Remove Old Windows Drivers - gHacks Tech News

Remove Old Windows Drivers

I reviewed Driver Sweeper back in 2009 for the last time. Back then it was version 2.1 that I reviewed. The developer recently published Driver Sweeper 3.2, which justifies taking another look at the software. Driver Sweeper basically can be used to remove old Windows drivers from the system. Say you have had an ATI video card in your system and replaced it with an NVIDIA card after some time. Even if you use the ATI uninstaller, your system will be left with some drivers that do not get cleaned.

With Driver Sweeper you can scan for those leftovers and remove them. The interface has not changed a lot. You still have the sidebar menu to access functions and settings of the program. Here you can select Analyse and Clean to display the list of supported hardware manufacturers. Included are AMD and NVIDIA, Microsoft, Intel, HP and Realtek among others.

You need to select the manufacturers and device types that you want to scan the system for. This could be an issue for inexperienced users. A click on the Analyse button scans the system for driver leftovers. All orphan drivers are displayed in a list with their name, file type and path on the system. In this case, I have used the program to find AMD display driver leftovers. As you may recall, I switched recently to NVIDIA.

driver sweeper

All entries are selected by default with the option to uncheck items so that they are not removed from the system. The software crawls both the hard drives and the Windows Registry for leftovers. A click on Clean removes all selected files and Registry entries from the system. A reboot is usually required afterwards.

A backup is automatically created which means it is possible to restore individual driver files or all files that have been cleaned previously. Removal of the ATI driver leftovers on my PC system freed up 88 Megabytes and removed dozens of ATI related files in the system32 folder.

So what has changed since version 2.1? The development log lists many changes, here are the noteworthy ones:

  • Improved Registry, driver and directory cleaning methods
  • Support for additional user interface languages
  • Service and Process stopping features to prevent entries from being locked
  • Added Asus Sound, Microsoft Keyboard, Intel Chipset, NEC USB, Fresco USB, Marvell Storage, JMicron Storage, JHP Printer, Realtek Lan cleaning

Driver Support has been improved as you can see from the listing. Driver Sweeper is still compatible with all recent 32-bit and 64-bit editions of the Windows operating system. You can download the software from the developer website. Make sure you pay attention to the setup as you may install third party software otherwise.

Update: The Driver Sweeper website is no longer available. Check out our hardware driver update guide for Windows instead for instructions on how you can update your system drivers manually or automatically.





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    Comments

    1. Peter said on September 25, 2011 at 3:04 pm
      Reply

      Does it find the latest drivers ?

    2. André said on September 25, 2011 at 6:14 pm
      Reply

      DON’T DO THIS WITH THE INBOX DRIVERS OF WINDOWS VISTA/7.

      This caused this issue when installing a service pack:

      http://blogs.technet.com/b/joscon/archive/2011/02/24/windows-7-service-pack-1-fails-to-install-with-0x800f0a13-or-0x800f0826.aspx

      which I reported at this time to Microsoft.

    3. Will said on September 25, 2011 at 6:36 pm
      Reply

      No it does NOT. It is just for removing drivers so you can correctly reinstall them.

    4. Jyo said on September 25, 2011 at 8:31 pm
      Reply

      I can personally vouch for the usefulness of Driver Sweeper. It managed to completely uninstall all my ATI video card drivers when ATI’s uninstaller itself became corrupted.

      @André: That’s interesting… Could you clarify what drivers you removed using Driver Sweeper that caused this problem?

      1. André said on September 27, 2011 at 5:32 pm
        Reply

        I removed no drivers. I never use such crappy tools. I only saw in the logs that a lot of users removed the ATI drivers and now Windows 7 Sp1 failed to install.

    5. ilev said on September 26, 2011 at 10:06 am
      Reply

      Too cumbersome, and again, why such utility can’t be portable ?

    6. jasray said on October 1, 2011 at 9:17 pm
      Reply

      It worked–maybe a little too well. I honestly don’t think I have the experience for the tool. I assumed that checked boxes were, indeed, orphaned remnants. Clean. Wiped out the entire set of system drivers. System Restore–the rest is obvious: Be careful.

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