Device manager flashes, system restore does not work

Posted on 2006-05-16
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-03
While fixing a bluetooth driver problem, I discovred that the device manager window flashes on and off about once per second. It's not impossible to use but it isn't easy!
When i tried a system restore (3 of them actually to different dates), the system would not restore.
My machine is a Dell Inspiron 9100

Question by:KJOBrien
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

ID: 16694661
What do you see when you manually open the Device Manager?  My Computer/Properties/Hardware/Device Manager?

I don't want to undo what you've fixed with the bluetooth driver problem, but can you disable the bluetooth device, either manually or in the bios (may have to hit F2 of F11 when starting the pc to get into the setup/bios)
LVL 13

Expert Comment

ID: 16694680
What bluetooth device is it?  

When you open the Device Manager as I indicated above, any yellow exclamation points or red x's?
LVL 27

Expert Comment

ID: 16694914
Kieran  .. you may find these details useful >>
"Troubleshooting Device Conflicts with Device Manager":
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LVL 27

Expert Comment

ID: 16694962
Then later, see if these articles help you to get your System Restore functioning again.

"Re-enabling System Restore ... "

See if you can create a Restore Point.  If you can't, note your symptoms, and take a look at this list of 'answers':
LVL 24

Expert Comment

by:Mohammed Hamada
ID: 16695024
Try reinstalling system restore to your computer..
Re-install System restore..

1. Insert the Windows XP CD
2. Click Start/Run and type:
"rundll32.exe advpack.dll,LaunchINFSection C:\Windows\Inf\sr.inf"

Regarding the device manager, check the following links they would help you, just apply the solutions even though the symptoms are totally different..


Or Try to use Aproposfix to repair your device manager.

Check the following thread,,,

Hope This helps

Author Comment

ID: 16697496
Thanks for the comments folks, I will try out the suggestions during the day.

When I open device manager I get a window that flashes on and off about once per second. It's usable with some difficulty.

Problem arose when I had some instability with my Bluetooth device and intermittent mouse and keyboard operation.
Turns out I had 2 bluetooth devices. Original Dell TrueMobile device and a Microsoft Bluetooth Enumerator (don't know where it came from). When I updated the driver it seems I got the MS driver. I had a three hour chat line session with some very nice Dell support people in India, reinstalled the drivers twice but still haven't actually fixed the bluetooth problem. The card is recognised in BIOS but it seems the conflict with the MS device persists. I have tried to uninstall the MS device and disable it but I can't seem to get rid of it. System restore seemed the obvious thing to do but this is when the restore problem appeared. When a "factory reset" was suggested, I reckoned there wasn't much more to be got from Dell support!

No yellow exclamation marks or red x's

Frankly I can manage without a bluetooth connection, but I am concerned about my inability to restore the system and I don't like the unstable Device manager window

Johnvee, Moh10ly
Will try your suggestions

Thanks Kieran
LVL 27

Expert Comment

ID: 16698405
Another alternative for repairing System Restore is by running the following >>
Select Start > Run > type     %SystemRoot%\inf       Press Enter.
Details here >>
"When to reinstall System Restore in Windows XP":

moh10ly .. apologies if this method (or similar wording) is embedded in one of your E-E threads above, but i didn't spot anything.

Author Comment

ID: 16699807
Tried to set a new system restore point and was successful

Tried to perform a restore to that point - unsuccsessful. No information provided as to why.

Tried to re-install SR but ran into difficulty with CD. My CD is pre SR2.  Tried to use method recommended in http://searchwinsystems.techtarget.com/tip/1,289483,sid68_gci1144995,00.html for this eventuality but couldn't find the required file (RS.inf)

Will try some of the other suggestions

LVL 24

Expert Comment

by:Mohammed Hamada
ID: 16704242
Hello again KJOBrien,

Have you tried to try running System restore or Device manager at Safe mode??? Try rebooting your computer to safe mode and run device manager and if the same issue occurs Click start --> Run --> Type cmd and enter

Type the following..
set devmgr_show_details=1     Then enter

set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1   Then enter

start devmgmt.msc  Then enter

Now the device manager will open after you have set the details view..

