Dell Inspiron 6400 – Three Unknown Base System Devices

I recently encountered a problem where a Dell Inspiron 6400 displayed three base system devices after installing Windows XP onto the machine. It originally had Vista installed, so I only had Vista drivers, which didn’t work with Window XP.

About a year ago, someone I know purchased an Inspiron 6400 laptop from Dell and tried to get XP installed on it instead of Vista. They had no luck and ended up with Vista. Recently, they have decided to remove Vista and install XP on that same laptop, and asked me to do it. No problem, at least until I ended up with three devices that weren’t recognized by XP.

If you have an Inspiron 6400 and have noticed three base system devices in the device manager, then I will explain how to correct that issue in this post.

Dell Inspiron 6400 - Three Unknown Base System Devices

Hardware and Windows XP

As I mentioned above, I recently was tasked with installing Windows XP on a Dell Inspiron 6400 that once had Vista installed. The one problem I encountered was that all the hardware installed was new, so XP didn’t have any drivers included.

Base system Devices

I went onto the Dell support Web site and downloaded the drivers to the local hard drive. I installed the chipset, video, sound, network adapter and wireless drivers without any issues. After I rebooted I noticed that I still had three unknown devices in the device manager.

Unknown devices in the device manager means that I still need to install some drivers. Unfortunately, the devices were listed as a “Base System Device”, so it wasn’t very descriptive to help determine what I was missing.

After a quick search on the Internet, I read that there was an additional set of drivers for the card reader that was included in the laptop.

I went to the Dell support site once again and expanded the “Chipset” drivers. One of the items in the list was called “Ricoh – Driver”, which I promptly downloaded and installed. After installing the drivers I checked the device manager and noticed that the three unknown devices were now gone. I also had three new card reader devices installed, which were the three unknown devices.

As a side note the Dell Inspiron 6400 is also known as the E1505.


After installing XP on a Dell Inspiron 6400 I noticed that there were three unknown “Base System Device” entries in the device manager. After some quick research I learned that these devices were the Ricoh card readers. I downloaded the driver from the Dell support Web site and the three unknown devices disappeared and were replaced by the actual devices.


About Paul Salmon

Paul Salmon is the founder of Technically Easy. He is a an experienced PC user, and enjoys solving computer-related problems that he encounters on a regular basis.

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  1. Manuel
    Posted September 14, 2014 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Thanks a lot, after 2 hours of searching for the answer and the driver I finally got it. Thanks for posting.

  2. Fanuc
    Posted January 10, 2013 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    THanks a lot ! i didnt even know there was a card reader present until i’ve read your post. Many thanks,it surely worked for me.

  3. Brer Bunny
    Posted August 12, 2012 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Brilliant! When I saw ricoh drivers, I thought it was for printer scanner functions, and didn’t give it a second glance. Thanks for your help!

  4. Ed
    Posted June 12, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Thanks save me time. Great support.

  5. Andy Gagola
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    A very big thankyou,
    A little too subtle for me…!

  6. sam
    Posted May 24, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    thanks , it worked just fine, i was just wondering how the hell am i supposed to fix it. thanks again

  7. Posted May 12, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    I had the 3 same Base System yellow unknowns, with an older Inspiron E1705 . I had wiped out the hard drive, reformatted, reloaded windows and drivers, but had those unknown devices. Went back to the resource CD and found that Ricoh download – installed – and voila! all good now. Thanks !!!!
    — Chris Sutton

  8. Posted April 7, 2012 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    thanx alot it worked even with windows 7

  9. Jajat
    Posted August 22, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    The above article has helped me to solve the same problem. I get the problem a month ago and now, it is resolved. Thanks.

  10. Nasser
    Posted July 30, 2011 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    This was really helpful to me. I have Inspiron 640m and I had the same problem.
    Thank you so much!!

  11. phil
    Posted May 5, 2011 at 5:15 am | Permalink

    Worked for me on a Vostro 1700. Cheers.

  12. George
    Posted February 16, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    Excellent! My Dell Inspiron 6400 is good as new again!
    PS Its designed for Windows XP so all the drivers are on the Dell Website.
    The learning here is to install ALL the drivers!

  13. LEO
    Posted January 9, 2011 at 11:56 pm | Permalink


  14. Mike
    Posted October 13, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Thanks a million, I was pulling my hair out until I read your post. It worked great.

