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  1. #1
    Star Lounger beachboybogart's Avatar
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    Are Windows' drivers accessible for backup?

    What I've often wondered is, where does Windows keep all its installed drivers, and are they accessible for backing up manually? In Device Manager, it's easy to point at a folder to install loose (that is, not .exe) files, and if I could save a folder of installed drivers, that would help me accomplish a lot of things and save a lot of times.

    I use DriverMax, a subscription software. It finds drivers for just about everything, and they are vetted by a huge group of users. I do computer builds and repairs, so the service is invaluable. It also backs up all your drivers, but when I have to replace a bad hard drive, that's not possible of course.

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    The actual driver files usually consist of an INF and a DLL/SYS or two, but once installed there is no easy way to get them out again or identify them easily for backup. All you can do is save the files before you install them.

    I have never used an automated driver updater, I prefer to use the Vendor/Device IDs from Device Manager and working from there you can find corresponding references in the INF file of the correct driver.

    cheers, Paul

  3. #3
    Star Lounger beachboybogart's Avatar
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    Hey, Paul: I used to also do the Vendor/ID trick, but my driver tool is far faster and superior in that regard. It is one of the very few things I will actually pay a yearly fee for.
    But as to your first point, how do you save them? Are they all in a folder somewhere that can be backed up, and then use Device Manager to get at them? Or are you talking about identifying them first, used the device IDs.

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    I have a wireless driver saved in my Downloads folder so that I can do a fresh install of it without having to download first.

    If you save them to there, then you can copy them onto a suitably sized USB stick - putting them into relevant folders, say for Realtek, Intel etc.

    I used to use the free Slimdrivers to identify if any were out of date, but found when using the program to update, it wasn't updating to what it was giving as a later driver at all.

    I continued to use it for a while and then would go to the vendors sites for the update, but generally my Win 7 ones are up to date and I only reinstall if any become buggy rather than looking for updates all of the time.

    IObit has a freebie updater but I think it's best to go to the vendor sites for the updates.

  5. #5
    Star Lounger beachboybogart's Avatar
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    Sudo, as I mentioned, I do computer repairs, so I'm talking about other people's PCs, not my own. So there is no way with a ruined Windows install to save drivers. If I have a system that is still functioning, I run DriverMax to back up all the drivers. BUT most PC's drivers are so out of date that I need to get new ones anyway... and the program does that for me as well.

    So if there was a folder with everything in it, I could just back that folder up. If it was just me, I wouldn't really care.

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    Silver Lounger wavy's Avatar
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    I do not see the purpose of that type of service for the average user. Most people have just a couple of devices that need drivers and if it ain't broke don't fix applies here. For someone who works on other folks computers it can be a time saver. I used one for a while when I was trying to put XP on my Vista laptop (unsuccessfully) but that is the only time.


    David

    Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.

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    The drivers end up in Windows and System/32 folders, so no easy way to collect them together.

    cheers, Paul

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    Quote Originally Posted by beachboybogart View Post
    Sudo, as I mentioned, I do computer repairs, so I'm talking about other people's PCs, not my own. So there is no way with a ruined Windows install to save drivers. If I have a system that is still functioning, I run DriverMax to back up all the drivers. BUT most PC's drivers are so out of date that I need to get new ones anyway... and the program does that for me as well.

    So if there was a folder with everything in it, I could just back that folder up. If it was just me, I wouldn't really care.
    In System32 there are three Drivers folders that you could back up and then just copy them back after the repair.
    Last edited by Sudo15; 2015-10-23 at 13:46.

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    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    Driver backup - http://sourceforge.net/projects/drvback/
    will backup and restore your drivers.

    Jerry

  10. #10
    Star Lounger beachboybogart's Avatar
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    Thanks, Jerry, but not the topic.

  11. #11
    jwoods
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    Windows Secrets Newsletter columnist Fred Langa recommends the following approach to updating drivers...

    "Some drivers do need to be updated, but not as often as you might think. Generally, I recommend that you update drivers in either of these two circumstances: if you’re encountering a driver-specific problem — crashes, malfunctions, or similar serious errors — or if you learn of a security problem with a driver you’ve previously installed. (You might also, very rarely, install updated drivers to add new features.)

    Most other driver updates (including those offered by Windows Update) do little or nothing to improve the operation of existing hardware that’s already running fine. Sometimes they actually make things worse."


    Good advice from someone who has been building and repairing systems for a long time.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sudo15 View Post
    In System32 there are three Drivers folders that you could back up and then just copy them back after the repair.
    Does this address your topic ?

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    The problem with backup post install is there may be files in several locations and obtaining those and the installation routines - usually in the INF file - may not occur via a straight file / folder copy.

    cheers, Paul

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    WS Lounge VIP Calimanco's Avatar
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    Try Driver Magician Lite. The free portable version backs up all installed drivers to a remote location of your choice.

    http://www.drivermagician.com/Lite.htm

  15. #15
    Silver Lounger wavy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Calimanco View Post
    Try Driver Magician Lite. The free portable version backs up all installed drivers to a remote location of your choice.

    http://www.drivermagician.com/Lite.htm
    Looks like the lite version does not allow restore.


    David

    Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.

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