If it didn't work then probably the flashing happens during the device manager searching for the .inf files for most of the devices at it.., the path of the inf folder should be defined in the following registry location and is set to %SystemRoot%\Inf by default:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\DevicePath: REG_EXPAND_SZ:%SystemRoot%\Inf

Make sure that this value is correctly set..

If it is and nothing happens with all the above then there might be one last hint that i can say is that the file association for Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) component (.htc) files is not in the registry, Download it from the following link :

http://www.dougknox.com/xp/utils/SysRestoreCalendar.zip (9K)here.
And run it, restart your system and see if it works.

If not Then Here's away to start System restore in safe mode.

Restart your computer, and then press F8 during the initial startup to start your computer in Safe Mode with a command prompt.

1. Log on to your computer with an administrator account or with an account that has administrator credentials.

2. Type the following command at a command prompt, and then press ENTER:

3. Follow the instructions that appear on the screen to restore your computer to an earlier state.

After finishing restart your computer..

Hope this will work for you
LVL 24

Expert Comment

by:Mohammed Hamada
ID: 16704257
Also  Ensure that the Windows Management Instrumentation service is running.

For instructions on how to do so.
verify that Windows Management Instrumentation Service is running:
1. Click Start, Control Panel, then Performance and Maintenance
2. Click Administrative Tools, Computer Management, then expand Services and Applications.
3. Click Services (not WMI Control), then click Windows Management Instrumentation (be sure you select this service and not the WMI driver extensions). Ensure the service is set to Automatic and the status is 'started'.

Then Ensure the Task Scheduler is running.

For instructions on how do to this, To verify that Task Scheduler is running:
1. Click Start, Control Panel, then Performance and Maintenance.
2. Click Administrative Tools, Computer Management, then Services and Applications.
3. Click Services and then the Task Scheduler service to ensure the service is set to Automatic and the status is 'started'.

* Verify that you have enough free space on all your drives as required by System Restore. If the free space on any partition system restore is monitoring falls below 50 MB, System Restore will suspend and purge out all restore points to free up disk space. It will automatically reactivate when 200 MB+ free space is available, You can use the Disk Cleanup utility to reclaim space. If necessary, you can also use this utility to delete all but the most recent restore point.

Author Comment

ID: 16707152
OK, Moh10ly

Here are the oucomes:

Ran System restore in safe mode:                               Device manager continues to flash.

Ran the prescribed code in command mode:                Same outcome.

Expanded the registry as instructed:                            Couldn't find device path

Started system restore in safe mode:                          Hallellujah!  restored system to 1 week ago
                                                                                         Bluetooth problem fixed.
                                                                                                  But Device manager still flashes!

Ran the DougKnox fix just in case:                               Device manager still flashes

Still, I am greatly relieved to be able to restore the system. Will be happy to allocate the points.

I will be away for 2 weeks on business but want the question to remain alive.  I really want to fix this flashing device manager.

Does the missing devicepath in the registry make a difference?

Any other ideas will be explored on my return.

As an aside, when I do my nightly backup, I receive a message that portions of "I\386\segment4.swf" cannot be read. Might this be significant?

How do I go about getting rid of the second bluetooth device listed in device manager?

I will follow up on all comments on my return.

Many thanks for your help.

LVL 24

Accepted Solution

Mohammed Hamada earned 2000 total points
ID: 16708400
Glad that SR is working now, But there must be something shared between the corruption of system restore and device manager, I'm not exactly sure what is it but we should fix the device manager before going on any other issues..

Regarding The devicepath registry, It sounds like you misunderstood where the key exactly located, It's located on the right pane when you have exapnded the HKLM to current version...


Once you got here, look at the right pane there should be the DevicePath reg key there double click it and make sure that " %SystemRoot%\Inf " is included without any qoutes...

Most of The device manager problems like no items in the DM, occurs when the PnP services is being turned off.. So i recommend that you check all of the services list to make sure that the default services are being turned on and working properly, The following link will provide you all of the services list and which of them should be running by default...


After you fix the services list, restart your computer and I hope this will make it work.


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