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Removing drivers from Vista

 
 
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      30th January 2008, 09:59 AM
In Vista, every device driver you install is copied into the "driver store". This "store" is not somewhere you go to purchase drivers; instead, it's an area on the drive where Vista squirrels away device drivers for safe keeping. This is done so that, if you need to reinstall that device later, Vista already has the driver available.



Problem is, you may want to remove this driver so Vista doesn't use it anymore -- especially in the situation where the driver doesn't work, and after you remove the entry from Device Manager, upon reboot, before you can install a different driver, Vista automatically reinstalls the driver from the "store".



What you will need to do is locate the actual device "package" you need to remove and delete it from the driver store.



To locate the device "package", open an elevated command prompt window (enter"cmd" in the start area, then press ctrl-shift-enter) and enter "pnputil.exe -e". This will provide a list of all the third-party drivers installed.



Search the list for the driver version you want removed. It will be oem##.inf. (where ## is the actual two-digit number of the inf file)



To remove that driver, using the same elevated command window, enter "pnputil.exe -d oem##.inf" to be safe, find all the driver files and remove them all.



Then, you need to clean out the INF directory:

1) open %windir%\inf\setupapi.dev.log in Wordpad

2) search for ", this will be found on a DevDesc line

3) look a few lines up for the "inf:" line. It will say Openeded INF: and at the end of the line, you will see the actual name of the inf file.

4) remove that file from the INF directory.

5) look for ServiceBinary=c:\Windows\system32\DRIVERS containing a reference to the same inf file. That's the driver file to delete.

6) continue this process, search for all the inf sequences and DRIVERS references, removing the files from the INF and DRIVERS directories as needed.



Also, be sure to remove the device from Device Manager before you reboot.
 
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      8th July 2008, 09:27 AM
ok i think i am suffering from a "bad" driver problem. i bought a philips usb skype phone and it doesnt work on my vista pc, yet it works perfectly on my friend's and she is running the same version of vista as myself. the message i always get when i attach the usb cable is that the driver isnt loading and vista isnt recognizing my device. btw, my usb ports work fine with all other devices i have. therefore, i think i have a bad or an old driver that keeps denying my device access. if i do have a bad driver how do i know which one it is? how can i fix this problem? thanks!
 
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      23rd October 2008, 04:34 PM
Hi,



I hope this is not that late to ask for some help in this issue.



I am the admin user and I am trying to remove the INF file, but it says I haven't the permissions, so: Access Denied.



I've already tried to set the correct rights on the folder and I can't do it too: Access Denied.



How did you do?



Thanks for the help,



Marc de Barros
 
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      24th October 2008, 08:24 AM
The instructions say to use an elevated command prompt window, not the normal command prompt window. Also, unless you unhid the real Admin account, your're NOT logging in as the Administrator, you're logging in as a normal use with some admin rights. Read the pinned post about unhiding the real admin account if you haven't done that already.
 
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      6th April 2011, 04:16 PM
Dear WAW8
Is there an automated tool or script available, which can do this drivers removal job.
I have the problem that vista will hang after connecting it to a new hardware.
Are there newer knowledges about vista driver issues available, if yes can you please post me the links.
Thanks a lot.
Thomas
 
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Super Moderator
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      6th April 2011, 07:58 PM
Not that I'm aware of. Vista automatically adds the drivers needed when new hardware is detected, but as far as I know, it never actually gets rid of drivers -- which is why you have to do it manually.

There are services out there that will offer apps that claim to do this, but I've yet to find one that actually works. At worst, they remove your working drivers and replace them with broken ones!
 
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      18th January 2012, 08:10 AM
1

Open the Start Menu and go to "Control Panel." If "Classic View" is selected in the left sidebar, click on "Control Panel Home." Then click "Hardware and Sound" and "Device Manager."
2

Click on the plus (+) sign next to the type of hardware from which you would like to remove a driver. A list of the hardware items you have in that particular category will appear.
3

Right-click on the specific piece of hardware you would like to remove the driver from, then select "Properties."
4

Select the "Driver" tabs, then click "Uninstall." In the window that pops up, press OK.
 
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      20th November 2013, 12:03 PM
[QUOTE=WAW8;13328]In Vista, every device driver you install is copied into the "driver store". This "store" is not somewhere you go to purchase drivers; instead, it's an area on the drive where Vista squirrels away device drivers for safe keeping. This is done so that, if you need to reinstall that device later, Vista already has the driver available.



Hi WAW8

I unnderstand what you are saying, my problem is related with a hardware device that is no longer connected (Bluetooth link to my Iphone5) but that Vista did not recognize and keeps remembering (trying to find software). Each time I switch on WIFI (same switch as Bluetooth) I get this annoying message that it cannot install Bluetooth driver for that "device" Device manager lists 2 Bluetoolth Peripherial Devices that I cannot uninstall. The list that you suggest in above quote has one Bluetooth driver from Broadcom Corp OEM126.inf but I am not sure that this is the one causing the problem as Device Manager states manufacturer Unknown and location on Microsoft Bluetooth Enumerator. How to delete the device? I am using an HPCompaq 8710p Notebook and Visa Business SP2.
Thanks

Frank
 
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