Device Manager overview

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Device Manager overview

Device Manager provides a graphical view of the hardware that is installed on your computer. You can use Device Manager to update the drivers (or software) for hardware devices, modify hardware settings, and troubleshoot problems.


  • Incorrectly altering your hardware configuration can damage your system. Be sure to read the appropriate instructions before making changes to your hardware configuration.

You can use Device Manager to do the following:

  • Determine whether the hardware on your computer is working properly.

  • Change hardware configuration settings.

  • Identify the device drivers that are loaded for each device and obtain information about each device driver.

  • Change advanced settings and properties for devices.

  • Install updated device drivers.

  • Disable, enable, and uninstall devices.

  • Roll back to the previous version of a driver.

  • Print a summary of the devices that are installed on your computer.

Device Manager is usually used to check hardware status and update device drivers on the computer. Advanced users with thorough understanding of computer hardware might also use Device Manager's diagnostic features to resolve device conflicts and change resource settings, but this should be done with extreme caution.


  • Changing resource settings improperly can disable your hardware and cause your computer to malfunction or become inoperable. Only users who have expert knowledge of computer hardware and hardware configurations should change resource settings.

You will not usually use Device Manager to change resource settings because resources are allocated automatically by the system during hardware setup.

You must be a member of the Administrators group to manage device drivers.

You can use Device Manager to manage devices only on a local computer. On a remote computer, Device Manager will work only in read-only mode.


  • If you cannot access Device Manager from the Computer Management extension snap-ins on a remote computer, ensure that the Remote Registry service is started on the remote computer. For more information, see Start, stop, pause, resume, or restart a service. You must have appropriate permissions on the remote computer to start the service.

  • You might also receive this error message if the remote computer is running Microsoft® Windows 95. Computer Management does not support remote access to computers that are running Windows 95.

For more information, see the "Device Management" chapter that is provided on the Microsoft Resource Kits Web site.