Windows Guide

Device Manager

Windows is a Plug and Play operating system, which means when you add a new device to your PC, Windows should be able to scan and detect and install your new device. Windows does come with a lot of drivers, some are quite old and some quite basic and some are not yet immediately available. If it does not have a driver, it will ask for one from Disk, CD, Floppy or even then Internet for you.

The Device Manager is available in the Administrative tools, Computer Management or you can access it by entering devmgmt.msc.

Device Manager will list most (but not all) devices attached to your PC esp. motherboard, chipsets, disk controllers, PCI cards, graphics cards, and peripherals such as keyboards, mice, modems, monitors. Printers, scanners and cameras are shown in different control panels.

If there is a problem or a device has no driver, then a yellow exclaimation mark will appear against the device, you can open the properties of that device and install a driver for it, remove it or whatever.

Opening a device will open the Properties of that device, and give details of the name of the device, whether its working or not, the driver details and buttons to Install, Remove, Rollback or Update it and any Resources the device uses.

File Menu

Options - Display options for Disk Cleanup utility
Exit - Exits Device Manager

Actions Menu

Update driver - Searches for a newer version of driver software for the device.
Disable device - Disable a device. Useful for different hardware profiles such as laptops
Uninstall device - Removes driver software for the device.
Add drivers - Add new drivers ready for new devices to be used.
Scan for hardware changes - Starts a quick search for new hardware or changes in hardware
Add legacy hardware - Installs drivers for older hardware.
Devices and Printers - Opens Devices and Printers control panel.
Properties - Opens the property details of a device
Help - Displays help on management console

View Menu

Devices by type - Lists devices by type as normally shown eg Graphics, Modems, Network, Sound etc
Devices by connection - Lists devices by connection such as ACPI, Audio, Video, etc
Devices by container - Lists devices by device container e.g PC, Monitor, controller, printer etc.
Devices by driver - Lists devices by driver (inf file)
Drivers by type - Lists drivers by type. Type header with inf files underneath.
Drivers by device - List drivers by type and driver.
Resources by type - Lists devices by DMA, I/O, IRQ or Memory
Resources by connection - Lists devices by ISA,PCI in groups of DMA, I/O, IRQ or Memory
Show hidden devices - Lists other devices such as non-pnp devices
Customise - Customize console such as menus, toolbars etc.

When you open the properties of a specific driver, you get four or moreProperty tabs:

General - Displays a summary of the driver and whether the driver is working, not installed or that there is a conflict.
Driver - Displays some details about the driver. Also, there are options to Update driver with a new driver, Rollback a driver to a previous version, Disable the device, or Uninstall the driver.
Details - Details more details about the driver. This tends to be technical information.
Events - Displays related events from event logs.
Resources - This displays the resources the driver uses such as Memory location, I/O Ports and Interrupts (IRQs). In some cases you can select Change to change the resources if there is a conflict.
Power management - Displays options to turn off devices to save power or use it to wake the computer.
Port Settings - This tab can appear for some ports such as Serial (COM) or Parallel ports and change specific settings.
Policies - This tab can appear for disks, and allows you to set things such as write caching to speed up disk access.
Volumes - This tab can appear for disks, it displays volume properties such as disk number, status, type, size and so on.
DVD Region - This tab appears only on DVD drives and allows you to set the region for DVD video playback.
Advanced - This tab appears for network adapters and ATA channels where you can set DMA (Dynamic Memory Access) to speed up drives,
or special settings for network cards.

Windows Tools