How to troubleshoot Software-Driver Conflicts and Driver Issues with Windows Device Manager?

When it comes to troubleshooting software-driver conflicts in Windows devices, Windows Device Manager is an effective troubleshooting tool. The tool displays all the hardware devices installed on your computer and lets you view which of this device is defective. Accordingly, you can manage the drivers, avoid driver conflicts or can even disable certain hardware devices if required. This article will put more insight on Device Manager.

If you are a Windows user, then you will find Device Manager handy for troubleshooting computer problems related to computer’s hardware and drivers.

Opening the Device Manager

• To open the Device Manager on Windows, press Windows Key + R
• Type devmgmt.msc
• Press Enter

Viewing Your Installed Hardware

By default, the Device Manager will display the list of hardware installed in your computer. These hardware devices are grouped into relevant categories. To see the installed hardware, you need to expand the categories.

In the device manager, you can get all the information about the hardware connected to your computer such as model number of your video card, model a number of hard disks drive, etc.
Some hardware devices remain hidden, and you can view those by selecting ‘Show hidden devices.’ That will display even the non-plug and play drivers and low-level system drivers including the one installed by third-party software.

Identify Devices That Aren’t Working Properly

Once, you can see the list of hardware devices, it’s time to find the device that is facing software-driver conflicts and thus not working properly. To identify devices, look for the yellow triangle icons with yellow exclamation mark.

• If you see such hardware device, right-click the device
• Select Properties and view more details about the problem

The problem can be software- driver conflict, a system resource conflict, or something else. If it is because of driver problem, then you require installing a new driver. For that go to the Properties Dialog box and then to the Driver tab, and then look for the driver update.

Disable a Device

If you wish to disable the hardware device completely, then you can do that from the Device Manger itself. It lets you select individual hardware devices and disable them. For example, let’s assume that you are not fond of the annoying system beeps of your computer. These beeps are from the speaker on your system’s motherboard. To disable the specific hardware for these beeps:

• Open the Device Manager
• Click the ‘View’ menu
• Select ‘Show hidden devices’
• Expand the ‘Non-Plug and Play Drivers’ section
• Right-click the Beep driver
• Select Properties
• Click the Driver tab
• Then, set the ‘Startup Type’ to ‘Disabled’

Likewise, you can disable any hardware connected to your computer by setting its ‘Startup Type’ to ‘Disabled’ in your Device Manager. Remember the change in settings imposed by Device Manager is applicable to Windows environment only. That means if you run some other operating system on your computer through virtual machine, then in this new operating system the settings of Device manager won’t be effective.

Manage a Device’s Drivers

For troubleshooting hardware and drivers problems, you must refer to the problem details shown by the Device Manager. As mentioned above you can get the detailed information by right-clicking a device and then selecting ‘Properties.’ Then click the ‘Driver tab,’ and you will find following details about problem with that particular driver.

• Driver Details: It provides you details like device model number, its location, etc.

• Update Driver: Here, you can update your driver if updates are available

• Roll Back Driver: Here, you can revert to the driver that the device was previously using. This option helps if you encounter driver conflict after an update, then using this gateway, you can degrade to the previous driver and see if the problem resolves.

• Disable: This option lets you disable a hardware device within the Windows environment, till you don’t enable it manually

• Uninstall: Using this option, you can completely uninstall a driver. However, if you use the device manager for uninstalling, then it is not confirmed that all your driver files will get removed. Thus, if you want to uninstall a driver, then better to do it from the Control Panel and then reboot your system.

Not just, Device Manager provides you so many options for troubleshooting computer problems related to device drivers but also it warns you about the potential software-driver conflicts Thus, it helps you run updates at the right time and avoid unnecessary problems.