Windows 10 – How to disable devices using the device manager

The process below details how to disable devices using the device manager in Windows 10.

When a device is disabled Windows and all applications will not be able to use the device. This can be useful for integrated devices, such as a camera or microphone, that you cannot physically remove but do not want to be used.

Please note: you will need administrator access on the computer to use the device manager.

  1. Using your keyboard, press the Windows button + R to open the Run window
  2. Under ‘Open’ type devmgmt.msc and click ‘OK’
  3. Windows10-DisableDevice1
  4. You now need to find the device in the list – finding the right device is critical, as disabling a critical device could damage your Windows installation. ‘Imaging devices’ will include all cameras, ‘Sound, video and game controllers’ will include your audio devices.
  5. Expand the device group, right-click on the device and choose ‘Disable’
  6. Click ‘OK’ to confirm.
  7. Windows10-DisableDevice2
  8. The device is now disabled – Windows and applications will not be able to use the device.
  9. To re-enable it, repeat the process and choose ‘Enable’

HELP! I can’t disable the device

Some devices do not support being disabled – but there is a work around – by install another incompatible device driver.

Note: this won’t physically harm the device, but it may make your computer behave weirdly. I DO NOT recommend this for any critical devices – e.g. display adapters. 

  1. Right-click device and select ‘Update Driver’
  2. Click ‘Browse my computer for driver software
  3. Click ‘Let me pick from a list of available drivers on my computer’
  4. Un-tick ‘Show compatible hardware’
  5. Select a different manufacturer and model,
  6. Click next, yes, restart etc.
  7. You should now be able to disable the device using the device manager

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4 comments on “Windows 10 – How to disable devices using the device manager

  1. When there is no disable option, you can simply disable a device by updating to an incompatible driver.
    Go to device manager
    right-click device -> update driver
    Browse my computer
    Let me pick
    uncheck the box show compatible hardware
    select a different manufacturer and model, click ok, restart.
    you can then often even disable the device afterwards in the device manager.

    that’s how i disabled my inbuild Laptop keyboard (which was malfunctioning and always reinstalled itself no matter what, group policy selttings also didn’t help).

  2. I went to device manager and disable device is not listed that’s why I am here is to get disable device in device manager to pop up. If this is a guild to just get to device manager please kill yourself and thank you

    1. Me neither. I try to disable the touchpad driver on a HP notebook and the only menu option when right-click is Properties/Uninstall. Stupid Windows 10 can’t see that I already have the mouse.

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