My PC, running XP SP2, has 3 PCI expansion slots. Over the course of these several years that I've owned this machine, various add-on cards have been used in those slots. There were modem cards, a SCSI controller card, a couple different analog TV tuner cards with A/V capture, and now a digital TV tuner card. Sometimes I've rearranged which slot a card would go in for one reason or another.
EEK! Now I've gone and really done it. I moved a modem card recently to a different slot, after removing an older TV/FM tuner card and Windows won't init the modem now because it says the modem cannot find sufficient resources for its needs, and some other device's resources would need to be freed up. OOPS! I forgot to tell Windows to Uninstall the TV/FM card before I pulled it. In order to get the modem card operational again, I had to Uninstall it, pull it, put back the TV/FM card in the slot it had occupied (and Windows then recognized and enabled the TV/FM without need of running the New Hardware Wizard, because I guess its resources had already been configured/allocated); then I had to tell Windows to Uninstall the TV/FM, I removed that card, put back the modem card, and it initialized fine.
But, thinking back about all the possible PCI cards that I may have pulled without thinking to first explicitly tell Windows to Uninstall -- hmmmm. I think in most cases I did indeed command the Uninstall, but in those cases where a user such as myself may not have thought to take that precaution, and the pulled devices are long gone to the landfill -- HOW would that PC owner go about belatedly freeing up those precious lost resources??
By "resources", Windows could be referring to the chunk of memory each device gets for its bookkeeping, and/or it might refer to Interrupt Request assignments -- not sure.
I think I would delve into the BIOS screens (usually hit Del key as the machine first boots). Have a look for a page allowing you to disable devices you won't be using -- e.g. Parallel printer port (if you use USB printer), MIDI/Game Port, Serial/COM ports.
Reboot Windows a couple of times to let resources be reassigned.
Good thinking I agree. I've shied away from BIOS too much. I see it also has an option to reset the entire device configurations database, and that could be a possible way around future snags of this sort too.