Device Driver Cleanup

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 19, 2009
Updated • May 29, 2017
Software, Windows software

Driver Sweeper is a free program for Microsoft Windows computer systems that enables you to remove device drivers completely.

It is sometimes not possible to remove all device drivers and Registry settings for a device in the Windows operating system. So called leftovers can cause a series of problems from slow boot times to performance and stability issues.

This can be the case when you install drivers for a different device that you added to your computer, or if you want to update a driver, and prefer to install it on a "clean" system.

Trying to clean up the device drivers manually is a complicated long winded process as it does not only mean to delete files and Registry settings, but also to find out which files and settings are related to the hardware driver in first place. The chance that you overlook something is great, unless you have logged the installation.

Driver Sweeper

Driver Sweeper has been covered about two years ago at Ghacks. The software has been designed to cleanup device driver leftovers both on the hard drive and the Windows Registry. The software program comes as a portable version or installer, and can cleanup driver and Registry leftovers of the following hardware devices:

  • AGEIA - PhysX
  • ATI - Display
  • Creative - Sound
  • Microsoft -Mouse
  • NVIDIA - Chipset
  • NVIDIA - Display
  • Realtek - Sound

While that does not cover all hardware devices it does provide the means to cleanup several of the most popular. All the user needs to do is to select and check one or multiple entries from the list and click on the analyse button afterwards.

The program scans the system for files and Registry settings for the selected type of hardware, and displays those it finds in a list. All entries are checked by default and can be cleaned from that window. It is also possible to uncheck certain entries before starting the device driver cleanup process.

The developers of Driver Sweeper are recommending to uninstall the hardware using the uninstallation routines provided by the Windows operating system and / or hardware manufacturer before running their product to find and cleanup the leftovers. They also suggest to run Driver Sweeper in Safe Mode so that the tool can safely delete the files and Registry settings.

The software has an option to create backups of the device drivers which is highly recommended before starting the cleanup process. Another possibility is the software device driver backup which we covered before at Ghacks.

Some driver installers, NVIDIA drivers for instance, come with an option to run a clean installation. It is recommended to use that option instead if available.

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  1. Marc Savoy said on March 21, 2009 at 3:30 am

    I’ve been using Revo Uninstaller for over a year with hugely satisfying results. It uninstalls the program specified, cleaning out all the various files associated with it, including abandoned files in the registry drivers, leftovers you mentioned, the process of which takes only a few minutes. Best of all Revo is freeware.

  2. Transcontinental said on March 20, 2009 at 11:34 am

    I had run ‘Driver Sweeper’ as recommended, that is in Safe Mode, booted and found out, visually first! then within Device Manager, that my ATI implementation was completely wrecked. Of course, this may be 1- My system, 2- ATI related, and may not concern other system configurations and/or devices. Moreover, cannot remember what was the version I used, maybe has it been improved – if applicable – since.

  3. devlin19 said on March 20, 2009 at 3:20 am

    it helped me help the performance in my sound driver.

  4. Transcontinental said on March 19, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    I tried it, it removed valid ATI drivers! Not for me, thanks!

    1. Martin said on March 19, 2009 at 4:20 pm

      It helped me clean Creative Sound drivers efficiently.

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