How to display hidden device drivers in Windows Device Manager

On February 1, 2012, in How-to, by Cubert aka (Cube Dweller)

Ever wanted to find that other ethernet device that was pulled from you system but don’t see it anymore in Microsoft  Windows Device Manager? What about a pesky AOL adapter driver or some other non existant device that you want to get rid of?

In order to show hidden devices:


  1. Right click My Computer and Select Properties
  2. Click Advanced tab
  3. Click Environment Variables
  4. Below the bottom Environment Variables window pane (System Variables), click New
  5. For Variable Name, enter devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices
  6. For Variable Value enter 1
  7. Click OK. OK to close My Computer
  8. Open Device Manager, click on View, select show hidden devices from the menu. Most of the orphans will be in non-plug and play drivers and the icons will appear grayed out. You can right click the grayed out driver and click uninstall.



Cubert  😎


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1 Response » to “How to display hidden device drivers in Windows Device Manager”

  1. Ryan says:

    Another way to do this is from an administrative command prompt:

    set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1


    Once Device manager opens, pull down the ‘View’ Menu and select ‘Show hidden devices’.

    Expand the Network adapters node and delete the offending NIC.

    If you’ve ever P2V’d a server (Physical to Virtual), these steps are extremely helpful in cleaning up all the old phantom drivers from your HP and Dell servers 🙂

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