Discovering Hardware IDs and Device Setup Classes for your Devices

Applies To: Windows Server 2008

Windows identifies devices and the setup classes they belong to by using a special set of identifiers. These identifiers are used to match hardware devices with the device drivers that allow them to communicate with Windows.

For the administrator, they can be used with Group Policy to specify what devices can or cannot be installed by a standard user. By default, Windows allows all device setup classes and device IDs. You can choose to block only those devices that you want to prohibit on computers in your organization. You can alternatively choose to block all device installations, and then identify the device setup classes or device IDs for only those devices that you want your users to be able to install.

One or more device IDs are assigned to a device by its manufacturer. One of them, the hardware ID, is very specific - down to the make, model, and even the firmware version of the device. Other device IDs are also assigned, and are more generic, with the IDs possibly being assigned to other devices from the manufacturer that are compatible at some level. Others might be so generic that they can represent every device of that type from any manufacturer. If you choose to allow or block a device based on its device ID, you can be very specific or very general by choosing which device ID to block or allow. Every device that is assigned the same device ID will be affected by the policy.

Device Setup Classes are assigned based on the type of device and the installer functions it requires. Device setup classes have a text based "friendly" name, as well as a globally unique ID (GUID), which is a long number similar to:


The procedures in this task assist you in discovering the identifiers for your device so that you can use Group Policy to allow or prevent their installation effectively.

To complete this task, perform the following procedures:

  1. Determine the Hardware IDs for Your Device

  2. Determine the Device Setup Class for Your Device