Did you ever upgrade the hardware of your computer with, lets say, a new graphic or sound card? Did you know that the drivers and Registry settings of the old cards may still be on the system after you have replaced the old card with the new? They are usually not removed by default which can lead to errors and other issues that you may experience, and depending on the type of drive, also lost hard drive space.
This could let to errors especially if you did install additional utilities that depend on drivers, software to speed up video playback for instance. I'm going to show you how to remove all those obsolete drivers and registry settings.
All you need is to know the name of the old card, the name of the new card and the freeware Driver Cleaner Professional. Don't get irritated by the professional, it is completely free to use. Download the freeware and install it. The next step is important. The first thing to do would be to use the uninstall option in Windows to remove everything that could be left from the old drivers.
The best way to run Driver Cleaner Professional is right after you have uninstalled the old drivers and applications but still have the old card connected to your system. Just start Driver Cleaner and choose the name of the drivers that you want to remove. You can for instance choose a general name like ATI or Nvidia which will remove all files and Registry entries associated with drivers from those manufacturers from your system.
Another option is to choose a specific driver, like ATI WDM and remove that one only. The program removes all references in the Tegistry and all drivers that are stored on the system.
If the new card is already connected to your system you may run into troubles if the card is from the same company. I suggest you still delete all references and install the newest drivers after you have rebooted your machine.
Update: Driver Cleaner Professional is no longer free software. The developers are now charging for the program. See Remove Old Windows Drivers for a free alternative.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.