Notebook Tip: Disable Hardware that you do not use

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 20, 2007
Updated • Mar 2, 2014
Mobile Computing

Most notebooks have several hardware components installed that are not used by the user. A notebook with WLAN and network adapter support for instance and a user that only uses WLAN to connect to a network and the Internet.

Every component installed is using battery and it may be a wise step to disable components that are not used - ever, or only in certain situations to save power.

The Wlan - Network Card example was just one possibility. Many notebooks have a card reader, DVD drive, webcams and V.90 Modems among other components.

My notebook for example offers both Wlan and LAN access and I have disabled the network card which had the positive side effect that it reduced the boot time of my notebook. Another example that I can give you is if you use a laptop as a desktop replacement that is connected via network card to a router. If your network connection is cable-bound, you do not really need Wi-Fi enabled all the time, or at all.

I disabled the card reader and the internal modem as well because I never use those components. The DVD drive is disabled as well most of the time because I rarely use it. I don't have the necessary test equipment to test the battery usage before and after disabling the components but I can verify that the Windows boot process is faster than before.

Update: Mobile devices sometimes ship with two video cards, an onboard card for 2D and a more powerful card for 3D applications and more resource intensive tasks like video editing. It may make sense to disable the more powerful card if you rarely use it, or even disable it permanently if you do not require it.

Note that you can disable hardware temporarily as well which may help you a lot when the mobile device is running on battery for instance.

disable hardware devices windows

So how do you disable hardware in Windows? You do it the following way:

  • Use the shortcut Windows-Pause to open the System Control Panel.
  • Select Device Manager from the left sidebar menu (this is on Windows 7, other versions of Windows may differ).
  • This opens the list of hardware installed on your system.
  • Right-click on a device that you want to disable, and select disable from the context menu to do so.

To enable a device at any point in time, repeat the steps and select enable from the context menu again instead of disable.


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  1. Martin said on December 21, 2007 at 1:59 am

    Some can also be disabled in the Bios but generally I meant the Device Manager yes.

  2. marsflip said on December 21, 2007 at 1:57 am

    By disabling, I take it you mean from the device manager – perhaps you could make it clearer in your post.

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