How can I view my devices based on how they are connected to each other?

Raymond Chen

More than once, someone mentioned to me that one feature they really want to see in Windows is the ability to view the devices in the system and how they are connected to each other.

It turns out this feature has existed since the first version of Device Manager back in 1995. It’s just that people don’t know about it.

In Device Manager, go to the View menu and select View by connection. This reorganizes the display so that the structure reflects how the various devices are connected to each other.


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  • Matthew van Eerde (^_^)Microsoft employee 0

    Also useful is “View > Devices by container” which lets you see all the functionality exposed by a given peripheral.

  • Mystery Man 0

    I’ve heard that too. But I’ve also got the impression that nobody considers what Device Manager shows a list of devices. At best, they think of them as a list of geeky stuff related to their devices. After all, they are certain that no matter hard they look on their hardware, among all those chips, circuits, and sockets, there is no such thing as “RRAS Root Enumerator”. In fact, if you ask people to write a list of the devices connected to their computers, nobody would list CPU or RAM.

    I remember a presenter once pointed at the Control Panel’s “Devices and Printers” and asked: Aren’t printers devices?

    When the customers have System Information (msinfo32.exe) but use dxdiag.exe or install Speccy for the same purpose, it’s high time you suspect that you and your customers are not on the same page.

  • Kalle Niemitalo 0

    Translation and Windows mentions an internal nickname for “Show Devices by Connection”.

  • Neil Rashbrook 0

    Occasionally I have felt the need to identify how a disconnected device used to be connected, but Device Manager doesn’t know that, it can only show you current connections.

    • 紅樓鍮 0

      Have you tried View → Show hidden devices?

      • Neil Rashbrook 0

        Huh, they actually fixed it to show where they were last connected. I guess it’s been that long since I last had to open Device Manager… you don’t even have to use `DEVMGR_SHOW_NONPRESENT_DEVICES=1` any more.

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