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How to Back Up Windows 7 Drivers

Drivers are essential software for the functioning of a computer and it is a good idea to back them up to some external source. It can be a real pain to try to reinstall or repair Windows, only to find that some proprietary driver is missing or corrupt. Many PC manufacturers have their own drivers for crucial hardware and Windows generic drivers won’t work.

One approach is to download and use one of the driver backup programs discussed at Best Free Windows Driver Backup and Restore. Alternatively, more experienced PC users may wish to do the job themselves and here is how.

In Windows 7 all the drivers are in a few subfolders located in the system folder %SystemRoot%\System32\. Two standard  protected subfolders  are called “DriverStore” and “drivers”.  Often there is also a third subfolder  “DrvStore”. These folders can be copied to some external media for safekeeping.

In addition, you should back up the folder %systemroot%\inf\. This folder contains the driver setup information files. This folder is sometimes overlooked but drivers cannot be installed without the information it contains.

More discussion, including ways to reinstail drivers can be found at this link.

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This tips section is maintained by Vic Laurie. Vic runs several websites with Windows how-to's and tutorials, including  a computer education website and a site for learning about the command line.

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by nourredine (not verified) on 6. January 2012 - 19:29  (86715)

I have purchased an acer aspire 5742z only a couple of months ago.
I must got a virus as my screen got blank, i purchased a repair and restore discs to restart my window7 home premium but no success.
Every time i try it come up as "the computer restarted unexpectedly or encountered error. Windows installation cannot proceed. To restart windows, click "OK" to restart the computer and then restart the installation"
This is the message i get on and on and on......
Can you help me to find the drivers to get me starting again, or can you tell me what to do as i do not got a disc from the seller to insert,nor i did a back up as i am new to this.
Many thanks

by v.laurie on 6. January 2012 - 19:43  (86719)

The best place for getting help with this type of problem is in the forum. Log in there and post your question. The forum has knowledgeable people who can assist you.

by HO HO HO (not verified) on 23. December 2011 - 3:02  (85774)

Hello Mr Laurie,

Just a question:

I presume these folders would contain all the drivers that are in a clean install of Windows as well right?

So when you go to copy all the files back onto the computer it is probably going to ask if you want to overwrite all the existing files.

What would you suggest in this instance?

And also I would think if you are reinstalling Windows due to a virus attack, then it would pay to scan these driver files from another computer right?



by v.laurie on 23. December 2011 - 3:33  (85777)

You'll need administrator rights to copy any drivers back. Generally, you only need to copy a few drivers since a Windows repair or re-installation will take care of most. Also, just copying is often not sufficient. Doing a driver update using Device Manager may be necessary.

by RICARDO PEREDDO (not verified) on 21. December 2011 - 21:18  (85648)

Thank you guys,

You have been 10 for 10 everytime I need some software from you.

I am upgrading my Windows Vista LT to Windows7 Ultimate and needed a driver backup and restore utility.

I went to Giveawayoftheday to see if finally they would redeam themselves, but as always I wasn't disappointed and they had the re-runs software they give everyday.

Then I checked my E-mail to see if Gizmo's thinking that I would find something researching your site (although I was not specting an E-mail), but I could not believe it, you had actually just sent an E-mail with the program I needed.

Wow! you guys are great, give my regards to the whole team.

Thanks again,

by v.laurie on 22. December 2011 - 18:18  (85736)

You are very welcome. Ricardo. Happy holidays to you.

by zekeoverhere on 15. March 2014 - 4:15  (115022)

Once you get your computer setup the way you want it. Back up this folder on a CD or Flash drive and you will have all your drivers when you need them