Device Manager Does Not Display Devices Not Currently Present in Windows 2000

This article applies to Windows 2000. Support for Windows 2000 ends on July 13, 2010. The Windows 2000 End-of-Support Solution Center is a starting point for planning your migration strategy from Windows 2000. For more information see the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy.


Device Manager displays only non-Plug and Play devices, drivers, and printers when you click the Show hidden devices command on the View menu to enable it. Devices that are installed but are not currently connected to the computer (such as a Universal Serial Bus (USB) device or "ghosted" devices) are not displayed in Device Manager, even when you use the Show hidden devices command.


To work around this behavior and display phantom devices when you use the
Show hidden devices command:

  1. Click Start, point to Programs, point to
    Accessories, and then click Command Prompt.
  2. At the command prompt, type the following lines, pressing ENTER after each line
    set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1
    start devmgmt.msc
    where %SystemRoot% is the folder in which Windows 2000 is installed.

  3. Troubleshoot the devices and drivers in Device Manager, as required.

    NOTE: You must first select show hidden devices on the Device Manager View menu before you can see devices that are no longer present in the system.
  4. When you are done troubleshooting, quit Device Manager, and then close the Command Prompt window. Closing the window clears the variable you set in step 2 and prevents ghosted devices from being displayed when you use the Show hidden devices command.
NOTE: When you quit Device Manager and close the Command Prompt window, the set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1 variable is turned off so you cannot see the phantom devices.

An alternative approach, for developers or power users who need this feature enabled constantly, is to set this environment variable globally.

To have us set the environment variable globally for you, go to the "Fix it for me" section. If you prefer to fix this problem yourself, go to the "Let me fix it myself" section.

Fix it for me

To fix this problem automatically, click the Fix it button or link. In the File Download dialog box, click Run, and then follow the steps in the Fix it Wizard.

  • After you run the package, you must first select show hidden devices on the Device Manager View menu before you can see devices that are not currently connected to the computer.
  • This wizard may be in English only. However, the automatic fix also works for other language versions of Windows.
  • If you are not on the computer that has the problem, save the Fix it solution to a flash drive or a CD and then run it on the computer that has the problem.

Then, go to the "Did this fix the problem?" section.

Let me fix it myself

To do so, perform the following steps:

  1. Right-click My Computer.
  2. Click Properties.
  3. Click the Advanced tab.
  4. Click the Environment Variables tab.
  5. Set the variables in the System Variables box.
NOTE: You should use this method only for troubleshooting or development purposes, to prevent users from accidentally uninstalling a required device that is not currently present (such as a USB device or docking station that is not currently connected to a laptop computer).

Did this fix the problem?

  • Check whether the problem is fixed. If the problem is fixed, you are finished with this section. If the problem is not fixed, you can contact support.
  • We would appreciate your feedback. To provide feedback or to report any issues with this solution, please leave a comment on the "Fix it for me" blog or send us an email.


This behavior is by design.

More Information

In Device Manager, there are two types of hidden devices in addition to the typical devices that are displayed:

  • Typical hidden devices, which are not displayed (non-Plug and Play drivers, printers, and so on).
  • Phantom devices, which are not currently connected to the computer.
NOTE: The method outlined in the "Workaround" section should be used only by Support Professionals to troubleshoot customer-related issues with devices and installed drivers.


Makale No: 241257 - Son İnceleme: 23 Şub 2011 - Düzeltme: 1

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