How To Disable a Device in Device Manager in Windows 7

A screenshot of the Driver tab for a device in the Windows 7 Device Manager
Driver Tab in Device Manager (Windows 7).

You may want to disable a device in Device Manager if you want Windows 7 to ignore it, if it's using system resources you'd like to allocate elsewhere, or maybe as part of some troubleshooting process.

Once you disable a hardware device, Windows 7 and any other software on your computer will no longer be able to use that hardware. In most normally configured Windows 7 systems, no hardware is disabled.

Follow these easy steps to disable a device from within Device Manager in Windows 7:

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: Disabling a hardware device in Device Manager in Windows 7 takes less than a few minutes

Here's How:

  1. Open Device Manager from the Windows 7 Control Panel.

    Note:: There are several other ways of opening Device Manager in Windows 7 but it's probably easiest from the Control Panel.

  2. With Device Manager open, locate the device you want to disable.

    Note: Navigate through the categories of hardware devices by clicking the > icon. Specific hardware devices are listed under the major hardware categories.

  3. After finding the device that you want to disable, right click on the hardware's name or icon and choose Properties.

  4. In this Properties window, click the Driver tab.

  5. Click Disable, located near the bottom of the window.

  6. You will prompted with a message that says "Disabling this device will cause it to stop functioning. Do you really want to disable it?"

    Click Yes.

    This piece of hardware is now disabled and Windows 7 will no longer be able to use it.

  1. Click OK.

  2. You should now be returned to Device Manager.

    Note: A black arrow should now be showing on top of the icon for the device you disabled, confirming that the process is complete. Another way to verify that the hardware is disabled is by checking the device status in Device Manager.

    Disabled devices will return a Code 22 error.


    1. If you would ever like to undo the disabling of a piece of hardware, all you need to do is re-enable the device from within Device Manager in Windows 7.

    2. Not a Windows 7 user? See How to Disable a Device in Device Manager in Windows for links to steps specific for your operating system.