Drivers – Device Access / Lock for Windows users – How does it work? Is it configurable?


An application that I use will listen on a serial port and use a video capture card.
If I leave that application open and change the users to start it again, that other user will not have access to the serial port and the video capture card. It seems to be blocked by the first user, still registered.

This implies that the operating system will limit access to certain devices * to the first users who use the device.

* When I say devices I mean hardware devices as shown in the device manager, ie capture cards, video capture cards, etc.


  • Where does this limitation exist? Is it in Windows (kernel?) – level or application level?
  • How does access control to this device work in Windows if it is implemented by the operating system?
  • Where can I read about this?
  • Can I deactivate it completely?
  • Can I, as a local administrator, take control of a user's device without killing the application that uses it?


I know it would be easier to make sure the application does not open twice. Still, it would be useful to have a deeper understanding of why the device can not be used by both instances or, alternatively, if I can have a second instance remove the devices from the first.