    Thanks again,


  15. Jeff
    Posted October 13, 2010 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    At last a helpful piece of support information on the Internet and at the top of the Google search contents. Thanks!

  16. beatnik
    Posted September 18, 2010 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    splendid.. the ricoh driver for windows vista did the trick.. thanks!

  17. Paul
    Posted September 15, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Turns out it was the battery… swapped it with another machine and its fine.

    • Posted September 15, 2010 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

      That makes sense. The LCD is the largest drain on your battery. Since you battery had an issue, it probably couldn’t provide enough power to your LCD. I’m glad you were able to find the problem.

  18. dingo
    Posted September 15, 2010 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    wow cheers!

    thanks for saving me a lot of time!!

  19. Paul
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 2:18 am | Permalink

    Nice work. You don’t happen to have a solution for the ‘screen flicker/screen goes very dark when disconnecting the A/C and switching to battery power issue’ as well do you…?

    • Posted September 14, 2010 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      That would probably be the power management options of your laptop. It is common for the screen to darken when switch to battery power. I wrote a post about it with regards to Microsoft Vista here: Vista Power Saving Settings – Increase Laptop Battery Life.

      If you can’t control the screen brightness while on battery power, it could be a hardware issue.

      • Paul
        Posted September 14, 2010 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, I’m thinking its hardware. Machine runs fine on A/C but as soon as you pull it, the screen just goes really dark i.e. you can just make out the desktop contents. I’ve set brightness through BIOS and the only way to get the screen back is to plug it back in then close and reopen the lid. Battery management says that the battery is fine but might see if I can find a spare and test it. If its not the battery and all the software settings appear right then it would have to be hardware – just noticed that there’s a buzzing sound coming from it too which can’t be good. Just odd that if its a screen issue then why is it only doing it whilst on battery power? :S Thanks for the reply btw.

  20. Arjon
    Posted August 10, 2010 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    Thank you very much for sharing this! GOD BLESS!

  21. anthony
    Posted July 22, 2010 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

    thank god i stumble across this website and forum where my problems had been sorted almost immediately. to solve this problems had been on my head for a few weeks now.

    i got to agree with some of you say dell should really provide with the solution in the utilities disc.

    learn something new again today

    all the best

  22. David Meyers
    Posted July 22, 2010 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Thank-you so very much for sharing this.
    It was a big help. You are so kind to do this.
    Sincerely, David.

  23. Robst
    Posted July 5, 2010 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

    Thank you!!

    • Marlon G
      Posted July 16, 2010 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

      Thank you!! That fixed for me too.

    • Jai
      Posted November 1, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      Thanks a lot… it worked for me also…

  24. Ali
    Posted July 2, 2010 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Thank you

  25. Vamsi
    Posted May 23, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much….

  26. Wizard
    Posted May 21, 2010 at 7:32 am | Permalink
  27. Chris
    Posted April 29, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    You saved me hours of work! Thanks a million!

  28. Gus
    Posted March 29, 2010 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    Hi man, thank you so much. !

  29. benny
    Posted February 9, 2010 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    Thank you! you’re the man!

  30. hitech redneck
    Posted February 5, 2010 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    leave it to dell…….lol. thank you for your poast ! worked like a charm.

  31. Bogdan
    Posted February 3, 2010 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    thank you very much, it worked

  32. Posted January 21, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Thanks. It worked@@@

  33. AC
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    thank you!

  34. User
    Posted December 5, 2009 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    Thank you!

  35. Luz
    Posted November 27, 2009 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    that’s my service tag up there but it was an easy find under drives & downloads.

  36. Luz
    Posted November 27, 2009 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    thanks!!! My hard drive died so I had to buy a new one and start from scratch. I had to download all the drivers but I kept getting those 3 missing “base system device”.
    Followed your directions and there it was on the dell website:

    Thanks again!! It’s all fixed!

  37. Dogger
    Posted November 22, 2009 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    Great work dude! Exactly what I needed!

  38. Shredder
    Posted November 2, 2009 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Nice!!That was a big headache fix..Thanks

  39. Posted October 27, 2009 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    thumbs up!!! very helpful…thanks a lot :)

  40. oxmailxo
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    thanx man that was really helpful i was going crazy cause if this problem
    thanx again

  41. Jrojas
    Posted September 24, 2009 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Thanks very nice….. Its yes worked

  42. Steve Peat
    Posted September 6, 2009 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Brilliant, easy fix, many thanks
    Just leaves you wondering why the hell does the Dell install process / CDs not do this, pretty okay with Dell in general, but this is poor, cheers

    • Posted September 8, 2009 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      I tried the CDs but they contained only the Vista drivers, and they weren’t very well laid out so finding any useful information on the CDs was a waste of time. It was much easier to go online, enter the service tag and get the XP drivers.

