All of us use different types of peripherals with our computers. A hardware device that we connect to a computer externally is referred to as a peripheral, like a keyboard, mouse, printer, etc. When you connect a peripheral to your computer for the first time, Windows takes some time to install the drivers compatible with that device. And, you might have also wondered where Windows saves or stores those device drivers. In this article, we will discuss the same. It doesn’t matter if you are using Windows 11, Windows 10, or other versions of Windows OS, the paths to store or save device drivers remain the same.
A Device driver (or driver) is software that helps an operating system communicate with connected devices. In other words, device drivers are a set of files that are needed to operate or control hardware devices. Without a device driver, Windows OS is unable to recognize the type of device connected to it, and then you won’t be able to use that particular device. This is the reason why sometimes external devices do not work due to the corrupt, wrong, or missing drivers.
How to Find the Driver Location on a PC : Computer Know-How
where are drivers stored on windows 7?
Within this folder are the driver (.sys) files, driver setup (.inf) files, Precompiled INF (.pnf) files, and an Extensible Markup Language (XML) manifest (.man) file that contains the manifest of all the files within the driver package. Together, all these files add up to the driver package, which contains all the files needed to install the device. To protect these driver files, the NTFS File System (NTFS) permissions on the driver store and all its subfolders and files is Full Control for the LocalSystem account and Read and Execute for the Everyone built-in identity.
Where do I find device drivers?
WIndows stores device drivers physically on your hard drive. You will find all your third-party drivers in the DriverStore folder in the INF file format. We have also covered above in this post how you can open the DeviceStore folder.
Read: How to manually install a Driver using a .INF File.
Where does Windows save or store device drivers?
The data that we have on Windows 11, Windows 10or other versions of Windows OS is stored in some specific location/folder on the hard drive. The same goes for device drivers. When Windows detects new devices, it finds and installs the compatible drivers for those devices, and stores their data in different folders. These folders are:
You can access these folders using the following path:
While the drivers folder contains SYS (*.sys) files of installed drivers, the DriverStore folder includes a FileRepository sub-folder that contains INF (*.inf) files of those drivers.
Before installing a driver, Windows copies the driver package to the DriverStore folder. This package contains the INF files and other files referred by the INF files. Some users download the device drivers from any website or untrusted sources. Downloading the drivers from untrusted sites can be a security threat because such files may contain a virus or malware. Hence, to protect users’ computers from such attacks, Windows verifies the integrity of the driver package by verifying the digital signatures before copying the driver package to the DriverStore folder.
TIP: Find out where to download drivers for Windows.
So, now you know where Windows stores device drivers, you can simply access that path and then manually copy driver folders to backup or export them. If you want, you can also use PowerShell to export and backup device drivers. Apart from that, you can also take the help of the DISM tool to export drivers or backup them using other ways.