What is Device Manager?

Device Manager is a utility that comes built-in with the Windows operating system and provides you with a graphical view of various hardware components installed on your Windows computer. To open the Device Manager on your Windows XP computer, you need to perform the following steps:

  1. Open the Control Panel, select Performance and Maintenance.
  2. Select System.
  3. In the System Properties dialog box that displays, open the Hardware tab.
  4. Click Device Manager.

You can use the Device Manager utility to perform many different types of tasks related to hardware and device driver management. Some of these are listed below.

  • Ensure that there are no operational problems with hardware installed on your Windows PC.

When you launch the Device Manager, any problematic hardware will be marked with a specific icon to help you identify it. For example, if there is problem with the device driver of a hardware, it will be marked with an icon comprising a yellow triangle with a black exclamation mark within it.

  • Install new hardware.

To install a plug and play device, such as a pen drive or a USB mouse, connect it to your computer and then in the Device Manager, select the Scan for hardware changes option on the Action menu.

Note: If you are trying to install a non-plug-and-play device, you will have to select the Add Hardware option in the Control Panel.

  • Enable or Disable Installed Devices.

You may want to disable a device if you are not using it currently, or if it is causing conflicts with some other device on your computer. To disable a device, right-click on it in the Device Manager and then select Disable.

Note: When you right-click on a disabled device, the Enable option will be displayed. You can select it to re-enable the device.

  • Obtain information about installed devices and device drivers.

When you double-click on a device displayed in the Device Manager, the properties page for this device is displayed. Depending on the device you choose, you may find three or more tabs on this properties page.

The first tab is always the General tab. On this tab, you get information about the type of device, its manufacturer, location, and its status.

This tab also carries the Troubleshoot button. If your selected device is malfunctioning, you can click this button to launch the troubleshooting wizard that helps in identifying the cause of the problem.

To obtain further details about the device, you may open the Details tab. Here, select an option from the drop-down list to view its details.

  • View driver details, and update, rollback, and uninstall device drivers , if required.

To view the details of the device driver of the selected device, open the Driver tab on the properties page. Here, click the Driver Details button to view the required information.

If you are facing problems with the current device driver, you may want to update or uninstall it. You can do these tasks by clicking on the Update Driver or the Uninstall button, as required.

If a recently installed update is faulty, you may select the Roll Back Driver button to remove the update and restore the old driver files.

  • Change the settings of devices.

If you are facing conflicts or resource allocation problems, you may want to change the current configuration of your device. You can do so on the Advanced and Resources tabs.

Although you can perform these, and many more tasks, using the Device Manager, you must be very careful while doing so. Any incorrect change to resource allocations or other advanced settings may disable your device and generate undesired errors on your computer.