Windows Server

Uninstalling and disabling drivers in Windows Server 2003's Device Manager

Occasionally you may need to update or uninstall a device driver that is no longer necessary or is not performing as expected within Windows Server 2003. Here's how to disable and uninstall device drivers.

Last week, we went over rolling back drivers in order to undo updates. Still, occasionally you may need to update or uninstall a device driver that is no longer necessary or is not performing as expected within Windows Server 2003. This tip will go through the process of uninstalling and disabling device drivers.

As you may recall, updating a device driver requires that you download a driver before starting. It is recommended that you also view the details of both the existing driver (using the Driver Details button) and the newly downloaded driver (by unzipping the driver file, locating either the .dll or .sys file, and then right-clicking one of these files and choosing Properties). You can then proceed with the Update wizard that appears on the screen.

Uninstall Driver removes the current device driver and its device from the Windows Server 2003 system altogether. This can be useful if you are troubleshooting a device problem, allowing you to uninstall and reinstall the driver.

To uninstall a device driver, complete the following steps:

  1. Open the Computer Management Console by right-clicking My Computer on the Start menu and selecting Manage.
  2. Select Device Manager in the left pane of the console. The Device Manager will then display a list of installed devices in the right pane of the console.
  3. Expand the category of the device you wish to uninstall.
  4. Right-click the device and select Properties.
  5. Select the Driver tab on the device's Properties dialog box.
  6. Click the Uninstall Driver button.
  7. A new dialog box will pop up asking you to confirm the uninstall. Click OK to proceed.
  8. Shut down the system to remove the device.

When uninstalling a device driver for plug-and-play devices, the device must be connected to the system. Windows Server 2003 manages most of these drivers dynamically.

In some cases, you may wish to determine how your system will function without a device -- perhaps one that you no longer use. You can use the steps above to remove the driver for the device and test the system without the device.

Rather than removing a device to test the system operation, you can also disable it in the Device Manager to prevent the system from trying to start the device. Follow these steps:

  1. In Device Manager, right-click the device you wish to disable.
  2. Choose Disable from the Context menu.

You can then test the system with the hardware turned off to see how it will perform. If it meets your organization's needs, you can then remove the device when it is convenient to turn off the Windows Server 2003 system.

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About

Derek Schauland has been tinkering with Windows systems since 1997. He has supported Windows NT 4, worked phone support for an ISP, and is currently the IT Manager for a manufacturing company in Wisconsin.

4 comments
laman
laman

A very poor acticle, waste of our time. Who does not know how to uninstall the device? This is a web site for IT people, and if that IT people do not know, then ask him to change job. DEVMGR_SHOW_NONPRESENT_DEVICES is one of the most important setting we need to know, but he failed to even mention it. I actually doubt if he knows of this setting at all.

mousejn
mousejn

I always have to hunt for this command. If you have a device that doesn't show up and/or is mis-configured and you need to remove the drivers & start over you need to see whats there.

JCitizen
JCitizen

I know a lot of home users and businesses that don't know anything about IT that are hungry about this information. If you don't need to know, why do you follow the links to the story? Why are there certain people who seem to think TR is their personal little fiefdom that should only cater to their little whiney needs!?

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