Howto: Remove devices from Windows that are not connected to the system anymore

If a device is physically removed from the system before being uninstalled, the system will hide all settings from device manager. This can give a conflict when equel hardware is installed at a later point in time. To remove these “phantom” devices do one of the following steps:

1. Try running the temporary display as the Administrator, this way:

Click Windows Start > All Programs > Accessories and right-click Command Prompt, then “Run as Administrator”. Type “set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1” and press Enter. Type “start devmgmt.msc” and press enter. Now in Device Manager click View > Show hidden devices.

2. To permanently display the “Phantom” devices in Device Manager, right-click Computer > Properties > Advanced System Settings > Advanced Tab > Environment Variables at the bottom. Click New and put devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices in the Variable Name and put 1 in the Variable Value and OK your way out.

3. Alternatively, open command, type regedit, press Enter and in the left pane navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \SYSTEM \CurrentControlSet \Control \Session Manager \Environment and add this key (Edit > New > String Value) DEVMGR_SHOW_NONPRESENT_DEVICES and give it a value of 1.
If you want “Show hidden devices” to be displayed permanently, add another registry key to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \SYSTEM \CurrentControlSet \Control \Session Manager \Environment, make a String Value named DEVMGR_SHOW_DETAILS and give it a value of 1.

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