Backup Windows Drivers

Backup Windows Drivers Without Any Software

In this article, I will explain how to backup your system drivers on a Windows computer without using any additional third-party tools or software.

These instructions work on Windows 7, 8 & 10.

Reasons For Backing Up Drivers

  • Before formatting a computer, this could save time later when re-installing drivers.
  • Windows Updates may be causing problems installing generic drivers for older legacy components.
  • As well as core drivers such as display, chipset, sound, etc: This backup will also save things like printer, webcam and any other drivers for additional peripherals that you currently have installed. This is a big time-saver when running a complete system reinstall.

Method – Command Prompt Using DISM

In this guide we will use the Command Prompt (or Windows Powershell) to run a line of code using DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management).

How To Backup Drivers With Command Prompt

Step-by-step guide.

  1. Take a note of destination address where the drivers will be saved to.

    Create a new folder on your computer or external drive and take a note of the address path. In the picture I’ve created a folder directly in C: drive and called the folder Drvs_backupDrivers backup

  2. Open a Command Prompt (As Administrator)

    Using either Command Prompt or Windows Powershell, run as administrator. Quickest way is to right-click on the Start Menu and open Windows Powershell (Admin).Run Powershell (Admin)

  3. Type (or Paste) The Command Line

    Copy in this command line (replacing the destination address with the folder that you created). Hit Enter key to run it.

    dism /online /export-driver /destination:C:\Drvs_backup

On Completion

Once the command has successfully completed, copy the folder to an offline safe location such as an external drive or secondary hard drive.

More Information: The Code In The Command Line Explained

We use DISM code regularly to run system repairs and to fix corrupt installations of Windows.

For a full list of DISM commands, arguments and options, simply type & enter dism into the Command Prompt.

DISM: Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool

Many of these options should be used with extreme caution and are used by advanced users & tech support.

The code we have used here explained:

dism /online /export-driver /destination:C:\Drvs_backup

dism /online : Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool act now on current system.

/export-driver: The command line to carry out this particular job, being backup our drivers.

/destination:C:\Drvs_backup: Tells the computer where we want to send the saved drivers. If you were exporting directly to an external drive, the code might look like this:

dism /online /export-driver /destination:F:\New Folder

Reinstalling Drivers From The Backup

  1. Open Device Manager.
  2. Right-click on device & select Update Driver.
  3. Opt for “Browse From Computer” and find the folder that you saved the backup.

Don’t worry about which sub folder it’s in. Take the top level directory ie. in our example C:\Drvs_backup and Windows will find it from there.

Advanced Users

Advanced users may wish to create a backup ISO which is a USB stick containing the latest install of Windows along with the drivers embedded in the image.

By doing this, when Windows reinstalls the drivers when it loads before it goes to Windows Updates.

We’ll maybe cover this in a later / separate article.

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Hopefully this article will help someone out there.



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