After installing drivers on a computer or laptop, they are copied to a single repository, and do not remain in the location from where you install them (however, they remain there too).
This beginner’s guide details where the Windows 10 drivers are stored, whether the driver files can be removed from there, and additional information that might be helpful.
Driver storage location
Files of installed drivers (.inf, .sys and others), and not only currently active, but also ready for installation, are located in various Windows 10 folders:
- C: \ Windows \ System32 \ drivers– there are active .sys files, but no .inf installation information files.
- C: \ Windows \ System32 \ DriverStore \ FileRepository– Sets of drivers included in the system and that you install, ready for reinstallation, include a complete set of files.
- C: \ Windows \ INF– .INF files for active device drivers and critical system drivers.
- In some cases, in the DRVSTOREfolder in System32.
If we talk about the FileRepository folder, it can take up many gigabytes of disk space: it all depends on the installed drivers and the number of devices for which they were installed, the frequency of updates (previous driver versions can also be stored).
The easiest way to go to the folder where the drivers are stored is to launch the explorer, copy and paste the full path to the folder into the address bar of the explorer and press Enter, the folder will open immediately.
And now the answers to some questions related to driver folders and files stored in them:
- Can drivers be removed from these folders? – it is undesirable to manually delete from the folder, there is a risk of problems with the operation of devices both already installed and connected in the future.
- But it is possible to clear the DriverStore \ FileRepository folder from old driversto save disk space.
- If you wish, you can create a backup copy of the driversin a convenient location without manually copying individual files.
- The path to the driver file used by a particular device can be obtained in Device Manager by opening the device properties and then clicking the Details button on the Driver tab. This will display the paths to the .sys driver files in C: \ Windows \ System32 \ drivers, but not to the .INF installation files (in future updates to Windows 10 Device Manager, the By driver item will appear in the View menu, sorting devices by .INF to the installation driver).