Chapter 3:
Devices and Drivers in Windows 10

How to Open and Use the Device Manager in Windows 10?

Those who’ve been using older versions of Windows for years will find Windows 10 unintuitive for a lot of things, and it even might seem as though many old features are missing. Judging by the forums, a lot of users have also had a hard time locating and using the Device Manager. While it is a bit harder to locate it, its function hasn’t changed much.

We’ll have a look at how to find the Device Manager in Windows 10 and how you can use it to troubleshoot problems with your devices and manage drivers.

How to Open the Device Manager in Windows 10

There are a couple of ways to locate the Device Manager, but the easiest one is to simply find it via the search charm. To do this:

Open Search (Windows logo + S).

In the input field, type Device Manager and select the program from the list.

Click or tap on the program. It will require administrator privileges and usually have a shield icon associated with the name.

Another simple way to open the Device Manager is to directly start the program via the Run app (Windows key + R). Type in devmgmt.msc and press Enter or click/tap the OK button.

How to Use the Device Manager in Windows 10

If you’ve used the Device Manager in previous version of Windows, then you will feel right at home since it hasn’t changed much. If this is your first time using it, then we’ll guide you through all the functionality that it provides.

By default, the Device Manager is an application that displays a list of all your currently installed hardware and groups it into logical categories. Expanding the categories will display all of the installed hardware that fits into that group.

Since the Device Manager provides information about your external and internal hardware, this is a great way to easily see your computer’s specs and the model versions of your hardware.

Some low-level devices will be unlisted and you can see them by clicking on View and then selecting Show hidden devices. Generally, you won’t really have to deal with these ones. The hidden devices will now be visible in a new category that’s called Non-Plug and Play Drivers.

While the ability to quickly see all of your hardware is great, this is only a fraction of what the Device Manager is used for. By right-clicking on every item on the list, you can get access to the items properties panel that provides several tabs.

The most important ones are:

For more information on how to manage drivers, view our guide on downloading and installing drivers in Windows 10.

Downloading and Installing Drivers in Windows 10

Drivers are programs (software) that a device requires in order to function with your Windows computer. Nowadays, Windows will install a lot of drivers automatically and usually it’s enough to just plug the device into the computer and it will be ready for use. We often refer to this as a “plug and play” feature and it is particularly common among USB devices.

However, some devices will require additional software to be installed before they can function properly. Similarly, older drivers sometimes need to be updated to a newer version. We’ll go over the process and explain how you can manually download and install drivers in Windows 10.

Get and Install the Latest Drivers Automatically

Microsoft Windows 10 offers the possibility of automatically updating applicable drivers via the Windows Update app. This program checks for updated drivers and software automatically and installs them if a new version is available. It only checks for official, trusted, updates and since the whole process is automatic, no action from the user is required.

You can choose to manually check for new updates when you want, or you can turn on automatic updates. While Microsoft recommends you choose the second option, it is not really necessary if you can trust yourself to open the app from time to time to do a manual check.

Here’s how you can customize these settings:

Open Settings.

Tap or click on Update and Security and then tap or click on Windows Update.

In this menu, customize the options to your liking.

If you are using a metered Internet connection, then it is possible that Windows will not download or install any drivers or updates in order to prevent extra charges.

To check if this is the case (and disable it if you wish), do the following:

Open Settings. Tap or click on Devices.

Now tap or click on Connected Devices. Here you can see a section about downloading over a metered connection as seen on the screenshot below.

Turn this on or off depending on your preferences.

How to Install Drivers Manually in Windows 10

If your device also came with a disk, it is likely that it contains additional drivers or device software. This is (for example) common with gaming keyboards and mice, as well as printers. Install the software from the disk and you’re probably good to go. Manufacturers usually make these drivers (as well as future updates) publicly available via their website so you can download them there as well (they are usually located in the support section).

Some of these drivers will have an auto installer that requires you only to run the file. Other times you are expected to install the files directly. To do this, we will use the Device Manager (here’s our guide to opening and using Device Manager in Windows 10):

Download the driver you want to install and open the Device Manager.

