How to Backup Drivers in Windows 10/11?

This article will show you how to create a Windows driver backup. You may need to backup drivers in Windows 10 and 11 before reinstalling the operating system or for future troubleshooting. It is a good practice to regularly create backups of a properly working software configuration. They will save you from headaches in the future and let you get your computer back into a working state after a botched update or another trouble.

This article applies to Windows 10 and 11 because both operating systems use the same tools to backup Windows drivers and restore them in an emergency.

Tip. We recommend downloading all the necessary drivers from the official websites and keeping them on a spare USB stick. Such an approach will let you restore a specific driver, not the entire pack.

Some users think copying the system32 folder is a reliable way to create a Windows driver backup. Windows indeed keeps all drivers in the system32 folder, but the thing is that the directory also contains thousands of unnecessary files, and copy-pasting the system32 folder is a challenge on its own. If you want to backup drivers in Windows 10 and 11, follow the instructions below.

Backup Drivers in Windows

  1. Begin with creating a folder for your backup. It can be any directory on any drive on your computer, including on removable drives.
  2. Press Win + R and type cmd, then press Ctrl + Shift + Enter. That will launch Command Prompt as Administrator.
  3. Now you need to type a command to backup drivers in Windows 10 and 11:
    dism /online /export-driver /destination:X:\Path

    Replace X:\Path with the path to the folder where you want to keep the backup of your driver. Here is an example:

    dism /online /export-driver /destination:C:\Backup\2022

    backup drivers windows 10

  4. Another command you can use to backup Windows drivers:
    pnputil.exe /export-driver * X:\Path
  5. Again, replace X:\Path with the path to the folder where you want to store the backup.
  6. Press Enter and wait for the system to backup drivers. windows driver backup
  7. Now you can go to the specified folder and check the backup.

You will notice that the Windows driver backup folder does not contain traditional msi or exe files for installation. Instead, there are several files with unknown extensions. That is how Windows driver backup work. Also, you do not restore driver backups by simply launching an executable, and Windows has a dedicated command for restoring drivers from backups.

windows 10 backup drivers

How to Restore Windows Drivers From Backup?

If Windows works without issues:

  1. Press Win + R and type devmgmt.msc. You can also use other ways to launch Windows Device Manager.
  2. Right-click the device you want to update with a driver from a backup and select Update Driver. backup windows 10 drivers
  3. Select Browse my computer for driver to specify the folder with the Windows driver backup. driver backup and restore
  4. Click Browse on the next step and select the folder with the drivers. backup drivers windows 10 cmd
  5. Wait for Windows to restore the driver. You might need to restart your computer to apply the changes depending on the device type.

That is how to backup drivers in Windows 10 and 11. Now you know how to create and restore working drivers using Command Prompt and Device Manager.

Cyril Kardashevsky

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