Windows 2000 Device Manager Empty (no items shown)

I have a Dell Dimension 8200 running Windows 2000 Pro.  While logged in as the administrator, I went to device manager to troubleshoot a scanner problem and discovered that nothing is shown.  The standard device manager window opens, but it is empty.  Nothing at all.  The same problem exists in the safe mode, and selecting the last known working configuration and "show hidden files" didn't help.  I'm stumped on this one.  It appears from previous posts that the only other two victims bailed and reinstalled the OS.  I would prefer not to do that, as overall the OS and associated stuff (CD drive, DVD burner, SCSI card, printers, MP3 player, etc.) is working perfectly.  However, I can't get any scanners to work.  Any advice would be appreciated.  Advance warning -- I'm a bit of a novice at this, but willing to try anything.
davetw1Asked:
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jvuzCommented:
Look here, it's for XP but it might help:

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;311504
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jvuzCommented:
Look here:

http://www.annoyances.org/exec/forum/winxp/r1066089499

Solution Check the Plug and Play Service to Startup in MSCONFIG To check on the status of the Plug and Play service from within MSCONFIG, perform the following steps: Click the Start button, click Run, and then type in the Open box msconfig. Click OK. The Microsoft System Configuration Utility window appears. Click the Services tab. Verify that the Hide all Microsoft Services checkbox is not checked; if it is, uncheck it. Scroll down the list of services until you see the service named Plug and Play. Click to check Plug and Play if the box is currently unchecked. NOTE: If you are still having difficulty accessing the Device Manager or the Status displayed in MSCONFIG is listed as Stopped, proceed to the next section to enable the Plug and Play service. Enable the Plug and Play Service To enable the Plug and Play service in a system where it is disabled, perform the following steps: Click the Start button, right-click My Computer, and then left-click Manage. The Computer Management window appears. Click Services and Applications, and then click Services. Click the tab labeled Standard, and scroll down to Plug and Play. Double-click Plug and Play. NOTE: If a warning dialog box appears, click OK. The Plug and Play Properties window appears. Click to change the Startup Type to Manual, and then click Apply. NOTE: If a warning dialog box appears, click OK. Under the Service Status section of the Plug and Play Properties windows, click the Start button. This will start the Plug and Play service. Click OK on the Plug and Play Properties. You should now be able to access the Device Manager
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Rob StoneCommented:
Try running SFC /SCANNOW.  It fixed a problem with Device Manager in the past when everything had an ! by it.
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davetw1Author Commented:
Thanks for the suggestions, but no luck.

I tried the "services.msc" from the MS support link above, and "plug and play" is set to automatic, and shows that it has started.

Unfortunately, Windows 2k does not have the MSCONFIG feature.  I tried using substitutes, but they didn't really show anything.  I even installed MSCONFIG itself as suggested in previous posts, but nothing was shown concerning plug-and-play.

SFC /SCANNOW made a repair, but the device manager is still empty.

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stefmahoneyCommented:
Currupt file?

Chkdsk and reinstall Service Pack?
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davetw1Author Commented:
Chkdsk ran okay without any errors; also did a defrag, etc.  This machine already had SP3 installed when I discovered the problem, and I installed SP4 as part of the troubleshooting.  Reinstalled SP4 tonight, but still nothing showing in device manager.  I also installed and ran VCOM's "Fix-it Utilities 5" and let it do its thing.  It said it repaired multiple errors in the register, but still no items shown after restart.  I also tried reinstalling the scanner.  Still didn't work, and still no items shown in device manager.  Thanks for the comments, though... some things I hadn't thought of yet.
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jvuzCommented:
Can you create another account with admin rights. Log on with the new account and look if you can see anything in the device manager.
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davetw1Author Commented:
I created a new account with admin rights as suggested.  Device manager is also empty in this new account.  Very strange.
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davetw1Author Commented:
I think I discovered the root of the problem.  There were two sound cards installed: a SoundBlaster and the onboard card.  Both had drivers installed, and the onboard card was enabled.  The owner had installed "Creative Live!" but only removed the IR drive portion, leaving the sound card.

I removed the card/drivers and rebooted, but the device manager was still empty.  I re-ran a Windows 2K repair utility included on the OEM OS install disk, and this did the trick.  I blame the card conflict because I had run this utility before without any luck, yet it fixed the problem the first time after the SoundBlaster card was removed.

The suggestions were great, and helped me eliminate some theories.  The XP solutions don't seem to apply at all.  I guess this is because XP was based on the 95-98 OS line, and 2K was based on NT.

It's easy to get caught up in the software and forget to check to hardware.  Thanks again!
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