In the hardware list, locate your device and then double click or double tap on it to open the driver menu.

Click or tap on the Driver tab and then click or tap on Update Driver (requires administrative privileges).

Follow the instructions in the following menu to install the driver you’ve downloaded.

Notice that Microsoft is very cautious when it comes to manual driver installations. Installing an unofficial driver, for example, is a major security risk and Windows will recommend that you do not install such drivers (although you mostly can).

Windows may still allow you to install drivers if the driver hasn’t been signed or if the publisher cannot be verified. However, if there is no valid signature or if a valid signature was altered after it was signed, then a 64-bit version of Windows 10 will not allow you to install the driver.

If you’re planning to install unofficial drivers that could potentially harm your computer, we recommend you first read our repair and recovery guide and prepare a backup of your system before you continue.

How to Add or Remove Devices and Printers in Windows 10

If you’ve recently upgraded from Windows 7 (or an even older version), it might take some time for you to get used to device management in Windows 10. However, the basic principle stays the same – plug the device into the right port and let the Windows automatic installer configure the drivers. As for wireless devices, the Windows 10 setup wizard is very intuitive and it will get the job done.

In this guide, we’ll go over the process of adding and removing devices in Windows 10, and we will also answer some of the most common user-submitted questions. We’ve already done a couple of special guides on adding certain categories of devices, so you might want to consult them if you need in-depth instructions on the following:

How to Add Devices and Printers in Windows 10

In this section, we will go over the general process of adding new devices. Let’s start with wired and network devices:

By default, a wired device should install automatically once you’ve plugged it into the appropriate port. If you can’t use the device, try a different port and make sure that the device is powered. Additionally, you might need to install additional software and/or drivers. These either come on a separate disk or you need to download them from the manufacturer’s website.

If the automatic method failed or you don’t know how to locate a network device, then you should first open Settings.

Tap or click on Devices and select the Connected devices section.

Click or tap on Add a device to run the automatic device wizard. Windows will offer you a list of all detected devices, including the ones that are connected to the network.

In case you can’t see the network devices at all, there’s a possibility that your settings are configured to block access to these devices. Luckily, it is very easy to solve this issue:

Open Settings and then go to Network & Internet.

Tap or click on WiFi and then select Advanced Options.

A window similar to the screenshot below will appear. Make sure that Make this PC discoverable is turned on, as seen on the screenshot below.

Remember that you don’t want this option to be turned on if you are using an unsecure or untrustworthy network, as it will leave you vulnerable to security risks.

Adding (pairing) wireless Bluetooth devices is a bit different:

Make sure your Bluetooth device is powered and discoverable by other Bluetooth devices.

On your computer, open Settings and then select Devices.

Now tap or click on Bluetooth.

Here you can turn Bluetooth on or off. Make sure it is on and then wait while Windows searches for nearby Bluetooth enabled devices.

Once the device is available on the list, you should click or tap on its icon and follow the instructions to finish the installation.

If your Bluetooth device didn’t install properly or you are having major performance issues, take a look at our guide to troubleshooting Bluetooth devices in Windows 10.

Remove and Manage Devices in Windows 10

Removing devices in Windows 10 is quick and simple:

Open Settings and then select Devices.

If you wish to remove wired devices, tap or click on Connected Devices. For Bluetooth devices, tap or click on the Bluetooth section.

In either of the two cases you will see icons representing your devices. Click or tap on the device you wish to remove and then tap or click on the Remove button.

To manage and configure your devices even further, you can use the Devices and Printers utility tool in the Control Panel. To do this:

Open Search.

Type in Devices and Printers and select this tool.

You’ll now see a list of your available devices. Right click or press and hold on a device in the list to open the settings window and customize the options to your liking.

For more control over your devices (and drivers), you might want to see our guide on using the Device Manager in Windows 10.

How to Print Documents and Files in Windows 10

If you’ve just switched to Windows 10 from earlier versions of Windows, then you might recognize the printing process. If not, don’t worry – we will cover everything you need to know in this guide.

