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What is PCI?
PCI stands for "Peripheral Component Interconnect" and is a specification.  According to Wikipedia's article here, the PCI standard was created by Intel in the middle of 1993.  It has a width of 32 bits and a max speed of 133 MB/s.  The part of the standard most users need to know about are the buses and cards.
What does the bus look like?
On most motherboards, PCI buses (slots) are white, but they can vary.  There are two sections, with the longer one being near the back of the computer, to which they are perpendicular.
What do the cards look like?
The cards vary, but they have gold connectors on the bottom that fit into the bus, and one end has a metal edge that fits on the back side of your case with a screw or screwless mechanism to lock it in place.
What are PCI cards used for?
There are many different uses of PCI cards.  They range from network cards to low-end graphics cards to sound cards, adding extra USB, firewire, and/or eSATA ports, etc.
Why does my PCI card have an error in the Device Manager?
There are many reasons that PCI cards can have errors.  Here's a general troubleshooting method:
  1. Make sure you have the proper driver (if necessary).  Look for a CD or floppy that came with the device or check the manufacturer's website.  Make sure you are using the most recent drivers, too.
  2. If that doesn't help, right-click the device in the Device Manager and click "Uninstall" then restart your computer and let XP "find" the device and try to install drivers for it.  It will give a notification if there are errors.
  3. Next, uninstall it again in the Device Manager, then shut down your computer and physically remove the device.  Make sure to hold the edges of the card only and that you grounded yourself first to avoid shocking the card.  Remember that even if you can't see or feel it, you might shock and wreck it.
  4. Look at the gold contacts and make sure they are clean and undamaged.  Clean them carefully if necessary.
  5. Put it back in and restart.
  6. If it still doesn't work, remove all other unnecessary PCI cards and try it in another bus and continue until you either run out of buses or it works.
  7. Put all the other cards back and see if it worked.
  8. If not, the card may be faulty, so you can try it in another computer to make sure.