Dell Inspiron 6400 – Three Unknown Base System Devices

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.

87 Responses to “Dell Inspiron 6400 – Three Unknown Base System Devices”

  1. Manuel says:

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

  2. Fanuc says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    Thanks save me time. Great support.

  5. Andy Gagola says:

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

  6. sam says:

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

  7. 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. darcer says:

    thanx alot it worked even with windows 7

  9. Jajat says:

    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 says:

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

  11. phil says:

    Worked for me on a Vostro 1700. Cheers.

  12. George says:

    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 says:


  14. Mike says:

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

    Thanks again,


  15. Jeff says:

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

  16. beatnik says:

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

  17. Paul says:

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

    • Paul Salmon says:

      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 says:

    wow cheers!

    thanks for saving me a lot of time!!

  19. Paul says:

    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…?

    • Paul Salmon says:

      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 says:

        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 says:

    Thank you very much for sharing this! GOD BLESS!

  21. anthony says:

    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 says:

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

  23. Robst says:

    Thank you!!

  24. Ali says:

    Thank you

  25. Vamsi says:

    Thank you so much….

  26. Chris says:

    You saved me hours of work! Thanks a million!

  27. Gus says:

    Hi man, thank you so much. !

  28. benny says:

    Thank you! you’re the man!

  29. hitech redneck says:

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

  30. Bogdan says:

    thank you very much, it worked

  31. James Lewis says:

    Thanks. It worked@@@

  32. AC says:

    thank you!

  33. User says:

    Thank you!

  34. Luz says:

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

  35. Luz says:

    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!

  36. Dogger says:

    Great work dude! Exactly what I needed!

  37. Shredder says:

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

  38. jumanji says:

    thumbs up!!! very helpful…thanks a lot 🙂

  39. oxmailxo says:

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

  40. Jrojas says:

    Thanks very nice….. Its yes worked

  41. Steve Peat says:

    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

    • Paul says:

      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.

  42. Anil says:

    This worked perfectly for me. Thank you very much.

  43. Alfredo says:

    It works,

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

    Thank you very much


  44. Wow! its wonderful…Its working fine

    U r de gr8…

    Thanx my friend..

    direct link:

  45. shotalex says:

    it works!



  46. Lisa says:

    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.

  47. Lee says:


    This was driving me nuts for months!

  48. Siamak says:

    God bless u man.

  49. thanks says:

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

  50. don says:

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

  51. Ducke says:

    this worked for me. thanks a lot

  52. seni says:

    well done!!
    nice sharing…

  53. kezza says:

    hey thanks alot for driver keep up the good work…

  54. mgungwe says:

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

  55. theo says:

    want an update of base device system

  56. theo says:

    want to get update of base system device

  57. bdbarak says:

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

  58. ree says:

    you rrrrrrrrrock)

  59. Hamed Farahani says:

    Hi my friend
    this is the best link for download driver

  60. vivek says:

    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,


  61. Mario says:

    Great info. avoided me hours of troubleshooting.

    Thanks a lot

  62. Psimon Rustle says:

    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…

  63. Anke says:

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

  64. me says:

    THANX A LOT! 😀

  65. 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 :

  66. Gholamreza says:

    Dear Sir
    it doesn’t work.

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


  67. Dennis says:

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

  68. Syed says:

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

  69. Anonymous says:

    hi all sorry my languge not very good but i thinks i can help you for ( base system device ) go to this link

    iam amjad from jordan .

  70. Anonymous says:

    Thanks, it worked !

  71. Anonymous says:

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

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