InfiniTec - Henning Krauses Blog

Don't adjust your mind - it's reality that is malfunctioning

Display disconnected devices in the Device Manager

Affected products

  • Windows 2000
  • Windows XP
  • Windows 2003


This article explains, how to enable the visibility of disconnected devices in the Device Manager.


The Device Manager normally only show connected devices, and even if the option "Show hidden devices" is checked, not all installed hardware is listed within the tree.
This is a major drawback in cases when you want to uninstall several devices (e.g. modems or other plug-and-play devices) when they are not currently connected to the computer. Normally you would start the "Add/Remove Hardware" wizard for each device you want to unintall. However, there is a smarter solution to do this, as explained below.


To show all installed devices, follow these steps:
  1. Open a command prompt
  2. Enter the following:
    cd %systemroot%\system32
    start compmgmt.msc
  3. Select the Device Manager node and turn on the "Show Hidden Devices" feature by clicking the appropiate entry in the View menu.
    The Device Manager will now list all devices that are installed on the machine.

Posted by Henning Krause on Friday, December 31, 2004 1:32 PM, last modified on Monday, November 29, 2010 8:09 PM
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Comments (2) -

On 4/3/2009 5:05:43 PM Enzo Lithuania wrote:


Works fine on Windows Vista Ultimate and Business, also tested on Windows 7 Beta, just must run CMD or created *.BAT file as Administrator

On 5/13/2012 6:05:42 AM Weasel5i2 wrote:


You can skip directly to the Device Manager and save a step, by using "start devmgmt.msc" instead of "start compmgmt.msc".

Also, if you want to permanently make this an option, simply open your System Properties (right-click on My Computer and go to Properties, or hit WIN+PAUSE/BREAK and it should pop up) and then click on the Advanced tab, and click the button Environment Variables, and add DEVMGR_SHOW_NONPRESENT_DEVICES with a value of 1. Thanks for the awesome article. ^_^