How to Backup Drivers and Restore them in Windows 10

A backup copy of the drivers will not only help to restore the operability of the hardware and the peripheral devices (printers, scanners, MFPs, etc.) of the computer quickly, but also prevent any possible problems (for example, with sound or graphics due to an incorrectly installed driver after clean reinstall or reset Windows 10 to its original state).

Note. There are many free applications for creating backup copies of drivers. But in this article we will describe a method that allows you to backup drivers without third-party tools, just using built-in Windows 10 tools.

Windows 10 allows you to extract all third-party (not Microsoft) drivers installed in the system from the Driver Store and save them to the specified location.

Backup drivers using DISM.exe

To create a backup of the installed drivers in Wndows 10, you can use the console utility DISM.exe (Deployment Image Servicing and Management).

  1. Run cmd.exe with Administrator privileges.
  2. Create a directory where you want to place the drivers:
    md C:\BackupDrivers
  3. Enter the command dism /online /export-driver /destination:C:\BackupDrivers and press Enter.
    backup drivers cmd
    Note. In our case, only 3 drivers were saved, since we exported the drivers on the virtual machine with Windows 10. In the case of a real system, there will be much more drivers.
  1. Each driver is exported in a separate folder in which not only *.inf files are placed, but also all related files (*.sys, *.dll, *.exe etc).
    backup drivers folder
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It remains to copy this directory to DVD, external USB drive, network share or cloud storage. Now you have all the necessary drivers to re-install the system.

Export Drivers using PowerShell

You can also back up the drivers installed on Windows 10 by using the PowerShell cmdlet Export-WindowsDriver.

Note. The Export-WindowsDriver cmdlet is included in the PowerShell from Windows 8.1 Update 1. Export-WindowsDriver can get drivers from both the running system and the offline Windows image.

To do this, run the PowerShell console and execute the command:

Export-WindowsDriver -Online -Destination C:\BackupDriversPS

export windows drivers

As you can see, the result is the same a set of folders with drivers appeared in the destination directory.

Restoring Windows 10 drivers from a backup

In order to install the drivers saved in this way, for example, after a clean installation of Windows 10 or reinstall it:

  1. Open the Device Manager console (Devmgmt.msc).
  2. Right click on the device for which you want to install the driver and select Update Driver Software.
    backup drivers device managert
  3. Select Browse my computer for driver software and specify a path to the directory where the backup copy of the drivers is stored.
    backup drivers browse
  4. Make sure that the option Include subfolders is selected. Now press Next and install the required driver from the list.
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In addition, you can import all drivers from the backup folder using the /Add-Driver parameter of the DISM utility.

dism /online /Add-Driver /Driver:C:\BackupDriversPS /Recurse
Cyril Kardashevsky

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