Windows’ Device Manager is basically a tool that lets you identify all hardware that is connected, or a part of, your computer. It is useful for a number of things, from managing drivers, be it updating them or rolling them back, and even uninstalling them, to enabling and disabling specific devices you need or don’t need at any given time.
However, there is an odd situation in which an Unknown Device shows up in the Device Manager. It is a device that Windows isn’t able to identify, and therefore can’t find a driver for it. In the vast majority of such cases, it will render your device useless. You can see that a device has been marked as Unknown by the yellow exclamation mark in front of the name.
If you find yourself in a situation where you have a device that Windows doesn’t want to identify, there is, fortunately, a way for you to manually find the driver and install it yourself. After doing this, you will be able to use the device the way it was intended to be used.
Find the device driver using the Hardware ID
- Open Device Manager by pressing the Windows key on your keyboard and typing Device Manager, then open the result. You will be presented with a list of devices attached to your system, and you will notice the Unknown Device with a yellow exclamation mark.
- Once you’ve found the device, right-click it, and select Properties from the dropdown menu. In the window that opens, head to the Details tab. Select Hardware Ids from the Property menu.
- The first value is the Hardware ID of the device. What you should do is take the ID, copy it and do an online search for it. The Hardware ID is used by the product’s manufacturer to be able to identify its device in the sea of hardware, and consequently, you can use it to do the same as well. You should have your device and its manufacturer as a result of the search. From the manufacturer’s website, download the driver for your correct operating system.
- After downloading the drivers, head to your Downloads folder, find the setup file and install them. When the wizard is done installing, reboot your system for the changes to take effect. Your device should be fully functional now and won’t be listed as an Unknown Device anymore.
Having an unknown device pop up in the Device Manager can scare you, but it is nothing more than Windows not recognizing a device. Sometimes a simple reboot can solve this, but you’re far better off by installing the drivers yourself, as this will ensure that you don’t get the error again. Just follow the instructions mentioned above and you will have your device up and running in no time.