Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Show Hidden(Removed) Hardware in Windows 2008 / Vista

Today I came across an interstging delima when trying to install Exchange 2007 SP1 passive node on a Windows 2008 machine (actually VMware VM). I had mistakenly added vmxnet vNICs to the vm instead of adding old Intel e1000 vNICs thinking that these would perform better and faster as VMware KB suggested. Anyway, so I went through the normal process of removing the vmxnet vNICs from control panel in W2k8 and added my normal Intel e1000 assigning them IP addresses and other normal NIC settings.

However, when I tried to rename the Cluster Replication vNIC, it won't let me and would compalin that another vNIC adapter already exists with that name. I realized that I had renamed the original vmxnet card to the same name and wanted to be consistent on both nodes of the cluster. So, I decided to remvoe the old vNICs. I though it would be a simple straight forward process as I have done this many times when doing P2V and went into "Device Manager" and clicked on "Show Hidden Devices". But I couldn't see my old vmxnet cards anywhere.

Hold on, I had removed them earlier so they should not be there in the first place, right?

Well, that wasn't the case and OS was defintely seeing these while I could not.

Since, I didn't use the normal Hardware Removal wizard of Windows 2008 and just powered off the VM and removed the vNICs, they were marked as hidden in the OS. After searching for over an hour on Google, I finally came across Windows 2008 video which showed how to display hidden hardware in Windows 2008/Vista. This is pretty trikcy because in Windows 2003/XP this was very straight forward.

Since I didn't find this on any blog but instead in a video, I thought I would share this with others. You need to create a system variable in order to see the removed (hidden) devices in Windows 2008 / Vista.

Here are the steps you would perform in order to display hidden (removed) devices in Window 2008 / Vista.

1) Logon with an account that has local admin rights on the machine
2) Go to Control Panel --> System -->Advance System Settings --> Environment Variables
3) Under System Variables panel, click New
4) For Variable Name, enter devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices, and for Variable Value, enter 1
5) Click ok, ok and close out all windows.

You may need to restart the machine after creating this system variable. I didn't have to. Go to device manager and click on show hidden devices. Now you will see all devices that were removed from Windows 2008 are dimmed. You can select the device and remove it.

This time, it will be gone for good!

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