Backup and Restore Backup and Restore Device Drivers in Windows 11


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Device_Manager_banner.png

If you clean install Windows, you will need to install drivers for each device in the system. Some of these device drivers may no longer be available from the manufacturer, or you misplaced a backup of the driver installation file from the manufacturer.

It would be a good idea to back up your device drivers before doing a clean install to make it easy to restore any of these drivers as needed afterwards.

This tutorial will show you how to back up and restore all 3rd party device drivers on your Windows 10 and Windows 11 PC.


You must be signed in as an administrator to backup and restore drivers.



Contents

  • Option One: Back Up All Device Drivers using DISM Command
  • Option Two: Back Up All Device Drivers using pnputil Command
  • Option Three: Back Up All Device Drivers using Export-WindowsDriver Command
  • Option Four: Restore Device Driver in Device Manager
  • Option Five: Restore All Device Drivers using pnputil Command




Option One

Back Up All Device Drivers using DISM Command



1 Open Windows Terminal (Admin), and select either Windows PowerShell or Command Prompt.

2 Type the command below into Windows Terminal (Admin), and press Enter. (see screenshots below)

dism /online /export-driver /destination:"full path of folder"

Substitute full path of folder in the command above with the actual full path of the already existing folder (ex: "C:\Users\Brink\Desktop\My Drivers") you want to export all 3rd party device drivers into. If this folder doesn't currently exist, you will need to create it first before running the command.

For example: dism /online /export-driver /destination:"C:\Users\Brink\Desktop\My Drivers"


3 When exporting has finished, you can close Windows Terminal (Admin) if you like.

Backup_drivers_with_DISM_command-1.png
Backup_drivers_with_DISM_command-2.png





Option Two

Back Up All Device Drivers using pnputil Command



1 Open Windows Terminal (Admin), and select either Windows PowerShell or Command Prompt.

2 Type the command below into Windows Terminal (Admin), and press Enter. (see screenshots below)

pnputil /export-driver * "full path of folder"

Substitute full path of folder in the command above with the actual full path of the already existing folder (ex: "C:\Users\Brink\Desktop\My Drivers") you want to export all 3rd party device drivers into. If this folder doesn't currently exist, you will need to create it first before running the command.

For example: pnputil /export-driver * "C:\Users\Brink\Desktop\My Drivers"


3 When exporting has finished, you can close Windows Terminal (Admin) if you like.

Backup_drivers_with_pnputil_command-1.png
Backup_drivers_with_pnputil_command-2.png





Option Three

Back Up All Device Drivers using Export-WindowsDriver Command



1 Open Windows Terminal (Admin), and select Windows PowerShell.

2 Type the command below into Windows Terminal (Admin), and press Enter. (see screenshots below).

Export-WindowsDriver -Online -Destination "full path of folder"

Substitute full path of folder in the command above with the actual full path of the already existing folder (ex: "C:\Users\Brink\Desktop\My Drivers") you want to export all 3rd party device drivers into. If this folder doesn't currently exist, you will need to create it first before running the command.

For example: Export-WindowsDriver -Online -Destination "C:\Users\Brink\Desktop\My Drivers"


3 When exporting has finished, you can close Windows Terminal (Admin) if you like.

Backup_drivers_with_Export-WindowsDriver_command-1.png
Backup_drivers_with_Export-WindowsDriver_command-2.png





Option Four

Restore Device Driver in Device Manager


1 Open Device Manager (devmgmt.msc).

2 Right click on the device (ex: "Logitech BRIO") you want to update its driver, and click/tap on Update driver. (see screenshot below)

Restore_driver_Device_Manager-1.png

3 Click/tap on Browse my computer for drivers. (see screenshot below)

Restore_driver_Device_Manager-2.png

4 Perform the following steps to select your drivers backup folder: (see screenshots below)
  1. Click/tap on the Browse button.
  2. Navigate to and select the folder (ex: "C:\Users\Brink\Desktop\My Drivers") containing your device drivers backup.
  3. Click/tap on OK.
  4. Check the Include subfolders box.
  5. Click/tap on Next.
Restore_driver_Device_Manager-3.png
Restore_driver_Device_Manager-4.png

5 Device Manager will now search for and install the device driver if it's newer than what is currently installed. (see screenshots below)

Restore_driver_Device_Manager-5.png
Restore_driver_Device_Manager-6.png

6 When you have finished restoring device driver backups, you can close Device Manager if you like.




Option Five

Restore All Device Drivers using pnputil Command



1 Open Windows Terminal (Admin), and select either Windows PowerShell or Command Prompt.

2 Type the command below into Windows Terminal (Admin), and press Enter.

pnputil /add-driver "full path of folder\*.inf" /subdirs /install /reboot

Substitute full path of folder in the command above with the actual full path of the folder (ex: "C:\Users\Brink\Desktop\My Drivers") you exported all 3rd party device drivers into.

For example: pnputil /add-driver "C:\Users\Brink\Desktop\My Drivers\*.inf" /subdirs /install /reboot


The /reboot parameter in the command above will automatically restart the computer if needed to complete the operation of importing the drivers.

Be sure you save and close anything open before running this command.


