GhostBuster: remove ghosted devices on Windows

GhostBuster is a free portable open source program for Microsoft Windows devices to enumerate and remove so-called ghosted devices on the operating system. We reviewed GhostBuster back in 2012 for the first time.

A ghost device refers to a device that was connected to a Windows machine in the past but is no longer connected to it. Whenever you connect a new device to a Windows PC, Windows stores records of it in the Registry.

This can be a mouse or keyboard, a hard drive, computer monitor, or any other device.

These records remain on the system when you disconnect the device again and they are not removed automatically. While you can use the Windows Device Manager to remove individual items, programs like GhostBuster provide you with a better, easier to use interface.



You can run a portable version of GhostBuster or install it. The program enumerates all devices and highlights ghosted devices so that you can distinguish them from active devices right away.

Devices are grouped which improves accessibility. You can hide all active devices with a right-click and the selection of “hide unfiltered devices” from the context menu.

This makes it a lot easier to go through the list of ghosted devices before you decided what to do about them.

The right-click menu offers interesting options that help you analyze individual devices. You may use it to open the device properties which you may find useful as it reveals detailed information on the selected device which you may need to identify it properly.

device properties

Another option is to open the device’s entries in the Windows Registry.

The right-click menu lists options to add the selected device to the removal list. Other options include adding devices by class or wildcard.

GhostBuster lists the selected action under “match type” in the table. It is recommended that you check the “create System Restore checkpoint” option before you hit the “remove Ghosts” button. The action requires elevation but should complete without issues.

GhostBuster’s latest version supports additional features like the option to create a system restore point prior to removing devices from the system.

Closing Words

GhostBuster is a useful administrative tool for Windows to remove records of devices that you won’t connect to Windows again, to remove records of device connections, and to remove device information to start anew when you connect the device the next time to the Windows machine.

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