How to list all installed third-party drivers on Windows PCs

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 21, 2019
Updated • Oct 25, 2019

Drivers play an important part in Windows as they add certain capabilities or support for certain hardware devices to the operating system.

Windows operating systems come with a set of default drivers that ensure that things work reasonably well and don't require users to install numerous drivers manually before components like video or sound cards, wireless network adapters, or drives function properly.

It may not be necessary to install any third-party drivers on Windows PCs but sometimes, it is necessary or wanted. Administrators may need to install third-party drivers if the default drivers don't support certain hardware devices; sometimes, it is also beneficial to use third-party drivers to improve functionality or performance. Many security and low-level tools such as Sandboxie or VeraCrypt install drivers on the system; without these drivers, these programs would not function usually.

Drivers may cause issues on Windows PCs; a bad driver may cause crashes, data loss and other issues, or even prevent the system from booting up correctly.

Managing drivers with native Windows tools is not a pleasant experience for the most part. Third-party tools such as DriverStore Explorer or InstalledDriversList improve management significantly.

DriverView is a free 32-bit and 64-bit program for Microsoft Windows systems that administrators may use to list all third-party drivers installed loaded on the system (among other things). Windows users may use Nirsoft's ServiceWin program to display all installed drivers on the system.

The Nirsoft application is portable and compatible with all recent (and many not so recent) versions of the operating system. The program is offered as a 32-bit and 64-bit executable, and has a size of under 100 Kilobytes unpacked.

The interface lists installed drivers by default. These include native Windows drivers and third-party drivers.  A click on the View menu item displays options to hide all Microsoft drivers; doing so lists all third-party installed drivers on the system.

third party drivers windows

Each driver is listed with its file name and type, path, modification and creation date, and many other parameters. Some have descriptions while others may not.

Tip: enable the digital signature option under Options > Read Digital Signature to display it in the table. Note that you need to refresh the driver listing after enabling the option as it is not added automatically when you enable the option.

Here are a couple of use scenarios for the app:

  1. List the drivers that were installed most recently.
  2. Verify installed driver versions.
  3. Sort drivers by company or installation path.
  4. Run a Google Search for specific drivers that you select in the application's interface.
  5. Create a HTML report that lists all installed third-party drivers.
  6. Upload some drivers to Virustotal for checking (manually only).

DriverView may be run from the command line. The parameters are limited as there is no export only non-Microsoft drivers to a file.

Closing Words

DriverView is a handy software program to analyze installed third-party drivers on Windows machines. It is portable, easy to use, and its export options allow admins to create snapshots of drivers installed on a system. The program could use a handful of options that make it more useful, e.g. an option to open the folder a driver is installed in on the local system or integrated Virustotal scanning.

Now You: do you install third-party drivers on your systems?

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  1. raju kodape said on May 15, 2020 at 6:02 pm

    sound card is not install

  2. John C. said on October 22, 2019 at 9:23 am

    Martin, thanks very much for describing DriverView in your article. However, from what I understand, the program only lists drivers which are currently loaded (“DriverView utility displays the list of all device drivers currently loaded on your system”).

    However, ServiWin (another Nirsoft program) shows all drivers which are *installed* and also allows them to be looked up on Google.

    1. satrow said on October 24, 2019 at 12:07 pm

      The vast majority of unloaded drivers (~200+) are from the Windows installer, they are all stable and tested but aren’t of use in your system (wrong hardware).

      Ir’s only the drivers for [i]your[/i] system, hardware and software, that are relevant.

      But, if you’d prefer to wade through 250-300 drivers that are mostly irrelevant, that’s your choice.

    2. jan said on October 23, 2019 at 10:53 am

      @ John C.
      In my opinoin, you are right.
      The info given in the ghacks article is at least misleading or flatly incorrect; the writer should make a correction and make a statement (instead of being silent!).

      1. jan said on October 25, 2019 at 7:53 am

        Martin remains silent up to today, without any corrention to his flawed article.
        What is he smoking after selling his company??

  3. ULBoom said on October 22, 2019 at 3:29 am

    “do you install third-party drivers on your systems?”

    Sure, for all third party software. DriverView is a nice utility, been using it for quite a while.

    Snappy Driver Installer works most of the time, has a portable version, if someone’s looking for a driver finder. The current version is much better than say a year ago.

    1. Clairvaux said on October 22, 2019 at 6:44 pm

      Wow, awful themes… Finds many obsolete drivers. Is it really safe to update from this ? I always read it was an easy way to break everything.

  4. Ben said on October 21, 2019 at 9:50 pm

    You should link to https:// …

  5. stefann said on October 21, 2019 at 8:16 pm

    “4. Run a Google Search for specific drivers that you select in the application’s interface.”

    No way i use Google. All Google servers are now blocked. Why do gHacks continue to recommend that all the time ? Are You getting paid by Google or ? It is probably not only i who reacts this way…… Why not just write:”You can search for online.” – Why mention Google all the time ?

    1. Martin P. said on October 22, 2019 at 4:42 pm

      « It is probably not only i who reacts this way…… »

      Apparently it is….

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on October 21, 2019 at 8:21 pm

      Google Search is built-into the program and it is the only search engine.

  6. satrow said on October 21, 2019 at 7:25 pm

    Tip: enable the “Modified date” option under View > Choose Columns to display it in the table. This equates to the original file date, not the installed on date; frequently it’s the newest or oldest drivers involved in BSODs.

    Note: “amdxata.sys” and “ATMFD.DLL” aren’t really third-party drivers as they’re supplied by MS on the W7 DVDs.

  7. jimbo said on October 21, 2019 at 6:23 pm

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