Fixing “Devices and Printers” in Windows 7

A few week ago some things stopped working on my Windows 7 installation. The most annoying thing was that I could not safely remove my hardware anymore, no matter how often I clicked the icon, no pop-up menu would appear.
Opening the “Devices and Printers” window resulted in nothing but an empty window and an address-bar that kept indication that it was looking for something.
Since Bluetooth was relying on this Devices and Printers window, it of course stopped working too.

First I thought it was caused by VirtualBox, since it installed a driver to overtake USB devices, but removing VirtualBox and any remaining drivers didn’t resolve the problem. After looking for solutions and trying some things I decided to do something drastic: uninstall most devices and see how Windows reacts on it 😛 .
And it reacted pretty well to it. After rebooting the Devices and Printers window worked again until Windows started installing and configure my Bluetooth dongle, logic reaction: bluetooth isn’t fucked up by a faulty driver, Bluetooth is the fucked up device.
After checking my services list I noticed that I had set the “Bluetooth Support” startup type to manual. Started the service and all the problems are resolved.

This actually proves some things:
Windows 7 is not ready, or at least a troubleshoot pack should be made to fix this problem
OS’es become more complex, all components are interconnected and if one fails, everything fails
Don’t mess around with Vista/7 services, they became to sensitive and a change easily renders windows unbootable

//edit:
Condy posted an interesting method, curious if it works 🙂

condy writes: Want to see back your printer in the devices and printers? Just start your computer in safe mode and open the devices and printers there. Right click on the window. Set View to Large icon; Set sort by – name; Set group by – classification; then exit and restart your computer to normal mode. Open your devices and printer tab and all the devices including printers show up. Operating system Windows 7. Hope this helps because I experienced it.

This post was originally posted on my My.Opera blog on Sunday, August 2, 2009 11:03:49 AM. This post has been copied to my WordPress blog since the My.Opera blogging service will be discontinued.

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One thought on “Fixing “Devices and Printers” in Windows 7

  1. Thanks a lot !
    Starting the PC in safe mode as suggested is the only thing that worked for me.
    Playing with MS fixes, regedit, scannow, … was not working.
    You made my day 🙂

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