Plug and Play, the technology that finds, installs, and manages drivers on Windows devices, is downright miraculous when it works. These days, thankfully, that’s most of the time.

Occasionally, though, something goes wrong with Plug and Play. You might find, for example, that one or more devices you previously paired with your Windows 10 PC still appear on the Bluetooth And Other Devices page, and trying to remove them results in an error message. For those and other similar situations, a well-hidden Device Manager option can help.

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Right-click Start and choose Device Manager from the Quick Link menu (Figure A).

Figure A

From Device Manager, click View > Show Hidden Devices. With that option selected, expanding any branch of the Device Manager tree shows devices that have been configured but are not currently in use. These normally hidden devices appear dimmed compared with those devices that are active and in use.

Figure B

Go through the list until you find the entry for the zombie device, right-click, and choose Uninstall. Doing so removes the hidden entry from Device Manager and from any other places in Windows where it might be causing problems.

Be sure to turn off the Show Hidden Devices option when you’re finished.

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