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Device Manager

Friday, January 19th, 2007 by | Filed Under: File & Disk Management
 
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Q:
You keep mentioning the Device Manager, but I’m still a little confused about what all it does. And besides that, I have no idea how to manage anything in there. Can you help?

A:
Well, you’ve come to the right place, because as a matter of fact, I can help! The Device Manager feature in Windows XP isn’t something we’ve gone into too much detail about in the past. Well, now is as good of a time as any, so here we go!

To begin, the Device Manager is the service that holds all the information about every piece of hardware you have on your computer. It provides support for how your hardware is configured and how it interacts with everything else that might be on your computer (such as programs, etc). With the Device Manager, you can also change the way your hardware is configured or if you want, change the way parts of it interacts with the other components of your PC. It is also used for updating drivers for different devices, modifying hardware settings and troubleshooting certain problems.

In more plain terms, the Device Manager is mainly used to see if a computer’s hardware is working properly or not. If something isn’t right, it will then also help to fix it. The Device Manager is also used quite often with anything that deals with the drivers on a computer. That includes updating them, installing them, uninstalling them, reinstalling them and so on. If something is having a complication with something else, the Device Manager can help.

There are a couple of ways you can access the Device Manager. You can either right click on the My Computer icon on your desktop, choose Properties, click on the Hardware tab and then hit the Device Manager button or you can right click on the My Computer icon on your desktop, choose Manage and then double click the Device Manager link. Either way, the below screenshot is similar to what you’ll see. Of course, it will list all of your computer’s devices though, not mine!

Once you get there, you will see a list of all your computer’s services. Now, if you want to check the status of a certain device, find it and just double click it. Once you do that, all of that particular device’s components will come up. Right click on one and choose Properties. Under the General tab, you will see a Device status box. That will tell you if that piece of hardware is working properly or not. If there happens to be a problem, the description will tell you and you can then start troubleshooting. Just click on the Troubleshoot button if you need to do that.

In the description, there may also be a problem code number that you can use to call for technical support. That number will help them in determining what your problem is and they can use that to help you fix it. This should only be used if you can’t get anything to work after some troubleshooting techniques though.

Now, if you would like to enable or disable a device through the Device Manager, just double click on the item, right click it and choose Enable or Disable. That’s all there is to it. If you need to uninstall a device, double click the item, right click it and choose Uninstall. On the next box that comes up, click OK. You can then shut down your computer and remove the device for good. It will no longer be a part of your computer system.

Those are just a few of the things you can do with the Device Manager, but they are the most common. If you want to do something that I didn’t talk about in this tip, use the Help file from the main Device Manager window. It will help you do anything you could ever dream of. So, here’s to easier device management and control!

~ Erin

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