In case you are having trouble with your printer, we have a full guide on installing printers in Windows 10 as well as a troubleshooting guide for common printer problems.

How to Print from Desktop Applications in Windows 10

If an application has a File menu, then it is very likely that it allows you to print documents directly. With a document open, you can open the File menu and then select Print. The default keyboard shortcut for this action is Control + P, and traditional Windows users should find it intuitive and reminiscent of previous versions. It opens a menu known as Backstage view. There is a Print section in this menu where you can select the printer that you wish to use, set the number of copies and customize other settings that have been in Windows for years now.

How to Print Documents Directly from File Explorer

This process is very convenient and easy. Just right-click on a file through the File Explorer and select the Print option. There is also a different way that requires a few more steps:

Locate the file you want to print via the File Explorer and select it

Maximize the ribbon and open the Share tab

Here you’ll see the Print button

See the image below for a detailed look:

How to Print from Windows 10 Apps

Keyboard users rejoice – the Control + P shortcut will still open the Print window. Here you can select your printer and specify how you want the document to be printed. If a print window does not appear, the application doesn't support printing.

If you're a touch user, keep in mind that Windows 10 doesn't allow printing from applications that don't have a built-in print option. Windows 8.1 had a Charms-based print entry point that has been removed in Windows 10.

What’s Next?

Now that you know all the tricks for printing files in Windows, you can move on and learn something new. If you are using Windows daily (especially for work), you might want to learn some simple tips that will boost your productivity. Keyboard users should get accustomed to all of the new keyboard shortcuts in Windows 10 and business users will likely enjoy our full guide to using OneDrive.

How to Troubleshoot Printer Errors in Windows 10

In this guide, we’ll provide step-by-step solutions to common printer errors and problems in Windows 10 and offer some troubleshooting tips as well. When dealing with peripheral devices, locating the problem can be difficult due to various possible origins. If you’re having trouble connecting a printer that uses USB connectors, then consult our guide on installing USB devices.

How to Fix Spooler Problems

Print spoolers are programs that will temporary store a scheduled print job on the hard disk or in-memory until the printer is ready to process and execute it. When an error mentioning a spooler program appears, you will probably be informed about problems regarding the spooler subsystems or resources and your pages will print very slowly.

It is best to stop the process and save your work. You will have to restart the spooler programs and/or reboot your operating system. Restarting the system will usually restart the spooler services and solve the issue. However, you can also solve the problem directly via the Control Panel and work directly with the Print Spooler Service that is provided by Windows:

Search for Control Panel and open it. Tap or click on Administrative Tools and open the utility.

Tap or double-click on Services that will be located on the list as seen below.

This will open another list that contains all of the system services. Locate the Print Spooler service and open the Properties menu.

In the Properties menu, first open the General tab and make sure that Automatic is selected as the Startup type.

If the service is currently not running (Service status on the screenshot above), click on Start to run the service. You might be asked to provide your administrator password by a system prompt.

The Printer Doesn’t Print any Pages

This is a very broad question, especially with so many devices on the market. As such, there is no simple or easy solution; however, we do have a basic troubleshooting guide to get you started:

Check if the printer is plugged into a power source. You’ve probably done this already, but you’d be surprised how many people forget to do this.

Check the paper and cartridges. Obviously you need to make sure you have enough ink or toner, as well as paper required to print anything. However, you should also make sure that everything is positioned properly. If the paper is not placed accordingly, then the printer might be unable to detect it.

Check the connections. You’re likely using a USB cable (if it’s a wired printer) to connect to your PC. Try using different ports and if you’re connecting to a hub by any chance, skip the “middleman” and try to connect the printer directly to the computer.

Check if the manufacturer’s software is installed. When you buy a printer, you typically receive a CD/DVD with all the drivers and user software that is required to use the device. Have you installed all of it?

Check for newer driver updates. Open the Windows Update utility and check for new updates. It is likely that your software is outdated or that you’re missing a critical Windows patch.

