Device Manager is part of the Microsoft Management Console, and it is used for monitoring and managing any attached hardware, for troubleshooting and to gain better visibility and control. With device manager, you can gain a centralized view of all hardware recognized by Microsoft on your computer.


If you’re looking to gain a more comprehensive view of all hardware, software, updates and patch management needs – you’re looking for a smart, all-in-one RMM – just like Atera. Keep reading to learn about how to use Device Manager, and what Atera could add to the mix.


What do I use Device Manager for?


Device Manager has been around since 1995, and it will give you a single centralized view of all the hardware attached to your machine. This information will be categorized into sections, for example disk drives, HID devices, keyboards, modems, network adapters, processors or system devices and USB drives. Check out this full list of the categories used by Device Manager, and a bit about what goes in each one. Device Manager is totally free and comes as standard with Windows. You don’t need to download anything extra, and you can give it a try and see how it works out for you.


To get to Device Manager, simply click on the windows key + X and the Power Users Task Menu will pop up from the bottom of your screen. Here you can just choose the line item that says Device Manager, and the screen will be triggered automatically, showing you the list of categories for you to drill down into.


There are other ways to access Device Manager too, such as using the Control Panel, checking under Devices and Printers in Windows 10 and Windows 8, and using the System toolbar in Windows 7. It’s also found under Administrative Tools. Like all applications there is also a simple Command Prompt command for opening Device Manager. In this case, the command is “devmgmt.msc.”. Just enter this into Command Prompt, and the Device Manager will open automatically.


When there is a problem with any of your devices, you will be able to see this using Device Manager, plus ascertain exactly what’s wrong with each device. In some versions, the yellow exclamation mark may show you that Windows has found an error, and in all cases, error codes are used to explain more about the problem. If you see a black arrow by any device, this means it has been disabled altogether, perhaps by a user, or it could also have happened as a result of an error. By double clicking on any device, you’ll be able to read details such as driver information, error messages, or power management.


How do I read the error codes on Device Manager?


Each of the numerical error codes on Device Manager has a different meaning, and will be accompanied by a message that explains the error in more detail. For example, when error 3 shows, you will also see the message “The driver for this device may be corrupted, or the system may be running low on memory.” You can find a full list of error codes here.


What are the main advantages to using Device Manager?


Most people use device manager as one of their first ports of call when there is a problem. Let’s say a network adapter isn’t behaving how they would expect – they can check Device Manager and see if any issue has been flagged. It’s a no-risk first step to see if Windows has any additional information that can help with troubleshooting.


It’s also easy to use, as a single centralized place that all the hardware attached to the system can be configured and monitored from. Remember, it will only show you Windows-recognized hardware that has been installed on the system for that device. For example, you might have an older hard drive or USB that Windows may not recognize, and devices need to be connected.


IT pros within IT departments and MSPs can use Device Manager to change hardware configurations, manage hardware like drivers and printers, and enable new hardware, disabling where necessary, too. If there are any issues occurring with your hardware, Device Manager is often an easy way to find and resolve issues.


Let Atera take the idea of Device Manager to the next level


With Atera, you can gain a centralized view of not only Windows-approved hardware, but all hardware and software in your IT environment, across an entire customer network.


Instead of needing to check the Device Manager, you’ll be automatically alerted to any issues from the Atera dashboard, and you can use Atera agents to monitor all devices and to view their status at any time. From within the Agent Console you can see a whole lot of information about each device, including hardware alerts, disk alerts, availability and performance alerts. These are also synced with patch management and updates, so that in a single click you can ensure all devices are up to date and secure.


With incisive visibility and control, you can track which technicians are working on which devices, customize alerts to the right staff members and to ensure that you’re getting your priorities straight for the necessary items, in the context of the customer or IT use case.


Atera also allows you to access commands and applications that will manage the device directly – the same commands you use every day, like PowerShell and Command Prompt, File Transfer, HelpDesk Agent, and Task Manager, all from within Atera. It really is so much more than just information at your fingertips – it’s control too, and the simplest way to manage your Windows environment, without any blind spots or gaps.


And here’s one of our favorite IT jokes about PowerShell: “Why did the PowerShell script cross the road? To automate the chicken’s tasks, of course!”


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