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Windows 7 - How to Disable a Problematic Hardware Device

Having a problematic hardware device can cause system slowdowns and reliability issues as well as hogging system resources for nothing in return. If there's a problematic device installed on your computer, you should first try to fix it. Many such problems can be fixed by installing an updated driver which is compatible with your hardware and operating system. If there's no driver available for the device, you should, if possible, remove it from your computer. Alternatively, you can use the Device Manager to disable the device so that it no longer uses any system resources.

The Device Manager is a powerful component of Windows 7 and previous editions of the operating system. As the name suggests, it's useful for managing hardware components on your computer. You can check the status of these components, install, update or roll back drivers and disable devices until you find a more permanent solution to fix them. You can access the Device Manager by typing "device" into the start menu search box and choosing the relevant option in the list of search results. Alternatively, you can right-click on "Computer" in the start menu and click "Manage." The Computer Management utility will load up. In the left-side pane, you will see the "Device Manager" along with many other system management utilities.

In the Device Manager, right-click on the device which you want to disable and click "Disable." The changes will usually take effect immediately. To enable to device again, simply right-click on it again and click "Enable." When a device is disabled, a small arrow-overlay icon will appear over the main icon. Disabled devices, along with any other devices which are reporting issues, will always appear with their host category expanded when you open the Device Manager. Not that core system devices required for the computer to run, such as processors and the primary hard drive cannot be disabled.

If the device that you want to disable is not appearing in the Device Manager, you may need to set Device Manager to display hidden devices. To do this, click the "View" menu and choose "Show hidden devices."


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