What is Windows Device Manager and How to Use it

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    Are you curious about the inner workings of your Windows computer? Introducing the often overlooked application—Windows 10 Device Manager. Functioning as an operational control center, it provides control over hardware configurations and troubleshooting capabilities.

    Consider it the nucleus where hardware adjustments and rectifications take place. Whether you’re in need of a driver update or struggling with printer compatibility issues, the Device Manager is your companion.

    device management in windows
    How Windows Device Manager Can Help You

    This article explores how the Device Manager plays an important role in Windows device management.

    Let’s get started!

    What is Windows Device Manager?

    Device Manager is a Control Panel applet in Microsoft Windows that you can use to view and control the hardware connected to the computer. It manages all hardware devices installed on a computer, such as hard drives, sound cards, USB devices, keyboards, mice, and so on. 

    This source of computer device management allows you to –

    • Change hardware configuration options; enable/disable hardware
    • Retrieve and install device drivers
    • Identify any discord between hardware devices
    • View the property of each hardware device

    Why is Windows Device Manager Important?

    Troubleshoot Devices – Device Manager helps troubleshoot devices when they malfunction. In certain versions of Windows OS, when there is a problem with any of the devices or when question arises on how to enable device management in windows a yellow exclamation mark indicates that Windows has identified an error. If you are not sure how to resolve it, locate the error code and follow the recommended resolutions for that error code. For example –

    Code 29 – The device is disabled [1]

    Full Error Message

    This device is disabled because the firmware of the device did not give it the required resources. (Code 29)

    Recommended Resolution

    Enable the device in the BIOS of the device. For information about how to make this change, see the hardware documentation or contact your computer’s manufacturer.

    Update Drivers – Device drivers are essential software that helps hardware components work smoothly on your system. A computer with a hardware issue probably has a driver-related problem. Regular driver updates fix security and compatibility issues, mend broken code, and even add features to hardware. 

    Device Manager can look for updated drivers for hardware that connects to the Windows laptop or computer. Once it scans for updates, new drivers will be downloaded and installed automatically. In Windows 10 and 11, automatic updating is the default and easiest method to check for driver updates and installation. Certain device drivers may require a reboot to complete the installation.

    Set Privacy Settings – Privacy settings are a way of controlling how organizations can handle personal information online. Companies can use Device Manager to turn off devices to limit the sharing of personal information. For example, hardware such as cameras and laptop microphones need drivers to function, which can be disabled with the Device Manager.

    Core Features of Device Manager

    The Device Manager serves as a main tool for monitoring and regulating the spectrum of hardware functionalities. Below we have mentioned some of the reasons : 

    Device Identification

    The Device Manager functions as an adept hardware profiler, systematically discerning and cataloging all constituent elements of the computer, ranging from graphics processing units (GPUs) to USB ports. 

    Driver Updates and Rollbacks

    In the world of hardware and software symbiosis, drivers serve as intermediaries. The Device Manager facilitates seamless updates or rollbacks of these intermediary components. For instance, in scenarios where graphical outputs exhibit incompatibility with the latest software applications, a judicious driver update can rectify such discrepancies.

    Remote Troubleshooting

    In instances of hardware malfunctions, the Device Manager assumes the role of a troubleshooting hub. It delineates issues through a distinctive visual marker, such as a yellow exclamation mark, while concurrently furnishing guidance for potential remedies. Functionally, it emulates the counsel of a technically proficient associate providing diagnostic solutions.

    Also Read: Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP): A Deep Dive

    How to Use Windows Device Manager

    Opening Device Manager

    In any version of Windows, Device Manager can be opened using the command prompt with its run command “devmgmt.msc”. To launch the Device Manager, press the Windows + R keys to open a Run dialog box. Type the command and press Enter. 

    Alternatively, you can right-click the Windows Start button on the taskbar and then click Device Manager. On Windows 10 laptops or computers, simply type ‘Device Manager’ and select from the menu. You will see a list of installed hardware.

    Viewing the Status of a Device

    You can click on the devices to check for any issues. For example, In Windows 10, you may see a yellow exclamation mark against the hardware. It indicates that the system has encountered a problem with that particular piece of hardware. 

    A black arrow next to a device means that the hardware is disabled. It could be because the device was disabled manually or Windows hasn’t allocated any system resources to be used by the hardware.

    If the operating system cannot talk with the hardware device, follow these steps:

    1. Note the error code
    2. Device manager may suggest a solution. Try the suggestion 
    3. Share the code with the laptop manufacturer
    4. Some hardware devices have a ‘Check for Solutions’ button that lets you submit a Windows Error Report to Microsoft
    device management windows 10

    Windows 10 Device Manager is Great, But…

    In a business environment, the Device Manager plays a limited role. For instance, if employees cannot use their laptops because of a disabled or external driver, they may take it upon themselves to fix the issue by downloading and installing unsanctioned software.

    Several download sites offer files pretending to be the drivers that host malware. Other sites bundle drivers with adware. They try to trick users into installing unwanted software to gain access to the system and connected networks.

    If unchecked, unmanaged laptops and computers are a high-security risk for large organizations. Adopting a Windows MDM solution helps IT restrict the installation of unsanctioned drivers. With MDM, IT admins can apply policies and controls on installing unauthorized software on thousands of devices.

    Wrapping Up

    To sum it up, Windows Device Manager is like a savior for handling and fixing hardware issues on your computer. Whether you need to update drivers or resolve conflicts, this tool gives you control. Knowing how to use it helps you keep your system running well. Keep reading our blogs to find out how to enable device management in windows. So, the next time you have a tech problem, use Device Manager to make your Windows experience smooth and trouble-free!

    To know how you can effortlessly manage your Windows devices, get a free 14-day trial.


    What is Device Manager for Windows, and what is its purpose?

    Device Manager is like the control center for your Windows PC’s hardware. It lets you view, manage, and troubleshoot devices, ensuring everything runs smoothly and stays connected.

    How do I access Windows Device Manager?

    Just right-click on the Start button, select “Device Manager,” and voila! Or, hit the Windows key + X, and you’ll find it in the power user menu.

    What are the common device categories in Windows Device Manager?

    You’ll find your essentials like Display Adapters, Network Adapters, Sound, Video, and Game Controllers, and Human Interface Devices. Each category manages a specific aspect of your hardware.

    How can I update device drivers through Windows Device Manager?

    Right-click on the device, select “Update driver,” choose either automatic or manual updates, and Windows will do the rest. Keeping things fresh and efficient.

    What are some common issues with Windows Device Manager, and how can they be resolved?

    Occasionally, devices may show errors. Uninstall and reinstall the problematic driver, check for Windows updates or visit the manufacturer’s website for the latest driver. 


    1. Microsoft
    Rajnil Thakur
    Rajnil Thakur
    Rajnil is a Senior Content Writer at Scalefusion. He’s been a B2B marketer for over 8 years and applies the power of content marketing to simplify complex technology and business ideas.

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