DriverStore Explorer: manage the Windows Driver Store
DriverStore Explorer is a free open source program for Microsoft Windows devices to view the content of the Windows Driver Store and to manipulate it.
Microsoft introduced the DriverStore in Windows Vista and used it in all newer versions of Windows since. It is a collection of first and third-party driver packages that Windows trusts and stores on the local hard drive.
The entire driver package, including the inf file, is copied to the Driver Store and the inf file must be set up to reference all required driver files.
Microsoft calls the process of adding driver packages to the Driver Store staging, and it must happen before the driver can be used to install devices. Staging includes verification of a driver's integrity and driver validation.
Tip: One of the significant issues of Windows' Driver Store is that driver packages usually don't get removed from the Store. This means that you may end up with Gigabytes of wasted storage space because of old driver packages. If you have a Nvidia video card or Intel onboard display adapter, you may notice that old drivers may occupy several Gigabytes of storage space on the device. With DriverStore Explorer, you may remove these elegantly.
DriverStore Explorer is a graphical user interface that enumerates all driver packages of the Windows Driver Store. It is launched in read-only mode if you run it without elevated privileges, and in full edit mode when you run it with administrative rights.
The program groups drivers for easier access and lists each with the name of its inf file, company, version, release date, and size.
DriverStore Explorer offers several impressive options:
- Enumerate all drivers in the Driver Store and export the data.
- Add new driver packages to the Driver Store.
- Delete existing packages from the Driver Store.
- Delete "old drivers" from the Driver Store.
Microsoft recommends not fooling around with driver packages in the Windows Driver Store as it may cause all kinds of issues on machines running Windows. DriverStore Explorer blocks the removal of loaded driver packages by default, but you can check the "force deletion" option to override this behavior.
Note: I recommend that you create a system backup before you delete packages from the Windows Driver Store. While the "old driver" removal option worked fine whenever I used it in the past, it is better to have a backup plan in place when things don't work out as intended.
You can use the program to remove old driver packages from the Store. Just click on "select old drivers" in the interface to get started. DriverStore Explorer selects all old driver packages available currently.
Check the driver packages to make sure that DriverStore Explorer selected only old drivers. You can do that by comparing driver versions and names, and the date of release may be useful as well for that.
Once you have verified that the selection is correct you may hit the delete package button to remove these driver packages from the Windows Driver Store.
DriverStore Explorer opens a prompt to get user verification before the actual deletion happens.
The deletion itself is quick and a log is shown in the end that details success and failure. The program suggests to use "force deletion" for packages that it could not delete without the added parameter.
DriverStore Explorer is a fantastic program for Windows. Home users may utilize it to remove old driver packages from their Windows PCs to free up disk space, and administrators to add driver packages to the Store, delete driver packages, or enumerate drivers that are in the store.Advertisement