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How to enable Device Discovery in Windows 11 Developer Mode

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In this post, we will help you with how to enable Device discovery in Windows 11 Developer Mode. The Device discovery feature helps to discover unmanaged devices such as mobile devices, network devices (like switches and routers), workstations, etc., which are not yet onboarded to Microsoft Defender for Endpoint. It also makes your device visible to other devices (local network and USB connections), so it can be paired with them. The feature is intended for developers’ development use. This guide is useful for those who want to turn on Device discovery on their Windows 11 PCs.

Do note that this feature requires version 1803 of the Windows 10 SDK or higher and you should enable it only if you want to make your PC a deployment target. In addition, you must be using an administrator account on your Windows 11 PC and before you can use this feature, you need to enable your device for development. Let’s see how it can be done.

How do I enable device for development in Windows?

To enable your device for development in Windows for using Device discovery, installing and running apps from outside the Microsoft Store locally, and other settings, you have to turn on or enable the Developer Mode. To do this, open the Settings app (Win+I), and select the System category. Access the For developers page from the right section. Use the toggle available for the Development Mode option to turn it on. A confirmation box (Use developer features) will open. Press the Yes button in that box.

How to enable Device Discovery in Windows 11 Developer Mode

Once the Developer Mode is turned on, you can turn on or enable Device discovery on your Windows 11 PC in two ways:

  1. Enable Device discovery in Windows 11 using the Settings app
  2. Enable Device discovery using the Registry Editor on Windows 11.

1] Enable Device discovery in Windows 11 using the Settings app

How to enable Device Discovery in Windows 11 Developer Mode

The steps to turn on Device discovery using the Settings app on Windows 11 are as follows:

  1. Right-click on the Start button and select the Settings option. This will open the Settings app of Windows 11
  2. Switch to the System category using the left section
  3. Select the For developers section on the right section
  4. Turn on the Device discovery option
  5. A pop-up will appear prompting you to install the Windows Developer Mode Package which is mandatory for using the Device discovery feature. Press the Yes button to confirm your action. Now wait for a few minutes till the Windows Developer Mode feature is installed
  6. Once the installation is completed, expand the Device discovery section
  7. Click on the Pair button.

You will get an alphanumeric code (SSH PIN) prompt for pairing the device with another discoverable device on the network.

pair your device using code

Use the Unpair button whenever you need to disconnect your Windows 11 device.

When you don’t need to use this feature, repeat the above steps and use the Device discovery toggle to turn it off.

Related: Enable or Disable Network Discovery or Sharing in Windows PC

2] Enable Device discovery using the Registry Editor on Windows 11

enable device discovery using registry

Before using this method, backup the Windows Registry so that you can restore it if something goes wrong. After this, carefully follow these steps to enable Device discovery using the Registry Editor on your Windows 11 system:

  • Open the Search box, type regedit, and hit Enter. This will open the Registry Editor window
  • Access the Parameters key which is available under the main HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE root key. Here is the path:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\debugregsvc\Parameters
  • Double-click on the DebugState DWORD (32-bit) Value. If you don’t find this key, then you can create a new DWORD (32-bit) Value and give DebugState name to that new value
  • In the Edit Value box, enter 1 in the Value data, and press the OK button

This will turn on the Device discovery option in the Settings app and now you can begin the pairing.

To turn off or disable Device discovery using the Registry Editor, enter 0 in the Value data of DebugState DWORD (32-bit) Value, and press OK.

That’s all.

Also read: PC won’t connect to internet but other devices will; Fix Windows connectivity issues

How do I enable developer options in Windows 11?

In Windows 11, there is a dedicated page named For developers in the Settings app to turn on the developer options. You can access that page from the System category. After that, you can enable developer options like the End Task option in the taskbar right-click menu to close non-responding programs, enable Remote Desktop, show empty drives in File Explorer, etc. However, for features like Device Portal and Device discovery, you first need to turn on the Development Mode, and then you can enable such developer options.

Read next: Stop or Allow this PC to access your mobile devices on Windows PC.

How to enable Device Discovery in Windows 11 Developer Mode



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