3 easy ways to view Device Manager’s hidden devices

by Claire Moraa
Claire Moraa
Claire Moraa
Claire likes to think she's got a knack for solving problems and improving the quality of life for those around her. Driven by the forces of rationality, curiosity,... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • Windows' Device Manager is a great tool for troubleshooting, but it can be confusing to some users.
  • Each of your components has a specific driver that allows Windows to properly recognize and interact with them.
  • Some users may think that there is something wrong with their system when they do not see certain devices in Device Manager but in most cases, they are just hidden.
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The Device Manager is a tool that allows you to view, enable and disable the devices connected to your computer. 

You can also use it to troubleshoot problems you may have with your mouse or keyboard. Some devices have multiple drivers, and the Device Manager will show all of them.

When a device is detected and configured, Device Manager will display it in the proper category. If it can’t detect it, or if the driver isn’t fully configured, then you will see an item under the Unknown devices section.

If a device isn’t working correctly on your computer, for example, the sound isn’t working, you may want to try updating the device driver.

When you go to the Device Manager list, you can find the drivers but in some cases, they may be hidden. In such cases, troubleshooting your device can be difficult if you don’t know where it is located. 

Why does the Device Manager hide devices?

The Device Manager only shows information about those devices that are connected and configured on the system.

It also hides nonpresent devices that are not physically present in the system, but still have configuration information in the Registry.

When a device is plugged in, plugged out, or otherwise removed from the system by removing its drivers, Windows marks it as nonpresent and hides it by default.

Also, if you have a lot of devices on a system, some may only be active when something specific is attached. The DVD drive for example won’t show up unless there’s a disk in the drive. There are others also that do not show when not in use.

What can I do to view Device Manager hidden devices?

1. Use the Settings app

  1. Hit the Windows + I keys simultaneously to open Settings.
  2. Type Device Manager in the search bar and click Open.open device manager
  3. Select the View option, scroll down and click on Show hidden devices.

2. Use the Run command

  1. Press Windows + R keys simultaneously to open the Run command window.
  2. Type devmgmt.msc in the Run dialog box that pops up and press Enter.
  3. Select the View option, scroll down and click on Show hidden devices.

3. Use Command Prompt

  1. Hit the Windows + I keys simultaneously to open Settings.
  2. Type cmd in the search bar and click Run as administrator.
  3. Enter the following commands: SET DEVMGR_SHOW_NONPRESENT_DEVICES=1 devmgmt.msc 
  4. Select the View option, scroll down and click on Show hidden devices.

Can you remove hidden devices in Device Manager?

You can remove hidden devices in Device Manager but first, you have to unhide them.

To remove an unknown device from Device Manager, follow the steps below:

  1. Hit the Windows key, type Device manager in the search bar, and click Open.open device manager
  2. Find the device you want to remove after completing the show hidden devices steps outlined above.
  3. Right-click on the device and select Uninstall from the context menu. 
  4. Click OK when prompted to confirm your choice. 

If you were having trouble locating hidden devices, we hope one of the methods above was able to come to your rescue.

Remember, you can do more with Device Manager such as scan for hardware changes or update your motherboard resources.

Let us know of any tips and tricks that you use with WIndows’ Device Manager in the comment section below.

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