Identify Unknown Devices In Device Manager Using Vendor ID & Device ID

by Abhishek Bhatnagar on May 27, 2010

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Many times when we do a fresh install of Windows operating system on a new computer, there are devices which are not installed automatically. These devices need device drivers to work properly. Until these devices are correctly identified and drives are installed, these devices show up as unknown devices in Device Manager in Windows and display a yellow exclamation mark.

device manager 

We recommend that before you re-install Windows on your computer, take a backup of the device drivers if its possible. You can use Free Driver Backup Tool or Double Driver Tool for taking a drivers backup. It will save you from a lot of effort which goes into locating and installing correct device drivers. If by any chance you are not able to take a driver backup, you need to identify the unknown devices and install drivers for them later.

In this post I will share a simple method to identify the unknown devices so that you can locate the correct drivers for those devices online.

We have already reviewed many tools which can identify the unknown devices. These tools include Unknown Device Identifier and Unknown Devices Tool. There are free tools which will directly suggest drivers for these devices, these tools include – 3D ChipDriver Easy, but in many cases these tools don’t work because they don’t cover all devices. To identify such unknown devices, follow these simple steps :

1. Press “Windows Ker + R” or  Start > Run to launch Run Prompt. At the Run Prompt, type “devmgmt.msc” and press enter to launch Device Manager.

run-device-manager

2. On Device Manager Screen, Locate the unknown device with yellow Exclamation mark, right click on it and click Properties.

device-properties

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3. On Device Properties Window, click on Details tab and select Hardware Ids from the drop down menu option.

device-details-hrdware-properties

4. On the Hardware Ids screen, note down the VEN and DEV ids of this unknown device. VEN is the vendor id and DEV is the device id. Combination of these two can identify a device very accurately. For example in the snapshot below, the vendor id is  1180 and device id is 0843. There is more information like sub-system id and revision etc, but usually, VEN and DEV ids are sufficient to identify a computer component.

device-driver-details

5. Open the website – www.pcidatabase.com, this website contains an exhaustive database of PCI device manufacturers and devices. At this website, enter the VEN code and search the vendor name as seen below:

vendor-id-search

6. The search results will show you the vendor name. Now click the vendor name link to see the devices by the vendor and locate your device there. For example, in my case, the vendor id 1180 corresponds to Ricoh.

 Vendor-id-search-result

7. When I click Ricoh on the above page, it takes me to the devices page for this vendor. My device id is 0843, which can be located on this page. Now I know that the device is a Ricoh SD/MMC Host Controller. Once I know which device is it, I can got to the manufacturer’s website and download the required device drivers and install them manually.

locate-device-id

This type of device search is very useful when the plug and play drivers are not present and you are not sure which device is there on the unknown list. Many a times, driver scanning softwares also miss some of the devices. Hope you find this tutorial easy to follow. Leave your comments and suggestions.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

sarah May 27, 2010 at 6:20 pm

thank you for this tutorial … in fact it was very helpful for me since i don’t have enough information about device manager and how to install the correct device driver for my pc

again thank you for help
all thanks

Unknown December 23, 2010 at 4:21 am

Thank you very much!
That was an awesome tutorial an hint how to solve it.
This is one of the more useful things i have learned in a while!

Justin Kuzara January 16, 2011 at 5:30 am

i have an hp a1540n media center and just got done installing a new graphics card ( GT 240) and 400W power supply. now im missing the audio drivers. Mt device id and vendor id do not exist on this web site.
vendor id: 10DE
Device id: 000D
please help this entire installation was plagued with problems, i had to retun 2 graphics cards and the drivers were a pain to install for this one. I just wont it to work already

Dnareb July 12, 2011 at 6:20 pm

@Justin.

Go to the website of HP and look up you computer there, it should display all the drivers you need, that came with the system.

Bman November 5, 2011 at 2:17 am

I have been doing this for YEARS and did not know this.
Thanks Guys!

burriquitto January 29, 2012 at 2:13 pm

This is so awesome thank you very much!!!

Musa Kazim March 3, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Oh! it’s really great and fantastic and very easy to follow for anyone i don’t know that method of finding unknown devices rather than this i was thinking like to search for unknown devices by using a software but that’s really appreciateable and knowledgable and informative and creative way because the thing is that you should also know that how to do this by yourself not just by using any software which people think it’s very easy i was also included in that people but now i am not and i am by heart very thankful to you because i learnt a new thing today and it is just by you thanks again

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