Using the Device Manager

by Barry Dysert
(last updated October 19, 2015)

The Windows Device Manager lets you graphically view and manage devices on your local computer. Its capabilities include:

  • Verify that your hardware is working properly
  • Change hardware configuration settings
  • Obtain device driver information
  • Change settings for devices
  • Install updated device drivers
  • Enable, disable, and uninstall devices

How you invoke the Device Manager depends on the version of Windows you are using. If you are using Windows 7, click the Start button, right-click Computer, and select Properties. If you are using Windows 8, display the Charms (press Win+C), click Settings, and click PC Info.

Regardless of the version of Windows you are using, a Control Panel screen appears that displays some information about your system. At the left side of the screen click Device Manager. Windows displays the Device Manager dialog box. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The Windows Device Manager

The Device Manager uses a hierarchical display, meaning that you can expand or collapse different groups of items displayed in the window. For instance, if you wanted to see what disk drives were installed in your system, you would click the small triangle just to the left of the Disk Drives entry. Clicking the triangle again would collapse the category.

With the actual devices in your system on display, you can do things like update driver software, uninstall the device, look at the device's properties, etc. Just right-click on the device you're interested in and choose the appropriate option from the Context menu. When you are finished, close the Device Manager dialog box.

 This tip (12628) applies to Windows 7 and 8.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 30 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer.  He is currently a senior software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. ...

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