Non-Present Devices in XP / Vista

My boot up time was increasing on my XP desktop and I knew this was in part to lots of drivers for hardware that I no longer have. So how do you identify and remove such drivers then?

These instrcutions are sort of XP based but will work on Vista too.

If this is a one off activity, open Device Manager using the following command line:


Then from the View menu select “Show hidden devices”. Hardware that was connected to your computer but no longer is will appear with a faded icon. You can right click and select to uninstall it.

Device Manager (XP)

Another way to accomplish this is to add “DEVMGR_SHOW_NONPRESENT_DEVICES” with a value of 1 as a system or user environment variable. Any time Device Manager is run, you can just select “Show hidden devices”.

Environment Variable

Michael is a Senior Consultant for Xtravirt. If it's got buttons or flashy lights on it then it'll probably be on his radar. When not "mending computers" (it's sometimes easier than explaining "cloud" to relatives), Michael provides essential education, entertainment and trampoline services to his two children.

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