I found this on makezine.com. It turns out that ghost devices(remember that nightmare in windows 9x?) are still present in 2k and xp. I have tried it here under my 2k machine and was astonished at the stuff still loading. Time to clear out the rest of my winders machines. Any ghost entries will be greyed out. However make sure there is a non-greyed out duplicate before you nuke it if it is like an ipod since you’ll nuke your ipod doing this if it is disconnected and you are not paying attention.
When you install a device driver on a Windows XP machine, the operating system loads that driver each time the computer boots regardless of whether the device is present–unless you specifically uninstall the driver. This means that drivers from devices that you have long since removed from your system may be wasting valuable system resources.
Follow these steps to view and remove these unnecessary device drivers:
1. Press [Windows] [Break] to bring up the System Properties dialog box.
2. Select the Advanced tab and click the Environment Variables button.
3. Click the New button below the System Variables panel.
4. In the New System Variable dialog box, type devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices in the Variable Name text box and 1 in the Variable Value text box.
5. Click OK to return to the System Properties dialog box and then click OK again.
6. Select the Hardware tab and click the Device Manager button.
7. In Device Manager, go to View | Show Hidden Devices.
8. Expand the various branches in the device tree and look for the washed out icons, which indicate unused device drivers.
9. To remove an unused device driver, right-click the icon and select Uninstall.