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Find and delete Non Present hidden device drivers


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Staff member
Find and delete Non Present hidden device drivers (Windows XP Vista and Windows 7).

Note: Don't confuse this with simply "Hidden Devices", I am referring to "Non Present Device Drivers (No longer used).

Sorting out device driver problems in Windows can be a tricky.
Windows Vista and XP often retain old drivers even if you upgrade or change hardware.
Unfortunately, these old, and sometimes hidden, drivers can cause hardware conflicts
or make your system behave erratically -- even if you're no longer using them.

Here’s how to find those old drivers and root them out of your system once and for all.

Manually locating all the devices drivers on a Windows system can be a challenging task. Fortunately, in the Windows Device Manager, there is a feature you can enable that allows you to locate and remove old and unused drivers.

In order to configure Device Manager to display non-present devices, you will need to add a special Windows Environment Variable, which is basically a string that contains a system property such as a drive, path, or file name.

To add the variable that we need, access the "Start menu", right-click on

"My Computer " for (XP) "Computer" for (Vista / Windows 7),

and select the "Properties" command.

For XP:

Right Click “My Computer”
Advanced TAB
When the System Properties dialog box appears, click the Environment Variables button.

For Vista/Windows 7:

When you see the System window, select the Advanced System Settings link.
Dismiss the UAC message, and when the System Properties dialog box appears, click the Environment Variables button.

When you see the Environment Variables dialog box, you'll see that it contains two panels titled User Variables and System Variables.

Environment variables added to the User Variables panel will be available only when that user logs on.

Environment variables added to the System Variables panel will be available to all users.

To avoid limiting ourselves to one user account, we'll add the new environment variable to the System Variables panel.

So, click the New button and when New System Variable dialog box appears, type:


in the Variable Name text box and

type 1 in the Variable Value text box.

Click OK to close the New System Variable dialog box and then again to close the Environment Variables dialog box.

To view the non-present devices, access the Start menu,
right-click on Computer / My Computer, and select Manage.

When the Computer Management window appears, select Device Manager.
Once Device Manager is active, pull down the View menu and select Show Hidden Devices.

Now, when you open the various branches within the Device Manager tree, you see device icons that appear translucent or faded. These are the non-present devices.

To remove the device drivers for any of the non-present devices, simply right-click on the faded icon and select the Uninstall command.

Once you are done, close Device Manager and just for good measure, restart your system.