How to Disable a Device in Device Manager in Windows

In Windows OS, there are several reasons to disable a device in Device Manager. For instance, if the integrated network adapter isn’t working as expected, and you’re replacing it with an external adapter, you’re experiencing problems with a piece of hardware, and disabling and re-enabling may fix the problem.

Whatever the reason it may be, disabling a hardware device listed in Device Manager is helpful if you’d like Windows to overlook the piece of hardware installed or connected to your computer. Unfortunately, most users who choose to disable/enable this do so because they suspect that the hardware is causing problems.

Windows enables all devices it recognizes. Once disabled, Windows will no longer allocate system resources to the device, and no software on your PC will be able to use it. The device which is disabled will also be marked by a black arrow in Device Manager or a red x in Windows XP, generating a Code 43 error.

In this Windows guide for Windows 11 through XP, we’ll walk you through the detailed steps to disable and enable devices on your desktop or laptop.

READHow To Enable Devices in Device Manager

How To Disable a Device in Device Manager in Windows

However, the detailed steps involved in disabling a device in Device Manager vary depending on which Windows OS you’re using. To disable a device in Device Manager on a Windows computer,  use the below-mentioned steps.

  1. Click on Start.
  2. Search for Device Manager and click the results to open it.
  3. Now, expand the category with the device that you want to disable.
  4. In Windows 11/10/8/7, click or tap the > icon to the left of the device to open the category sections. Whereas, the [+] icon is used in older versions of Windows.
  5. Now, when you find the device you want to disable, right-click the device, and click on the Disable device if you are using Windows 11 or10, or Disable for the older version of Windows.

    How To Disable a Device in Device Manager in Windows

    Quick Tip: Alternatively, you can also click the Properties option, then on Driver tap, you’ll also find an option to disable the detected hardware.
  6. Click on Yes to confirm when you see that Disabling this device will cause it to stop functioning. Do you really want to disable it? message.

Once you have completed the above steps, the device you disabled will no longer be available for use.

READ | Windows HCL: What Is the Windows Hardware Compatibility List?

[*Bonus*] Tips & More Information on Disabling Devices in Device Manager

  • It’s straightforward to undo the above-mentioned steps and re-enable a device or to enable a device in Device Manager that was disabled for some reason.
  • Inspection for the black arrow or red x in Device Manager isn’t the only way to see if a device is disabled. Apart from physically confirming that the hardware doesn’t work, an alternative way is to view its status, something you can also do in Device Manager.
  • The Power User Menu and Control Panel are the two primary ways to access Device Manager in Windows because, for most people, they’re the easiest to access. Yet, did you know you can open Device Manager from the command line, too? Using Command Prompt or the Run dialog box might be easier for you, especially if you’re quick with a keyboard.
  • If you can’t update a driver for one of your devices, it might be because the device is disabled. Some driver updater tools might be able to auto-enable the device before an update.

The Bottom Line – Disable A Device in Device Manager

After finishing the steps, the device will be available for use. Nevertheless, if you have another piece of hardware that may cause a conflict, it’s suggested to disable or disconnect the other device before enabling the new device.

While we’re focusing this guide on Windows 11, the skill to use Device Manager to disable hardware connected to your PC has been around for a long time, which means that you can use these methods on Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7, and older versions like Windows Vista and XP.