How To Enable a Device in Device Manager in Windows 7

A screenshot of the Driver tab for a device in Device Manager in Windows 7
Enable Hardware Device in Windows 7.

Every hardware device listed in Device Manager must be enabled to be used by Windows 7.

If the hardware shows up in Device Manager it means that Windows 7 recognizes that it exists in your computer. However, if it's not enabled, Windows can't assign system resources to it and thus won't be able to use it.

Windows 7 will tell you about hardware that is not enabled by showing a black arrow in Device Manager next to the disabled hardware.

Disabled devices also generate a Code 22 error in Device Manager.

Follow these easy steps to enable a device from within Device Manager in Windows 7:

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: Enabling a hardware device in Device Manager in Windows 7 usually takes a few minutes

Here's How:

  1. Open Device Manager from the Windows 7 Control Panel.

    Note: There are several other ways of opening the Windows 7 Device Manager in addition to doing so via Control Panel. It's the exact same Device Manager no matter how you get to it but you may find it easier to access it using one of these other methods.

  2. With Device Manager now open, locate the hardware device you want to enable.

    Note: Navigate through the categories of hardware devices by clicking the > icon. Specific hardware devices are listed under the major hardware categories.

  3. After finding the hardware you're looking for, right click on the hardware's name or icon and click on Properties.

  1. In this Properties window, click the Driver tab.

  2. Now click the Enable button.

  3. Click OK.

    This device should now be enabled.

  4. You should now be returned to the main Device Manager window and the black arrow should be gone.

    If a yellow exclamation point appears after the black arrow disappears, you should troubleshoot that issue separately. The yellow exclamation point is a different kind of warning concerning your hardware's configuration.

    Note: You can verify that the hardware should be working properly by checking the device status in Device Manager.


    1. Not a Windows 7 user? See How to Enable a Device in Device Manager in Windows for links to steps specific for your operating system.