How To Disable a Device in Device Manager in Windows XP

Screenshot of a disabled hardware device in Windows XP
Disabled Hardware Device in Windows XP.

You might need to disable a device in Device Manager if you want Windows XP to ignore the device, if it's using valuable system resources, or perhaps as part of some troubleshooting.

Once you disable hardware, Windows XP and any other software on your computer will no longer be able to use it. In most properly functioning Windows XP systems, no hardware is disabled.

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

Difficulty: Easy

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

Here's How:

  1. Open Device Manager from the Windows XP Computer Management utility.

    Note:: There are several other ways of opening Device Manager.

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

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

  3. After finding the hardware you're looking for, right click on the hardware's name or icon and choose Properties.

  4. Locate the Device usage: dropdown box at the very bottom of this Properties window for your hardware.

    Note: The Device usage dropdown box should currently show Use this device (enable).

  5. Change the Device usage option to Do not use this device (disable).

  6. Click OK.

    This piece of hardware should now be disabled.

  1. You should now be returned to the main Device Manager window.

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

    Disabled devices also show a Code 22 error in the device status area.


    1. If you need to undo the disabling of a piece of hardware, you'll just need to re-enable the device from within Device Manager.

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