What is Device Manager?

What is Device Manager?
What is Device Manager?

Device Manager is an extension of the Microsoft Management Console that provides a centralized and organized view of all Microsoft Windows-recognized hardware installed on your computer.

You can manage hardware devices installed on your computer, such as hard drives, keyboards, sound cards, USB devices, and more, using Device Manager.

What is Device Manager?

You can use it to change hardware configuration settings, manage drivers, turn hardware off and on, identify conflicts between hardware devices, and more.

Think of this tool as the main list of hardware that Windows understands. All of the hardware on your computer can be configured with this centralized utility.

What is Device Manager?
What is Device Manager?

Accessibility of the Device Manager

Device Manager is available in almost all versions of Windows, including Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows ME, Windows 98, Windows 95 and others.

How to access Device Manager

The Device Manager can be accessed in several ways in all versions of Windows, most commonly from the Control Panel, Command Line, or Computer Management. However, some of the newer operating systems support some unique ways to open it.

You can also open it from the command line or the Startup dialog box using a special command.

How to use the Device Manager

As shown in the example image above, Device Manager lists devices in separate categories to make it easier to find what you are looking for. You can expand each section to see what devices are listed inside. Once you find the hardware device you want, double-click it to view additional information such as its current status, driver information, or, in some cases, power management options.

Some of these categories include audio inputs and outputs, Disk drives, display adapters, DVD/CD-ROM drives, printers, audio, video and game controllers, and universal serial bus controllers.

If you’re having trouble with a network card, you can open the network adapters area and see if there are any unusual icons or colors associated with that device. You can double-click it if you want to get more information about it or perform one of the tasks listed below.

Each device list contains detailed information about the driver, system resources, and other configuration and setting information. When you change the settings for a piece of hardware, it changes the way Windows works with that hardware.

More information about Device Manager

Different things happen in the Device Manager that indicate an error or state of a device that is not “normal”. In other words, if a device is not in full working order, you can determine this by looking closely at the device list.

It’s helpful to know what to look for, because that’s where you go to troubleshoot a device that’s not working properly. You can go to Device Manager to update the driver, disable the device, etc.

What you may see is a yellow exclamation mark. This message is sent to the device when Windows detects a problem with it. The problem can be extreme or as simple as a device driver problem.

If the device is disabled, whether it’s your fault or due to a deeper problem, you’ll see a black arrow next to the device in Device Manager. Older versions of Windows (XP and earlier) give a red cross for the same reason.

To further explain what the problem is, Device Manager gives out error codes when a device has a system resource conflict, a driver problem, or another hardware problem. These are simply called Device Manager error codes or hardware error codes.

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