Once you have uninstalled a device, any device drivers left behind also need to be removed. Why? Because your system can still be losing valuable resources by having the device driver still installed.
You see, when you install a device, its corresponding drivers also get installed on your system and they get called each time you boot up your PC. So even if the device has been removed, with the device drivers still present… your system still loads the drivers at boot up. This is a waste of system resources.
How to Remove Device Drivers on Windows XP
Once a device is removed from the PC, Windows XP no longer shows the device in the Device Manager. So part of the driver uninstall process is to tell Windows XP to show non-present devices.
Follow these simple steps to remove any unwanted device drivers for Windows XP.
- Press the Windows key and the Break key on your keyboard. Your system properties box will appear.
- Select the Advanced tab.
- Click Environmental Variables.
- Click New (under System variables).
- Type devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices (in the variable box).
- Type 1 in the variable value text box.
- Click Ok to return to the System Properties box.
- Click Ok again.
- Select the Device Manager tab.
- Click View / show hidden devices.
In this area, you will need to expand all the necessary branches and look for washed out icons. The washed out icon will reflect unused device drivers that need to be uninstalled.
Once you have located a device driver to uninstall, you can highlight it, right-click it and then choose Remove.
How to Uninstall Device Drivers in Windows 2000
You can use these instructions for XP as well. By following these simple steps, you can remove unwanted device drivers from your system.
- Click Start.
- Click Control Panel.
- Click System.
- Click Hardware.
- Click Device Manager.
- Select the unwanted device.
- Right-click the device.
- Choose Uninstall.
- Click Yes.
- Click Ok twice.
In some cases you will still have unwanted device drivers on your system. You can download a registry cleaner to help with cleaning these fragments left behind. An example of such a program is RegistryEasy, which you can download here. Once you have downloaded and installed it, do a PC performance scan so it can detect and delete orphan device drivers. Be sure to back your system up before removing anything from your machine!
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