Device manager is a centralized tool to configure and manage all the hardware recognized by Windows operating system. As a part of MMC (Microsoft Management Console), the device manager provides you a master list of hardware components and ports attached to the computer system. This utility is available in all the versions of Windows starting from Windows 98, ME, Vista, XP, Windows 7, 8.1, and Windows 10. Device manager is a handy tool to troubleshoot most of the hardware conflicts, driver issues and much more.
Purpose of Device Manager
The device manager provides a centralized platform to view all the built-in and connected hardware devices and accessories. From the view menu from the top, you have the option to select from” view by type” or “view by connection”. The menu also allows you to view all the hidden devices in windows OS.
Now, if we look at the capability of the device manager, it offers a number of troubleshooting functionalities as listed below.
Check the Device status.
The best way to start any computer hardware diagnosis is to look at the device status in device manager. It will show you the current status of the device, whether it is working fine or not and it will show the error code in case of any issues. To see the status of a device, right click on the hardware device in device manager and open its properties. Here, under the general tab, you can see the health of the device.
Enable or Disable the Device
By default, when you install Windows OS, all the devices are enabled so that it can use the system resources. In the case of resource conflict, sometimes the Windows disables one of the devices. You can easily see the disabled device in device manager. Depending on the version of OS, you can see a black arrow or a red cross on the disabled device. You can enable or disable the hardware device by right-clicking on it and select the enable/disable from the list.
Manage software drivers
I have used the word “manage” since you can do a lot of things with device drivers. If you open the properties of a device which uses software drivers for installation, you can see a lot many options to pick from. The choices to select include.
- Driver Details. Click this button to see the details of driver files. It will show you all the files used by driver software and their installation path.
- Update Driver. Choose this option to update the software of the device. You will be asked to provide the path of the drivers. You can either pick the option of an automatic installation from the internet or manually browse the path to the driver location in a local computer system.
- Roll Back Driver. In case, after installation or updating the drivers, the device stops working, you can easily roll back the drivers to its previous condition.
- Disable. Clicking this option will completely disable the device.
- Uninstall. As the name of the button says, you can uninstall and remove the driver software of a device from the system.
On some devices, you can see the power management option. Under this option, you can allow the computer to turn off the particular device to save power. This is helpful in laptops when working on battery-mode and the laptop is in power-save mode.
How to open Device Manager
There are multiple options to open the device manager in windows 10 or any other earlier version of it. Let’s have a look at some of the methods to open device manager.
To open the device manager with the command line, open run command screen by pressing Windows logo and R on the keyboard. Now you need to type “ devmgmt.msc” to open device manager.
Right-click on This-PC or My-Computer on the desktop and open its properties. Now from the left sidebar in the next screen, you can open Device manager.
Power User Menu
This is one of the quickest ways to open device manager in Windows 10. Right click on start menu icon on the left bottom of the screen and select device manager from the list. Alternatively, you can open the power-user menu by pressing the Windows Logo key and X on the keyboard.
Open the control panel and look for device manager from the various settings available.
How to use Device Manager
After opening the device manager, navigate to the device. For example, you want to update the drivers of display adapter. Navigate to display adapter heading in the device list. Now expand the display adapter heading and next, you can see the name of graphics adapter of your system. Here, in this case as you can see the adapter’s name is Intel HD graphics 5500. Now right click on it and open the properties or just double-click on it. Next, you can do whatever you want to select from the various options available.
On detecting an issue with a connected device, the Windows will put an exclamation mark in front of that device. It will help you to diagnose the system issues in the right direction without wasting time in looking for the cause of the problem.
Final Words on Device Manager
So, we see that the device manager is a vital tool of Microsoft Management Console to convey to us the problems and error codes of the connected hardware devices. You can take important clues from device manager to troubleshoot system related issues.