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Enable or Disable a Plug and Play Device

Applies To: Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2

This topic provides a procedure you can use to start or stop the device driver for a Plug and Play device. These procedures do not apply to devices that do not conform to the Plug and Play specification. For non-Plug and Play devices, see Start or Stop a Non-Plug and Play Device Driver.

Membership in the local Administrators group, or equivalent, is the minimum required to complete this procedure.

Enable a device

To enable a Plug and Play device
  1. Open Device Manager.

  2. Right-click the device you want, and then click Enable.

    Enable will only be listed if the device is disabled.

You can also enable a device at the device's Properties page. At the bottom of the General tab, if Change Settings is present, click it. Then on the Driver tab, click Enable.

If you are prompted to restart the computer, the device is not enabled until the computer is restarted.

Disable a device

When you disable a device, the physical device stays connected to your computer, but the device driver is disabled. The drivers are available again when you enable the device. It can be useful to disable devices if you want to have more than one hardware configuration for your computer, or if you have a portable computer that you use at a docking station.

If you are prompted to restart the computer, the device will not be disabled and will continue to function until the computer is restarted.

After you disable a device and restart your computer (if necessary), the resources allocated to the device are free and can be allocated to another device.

Some devices cannot be disabled, such as devices for disk drives and processors.

To disable a Plug and Play device
  1. Open Device Manager.

  2. Right-click the specific device you want, and then click Disable.

    ImportantImportant
    If you disable a device that is required to start the system, such as your hard disk drive then your system might not start successfully.

You can also disable a device from the device's Properties page. At the bottom of the General tab, if Change Settings is present, click it. Then on the Driver tab, click Disable.

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