What is device manager?

Device Manager provides you with a graphical view of the hardware (internal and external) that is installed on your computer and gives you a way to manage and configure your devices. With Device Manager, you can determine whether Windows recognizes a device and if the device is working properly. You can also enable, disable, or uninstall the device; roll back the previous version of the driver; and identify the device driver including its version and change hardware configuration settings.

Using Device Manager

To open the Device Manager, you can do one of the following:

  • Open the Control Panel in Category view, click Hardware, and click Device Manager.
  • Open the Control Panel in Icon view and double-click Device Manager.
  • Open the System Properties and click Device Manager.
  • Open the Computer Management console and click Device Manager.
  • Open the Server Manager and click Device Manager under Diagnostics.
  • Start Search box or Run box and execute the following command from a command
    prompt: mmc devmgmt.msc.

If you are logged on as the built-in Administrator account, Device Manager opens. If you are logged on as the user that is a member of the Administrator group and you have User Account Control enabled, you will have to click Continue to open Device Manager. See Figure below.

Device Manager 1

If you locate and double-click a device or right-click a device and select properties, you can view the details of the driver in the General tab including the status of the device. The Details tab will give you detailed settings of various properties assigned to the hardware device. As a server administrator, most of the items you will need are located at the Driver tab:

  1. Driver Details: Shows the driver file(s) and their location, the provider of the driver, the version of the file, and the digital signer of the file.
  2. Update Driver: Allows you to update the driver software for a device.
  3. Roll Back Driver: Used to roll back a driver if problems exist when you update a device driver. If there’s no previous version of the driver installed for the selected device, the Roll Back Driver button will be unavailable.
  4. Disable/Enable: Instead of uninstalling the driver, you can use the Device Manager to disable the device.
  5. Uninstall: Used to remove the driver software from the computer.

Additional tabs such as Advanced, Resources (Memory Range, I/O Range, IRQ, and DMA), and Power Management may be shown depending on the type of device. See Figure below. If there is conflict for your resources, you can try to use Device Manager to change the memory range, I/O range, IRQ, or DMA of the device). In addition, if you right-click a device in Device Manager, you can update driver software, disable the device, uninstall the device, or scan for hardware changes.

Device Manager 2

Figure: Device Properties

When you use the Device Manager that comes with Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008, you should note the following:

  • A down black arrow indicates a disabled device. A disabled device is a device that is physically present in the computer and is consuming resources, but does not have a driver loaded.
  • A black exclamation point (!) on a yellow field indicates the device is in a problem state.
  • You also need to check whether any devices are listed under Other devices or have a generic name such as Ethernet Controller or PCI Simple Communications Controller, which indicates that the proper driver is not loaded.

Articles in this Course

  1. Selecting Server Hardware
  2. Selecting the Software
  3. Performing Clean Installation of Windows Server 2008 R2
  4. Performing an Upgrade to Windows Server 2008 R2
  5. Disk Cloning and System Preparation Tool
  6. Performing an Unattended Installation
  7. Installing Windows Server 2008 R2 Using Windows Deployment Services
  8. Understanding Windows Licensing
  9. Understanding Windows Activation
  10. Understanding Windows Updates
  11. Understanding User Account Control
  12. Introducing System Settings
  13. Changing Computer Name and Domain Settings
  14. Configuring Remote Settings
  15. Changing Date and Time
  16. Understanding Plug and Play Devices
  17. Understanding Signed Drivers
  18. Using Devices and Printers
  19. Using Device Manager
  20. Using Computer Management Console and Server Management Console
  21. Managing Programs
  22. Managing Roles and Features
  23. Comparing IDE and SCSI Drives
  24. Introducing Redundant Arrays of Independent Disks
  25. Introducing Hot Spares
  26. Using Storage Explorer and Storage Manager
  27. Introducing Disk Partitioning Styles
  28. Comparing Types of Disks
  29. Introducing File Systems
  30. System Information
  31. Using the Event Viewer
  32. Understanding Boot.ini
  33. Understanding BCDEdit
  34. Understanding Advanced Boot Menu
  35. Using the System Configuration Tool
  36. Understanding Virtual Memory and Paging File
  37. Using Task Manager
  38. Using Performance Monitor
  39. Using Resource Monitor
  40. Introducing Fault-Tolerant Components
  41. Understanding Clustering
  42. Understanding Power
  43. Introducing Backup Media
  44. Introducing Backup Items
  45. Introducing Microsoft Windows Backup
  46. Understanding Shadow Copies of Shared Folders
  47. Understanding HOSTS and LMHOSTS Files
  48. Exploring DNS
  49. WINS
  50. Introducing Domains and Trees and Forests
  51. Introducing Sites and Domain Controllers
  52. Introducing Organizational Units
  53. Looking at Objects
  54. Introducing Groups
  55. Introducing Group Policy
  56. Setting NTFS Permissions
  57. Looking at Effective NTFS Permissions
  58. Copying and Moving Files
  59. Looking at Folder and File Owners
  60. Encrypting Files with NTFS
  61. Network Discovery and Browsing
  62. Looking at Special and Administrative Shares
  63. Installing Printers
  64. Looking at Printer Properties
  65. Setting Printer Permissions
  66. Managing Print Jobs
  67. Configuring Internet Printing
  68. Managing Web Sites with IIS
  69. Managing FTP with IIS
  70. Creating Virtual Machines
  71. Managing Virtual Machines