Which drivers are safe to remove in Windows Vista?

Myke46 November 7, 2010

When in Device Manager (through cmd), are the drivers shown in a lighter shade safe to remove? I’m using Windows Vista Home Basic.

  1. Anonymous
    November 7, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    HiIf you remove a driver that is important then you can experience windows problems, you must find more info about those drivers through right clicking on them, then once identified you can take the right decision.In Windows 7 or Vista, the first thing you’ll need to do is open a command prompt in administrator mode. Type cmd into the start menu search box, and then use Ctrl+Shift+Enter to open in administrator mode. (You can also right-click on the command prompt and choose Run as Administrator)Now paste in the following line:SET DEVMGR_SHOW_NONPRESENT_DEVICES=1Then type in devmgmt.msc to start up Device Manager from the administrator command prompt:Once you are in Device Manager, go to the View menu and choose Show Hidden Devices, which will show all the device drivers including things that aren’t currently installed in your computer. You can right-click on the driver and then choose Uninstall from the menu to remove the drivers for that old hardware.

    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%infsetupapi.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:Windowssystem32DRIVERS 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.