Hiding Devices from Device Manager

By default, Device Manager shows the state of every device on a computer. In some situations, you might want to prevent certain devices from appearing in Device Manager. For example, a motherboard might have a CardBus controller with a slot that is not user-accessible. Because the user cannot use the slot, you do not want Device Manager to display any information about the device.

To hide a device in Device Manager, you can mark the device as a hidden device. Typically, Device Manager does not display hidden devices. (Note, however, that users can override this setting and display all devices within Device Manager, even hidden ones. For more information about how to override this setting, see Viewing Hidden Devices.)

There are three ways to mark your device as hidden: during installation, within the device's driver, or by using the ACPI BIOS.

Hiding Devices During Installation

There are two ways to mark a device as hidden within its INF file:

  • The device's INF file can specify a pre-existing device setup class that is marked as NoDisplayClass in the INF file. Some device setup classes that are included with the operating system, such as printers, are marked as NoDisplayClass.

  • You can also create a new custom device setup class in the device's INF file. To mark the class as NoDisplayClass, include a ClassInstall32INF AddReg section in the INF file. Use this section to set the NoDisplayClass registry key to 1.

Hiding Devices from Within a Driver

Drivers have two ways to mark a driver as hidden:

  • A function driver or function filter driver can ask the operating system to hide a successfully started device by responding to the IRP_MN_QUERY_PNP_DEVICE_STATE IRP. When the IRP arrives, the driver must set the PNP_DEVICE_DONT_DISPLAY_UI bit in IoStatus.Information to TRUE in the driver's dispatch routine.

  • On Windows XP and later versions of the Windows operating systems, a bus driver or bus filter driver can hide any device, started or otherwise, by responding to the IRP_MN_QUERY_CAPABILITIES IRP. When the IRP arrives, the driver must set the Parameters.DeviceCapabilities.NoDisplayInUI member to TRUE in the driver's dispatch routine. In some cases, a bus filter driver might have to set this bit in a completion routine. This extra step is required when the underlying bus driver's dispatch routine incorrectly clears all capability fields that other drivers set.

Hiding Devices By Using the ACPI BIOS

You can mark a device as hidden in the ACPI BIOS. The BIOS can expose a _STA method for the device. The _STA method returns a bitmask. Bit 2 (mask 0x4) specifies whether Device Manager should make the device visible by default. This bit should be 1 if the device should be made visible and 0 otherwise.

For example, the following code example shows how a USB controller on the root bus would be hidden.


Device(PCI0) // Root PCI bus
_HID *PNP0A03 
...
    Device(UCTL)  // USB controller
    _ADR 0xddddffff // dddd = device, ffff = function
    _STA 0xB // Device present, but not shown

In Microsoft Windows 2000, you can hide only started, working devices. In Windows XP and later versions of Windows, you can also hide broken devices. Bit 3 (mask 0x8) that is returned by the _STA method indicates whether a device is working properly. This bit is 1 if the device is working properly and is 0 otherwise. For example, the following code example shows how a BIOS would indicate a USB controller is broken and should be hidden:


Device(PCI0) // Root PCI bus 
_HID *PNP0A03 
...
    Device(UCTL) // USB controller
    _ADR 0xddddffff //  dddd = device, ffff = function
    _STA 0x3 // Present, but broken and not shown 

Note   The "decoding" bit (0x2) does not have any relevance for devices that are described through _ADR methods. The previous code examples also work without the decoding bit set. BIOS writers must track the decoding state only for devices that are described through _HID methods.

 

 

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