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Windows 7: Device Manager - Finding Unknown Devices

Device Manager - Finding Unknown Devices

How to Find and Identify Unknown Devices through Device Manager
Published by TimStitt
09 Jul 2010
Published by

Find and Identify Unknown Devices through Device Manager

information   Information
This guide will show you how to locate the unidentified hardware in your device manager by using Hardware Identification. The goal of this tutorial is to help identify an unidentified device.
Note   Note
Prerequisite knowledge includes opening windows device manager, surfing the internet, data entry and basic windows navigation skills
warning   Warning
  • Installing the wrong driver can crash your system, this technique revolves around the use of a 3rd party online hardware ID database.
  • Some devices (such as legacy devices) may not have hardware ID's. See the "But what if there's no Hardware ID in the drop down box?" for tips on finding out what these devices are.

Here's how
  1. Open Device Manager and find the device. It most likely has a yellow exclamation mark on it like the one in this screenshot below.
    Name:  device.PNG
Views: 39868
Size:  19.7 KB
    Tip   Tip
    You can open Device Manager quickly by typing devmgmt.msc into RUN or SEARCH and pressing ENTER.

  2. Now that you've found your device, right click on it and select properties.
  3. Click on the Details Tab.
  4. Drop the 'Property' box until you find 'Hardware Id's".
    This picture shows my webcam, but unknown devices have hardware ID's too
  5. You'll find some number-letter combinations, here's what they mean:
    HID = Hardware ID
    PID = Product ID
    VID = Vendor ID
    Note   Note
    The Vendor ID may also be called VEN, so look out for this too. If you're having trouble locating these then please take a look at this great Hardware Identification tutorial by Dwarf
    Tip   Tip
    If you need a driver for this unknown device, then you could do this below by Kari:

    Copy the Hardware IDs value.

    Name:  2012-11-17_193110.png
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Size:  29.0 KB

    Go directly to a driver database site, for instance Drivers Lookup and search there with the hardware id.


  6. In my screen print I've looked up my Webcam again. My PID=0804, My VID = 046D.
  7. We need to reference these, so open your browser of choice and navigate to the website.
  8. There are other websites, but I think that the team has put together a great site with a lot of information should you need to know more about devices and drivers.
  9. Type your PID where it says Device Search and press SEARCH (e.g. for my example I type in 0804 and click on the Search button to the right of the Device Search box).
  10. All Devices with that PID show. This is usually enough; but sometimes multiple devices will show.
    Name:  deviceID search.png
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  11. If you have multiple Devices, then you need your VID, so look back to your details column under Hardware ID's and reference it against the Vendor ID column with your VID. Mine was 046D and you can see 0x46d in the Vendor column. That's a match.
  12. You've now identified your device and can now search for the correct drivers for it.

But what if there's no Hardware ID in the drop down box?

With older legacy devices, some virtual devices, non-plug and play devices, and some viruses there may not be a hardware ID, however there there are other things you can do to find your unrecognized device.

Have a look at these entries in the drop down, there are others, but these are the most common that you will find when the Hardware ID is missing.
  • DevNode status - This will tell us the current status of the device and differentiate between a driver existing and a driver loading. If the driver exists you can look at it's *.inf file (the inf file name is in the Inf Name drop down)
  • Device Instance path - Often contains Vendor and hardware information, if not than it may contain an ACPI linking it to a processor group.
  • Class Long Name - It's group name (e.g. Processors)
  • Class Short Name - It's short (actual) name (e.g. Processor)
  • Class icon path - The path to a dll that houses this devices icons. Although this is likely to be windows generic, it;s worthwhile taking a look at the icons in the *.dll, the easiest way to do this is to change an icon on any shortcut or folder and navigate to that *.dll to browse the icons.
  • siblings - Any related siblings
  • parent - any related parents
If you are trying to find a Legacy item, it will likely be at this registry address
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Enum\Root\. It should begin with the LEGACY_ (e.g. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Enum\Root\LEGACY_CPUZ132)

The Windows Registry Editor can be opened by typing REGEDIT into RUN or SEARCH.
Some other locations that you may find this information (with thanks to WindowsStar)are:
warning   Warning
Edit the registry can crash your machine, use this as a research tool only, unless you know what you are doing




These References have been added after additional information was provided. The added dates refer to when this tutorial was updated with the additional information.

09 Jul 2010   #1



thank you but I don't understand how can I get VID and PID ?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jul 2010   #2

Windows 8.1 Pro RTM x64

Hi dew1,

To find this information, please see my post on this topic (link at bottom of above Tutorial).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jul 2010   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Dwarf View Post
Hi dew1,

To find this information, please see my post on this topic (link at bottom of above Tutorial).
Hi Dwarf,

I feel like I've tried to reinvented the wheel and didn't know that you'd already written one of these. I searched but didn't find.

I like your use on RED and BLUE to show the VENDER and DEVICE ID's and it points out that Vender ID's can be called VEN as well. I'll make a few edits in regards to the later and link to yours in regards to colors.

Good Post mate.


EDIT: Updated with some new info that you provided and referenced.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

09 Jul 2010   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by dew1 View Post

thank you but I don't understand how can I get VID and PID ?
Hi Dew1,

I've updated the tutorial today with a little new info from Dwarf, if after looking at this and his tutorial you're still lost, then please let me know at which step you lose you way and please post a screen shot of what your looking at. I'm quite happy to help.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jul 2010   #5

Win7 HP (x64)/Win7 Ultimate (x64)

Thanks for the tutorial
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Jul 2010   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Lomai View Post
Thanks for the tutorial
Bula Lomai!

You're welcome mate.

EDIT: To meet the forum regulations I need to translate Bula into Hello for other readers
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Jul 2010   #7
Capt.Jack Sparrow

Windows 7 Ultimate - 64-bit | Windows 8 Pro - 64-bit

Great work Timo ! Just found this one now.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Jul 2010   #8

Windows 7 Professional SP1 - x64 [Non-UEFI Boot]

Thanks TimStitt, knew some of the registry edit for hardware legacy, you made it as a tutorial to refer.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Jul 2010   #9

Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by NoN View Post
Thanks TimStitt, knew some of the registry edit for hardware legacy, you made it as a tutorial to refer.
Thanks Non
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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