I call it superstition, but it is believed that sometimes dead people turn into ghosts. The same thing happens to your devices when they are removed from your PC. The actual devices are removed physically from your PC, but they leave traces of presence behind in Windows registry and system files – turning them into ghosted devices. Thanks to a freeware called GhostBuster, now you can detect and remove the ghosted devices from your system easily.
GhostBuster is a simple and easy to use Windows application that scans your Windows registry for ghosted devices, shows them to you and allows you to remove them if you want. You can download GhostBuster from its CodePlex page. The download is available both as an installer and a portable application. After the installation, you can run it from its Start Menu shortcut.
When GhostBuster runs, it automatically scans your Windows registry for installed devices. If the devices are not attached to your system or removed, then it displays them in the almond color row and labels them as Ghosted. If the devices are connected to your PC, then they are displayed with an Ok status. Some of the peripherals which are installed but not powered on (for example, your printer or scanner) are also shown as Ghosted.
Before you attempt to remove the ghosted devices, you should check the checkbox labeled Create System Restore Point so that all the changes that GhostBuster makes can be rolled back if required. To remove the ghosted devices, right-click on them and select Add Device from the context menu as shown in the following picture.
The row color of the devices would become darker and those devices would be selected for removal. After you have selected all the ghosted devices that you wish to remove, you can click on the button Remove Ghosts to proceed and remove them. The selected devices shall be removed from the registry and it would show them in the purple color with REMOVED status.
GhostBuster is a nifty tool that can be used to remove the ghosted devices from your PC. This is very helpful when you try to update the drivers of your computer hardware as the older (ghosted) devices do not interfere during driver update if the they are removed first. This also can be used to remove the references of USB keys or mobile phones ever connected to your PC for the privacy reasons.
You can download GhostBuster from http://ghostbuster.codeplex.com/ .