How to Backup and Restore Drivers in Windows 10

Device Drivers are software which lets you use anything on PC with the OS. There are drivers for graphics card, keyboard, mouse, and everything else. Now it may so happen that for some reason a device has stopped working, or is not responding as it should. In that case, the only option to remove the driver, and reinstall it.  In this guide, we are sharing some of the best methods to Backup and Restore Drivers in Windows 10.

While it sounds easy, not everyone has their device drivers available right on the Windows PC. One may have to download it from OEM or let Windows configure it by downloading through the updates. The only solution is to backup the driver so you can use it anytime. This becomes very useful for the old device for which OEMs don’t have the device driver anymore.

How to Backup & Restore Drivers in Windows

Before we start, to get all of these done, you need Admin privilege with your account. You should know that unless you are very clear about these, do not attempt them. We will start with Windows inbuilt methods, and then suggest some third-party software which has an easy to use interface.

Backup Drivers using Command Prompt & PowerShell

We will use the popular tool DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) here. It can both export, and import drivers in bulk.

Create a folder “Driver-Backups” in your PC anywhere on a drive other than where Windows is installed.

Open Command Prompt with admin privileges, and execute the following command-

dism /online /export-driver /destination:"Driver-Backups folder path"

Here and later elsewher in this post, “Driver-Backups folder path” is the path of the folder you created. If you created this folder on your D drive, then the path would be D:\Driver-Backups.

This will export all the drivers in your Windows 10 PC in the folder. It should say – The operation completed successfully. Make sure to keep a backup of that folder in one of your cloud drives.

Backup & Restore Drivers in Windows

The driver servicing command supports only .inf files. Windows Installer or other driver package types (such as .exe files) are not supported.

Now here is the deal. While this tool lets you export all drivers, it doesn’t help you installing those drivers back to Windows. The command has an option /add-driver, but it will work with Windows 10 ISO image. If you are creating an ISO and then planning to install it, you can use the following command.

Open Command Prompt with admin privileges.

Navigate to the Backup Driver folder.

Execute the following command-

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dism /ISOIMAGENAME /Add-Driver /Driver:"Driver-Backups folder path" /Recurse

If you are used to PowerShell than the command prompt, you can use that too. It offers a command, Export-WindowsDriver -Online -Destination “Driver-Backup folder path”, which lets you take backup. Please read out the detailed post about exporting Device Drivers using PowerShell here.

Restore Device Drivers in Windows 10

It is best to install the driver manually if you are following this method. You will have to do it one by one, but in case something goes wrong, you will have a better understanding of what caused the problem. Make sure to keep the path of your Backup-Driver handy.

  • Open Device Manager using the Win+X Quick Link menu.
  • Now right click on any of the devices for which you want to install the driver, and click on Update driver.
  • You will have two option, automatic, and manual. Select Browse my computer for drivers software.
  • In the next screen, you need to copy paste the folder path, and also select the option include subfolders.
  • Click Next.

The Device Manager will now search for driver that is available for the hardware and install it. It is possible that Windows might have updated it with the new version, but if you want to rollback or keep an old one, you can do so.

Software to Backup & Restore Drivers

If you are looking for an easy way to backup drivers in Windows 10, then you may also use third-party software which can do that for you. This software can create a backup, and later restore them on demand.

Free Driver Backup is one such software which can do that for you. Apart from drivers, it can also backup cookies, registry, and other things as well. It also offers recommendations, or you can choose to backup all the drivers. Restoring is easy as well. Just point out to the backup folder, and it will pick up, and install it one by one.

Driver Backup

Some others you may check out are Driver Sweeper, DriverBackUp, Free Driver Backup and Double Driver. If you are specifically looking to update AMD driver, check out  AMD Autodetect, and for Intel, check out Intel Driver Update Utility.

Let us know if we missed anything.

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.