Ghost Devices & Drivers

How to make Ghost Devices and Drivers Visible in Device Manager
How to make Ghost Devices and Drivers used by Devices and Applications Visible in Device Manager.
Show All Ghost Devices & Drivers

This Tutorial will show how to make Ghost Devices you have removed from your Computer and Drivers used by programs Visible in Device Manager along with many other Ghost Devices and Drivers used by utilities and Applications within Vista, This will free up a bit of memory and stop any possible Conflicts between Devices while clearing out old devices that are no longer used.

Step 1
Right-Click Computer in your Start Menu and open Properties


Step 2
You can now see Basic Information about your Computer, on the left click Advanced System Settings


Step 3
You will now see a System Properties window automatically opened to the Advanced Tab, Just click the Environment Variables button located at the bottom.


Step 4
Under User Variables click New


Create a Variable name called devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices With a Variable Valve of 1


Click OK when Done.

Step 5

You will now see this entry appear under your User Variables at the top, Once you confirm it has been entered correctly just click OK on the Environment Variables Window then again on the System Properties Window.

Step 6
Open your Start-Menu again and right-click Computer and open Manage


Step 7
Select Device Manager found on the left, then at the top click View > Show Hidden Devices

warning   Warning

Do Not Delete any Generic Volume Shadow Copy Drivers or Non-Plug and Play Devices without Checking what their functions are or some programs and utilities will fail.

Step 7.jpg

Alternatively use this Simple Device Manager
You can now see ghost Drivers and Devices by expanding the Groups in Device Manager, They will appear faded compared to other drivers.


Your have now Successfully made hidden and unused Devices Visible in Device Manager.


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great tutorial saved me a lot of heart ache, my only problem is that it still does not help me. Let me explain, every so often my system close down unexpectedly. The sevice control manager shows a system failure with the following boot start or system-start driver failed to load " i8042prt", this is supposed to be driver controls for keyboard and PS/2 compatable mouse for the intel 8042 controler.
I am using a microsoft whireless multimedia keyboard 1.1 and optical mouse 2000.
in showing hidden devices, there are no groups to expand!!!!
can you point me in a direction to follow, i have windows vista buisness sp1 and office sbo 2007
The fault I get is so intermittent, it could be 1 month before it happens again. I will have to wait and see.
thank you for your quick reply


Vista Pro
This may not be the place for this issue, but since it is already started, I'll continue.
I have the same problem everytime I boot; the i8042prt driver fails to load. Running a bootlog confirms this failure, yet I can find the driver in the folder it is supposed to be. I have had it for a very long time, but I do not really think it is causing any problems. Would like to get rid of it at some point anyway. My guess is it appeared at a time I could not get my Bluetooth keybord to work when trying to log on. Had a PS2 keyboard and logged on with that; it has now gone for recycling and I am dependent on bluetooth. So, by today, I am a wizard on bluetooth keyboards, and always manage to log on, no matter what. Last time I got it running by hitting it with my head.

Anyway, ever since, I have had this error when starting. It has puzzled me, as I cannot find this driver for any of the 5 (!) mysterious keyboard entries I have in my Device Manager (2 HID Keyboard Devices, MS eHome MCIR 109 Keyboard, MS eHome MCIR Keyboard and MS eHome Remote Control Keyboard keys). None of them seem to be using the failing driver.

If I show the hidden devices in the Device Manager, an entry "Terminal Server Keyboard Driver" turns up under System Devices. This one use i.a. the i8042prt.sys driver. This also show in the dxdiag (thanks for the tutorials helping me find it).

So what is the "Terminal Server Keyboard Driver" and anybody having a suggestion how to fix the error?

alexanderd, are you still around, and did you find any solution?
thank you, thank you, thank you, this was driving me nuts. I couldn't get rid of old ghost router in devices and printers for the life of me. this worked beautifully on windows 7. question though. do I leave the new variable that I made during this process or go back in and delete that variable? thank you

oh man, I was just looking at all the ghost items. this computer used to have a amd radion graphics card on it, now I've installed a NVidia gtx. would it be ok to uninstall the ghost amd graphics card off of this computer you think?


Staff member
You're welcome.

Yes, you can safely delete the old AMD Radeon device since you no longer have it. :)