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Tip Of The Day: Windows DriverStore & Display Drivers

ViRGE

Elite Member, Moderator Emeritus
Oct 9, 1999
31,516
165
106
To make a long story short, over the last few months I noticed that my SSD was starting to fill up even though all I've done is install software and driver updates. After a bit of mucking around I found the culprit: the Windows DriverStore.

The DriverStore keeps old drivers for rollback purposes even if you uninstall a driver. As a result it keeps growing, and growing, and growing. In my case I've had my current install since I built my current Nehalem system in 2008. Meaning I've accumulated nearly 4 years of NVIDIA graphics drivers.

How much did 4 years of NVIDIA drivers take up? NVIDIA's latest drivers are nearly 200MB unpacked; altogether at about 10-15 drivers a year over 4 years, my DriverStore had 6GB of old NV drivers lying around. It's not an absolutely huge amount, but on a 128GB SSD that's 6GB I could have been using for an additional game or something similarly large.

So if you're a SSD user and are a driver addict like I am, clean out your DriverStore. You might just be surprised at how much space those old drivers are taking up.
 

chimaxi83

Diamond Member
May 18, 2003
5,648
61
101
Nice! I was under the impression that you couldn't really mess with anything in DriverStore for whatever reason. Doing this now, thanks.
 

ViRGE

Elite Member, Moderator Emeritus
Oct 9, 1999
31,516
165
106
Nice! I was under the impression that you couldn't really mess with anything in DriverStore for whatever reason. Doing this now, thanks.
You have to be careful for sure since there aren't any safeties, but it can be done. The tool I linked is just a GUI for MS's pnputil CLI utility, which is built into Windows.
 

blackened23

Diamond Member
Jul 26, 2011
8,548
1
0
This is immensely helpful, thanks virge. I always wondered about this, because I knew old drivers were maintained within windows, but I wasn't aware of how to interact with it.
 

Zanovar

Diamond Member
Jan 21, 2011
3,446
231
106
good tip,ive just taken a detour of my vertex 2 and the ammount of uneeded garbage in various folders is an eye opener.
 

chimaxi83

Diamond Member
May 18, 2003
5,648
61
101
You have to be careful for sure since there aren't any safeties, but it can be done. The tool I linked is just a GUI for MS's pnputil CLI utility, which is built into Windows.
Yea, I loaded it up and it has multiple entries for the same hardware. I think 10 or so different entries just for the Intel NIC on board lol. One for Nvidia display, one for Nvidia sound. Same for AMD. Definitely have to be careful and go one by one.
 

Shamrock

Golden Member
Oct 11, 1999
1,269
287
136
Since I just switched to an AMD video card, I can get rid of all my NV drivers. Thanks Virgie. :D

[HF] Shamrock ;)
 

Yuriman

Diamond Member
Jun 25, 2004
5,530
141
106
Does this include drivers currently in-use? For instance, I seemingly have 4 identical copies of a bluetooth driver, date and driver version are the same. How can I figure out which one is safe to kill?
 

ViRGE

Elite Member, Moderator Emeritus
Oct 9, 1999
31,516
165
106
Does this include drivers currently in-use? For instance, I seemingly have 4 identical copies of a bluetooth driver, date and driver version are the same. How can I figure out which one is safe to kill?
I'd just as well suggest to leave it alone in that case. However it's technically a DriverStore; it's for staging validated drivers ahead of installation. So in theory you could remove all of the copies with no ill effect.
 

amenx

Platinum Member
Dec 17, 2004
2,878
650
136
I found that out a long time ago. The way to avoid it is to uninstall the Nvidia driver before you install the new one. If you install a new driver over the last one, windows will move the old one to driverstore.
 

WelshBloke

Lifer
Jan 12, 2005
28,316
5,385
126
4 years of Nvidia drivers? That's, like, about 6 drivers then? :p

Seriously though thanks for this, I'm going to go clean out a load of crud off of my HD now. :thumbup:
 

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