How to Backup and Restore Drivers in Windows 10

If you’ve ever been faced with the issue of outdated or failing drivers, you will know just how frustrating it is having a piece of hardware not working because of a software failure.

Most computers come with a backup and restore partition in their hard drives which can be used to create backups of files, drivers, and so on, and also restore them when they’re needed. This is often the case with Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) PCs as they come pre-installed with a recovery partition in their hard drive. However, if you are installing a retail version of Windows, you will need to do a clean install, i.e. installing the drivers for each of the devices on your computer.

How to Backup and Restore Drivers in Windows 10

Whenever you are doing a clean install, it is important that you have backups of all your drivers as you are going to need them in order to get your PC back running at full capacity.

In this article, I will be guiding you through the main methods by which you can backup and restore all your WIndows 10 drivers whenever you need them by using tools that have been built right into the Windows 10 operating system.

How to Backup Windows 10 Drivers

The Windows 10 operating system comes with two methods that allow you back up your drivers. The first is through the use of the Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) command-line tool. The second way is through the use of Powershell.

Using DISM

To use DISM to back up your device drivers, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to the D:/ directory on your hard drive (or any other directory/folder apart from the one on which Windows is installed (which is usually C:/), e.g. E:/, F:/, etc).
  2. Create a folder named “Drivers-Backup” in that directory.
    Create Drivers-Backup folder in D directory - Windows 10
  3. Open Command Prompt on your computer by pressing the Windows button on the keyboard and typing cmd. Make sure you use administrator privileges when opening your command prompt.
    Run Command Prompt (Administrator) on Windows 10
  4. When cmd opens, type in the following command:

    dism /online /export-driver /destination:D:\Drivers-BackupThis would create a directory called Drivers-Backup” in your hard drive’s D:\ directory, and all of your third-party drivers will be backed up to this location.Backup drivers in Windows 10 using DISM

Using Powershell

This process is executed pretty much the same way as the last one.

  1. Open Powershell by pressing the Windows button on the keyboard and typing Powershell. Make sure you use administrator privileges when opening Powershell.
    Open Powershell (Administrator) on Windows 10
  2. When Powershell opens, type in the following command:Export-WindowsDriver -Online -Destination D:\Drivers-BackupThe result is of this process is exactly the same as the previous process.

How to Restore Drivers on Windows 10

When the need finally arises (and it most likely will) to restore your backups, there is an easy 3-step process to get this done:

  1. Open Device Manager and right-click on the device whose driver you want to restore (no, you don’t need Administrator privileges for this).
  2. From the drop-down menu, select Update Driver or Update Driver Software (this is the first option on the list).
    Start Driver Restore - Windows 10
  3. From the window that appears, select the second option which is Browse my computer for driver software.
    Select Driver to Restore - Windows 10
  4. Locate the folder path you backed up all your drivers to according to the earlier part of this tutorial.
    Restore Windows 10 Drivers
  5. Click Next and Windows would automatically search out and select the relevant drivers among the sub-folders. However, Windows will only do this if Include Subfolders is enabled.

Backup and Restore Windows 10 Drivers with Third-Party Applications

The quick and easy guides above will help you back up and restore all your third-party windows drivers without having to use any third-party applications. However, if you have any issues backing up and restoring your drivers using the stock Windows options covered above, you may resort to third-party applications.

There are many third-party apps/tools for backing up and restoring drivers on Windows 10, and we’ve picked two of the best to recommend for you in this article. These are Driver Easy and Driver Pack.

Instructions on how to download, install, and use these apps are in the links below:

  • Download Driver Easy here.
  • Download Driver Pack here.

If you encounter any issues while backing up and restoring drivers on your Windows 10 installation via either the guides above or the recommended third-party apps, do let us know in the comments section below. We hope whatever issues you had with your drivers, have been fixed after going through this guide.

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