How to Show Removed Devices in Device Manager

Admit it, sometimes you uninstall hardware without removing the driver first. Sometimes the hardware just dies and Windows makes it “go away.” The problem is, the driver and configuration are still there, and if you were using the default Microsoft drivers, there’s no visible way to uninstall those.

Here’s a workaround:

  1. Obtain an administrative command prompt (Start|All Programs|Accessories, right click on Command Prompt and click Run as Administrator)
  2. At the command prompt, type or paste:
    set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1
  3. Then type:
    devmgmt.msc
  4. This will pop up a normal-looking Device Manager, in the menu of which click View|Show Hidden Devices
  5. Expand the relevant part of the tree and (with care) uninstall away!

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