The Printer Only Prints Parts of the Page and/or the Ink is Blurry

This is usually a problem that is not related to the operating system. In fact, it is very likely that you have a problem with your ink or toner cartridge. If so, you will need to buy new ones and replace the old cartridges. If the printer’s status indicator (a LED light) shows low ink or toner messages, then you can be fairly certain that this is the case.

If you’re unsure about how to change cartridges or where to find them, it is best to consult the manufacturer’s website for more information.

Installing USB 3.0 and other USB devices in Windows 10

In this guide, we will cover the basics of installing and troubleshooting USB devices in Windows 10, as well as provide solutions to common error codes that are related to unresponsive USB devices.

The universal serial bus (USB) has been an industry standard for connectors and communication protocols since the mid-1990s. Currently, USB 3.0 is the standard, but a lot of devices still use USB 2.0 and this is why PC computers come with a couple of ports for both connections. Usually, a USB 3.0 device will work in either of the two ports or vice-versa; however, this doesn’t always have to be the case and you should always test the device in its appropriate port first to see if its works as intended.

If you’re unsure whether or not your device uses a USB 2 or 3 standard, then there’s a couple of ways to check, but the easiest is to just compare the symbols that are embedded on the device.

Here’s how they look:

Connecting and Installing a USB Device in Windows 10

Usually your device will come with an installation manual and it’s always best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. In case you don’t have a manual nearby, the general instructions are as a follows:

If the device has a power cord, then connect the cord into a power outlet first (for example, this is common with printers).

Connect the device to your PC with the USB cable. It’s best to plug a USB 3.0 device into a USB 3.0 port for optimal performance, especially during first-time installation.

If the device has a separate power button, turn it on. Otherwise, it will turn on on its own once it receives power from the PC.

Windows will now install the proper driver so you’ll have to wait a bit. Usually, you will get a pop-up in the system tray on your taskbar that will inform you when the driver is installed.

After the installation is complete, the device is ready (plug-and-play) or may require you to install additional software. This usually comes on a separate CD/DVD. If you don’t have it, you need to download it from the manufacturer’s website.

My USB Device Didn’t Install Properly. How Can I Troubleshoot the Problem?

If you’ve tried the steps above and your USB device didn’t install then there are a few ways to troubleshoot the problem:

Is your PC connected to the Internet? Windows will sometimes automatically search online for compatible drivers. If you don’t have a working Internet connection, the device might not install.

Do you have a metered connection? If so, then Windows may have automatically refused to download the drivers in order to save your resources. You can see if this is the case by entering Settings, then going to Devices and looking under the Connected devices tab as seen on the screenshot below:

Do you need to install additional software? As mentioned before, you might sometimes need to install additional software for the device to work.

Did you check for updates with the Windows Update utility? Enter your Settings, open Update & security where you’ll find the Windows Update utility. Click on Check for updates. If there are updates available, they will be automatically downloaded.

Did you run the Windows troubleshooter? Open the Search tool and enter Troubleshooting in the search box and then select Troubleshooting followed by Hardware and Sound. Click on Hardware and Sound and follow the automatic instructions provided by Windows to check for any problems related to your device.

Fixing USB Device Error Code 43

USB devices sometimes unexpectedly stop responding and the error that comes up often is labeled as “code 43”. There are a lot of possible reasons for this problem, but they usually come down to faulty connectors/cables. There is no dedicated solution to the problem, but you can try to do the following:

Fixing USB Device Error Code 28

This problem is a bit more specific and may be related to the drivers of your USB device. The error might have been caused by a failed update or outdated drivers. You might want to read-up on our guide to downloading and installing drivers in Windows 10 or get started with the Device Manager in order to troubleshoot the problem faster.

Alternatively, it could also be an issue with a USB hub (if you’re using one), so first try to plug the device into a regular USB port.

To troubleshoot the hub in a bit more detail, you’ll need to:

Check if the power supply is on and connected, and if the power output it provides is enough for your device to be functional.

Make sure that other devices that are connected to the hub are functioning properly.

Troubleshoot the PC’s USB port that the hub is connected to.

