Enabling Windows XP Device Manager to Display Hidden Devices.

In Device Manager, there are two types of hidden devices in addition to the devices that are displayed:

  1. Typical, hidden devices that are not displayed (non-Plug and Play drivers, printers, and so on).
  2. Phantom devices that are not connected to the computer.

Device Manager displays only non-Plug and Play devices, drivers, and printers when you click Show hidden devices on the View menu. Devices that you install that are not connected to the computer (such as a Universal Serial Bus [USB] device or “ghosted” devices) are not displayed in Device Manager, even when you click Show hidden devices.

There are two methods to working around this behavior and display devices when you click Show hidden devices.

Method 1:

  1. Open the Command Prompt and type the following command , and then press ENTER:

    set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1

  2. Type the following command a command prompt, and then press ENTER:
    start devmgmt.msc

    Clicking Show hidden devices on the View menu in Device Managers now displays devices that are not connected to the computer.
    window, Window clears the devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1 variable that you set in step 2 and prevents ghosted devices from being displayed when you click Show hidden devices.

    NOTE: WIth this method when you close the command prompt window, Window clears the devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1 variable that you set in step 1 and prevents ghosted devices from being displayed when you click Show hidden devices. If you wish to make this setting permanent, check Method 2.

Method 2:

  1. Run sysdm.cpl
  2. Select the Advanced tab and click the Environment Variables button.
  3. Click the New button below the System Variables panel. In the New System Variable dialog box, type devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices in the Variable Name text box and 1 in the Variable Value text box.
  4. Click OK to return to the System Properties dialog box and then click OK again.
  5. In Device Manager, go to View >> Show Hidden Devices.
  6. Expand the various branches in the device tree and look for the washed out icons, which indicate unused device drivers.
  7. To remove an unused device driver, right-click the icon and select Uninstall.

Source…

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