Uninstalling a Plug and Play device

Typically, you do not need to uninstall a Plug and Play device. Just disconnect or unplug the device so that Windows does not load or use the driver. Some devices might require that you turn off the computer first. To ensure that you do this properly, see the device manufacturer's instruction manual.

Uninstalling a non-Plug and Play device

Uninstalling a non-Plug and Play device typically involves two steps:

  1. Using Device Manager to uninstall the device.

  2. Removing the device from your computer.

Use Device Manager to uninstall a non-Plug and Play device. After uninstalling a device, you must physically disconnect or remove the device from your computer. For example, if the device is connected to a port on the outside of your computer, shut down your computer, disconnect the device from the port, and then unplug the power cord for the device.

Enabling and disabling versus installing and uninstalling

Instead of uninstalling a device that you might attach again, such as a modem, you can choose to disable a Plug and Play device. When you disable a device, the device stays physically connected to your computer, but Windows updates the system registry so that the device drivers for the device are not loaded when you start your computer. The drivers are available again when you enable the device. Disabling devices is useful if you want more than one hardware configuration for your computer, or if you have a portable computer that you use at a docking station.

For procedures about how to uninstall, reinstall, and roll back devices and their drivers, see Uninstall or Reinstall a Device, and Roll Back a Device Driver to a Previous Version.

For more information about hardware and procedures for installing devices, see Installing Devices and their Drivers and Configuring Device Properties.