Device Manager

Device Manager

The Device Manager is a Control Panel applet in Microsoft Windows operating systems. It allows users to view and control the hardware attached to the computer. When a piece of hardware is not working, the offending hardware is highlighted for the user to deal with. The list of hardware can be sorted by various criteria.

For each device, users can:

  • Supply device drivers for the hardware
  • Enable or disable devices
  • Tell Windows to ignore malfunctioning devices
  • View other technical properties

Device Manager was introduced with Windows 95 and later added to Windows 2000. In NT-based versions, it is included as a Microsoft Management Console snap-in.

Invoking the Device Manager

Windows 95/98/Me:

  1. Right-click My Computer then select Properties
  2. Select the Device Manager tab

Windows 2000 and Windows XP:

  1. Right-click My Computer then select Properties
  2. Select the Hardware tab
  3. Click the Device Manager button
  4. Alternative 1: Start -> Run -> devmgmt.msc -> OK
  5. Alternative 2: Type "devmgmt.msc" into the Command Prompt
  6. Alternative 3: Device Manager is part of Computer Management, which also includes Event Viewer, Services Manager, Disk Management and many other things. Right-Click My Computer then select Manage to start Computer Management, or invoke compmgmt.msc, or launch it via the shortcut in Control Panel, Administrative Tools.
  7. Alternative 4: Press and hold down the Windows key and press the Pause/Break key.
  8. Alternative 5: Create a batch file(.bat) to run Device Manager. A one line entry of devmgmt.msc

into an ANSI text file with the extension (.bat) suffices. However you can also invoke instance settings, such as displaying non-present devices, by adding an additional first command line set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1 for an overall structure like this: set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1 devmgmt.msc

Windows Vista:

  1. Click Start -> in the "Start Search" box
  2. Type "Dev" (without pressing enter); wait for a list to show up
  3. Click Device Manager
  4. Alternative 1: Open the Start menu, right-click on Computer, select Manage, click on "Device Manager" in the left-hand tree
  5. Alternative 2: run devmgmt.msc
  6. Alternative 3: Device Manager is part of the Computer Management, which also includes Event Viewer, Services Manager, Disk Management, as well as many other things. Right-Click My Computer then select Manage to start Computer Management.

Hidden Settings

Display of 'non-present' devices The Device Manager has the ability to display the driver entries for a device that is not currently connected to a computer but had been successfully installed to run through a port, such as a USB port. This is useful for removing entries of old devices or performing a clean reinstall of a device. This mode activated each time device manager is added and must be invoked just prior to opening Device Manager using the Command Prompt or Batch file method. Command line is as follows: set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1

See also

External links

Windows-specific articles

NB: not all articles apply to all Windows versions

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