I have a Dell OptiPlex 790 tower running Windows 7. When I go to the "Devices and Printers" control panel, and right-click my computer's name, it says under Device Information, "Categories: Laptop computer".

Why has it determined that my computer is a laptop? Does this effect anything other than the icon there?

  • I didn't even know that dialog existed! A few similar questions from a quick Google basically say try updating the chipset drivers, or ask Dell. Personally, I don't think it has any effect on the PC at all. – Grim Aug 8 '14 at 18:32

This is an old and absolutely harmless bug in Windows.

To my great surprise I discovered that I have the same problem on my own Dell desktop.

I have therefore found and used this old Fixit (using IE) dating from 2011, but which fixed the problem and transformed my computer from "Laptop computer" into "Tower computer" :
On Windows 7 icons for WSD devices may show up incorrectly as a different class under Devices and Printers.
This article does not mention any side-effects of this bug, so this wrong icon seems to be the only side-effect of this bug, limited to Devices and Printers.

If you don't like the icon that Windows assigns to your computer, and frankly the "Tower computer" image that I now have looks more like an external hard disk, you could follow this advice :
Windows 7: Devices and Printers - Change Device Icons with Custom Icons.


My own recommendation is to leave this alone - the "Laptop computer" icon is much nicer.

  • Yep, that fixed it. I don't believe the "cause" they give applies in my situation--my computer had a clean Windows installation done long after 2010. I have many other computers in my organization with the same problem. I'm marking this as an answer, but I'm still in search of the cause--the "why" part of my question. – Jason Aug 11 '14 at 15:23
  • If I had one cent for every "why" I asked about Windows ... – harrymc Aug 11 '14 at 15:52

I can answer half of this now.

The category comes from the DeviceInfo XML Schema (DeviceInfo.xml file) and "device-related user interfaces in Windows display this detailed information to users". This implies it's for the GUI only, and not used by the system for anything.

But it doesn't explain why it's using the wrong category, or where my computer's DeviceInfo.xml file came from.

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