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Overview of Device Manager

Applies To: Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2

Device Manager provides you with a graphical view of the hardware that is installed on your computer. All devices communicate with Windows through a piece of software called a device driver. You can use Device Manager to install and update the drivers for your hardware devices, modify hardware settings for those devices, and troubleshoot problems.

Uses for Device Manager

You can use Device Manager to:

  • Determine whether 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.

  • Enable, disable, and uninstall devices.

  • Roll back to the previous version of a driver.

  • View the devices based on their type, by their connection to the computer, or by the resources they use.

  • Show or hide hidden devices that are not critical to view, but might be necessary for advanced troubleshooting.

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.

Ordinarily, you will not need to use Device Manager to change resource settings because resources are allocated automatically by the system during hardware setup.

You can use Device Manager to manage devices only on a local computer. On a remote computer, Device Manager will work only in read-only mode, allowing you to view, but not change the hardware configuration of that computer.

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