  43. sam
    Posted September 3, 2009 at 6:09 pm | Permalink
  44. Anil
    Posted August 26, 2009 at 2:11 am | Permalink

    This worked perfectly for me. Thank you very much.

  45. Alfredo
    Posted July 21, 2009 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    It works,

    I’ve just downloaded and installed and I do not have the yellow ?.

    Thank you very much


  46. Posted June 29, 2009 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Wow! its wonderful…Its working fine

    U r de gr8…

    Thanx my friend..

    direct link:

  47. shotalex
    Posted June 22, 2009 at 2:24 am | Permalink

    it works!



  48. Lisa
    Posted June 10, 2009 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Didn’t work for me. I have a Dell Precision M6300. I’ve installed the Ricoh drivers with no luck. Still showing the Base System Device question marks in device manager.

  49. Lee
    Posted June 9, 2009 at 11:00 pm | Permalink


    This was driving me nuts for months!

  50. Siamak
    Posted June 9, 2009 at 3:10 am | Permalink

    God bless u man.

  51. thanks
    Posted May 13, 2009 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    I had the exact same issue, now I know how to solve it, thanks,

  52. don
    Posted May 9, 2009 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    this was a godsend.. thank you .. finally got the yellow out of my device manager..

  53. Ducke
    Posted April 24, 2009 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    this worked for me. thanks a lot

  54. seni
    Posted April 17, 2009 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    well done!!
    nice sharing…

  55. kezza
    Posted February 24, 2009 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    hey thanks alot for driver keep up the good work…

  56. mgungwe
    Posted February 14, 2009 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    i thank you for your kindness. you are not a chava man (person who hide info), receive my appreciations

  57. theo
    Posted January 10, 2009 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    want an update of base device system

  58. theo
    Posted January 10, 2009 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    want to get update of base system device

  59. bdbarak
    Posted December 15, 2008 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the help. i appreciate ppl that take the time to post these solutions

    • Posted December 15, 2008 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      No problem. It took me a few days to figure out the issue, so I thought I’d pass it on.

  60. ree
    Posted December 7, 2008 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    you rrrrrrrrrock)

  61. Hamed Farahani
    Posted November 25, 2008 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Hi my friend
    this is the best link for download driver

  62. vivek
    Posted November 16, 2008 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    i was struggling for last 2 days to remove those annoying icons from my system properties and when i tried above solution it worked like a magic,


  63. Mario
    Posted October 29, 2008 at 2:26 am | Permalink

    Great info. avoided me hours of troubleshooting.

    Thanks a lot

  64. Psimon Rustle
    Posted October 27, 2008 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    Just redid my Inspiron and noticed that the OS CD that came with it only had 3 drivers (Audio, LAN and Chipset) so I had to download the rest.
    I installed everything I could find but for the past 2 weeks I’ve been struggling with those 3 Base System Devices to the point where I almost threw my laptop out.
    Then I found you… thanks for introducing me to Ricoh.
    You Sir, are a godsend…

  65. Anke
    Posted September 30, 2008 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Thanks, merci, danke! Many hours full of frustration until I stumbled over your website. One minute! My problem has vanished….

  66. me
    Posted September 23, 2008 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    THANX A LOT! 😀

  67. Posted September 17, 2008 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Thank You for this nice and valuable post.
    i got the driver and install it quickly.
    the direct link for the Ricoh – Driver as follows :

  68. Gholamreza
    Posted September 16, 2008 at 1:13 am | Permalink

    Dear Sir
    it doesn’t work.

    i download it and install it, but final message was failled.


  69. Dennis
    Posted September 10, 2008 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Thansk so much!!!! Was getting frustrated and so appreciate your fix.
    Blessings and more,

  70. Syed
    Posted September 9, 2008 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Thanks !!…it worked as well for me….keep it up…to help others…it will come around…regards

  71. Anonymous
    Posted August 19, 2008 at 10:28 am | Permalink
  72. Anonymous
    Posted August 6, 2008 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Thanks, it worked !

  73. Anonymous
    Posted July 31, 2008 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    It worked for me like magic.
    Thanks man n do kip it up!!!

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