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How to Manage Devices with Device Manager

Published: November 02, 2001

This article describes how to use Device Manager to manage devices in the Windows® XP operating system.

Device Manager provides graphical information about how the hardware on your computer is installed and configured, and how the hardware interacts with your computer's programs.

You can use Device Manager to change the way your hardware is configured, and to change the way your hardware interacts with your computer's programs. With Device Manager, you can update device drivers for hardware installed on your computer, modify hardware settings, and troubleshoot problems.

Device Manager enables you to:

  • Determine if the hardware on your computer is working properly.

  • Change hardware configuration settings.

  • Identify the device drivers that are loaded for each device and obtain information about each device driver.

  • Change advanced settings and properties for devices.

  • Install updated device drivers.

  • Disable, enable, and uninstall devices.

  • Reinstall the previous version of a driver.

  • Identify device conflicts and manually configure resource settings.

  • Print a summary of the devices that are installed on your computer.

You will typically use Device Manager to check the status of your hardware and update device drivers on your computer. Advanced users who have a thorough understanding of computer hardware might also use Device Manager's diagnostic features to resolve device conflicts and change resource settings.

Note  You may need to be logged on as an administrator or be a member of the Administrators group in order to use some or all of the features in Device Manager. If your computer is connected to a network, network policy settings may also prevent you from completing this procedure.

To access Device Manager:

  • Right–click My Computer, click Manage, and then click Device Manager. The Device Manager opens as shown in Figure 1 below.

    Device Manager window

    Figure 1. Opening the Device Manager

To access Device Manager on a remote computer:

  1. Click Start, click Run, and then type mmc. The Microsoft Management Console opens.

  2. Click the File menu, click Add/Remove Snap–in, click Add, click Device Manager, select Another Computer and click Browse, as shown in Figure 2 below.

    Device Manager dialog box

    Figure 2. Targeting Device Manager to a remote computer

To view the status of a device:

  1. Open Device Manager.

  2. Double–click the type of device you want to view.

  3. Right–click the specific device you want, and then click Properties.

  4. On the General tab, under Device status is a description of the device status, as shown in Figure 3 below.

    Device Status dialog box

    Figure 3. Checking status of a device

If the device is experiencing a problem, the type of problem is displayed. You might also see a problem code and number and a suggested solution. If you call a support line, this number can be useful for determining and diagnosing the problem.

For information on how to resolve hardware device problems, click Troubleshoot to start the Hardware Troubleshooter.

To enable a device:

  1. Open Device Manager.

  2. Double–click the type of device that you want to enable.

  3. Right–click the specific device you want, and then click Enable.

To uninstall a device:

  1. Open Device Manager.

  2. Double–click the type of device that you want to uninstall.

  3. Right–click the specific device you want to uninstall, and then click Uninstall.

  4. In the Confirm Device Removal dialog box, click OK.

When you are done uninstalling the device, turn off your computer, and remove the device from the computer.

Note  You do not usually use Device Manager to uninstall a Plug and Play device. Simply disconnect the Plug and Play device from your computer. You might have to restart your computer. Check the device manufacturer's instructions for more information.    

Product documentation

For further information about using Device Manager, see the Windows XP documentation. To access documentation while using Device Manager, press F1 on your keyboard to go directly to the Device Manager section.

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