Devcon Overview

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Devcon.exe: Device Console Utility

This command-line tool brings many of the functions of Device Manager to the command window. Devcon enables, disables, installs, configures, and removes devices on the local computer and displays detailed information about devices on local and remote computers.

  • Display. Display the following properties of devices on local and remote computers:

    • Hardware IDs, compatible IDs, and instance IDs of devices

    • Device setup classes

    • The devices in a device setup class

    • Driver files

    • Driver nodes

    • Hardware resources

    • Status

    • Expected driver stack

  • Search. Search for installed and uninstalled devices on a local or remote computer by hardware ID, instance ID, or device setup class.

  • Change. Changes the status or configuration of Plug and Play devices on the local computer.

    • Enable

    • Disable

    • Update

    • Install

    • Remove

    • Rescan for Plug and Play devices

    • Change the upper and lower filter drivers for a device setup class

  • Restart. Restart a local device, restart (reboot) the local system on demand, or restart the local system, when required, for another Devcon operation.


  • To display help information for this tool, type the following at the command line:

    devcon /?

  • To display detailed help information for an operation, type the following at the command line:

    devcon /?operation

Corresponding UI

You can also use Device Manager, a Microsoft Management Console snap-in, to view and manage devices. Devcon and Device Manager perform many of the same functions and the tools can be used together and interchangeably.

To open Device Manager

  • Click Start, point to Programs, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Computer Management.

  • Expand the System Tools node and then click Device Manager.


  • Click Start and then click Run.

  • In the Run dialog box, type devmgmt.msc.

Open Device Manager now.


A device is a piece of equipment that is connected to the computer and controlled by its microprocessors. This category includes equipment built into the computer by the manufacturer and equipment added later. The operating system interacts with devices through customized software, such as device drivers and filters. The device environment also includes supporting resources, such as memory, DMA channels, and port addresses.

Most devices manufactured since 1995 are Plug and Play devices. Plug and Play devices are automatically installed and configured for use by plugging them in and are automatically uninstalled by unplugging them. The operating system can control almost all aspects of a Plug and Play device.

With the advent of Plug and Play technology, the tasks of installing, configuring and uninstalling devices are simplified and most user configuration is eliminated. However, developers, testers and support engineers often need to view and manipulate devices and their supporting software and resources.

Developers typically use Device Manager, the Windows Management Interface (WMI) procedures, or functions in the standard Windows APIs to view and configure devices. Devcon provides a relatively complete set of basic device handling functions available from the command line.

For more information on device drivers and device configuration, see the Windows Driver Development Kit.

System Requirements

The following are the system requirements for this tool:

  • Windows 2000 Professional, Windows 2000 Server, Windows XP Professional, or Windows Server 2003

  • To change the properties of device drivers, users must have the following permissions set. Administrators have these permissions.

    • Load\Unload Drivers (set in System Policy Editor, Computer Configuration\Windows Settings\Security Settings\Local Policies\User Rights Assignment).

    • Permission to copy files to the System32\Drivers directory (set in the file system directory).

    • Permission to write settings to the registry (set in Regedit.exe).

  • To install drivers, users must be logged on to an account in the Administrators group.


  • When users do not have the required permissions, Devcon displays a generic "devcon failed" message with no further explanation.

File Required

  • Devcon.exe

See Also


Devcon Remarks
Devcon Syntax
Devcon Examples
Alphabetical List of Tools
Pviewer Overview
Exctrlst Overview
Devcon Overview
Apmstat Overview