How to Back Up Windows 10 Drivers – comprehensive guide

To put in layman terms PC drivers on operating system perform a vital function of enabling hardware and software to interact with each other in order to accomplish various tasks; and to do so drivers send communication signals between computer hardware and software, which makes it imperative to have functioning drivers installed on PC for it to work. Errors and viruses often times force us to to reinstall or fresh install PC operating system especially on Windows PC and laptops. After OS installation you sometimes get the message saying ‘incompatible sound card, graphics card, network or other driver missing’. Searching for updated versions of Windows 10 drivers or new ones on the internet takes times and no one likes wasting time searching for PC drivers on the internet. So it makes sense to keep Windows drivers back up before installing or upgrading Windows 10.

It is strongly recommended that you backup drivers on some external storage medium before fresh install or upgrading Windows OS. Over time, like any other operating system, Windows 10/8/8.1/7/XP/Vista can get clogged up with unnecessary files & apps that choke up hard disk space with ensuing slowdown in processor speed and low memory. Although there are way to speed up Windows 10 but sometimes reinstalling OS becomes unavoidable. New upgrade or reinstall may result in incompatible drivers being automatically installed or simply malfunction. To tackle such scenarios, prior driver back up comes in handy as you can easily install functioning version of the driver without searching the internet for the new one.

Why Back Up Windows 10 Drivers?

New OS version may not work with older drivers; driver may have gone obsolete and need upgrade; PC hardware is outdated; or you may want to avoid spending time on searching for faulty drivers and inching to revert to the operational version, all such outcomes prompt installing Windows 10 drivers which can be done quickly if they are saved on one location beforehand.


There are third-party tool around to help install faulty drivers but chances are that Microsoft may not approve of the vendor or utility program contains coding issues that may prevent driver install. In such cases most prudent option is to head to the PC manufacturer website to find updated version of drivers, search driver based on PC type and driver name to save time.

How to Back Up Windows 10 Drivers (When Fresh Install):

One advantage that Windows 10 has over previous version of the OS is that it automatically installs most drivers upon Windows reinstall or upgrade. However, the possibility of auto-install of new drivers on obsolete hardware or older PCs can’t be rules out forcing users to go through the time consuming process of searching for them on the internet. But prior back up of drivers can save a lot of time if such situation may arise. But what if you don’t have driver back up and after the Windows installation drivers start acting up, well, we have some recommendations to deal with such cases below.

After fresh installation or upgrade of Windows 10, some PC drivers such as graphics card drivers including AMD or Nvidia may require manual install. For this you must refer only official channels for installing graphics drivers on PC, head straight to Nvidia or AMD official websites for installing drivers appropriate for your computer. Although third-party utilities like DriverBackup! claim to install latest versions of most drivers on Windows but still there is no assurance that they will perform as advertised. So, we suggest that you stick to official driver sites for installation.

Drivers such as sound, USB, motherboard, printer and others mostly work after you clean install Windows 10 on PC, however, touch-pads on older laptops may not function properly, for example, scrolling feature could stop working, for this you should visit touch-pad manufacturer’s website for downloading the updated version.

Game controllers, graphics, scanners, printers and other external devices drivers on Windows 10 mostly have .exe or .msi extensions and are usually located in download folder, they could be in the form of .zip files as well. Look for drivers’ download locations on PC and copy them on external storage device or move them to a location such as system drives that won’t be formatted during reinstall in order to place all of them in one location, which would make finding and reinstalling them easy after the Windows fresh install.


How to Back Up Windows 10 Drivers (When Upgrade):

Copy and paste driver installer files on a safe location either on PC or external storage device before upgrading to another version of the Windows because chances are that drivers may not work with the new Windows OS. If saved drivers’ versions don’t work on new OS after the upgrade then visit driver or PC manufacturer website to download latest version. Make sure to download correct 32-bit or 64-bit driver version on PC.

How to Check Missing Drivers on Windows 10

Right-click on the Start button and select Device Manager option from the list. A new window will open showing the list of all drivers both working and missing ones on your PC/laptop. You can also access Device Manager from Control Panel, for it go to control panel > hardware and sound > device manager.

Click on any driver to see its status, if there a small yellow exclamation sign next to any driver, it means that either it is not working or is missing from PC and needs to be installed. Right-click on driver icon and select update driver software option from context menu for letting Windows 10 automatically search and install the latest version of that driver, otherwise download it manually from manufacturer’s website.

for more on AppsforWin10, see: Acer Drivers for Windows 10 & HTC Drivers for Windows 10 (v4.16.0.001)


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