3 When importing has finished, you can close Windows Terminal (Admin) if you like.


That's it,
Shawn Brink


Related Tutorials

 

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glasskuter

Well-known member
Pro User
VIP
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Paris in the Lone Star State of Texas
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Hey Brink, for years I have used a tiny portable app called Double Driver Backup and Restore that backs up all drivers and any software packages associated with them. It's great for powershell deficient people like me because it does it all with one click of the mouse. What I like most about it is its ease of use and the way it lays out my devices in structured folders so I can make sense of it if I want to restore only a single driver. It's an old app but still works perfectly in 10 & 11. For anyone who wants to use it, the dd.exe file has to be run as administrator.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro 22H2 22621.819
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Optiplex 7080
    CPU
    i9-10900 10 core 20 threads
    Motherboard
    DELL 0J37VM
    Memory
    32 gb
    Graphics Card(s)
    none-Intel UHD Graphics 630
    Sound Card
    Integrated Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Benq 27
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    256 m.2 2230-256+1 tb hdd
    PSU
    500w
    Case
    MT
    Cooling
    Dell Premium
    Keyboard
    Logitech wired
    Mouse
    Logitech wireless
    Internet Speed
    so slow I'm too embarrassed to tell
    Browser
    Firefox
    Antivirus
    Defender+MWB Premium
  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Pro 21H2
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Optiplex 9020
    CPU
    i7-4770
    Memory
    24 gb
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Benq 27
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    256 gb Toshiba BG4 M.2 NVE SSB and 1 tb hdd
    PSU
    500w
    Case
    MT
    Cooling
    Dell factory
    Mouse
    Logitech wireless
    Keyboard
    Logitech wired
    Internet Speed
    still not telling
    Browser
    Firefox
    Antivirus
    Defender+MWB Premium

Dirtyflash

Member
Local time
4:57 AM
Posts
73
OS
Windows 11
Thanks Brink! Never thought about backing up drivers until I saw a link to this thread. Created a folder on an external drive and used option one and successfully saved 36 drivers. Just one question though, does Device Manager search through the folder to find the correct driver for the specific device and knows which driver is the correct one?
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11

Brink

Administrator
Staff member
MVP
Thread Starter
Local time
5:57 AM
Posts
6,645
OS
Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
Thanks Brink! Never thought about backing up drivers until I saw a link to this thread. Created a folder on an external drive and used option one and successfully saved 36 drivers. Just one question though, does Device Manager search through the folder to find the correct driver for the specific device and knows which driver is the correct one?
Hello, :-)

Device Manager will not automatically look in this location for a driver. You'll have to point it there if needed to manually restore/install.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Custom self build
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    2 x Samsung Odyssey G75 27"
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung 980 PRO M.2,
    1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    Seasonic Prime Titanium 850W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3 wall mounted
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3
    Internet Speed
    1 Gbps Download and 35 Mbps Upload
    Browser
    Google Chrome
    Antivirus
    Microsoft Defender and Malwarebytes Premium
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Motorola MB8611 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G phone
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro for Workstations
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Spectre x360 2in1
    CPU
    i7-1065G7 3.9 GHz
    Memory
    16 GB LPDDR4-3200
    Graphics card(s)
    Intel Iris Plus
    Sound Card
    Intel SST
    Monitor(s) Displays
    13.3" 4K UWVA AMOLED multitouch
    Screen Resolution
    3840 x 2160
    Hard Drives
    512 GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
    Browser
    Google Chrome
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender and Malwarebytes Premium

MrYossu

New member
Local time
11:57 AM
Posts
6
OS
Win10
Hey Brink, for years I have used a tiny portable app called Double Driver Backup and Restore that backs up all drivers and any software packages associated with them. It's great for powershell deficient people like me because it does it all with one click of the mouse. What I like most about it is its ease of use and the way it lays out my devices in structured folders so I can make sense of it if I want to restore only a single driver. It's an old app but still works perfectly in 10 & 11. For anyone who wants to use it, the dd.exe file has to be run as administrator.
Do you mean this one? I'm always wary of downloading software from unknown sites, so would like to check I'm getting the right thing.

Thanks for the information
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Win10

glasskuter

Well-known member
Pro User
VIP
Local time
5:57 AM
Posts
2,948
Location
Paris in the Lone Star State of Texas
OS
Windows 11 Pro 22H2 22621.819
That's the one. It's portable. Run dd.exe as administrator.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro 22H2 22621.819
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Optiplex 7080
    CPU
    i9-10900 10 core 20 threads
    Motherboard
    DELL 0J37VM
    Memory
    32 gb
    Graphics Card(s)
    none-Intel UHD Graphics 630
    Sound Card
    Integrated Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Benq 27
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    256 m.2 2230-256+1 tb hdd
    PSU
    500w
    Case
    MT
    Cooling
    Dell Premium
    Keyboard
    Logitech wired
    Mouse
    Logitech wireless
    Internet Speed
    so slow I'm too embarrassed to tell
    Browser
    Firefox
    Antivirus
    Defender+MWB Premium
  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Pro 21H2
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Optiplex 9020
    CPU
    i7-4770
    Memory
    24 gb
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Benq 27
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    256 gb Toshiba BG4 M.2 NVE SSB and 1 tb hdd
    PSU
    500w
    Case
    MT
    Cooling
    Dell factory
    Mouse
    Logitech wireless
    Keyboard
    Logitech wired
    Internet Speed
    still not telling
    Browser
    Firefox
    Antivirus
    Defender+MWB Premium
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