Windows Hidden Devices

I use a windows 7 computer and recently had an issue with a USB Serial Convertor and the assigned com ports I needed one below com port 16. But all the other ports were occupied so I had to remove the old drivers and free up those com ports.
But the device manager didn’t show the hidden devices even when the option to show hidden devices was selected.

I found on the microsoft site that I need to type the following into a command shell
set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1
and then type in start devmgmt.msc to start the device manager and then select show hidden devices. This worked out fine, I cleaned out the old USB serial converter drivers without a problem and the software worked fine. But I noticed I had hundreds of hidden devices not being used such as old external hard disk drives, my old mobile phone. I started to do this manually but soon gave up. However I came across a product called Ghostbuster that works very well and allowed me to remove all 427 devices in seconds.

The Ghostbuster screen showing the device list

As you can see the interface is very basic. In order to remove ghost devices you need to move to where you are interested in, for example Portable devices. Navigate to the first entry in that class and right click which will bring up a menu with three options Add Class, Add Device. Add Wildcard. Selecting add class will add all the devices within that class, add device will add just that device, add wildcard allows you to add a custom list, I used add wildcard and added * as the wildcard. This then selected all the devices. Once I had them all selected I clicked on remove ghosts and after a few seconds they had all gone except for one ghosted device at the top 00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000 which cannot be removed.

I’ve left this one on my hard disk now as it will prove useful in the future for removing the cruft that builds up in windows over a period of time.

The Ghostbuster website where you can download the program from is http://ghostbuster.codeplex.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.