Miracast Setup and Troubleshooting in Windows 10

In this guide, we will show you how to set up and troubleshoot problems with Miracast, a wireless technology that allows you to project your screen onto TVs, projectors and streaming media players. To make sure your PC supports Miracast, open Settings and tap or click on Devices. Now tap or click on Add device and if you see your device on the list, you’ll know for sure that your PC does indeed support Miracast projection. You can also open Action center (Windows logo + A) and select Connect.

How to Project Your Screen to a Wireless Display using Miracast?

Follow the steps from the previous paragraph and locate and tap or click on Add a device or Connect and choose the display from the list of found devices.

The display that you want to project on must be connected to the network and be located within range of the PC (usually in the same room).

Once the device has been selected, you can customize all of the settings from your PC. To change the projection mode, open Action center and click on Change projection mode. Click on it and choose from one of the available projecting options:

To disconnect from the device, once again open Action center, then Connect and select your wireless display and Disconnect.

Troubleshooting Miracast Problems in Windows 10

Problems with Miracast are difficult to troubleshoot as there are a lot of possible causes. You first have to identify what is most likely the root of the problem – the PC, the second display or the network connection – before you can take specific steps.

If you are having trouble connecting to a wireless display or adapter, always try restarting your PC and the display/adapter. Make sure that device is powered on and ready to be used. Another “brute-force” solution is to remove the device completely from your PC and try adding it once again.

To do this, simply head over to the Settings and choose Devices. Once you’re there, click on PC and Devices and then select the Devices tab. Find your wireless display on the list of added devices, click on it and select “Remove Device”.

For problems regarding fuzzy display or image stutter, you should use Windows display settings to troubleshoot these issues and customize the screen resolution. In the Search charm, type “Screen resolution” and launch the Display settings utility tool. Use the resolution slider to scale the screen size and choose an optimal screen resolution for the display.

Connecting a Second Monitor or a Projector in Windows 10

In this guide, will go over the process of connecting a second monitor or a projector to a Windows 10 computer. While the process is mostly automatic, we’ll cover the possible problems that you might encounter. If you are looking for a guide on how to do this with a wireless display or projector, then you should read our guide on using Miracast in Windows 10 to project or share screens.

Setup a Second Monitor in Windows 10

To connect your computer and second monitor, you will need to use a DVI, VGA or HDMI cable (depending on the device). Make sure you have the right one ready and that your computer has the appropriate port. Once you’ve done that, just connect the monitor to the computer via the cable.

Depending on your settings, it is likely that the second screen will show exactly what you’ve wanted without any further configuration.

However, here’s the full process on how to customize every aspect of the second screen:

Search for "Project to a second screen" and tap or click on Project to a second screen. You can also use the keyboard shortcut Windows key + P or click or tap Project in the Action center.

Now you’ll get the option to choose between various layouts for your second screen on the right of your screen.

You can set PC screen only, Duplicate the display, set Second screen only and Extend the screen to have it span across both displays.

Connect a Projector to Your PC in Windows 10

Connecting a projector to your Windows-powered PC is very similar to connecting a second screen, as both are just additional display devices that use a VGA, DVI or HDMI port. In most cases, it is enough to just locate the port and connect the projector with the PC. The automatic setup does most of the work and the projector can be used right away.

To adjust the projector, you will usually use the button controls that are included on the device and/or remote control. These include resolution controls for the projected screen, brightness and contrast, as well as other visual controls.

Now that you have the projector plugged in, you can choose to customize the layout of the two screens. To accomplish this, perform the following actions:

Search for "Project to a second screen" and tap or click on Project to a second screen. You can also use the keyboard shortcut Windows key + P or click or tap Project in the Action center.

Now you’ll get the option to choose between various layouts for your second screen on the right of your screen.

You can set PC screen only, Duplicate the display, set Second screen only and Extend the screen to have it span across both displays.

Get the Taskbar on Both Screens

By default, the taskbar will only be located on your primary display. A lot of users consider it better to have it present on both screens, but are unaware that this option even exists. Similarly, a lot of users are unaware that they can remove this feature if they don’t like it on their layout.

