Hardware profiles overview
A hardware profile is a set of instructions that tells Windows which devices to start when you start your computer or which settings to use for each device. When you first install Windows, a hardware profile called Profile 1 (for laptops, the profiles are Docked Profile or Undocked Profile) is created. By default, every device that is installed on your computer at the time you install Windows is enabled in the Profile 1 hardware profile.
Hardware profiles are especially useful if you have a portable computer. Most portable computers are used in a variety of locations, and hardware profiles will let you change which devices your computer uses when you move it from location to location. For example, you may have one profile named Docking Station Configuration for using your portable computer at a docking station with hardware components such as a CD-ROM drive and a network adapter And you may have a second profile named Undocked Configuration for using your portable computer in a hotel or on an airplane, when you are not using a network adapter or a CD-ROM but you are using a modem and a portable printer.
If there is more than one hardware profile on your computer, you can designate a default profile that will be used every time you start your computer. You can also have Windows ask you which profile to use every time you start your computer. Once you create a hardware profile, you can use Device Manager to disable and enable devices that are in the profile. When you disable a device in a hardware profile, the device drivers for the device are not loaded when you start your computer. For more information, click Related Topics.