The Device Manager is a built-in Microsoft Management Console in the Windows operating system that lets you manage the hardware installed in your computer. This includes all the hardware components on the inside and outside of your PC (mouse, keyboard, speakers, etc.).
Using the Device Manager, you can install, update, and uninstall device drivers required to run the respective hardware. However, some of the devices aren’t always visible in the Device Manager, and always show up when you connect them. These are the hidden devices and this makes it difficult to edit the device’s property.
That said, there is a way you can still view these hidden devices in the Device Manager on a Windows computer. If you want to see these devices, follow through with the given guide, and then you can remove any unwanted devices from your PC.
The Device Manager hides a few devices by default. Certain policies are implemented on the Windows operating system that disallows the Device Manager to display them. However, you can configure the console to show them instead.
The list below highlights which devices are hidden:
- The devices that have the device node (devnode) status bit set to DN_NO_SHOW_IN_DM.
- A devnode is created for each device on a machine which is organized into a hierarchical Device Tree. The Plug-and-Play (PnP) manager creates a devnode for a device when it is configured.
- A devnode contains the device stack (the device objects for the device’s drivers) and information about the device such as whether the device has been started or not and which drivers have registered for notifications on the device.
- Devices that are part of a setup class that is marked as a NoDisplayClass in the Windows Registry. This applies to the printers and non-PnP drivers.
- Non-present devices – devices that used to be attached physically to the computer but then removed. The registries are still present.
Let us now show you how to view these hidden devices so that you can manage them and their drivers without physically attaching the device itself.
Perform the following steps to show the hidden devices in the Device Manager:
Open the Device Manager by typing in devmgmt.msc in the Run Command box.
Click View from the top menu and then toggle “Show hidden devices.”
You should now be able to see the hidden devices on your PC and manage them accordingly.
If you want to hide these devices again, you can toggle the “Show hidden files” option again from the View menu and the hidden devices will be hidden again, as with the default Windows settings.
Alternative to the method given above, you can also use the shortcut buttons in the chronological order given below to perform these steps:
- Open the Device Manager – Windows Key + X, M.
- Open view menu – Alt + V.
- Toggle “Show hidden files” – W
These are the magical shortcut keys you can use to show or hide the hidden devices in the Device Manager quickly.
The hidden devices in the Device Manager is not a glitch – this is how the Windows is programmed to automatically hide the devices that are no longer attached. However, you can view and manage them by configuring the console to show hidden devices using the guide given above.
That said, you may find another method to show these hidden devices using the Command Prompt. After having tested the method, we can safely say that it no longer works, even though the following cmdlet successfully runs in an elevated Command Prompt: