Why Is There a Black Arrow in Device Manager?

An explanation for the Black Arrow in Device Manager

A black arrow next to a hardware device in Device Manager in Windows probably isn't something to get too concerned over.

It's possible that you may have made a change on purpose that resulted in that black arrow displaying. However, it may instead mean that there's actually a problem.

No matter how it showed up, there's usually a really easy solution.

Black Arrow in Windows 10 Device Manager
Windows 10 Device Manager.

What Does the Black Arrow in Device Manager Mean?

A black arrow next to a device in Device Manager in Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, or Windows Vista means that the device is disabled.

In Windows XP, the equivalent to a black arrow is a red x. Read Why Is There a Red X in Device Manager? for more information on that.

If you see a black arrow, it doesn't necessarily mean there's a problem with the hardware. The black arrow just means that Windows isn't allowing the hardware to be used and that it hasn't allocated any system resources to be used by the hardware.

If you've disabled the hardware manually, this is why the black arrow is displaying for you.

How to Fix the Black Arrow in Device Manager

Since the black arrow is shown right there in Device Manager, which is also where you enable a hardware device so Windows can use it, it doesn't take much to remove the black arrow and use the device normally.

To remove the black arrow from a particular piece of hardware, you'll need to enable the device in Device Manager. Read our How to Enable a Device in Device Manager tutorial if you need help doing this.

The red x in Windows XP's Device Manager is solved in the same way, by enabling the hardware device.

Keep reading below if you've enabled the device in Device Manager, and the black arrow is gone, but the device still isn't working as it should—there may be other things you can try.

More on Device Manager & Disabled Devices

If there is truly an issue with the hardware, and it's not just disabled, then the black arrow will probably be replaced with a yellow exclamation point after enabling it.

A Device Manager error code is generated when a device is disabled. It's Code 22, which reads "This device is disabled."

Aside from a device that's disabled, something else that affects whether Windows can communicate with a device is the hardware's driver. A device may not have a black arrow and therefore be enabled, but still not work like it needs to. In a scenario like that, the driver might be outdated or missing completely, in which case updating/installing the driver would make it work again.

If a device still isn't working after enabling it, you might try deleting the device from Device Manager and then rebooting the computer. This will force Windows to recognize it as a new device. You can then update the drivers if it's still not working at that point.

Device Manager can be opened the normal way through Control Panel but there's also a command-line command you can use, which you can read about here.

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