It always amazes me to discover just how much information Windows stores, regarding previous activity on the PC. We all know about stuff like your web browsing history, for example, and all those thousands of cookies associated with web sites. Thankfully, there are programs which can delete this information in order to help maintain your privacy.
But did you know that, buried deep within the OS, is a list of all the USB devices currently connected, as well as all the devices you've connected in the past? No, me neither. Well, not until I discovered a handy little utility from the ever-wonderful Nirosft, which extracts the information and displays it in a handy table.
The program is free, is a tiny download of less than 1 MB, runs under Windows XP and above (32- and 64-bit), and you can get it from http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/usb_devices_view.html. That's a rather long page, so note that the download links are near the bottom, just above the table of international language versions.
As you can see from the screen shot below, taken from my PC, you get the device description, its type (printer, camera, disk drive etc), whether it's currently connected, whether it's safe to unplug, whether it was connected via a USB hub, its drive letter, and (not shown below) the device's serial number. All of which is incredibly useful as a way of finding out whether someone's been using your PC without your knowledge, perhaps to copy files to an external device.
It's a handy troubleshooting tool too. Next time you ask "What did you change?", and your friend says "Nothing, honest", you can use USBDeview to prove that they recently installed a new printer!
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