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Saturday, March 19, 2016

Windows: Show all non-present ghosted devices in Device Manager

Normally Device Manager shows only currently connected devices.
If you want to display every device that's ever been connected to your computer (mainly for troubleshooting purposes) this guide is for you.

Here goes:
Open CMD with admin rights and type the following two commands:

In the Device Manager window that opened, click View > Show hidden devices

The ghosted (non-present) devices will show up, and you can right-click & uninstall them one by one.

The instance of Device Manager with the ghosted devices will only appear after running the above two commands in CMD. If you close that CMD window, and launch Device Manager again, it will launch with its default view.

If you want the change to be persistent:
Right-click Computer > Properties > Advanced System Settings > Advanced tab > Environment Variables.
Define a new variable for this setting (variable: DEVMGR_SHOW_NONPRESENT_DEVICES; Value:1).
If you add the variable to the "User Variables" section, the setting will apply only to the current user.
If you add the variable to the "System Variables" section, the ghosted hidden devices will be visible for all users.

You will still need to click "Show hidden devices" to see them all.
This trick should work on all Windows versions from Win7 to Win10,

Source: Microsoft Technet