How to uninstall a device that is required to boot up the computer

Some devices cannot be easily uninstalled from the device management console. Pretty often this is the network cards and related hidden devices, such as WAN Miniport or Packet Scheduler. Windows does not allow to delete these devices. The following message appears:

In order to change the Windows opinion regarding this device you need to edit the registry. Open it up and search for the device name. We are looking for some registry keys located under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\

There are several keys named with just short numbers like 0001, 0002, etc. They contain the device parameters. Confirm that the driver description (DriverDesc) is the name of the device you want to uninstall. Take a look at the Characteristics value. 0x20 means that this device cannot be removed by the user. Just subtract 0x20 from the number you have over there and put the new number instead. In this case you would replace 0x29 with just 0x9.

You even do not need to restart the computer. Go back to the device manager and uninstall the device.

This is the list of all possible values for Characteristics

Hex Value Name Description
0x1 NCF_VIRTUAL Component is a virtual adapter.
0x2 NCF_SOFTWARE_ENUMERATED Component is a software-enumerated adapter.
0x4 NCF_PHYSICAL Component is a physical adapter.
0x8 NCF_HIDDEN Component should not be shown in any user interface.
0x10 NCF_NO_SERVICE Component does not have an associated service (device driver).
0x20 NCF_NOT_USER_ REMOVABLE Component cannot be removed by the user (for example, through Control Panel or Device Manager).
0x40 NCF_MULTIPORT_INSTANCED_ ADAPTER Component has multiple ports, each of which is installed as a separate device. Each port has its own hw-id (component ID) and can be individually installed. This is applicable only to EISA adapters. Windows XP and later operating systems do not support EISA adapters.
0x80 NCF_HAS_UI Component supports a user interface (for example, the Advanced Page or a custom properties sheet).
0x400 NCF_FILTER Component is a filter.
0x4000 NCF_NDIS_PROTOCOL Component requires the unload event that is provided by the binding engine to the NetTrans device setup class (typically used by filter Intermediate drivers which use the NetService device setup class).

4 Responses to How to uninstall a device that is required to boot up the computer

  1. BPalmer says:

    Thank you! I needed this and am glad you took the time to post it. Ended up that it was easier to search the registry for the description and then look for the Characteristics value.

  2. RichardDL says:

    This is very useful, fantastic. It takes persistence though, there was only one device showing on device manager, but lots of instances in the registry. I had to go to each of 30 and change 29 to 9 before it would let me uninstall. Someone had installed something that put some drivers in, and was stopping WiFi working. This fixed it. 🙂

  3. dan Land says:

    Thank you for the great information … helped me get some wayward drivers Out ‘a there. I discovered you can right click any regedit folder select permission … then click the “full control box, … may be a little faster then changing 2x to 0x. . and it seems to give the same effect as changing

  4. excellent thanks so much for this fix. Just got an old XP PC in to fix & removed McAfee to have it leave a miniport filter on blocking the net & this gave me the power to uninstall it, kudos my friend 😎

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