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Uninstall or Reinstall a Device

Updated: August 31, 2007

Applies To: Windows Server 2008

You can use this procedure to uninstall and reinstall your hardware devices.

Membership in the local Administrators group, or equivalent, is the minimum required to complete this procedure. Review the details in "Additional considerations" in this topic.

Generally, you do not need to 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, however, depending on the type of device. For more information, see the instructions provided by the manufacturer of your device.

ImportantImportant
Before removing a device with the power turned on, ensure that it is designed for removal while the power is on. If it is not, then turn the power off before you remove the 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, and then click Uninstall. You can also double-click the device, and then on the Driver tab, click Uninstall.

  4. In the Confirm Device Removal page, select Delete the driver software for this device if you also want to remove the device driver package from the driver store.

    The Delete the driver software for this device option removes the package from the driver store. If you remove the driver from the store, and then the device is connected to the computer again, Windows must search for a copy of the driver package in the standard search locations, including possibly prompting the user for media. This option is the equivalent of running the command: pnputil -d -f package.inf. For more information, see Remove a Device Driver Package from the Driver Store.

  5. Click OK to complete the uninstall process.

  6. When the uninstall process is complete, unplug the device from the computer.

    If you are prompted to restart the computer, the removal is not completed and the device might continue to function until the computer is restarted.

    noteNote
    Ensure that you disconnect the device from the computer after uninstalling the device driver, or Windows will detect and re-install the device the next time it restarts.

Reinstall a device only if it is working improperly or it has stopped working altogether. Before you reinstall a device, try to restart your computer and check the device to determine whether it is functioning properly. If it is not, try reinstalling the device.

  1. Open Device Manager.

  2. Follow the instructions in the preceding procedure to Uninstall a device.

    If you are prompted to restart the computer, continue to step 3.

    If you are not prompted to restart the computer, skip to step 5.

  3. Plug in the device and then restart the computer. The device will be detected and reinstalled after Windows restarts.

  4. Follow any instructions on-screen to complete installation. Do not complete steps 5 and 6.

  5. In Device Manager, in the Action menu, click Scan for hardware changes.

  6. Follow the instructions on-screen.

    noteNote
    Scan for hardware changes does not reinstall a Plug and Play device if a driver is already installed on the computer. If the device has not been uninstalled, Scan for hardware changes does not detect the connection of the device as a change. You must uninstall a Plug and Play device for Windows to start an installation when you connect the device again.

Reinstall a device only if it is working improperly or if it has stopped working altogether. Before you reinstall a device, try to restart your computer and check the device to determine whether it is functioning properly. If it is not, try reinstalling the device.

  1. Open Device Manager.

  2. Follow the instructions in the procedure to Uninstall a device.

  3. Right-click the top node in the details pane.

  4. Click Add legacy hardware. The menu option Scan for hardware changes only detects and installs Plug and Play compatible hardware.

  5. In the Add Hardware Wizard, click Next, and then follow the instructions on-screen.

  • By default, membership in the Administrators group, or equivalent, is the minimum required to modify device drivers. A standard user can modify a driver only if the device setup class for the driver is in the Allow non-administrators to install drivers for these device classes computer policy. For more information, see Controlling Which Devices Can Be Installed by Standard Users.

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