleeding Edge, you can easily install all the multimedia codecs, system fonts, Flash Player, Mozilla Firefox 4, Ubuntu Tweak, Hulu, LibreOffice, VirtualBox 4 and more with just a click.

Bleeding Edge can also install additional software repositoriesdisable the annoying system beep, enable 5.1 sound support, install restricted extras and media players, move the window buttons to the right, install proprietary hardware drivers, and the “Open in Terminal” extension for GNOME/Nautilus.

Bleeding Edge can also clean your system. That means removing locales (language files), removing old kernels, removing apt cache, removing config files for unused .deb packages, and emptying the trash.

Windows Vista users using Intel Storage Driver (iastor.sys) may fail to upgrade to Windows 7. Microsoft acknowledged this issue through KB 2008373. Using the step-by-step guide, users can successfully upgrade Vista to Windows 7.

When a user using Intel Storage Driver tries to upgrade to the next Windows operating system, they may get the following error message:

Status: 0xc0000359
Windows failed to load because a critical system driver is missing or corrupt

Microsoft identified the cause of this error. In response to the error at the KB 2008373 page, the Redmond software giant said, “during (the) upgrade process the incorrect version of the iastor is referenced resulting in the above error.” The cause is identified, the solution is available too.

Whenever Windows decides not to be with us anymore, we are left with no other option but to reinstall it. But after reinstalling Windows we face another difficult task of finding and installing all the device drivers for the devices to work properly. It’s a difficult task as most of the time we tend to loose our driver disks or worse driver disks may be corrupt. If this is the situation then we are left with no option other then searching the manufacturer’s site for device drivers for our particular devices. It becomes more difficult to find them if the devices old and no longer supported.

We could have avoided such a situation if we had taken a backup of our device drivers and after reinstalling Windows just restore them back. Use any of these 3 free utilities which can help you easily take backup of your device drivers and restore them back whenever you want. This will also save you a lot of time since restoring for most of this utilities is an one click job! Also, some of them provides the facility of updating your drivers online.