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  1. #1
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Troubleshooting controllers and devices (Home/

    This is interesting. The computer seems to have stashed away information on all sorts of previously connected devices. I guess that makes sense: plug and play works better when it doesn't have to re-do the same recognition and driver installation over and over. Despite what seem to be lots of irrelevant or obsolete entries, I think I'll just leave them there for now. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

    The attached illustrates how the three views differ. (Restored image 7/24/2009)

    [attachment=84852:WinXP_De...nPresent.png]
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Silver Lounger
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    Troubleshooting controllers and devices (Home/Pro)

    Every now and then someone has a problem with the install of drivers for USB devices (printer, camera, card reader etc.) or install of new graphic card, modem or monitor. Perhaps want to remove a device but can not do it (some other hidden device is left).

    Sometimes it isn't easy to know if one should first start the install program for the specific driver (i.e. follow manufacturer) or wait until Hardware Wizard kicks in, or if that doesn't happen run it. An aborted install can generate ghost devices that may interfere in the future. When upgrading; old, non present, hardware may be left as ghosts in device manager. These are examples I have seen some times. I have also posted this possible solution, some 1-2 years ago (this post).

    In the Device Manager you can select "View" and then click "Show hidden devices". But this mode does not show non present devices, i.e. your installed modem that wasn't on at startup etc.

    To show, really show hidden devices, and possibly troubleshoot ghost devices:
    <UL><LI>At command prompt type: "set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1" and press Enter.
    <LI>Change folder to WindowsSystem32, (ex. C:WindowsSystem32).
    <LI>Type: "start devmgmt.msc" and press Enter.
    <LI>In Device Manager select "View" and click "Show hidden devices".[/list]Now all devices should show up. Non present are dimmer.

    I certainly do not recommend anyone to remove all ghost/phantom devices (or even one), but if you know that you have trouble with some device, or if you find 15 monitors <img src=/S/wink.gif border=0 alt=wink width=15 height=15> etc, it can be worth trying to remove and start again.

    NB:
    1. <LI>Normally is the folder "System32" included in the Path Variable (in Environment Variables), thus there isn't really any need to change folder.

      <LI>The procedure described above is the only way to show all, including non present, devices. It works because you use the command prompt and temporarily set a variable and start the Device Manager at the command prompt (it will not work if you set the variable at the command prompt, and then start the Device Manager by clicking on some icon). If you close the Device Manager you can restart it at the same command prompt you used first, but when you close (exit) the command prompt the temporarily changed variable is cleared.

      <LI>If you want to be able to view all devices, as described above, always when you run the Device Manager you can set this environment variable globally. Since the described procedure is for troubleshooting, there is really no need, but if you want to, follow the steps at the end of the MSKB (link below).
    For MS information/instructions see: Device Manager Does Not Display Devices That Are Not Connected to the Windows XP-Based Computer

    Regards,
    Argus

  3. #3
    Platinum Lounger
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    Re: Troubleshooting controllers and devices (Home/Pro)

    I've been using your method for a bit of troubleshooting recently, on other people's systems.
    Just for the heck of it, here's the batch file I've been using and found applicable on most systems:

    HiddenDev.bat<code>
    @echo off
    set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1
    cd
    C:
    cd WindowsSystem32
    start devmgmt.msc
    echo In Device Manager select "View" and click "Show hidden devices".
    echo Press any key to continue ...
    pause
    </code>
    Alan

  4. #4
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    Re: Troubleshooting controllers and devices (Home/Pro)

    Yep, that works nice. That is maybe a good thing to leave around (safe as it is also), for later use during "telephone consultations". <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15> No risk for typos on the other end etc. (remembering and keeping them apart; the devmgr.dll and devmgmt.msc, the MMC snapin, can perhaps be tricky the first few times).

    Using environment variables isn't always desirable, since it will be always ON.

    Another trick, though of more limited use and not so fun and that is moot now after SP2 is to show extra information, details.

    set devmgr_show_details=1
    start devmgmt.msc

    This showed a Details tab in the device properties. It could be useful to get an ID on an unknown device etc. But the Details tab in the Device Manager's Properties is enabled by default in XP Service Pack 2 now. And one could always also use the System Information tool for the IDs.

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