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Uninstalling devices

Updated: January 21, 2005

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Uninstalling devices

Although you can usually uninstall a plug and play device by disconnecting or removing the device, some devices might require that you turn off the computer first. To ensure that you do this properly, consult the device manufacturer's instructions for device installation and removal.

Uninstalling a non-Plug and Play device typically involves two steps:

  • Using Device Manager to uninstall the device.

  • Removing the device from your computer.

You can use Device Manager to notify the system that you want to uninstall a non-Plug and Play device. After you notify the system that you are uninstalling a device, you must physically disconnect or remove the device from your computer. For example, if the device is connected to a port on the outside of your computer, you shut down your computer, disconnect the device from the port, and then unplug the power cord for the device.

You need not uninstall a device that you want to disable but that you want to remain attached to the computer--a modem, for example. Instead of uninstalling it, you can simply disable the Plug and Play device. When you disable such a device, it stays physically connected to your computer, but Windows updates the system registry so that the device drivers for the device you have disabled are no longer loaded when you start your computer. The drivers are available again, however, when you enable the device. This is useful if you need to switch between two hardware devices, such as a networking card and a modem, or if you need to troubleshoot a hardware problem.

For instructions on how to uninstall, reinstall, and roll back devices, see Uninstall and Reinstall Devices.

For background information on hardware and instructions for installing devices, see Hardware profiles overview and Configuring devices.

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