Tech Tips / Windows 2000 Professional / Installation and Configuration

Use hardware profiles for multiple system configurations

Windows 2000 is pretty good about making hardware work together, but it still hasn't overcome the problem of having too much hardware and too few hardware resources. For the want of an IRQ, some crucial piece of hardware might be completely useless to you.

Like Windows 98 before it, Windows 2000 supports hardware profiles that let you maintain different hardware configurations and boot between them as needed. Say you have two devices that need the same resources but you don't need to use both devices at the same time. So, you create two hardware profiles, one for each device, and disable the opposing device in each profile. Then you just boot with the appropriate profile as needed.

Configuring hardware profiles is a two-phase process. First you create the profiles as container objects, then use the Device Manager to specify which devices are enabled/disabled for each profile. Right-click on My Computer, choose Properties, click on Hardware, and click on Hardware Profiles to open the Hardware Profiles dialog box, where you can create profiles and specify how Windows 2000 decides which one to use at startup. Configure the system to let you select a profile, restart, and select the desired hardware profile. Then, open the Device Manager, open the properties for a conflicting device, and use the Device Usage drop-down list on the device's Properties sheet to disable or enable the device for the current profile. You also can disable the device for all profiles.

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