To set or remove the taskbar on your desktop, do the following:

Open Search to type "Taskbar and Navigation" in the search box.

Tap or click on Taskbar and Navigation.

Under the Multiple displays section of the pop-up window, you can customize the Show taskbar on all displays depending on what you want.

Tap or click on OK to apply the settings and close the pop-up window.

Troubleshooting Bluetooth and Other Wireless Devices in Windows 10

This is a general troubleshooting guide for Bluetooth and other wireless devices in Windows 10 (Note that a lot of these tips apply to previous version as well). Since there are a lot of wireless devices out there, we will cover all the major errors that apply to all of them. If your Bluetooth device is a mouse or a keyboard, then you should look at our mouse and keyboard troubleshooting guide for Windows 10 that provides a much more specific set of instructions for these devices.

Check if Bluetooth is Enabled on Your PC and Bluetooth Device

When dealing with Bluetooth problems, we need to start with the basics first. As such, your first step should always be to make sure that your PC’s Bluetooth connection is turned on.

Turning your Bluetooth on is easy:

Open Settings and then select Devices.

Select Bluetooth.

Here you’ll have the option to turn Bluetooth on or off. If it is off, turn it on and then try to connect your device.

If this option is not available, then your PC does not support Bluetooth. However, if your manufacturer specs say that it does, then you either have hardware failure or some of your drivers are outdated. Make sure you have all the latest updates and visit the manufacturer’s website to check if there is any additional software or drivers that you’ve missed.

Obviously, Bluetooth is a two-way connection, so you will have to check if Bluetooth is enabled on your device as well. If it is, set it to be discoverable by other Bluetooth devices. Since you’ve probably received an instructions manual with your device, you should consult it if you are unsure about how to set this option.

Some devices, such as a keyboard or mouse, will be turned on and enabled by default as soon as they are plugged into a power source.

Make Sure Your PC is Allowed to Connect to Wireless Devices on Your Network

If you are having trouble connecting to wireless devices on your network while other people seem to have no issues on their PC, then some of your options might be configured incorrectly. In particular, your Network Connection settings might have the “Find devices and content” setting turned off. To fix this, do the following:

Open Settings and then select Advanced options

Tap or click on Wi-Fi and then select Advanced Options

A window similar to the screenshot below will appear. Make sure that Make this PC discoverable is turned on.

Note that you want this option turned on only for your home or small office networks, where you can trust people and devices that are connected to the network. If you aren’t connected to a trustworthy network (such as a coffee shop or an airport hub), then you should make sure to turn this option off in order to avoid security concerns.

If this option is turned on, then you can easily locate available devices in a couple of ways:

If you are connected to the Homegroup, then just check the Homegroup folder to see available files and devices.

If you are connected to a domain or a Workgroup then just look into the Network folder.

Regardless of the two network types mentioned above, you can also directly tap Search, enter This PC and open the suggested app. Among other things, this utility will give you a list of all shared apps.

Adding a Wireless Printer

We have a general troubleshooting guide on solving printer errors in Windows 10 that you should check for additional advice on printer errors. If, however, you have a very straightforward problem – you cannot connect your wireless printer with your PC - then the following steps might help:

Open Search.

Type in “Advanced printer setup” and select the app.

In this list, you might find the printer that you’re looking for and if so, just select it. If it isn’t on the list, then click on “The printer that I want isn’t listed”.

You will have several connectivity options and you should choose the one that best fits your situation:
a. If your printer is a little older you can ask Windows to help you find it.
b. You can select a shared printer by name.
c. You can add a printer via TCP/IP address or hostname.
d. You can add a Bluetooth, wireless or network printer with custom settings.
e. You can add a local or network printer with manual settings.

Follow the setup wizard to connect to the printer. Consult your device’s user manual or the manufacturer’s website if you get stuck in the process.

The Connection with the Wireless Device is Slow and/or Unresponsive

If you are experiencing performance issues with the connection between your PC and wireless device, then there are a couple of things you could try to solve these issues:

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