Device Manager is a handy tool that you can use to solve many common problems.
Device Manager as Real life office Manager. Just as a Manager is mostly not directly involved in any real product development but is more responsible for managing staff, Device Manager plays a similar role.
In this quick guide, you’ll learn everything you need to get started with Device Manager. Let’s start with a brief introduction first.
What is Windows Device Manager
Device Manager is a free troubleshooting applet developed by Microsoft. First introduced with Windows 95, it provides a complete view of all the hardware installed on a Windows computer. In addition to the display features, Device Manager also lets you manage and control the operation of the various hardware devices attached to your PC.
The hardware that lets you manage includes everything from graphics cards, audio, and cameras to hard disks, USB drives and more.
Here’s a list of some of the most useful tasks you can complete with Device Manager:
- Update drivers
- Reinstall your drivers
- Temporarily disable
- Scan for any hardware changes
- View driver properties and more.
Think of Device Manager as a place that gives you an overview of all the hardware connected to your computer. You mostly need to access it when you face problems with hardware on your computer.
How to Open Windows Device Manager
There are two different ways to open Device Manager in Windows. You can follow whatever approach you feel most comfortable with.
Open Device Manager Using Shortcut Keys
To open Device Manager using a keyboard shortcut, follow the steps below:
- Press the button Windows + X to open the menu Power User.
- From there, find and click on options Device Manager.
Open Device Manager Via Start Menu
Another way to open Device Manager is through a simple search in the Windows Start menu search bar. To do that, type devmgmt.msc in the Start menu search bar, and click on the best result, i.e. Device Manager.
From here, you can explore the Device Manager for any issues you might be facing or check the driver status and see if everything is working smoothly.
How to Use Windows Device Manager
As we discussed above, Windows Device Manager lists all the installed or connected hardware and drives on your PC. By previewing the displayed list, it becomes easy to find what you are looking for.
You can see all the driver issues related to your Windows computer with its help. For example, if there is a problem with your system hardware, such as missing drivers, accidentally disabled drivers, lack of CPU resources, and the like, you can try and resolve them from the Device Manager itself.
As you can see from the image below, all the drivers are neatly categorized by type. This makes it easy to navigate the application and helps you deal effectively with driver issues. For example, if you are having problems with one of your audio drivers, you can easily expand the section Audio inputs and outputs and check for certain problematic drivers.
Note that you can also change the appearance or arrangement of devices from the tab View. Click View and select the driver settings you want.
Another interesting fact is that some drivers are hidden by default. To check it, click View and select an option Show hidden devices.
How to Update Drivers With Device Manager
First, open Windows Device Manager, then follow the steps:
- Click on the category of hardware you want to update. (Say you want to update one of your System device drivers, then click on System devices and select a specific driver.)
- Right click on the driver and select Update drivers.
- Now select Search automatically for drivers and let the process finish.
Device Manager will then look for the latest driver updates on your PC and install them. But if it turns out that you already have the latest version of the driver, it will give you that message. In our case, the device was already running the latest version, as you can see below.
But if you are sure that the driver is not up to date, then you can download it directly from the manufacturer’s website and install it with Device Manager.
If you want to go this route, continue to the penultimate part of this guide, explaining how to deal with corrupt drivers.
Checking Installed Hardware Status
It’s not a bad idea to check Device Manager if your computer’s hardware is acting weird or out of character.
Once you have opened Device Manager, expand the type of device you want to check. From there, right-click on a specific driver and go to the section Properties.
Then from tab General in the dialog box, see box Device Status to confirm the status. If the device status is “working properly”, then the hardware is not experiencing any issues due to a driver failure, and you can look for other causes.
However, if there is a problem with the component, you will see a description or error code associated with the problem. The description or the error code itself, won’t give you any information on how to fix the driver itself. Go to the next section for that.
Dealing With Corrupt Drivers Using Device Manager
Just as there is no single way to deal with the complex affairs of life, Windows 10 also has several methods to fix your corrupted device drivers. One such method is through the Device Manager.
If the device driver is corrupt, you can use Windows Device Manager to remove the faulty device and then reinstall the clean version.
- open Device Manager, right click on the corrupted driver and select Uninstall device.
- Now, reboot your PC.
After rebooting, Windows will automatically detect your system configuration, locate and reinstall deleted drivers. However, if the reinstallation does not occur, you will have to do it manually via Device Manager.
Download drivers manually from your hardware manufacturer online. If you get a ZIP file, extract it and then follow the steps below:
- open Device Manager, right click on a specific driver.
- Now click Update drivers > Browse my computer for drivers.
Select the driver file you downloaded from the manufacturer’s website and click Next. The latest drivers will be installed on your PC immediately. Reboot your PC once for the changes to take effect.
Device Manager Is a Versatile Tool for System Management
Windows Device Manager makes managing your Windows hardware smooth. Over the years, Microsoft has introduced many tools to improve the performance of the Windows 10 operating system, which is expected to continue in the future as well.