How to Backup Drivers in Windows

When you perform a system format, all the data stored in your operating system drive is cleaned, which means you lose all the software you have installed and the default Windows drivers. After the system format, you can reinstall the latest version of the popular software applications with ease, but this is not the case with drivers.

You have to search the vendors website for the latest drivers, which can be tiring enough. Some of the drivers are hard to find and you may not remember the exact set of drivers which is required by your system.

In such situations, it’s a good idea to first backup all the installed drivers in your hard drive or a DVD and then carry on with the system format. When the format is complete, you can use the driver backups and do not have to search and download the latest versions from the internet.

Case study: I use a Lenovo Ideapad and when I bought the laptop some months ago, all the drivers came out of the box. The vendor didn’t provided me any CD or DVD for the device drivers and said that all of them are available in the Lenovo website. When I visited the Lenovo website, it took me some time to find out which drivers I exactly need. I may not remember the exact names as there are a whole lot of drivers available for different laptops.

Then I thought, why not backup the drivers which comes by default ? I will burn this backup in a DVD and use it whenever I format my system. I searched for some software applications and found DriverMax.

Backup Drivers in Windows

1. Once you have downloaded the application, start the DriverMax installation wizard. During installation, the program will prompt you with the following message window:

Driver max Installation wizard

2. Click “OK” and the application will start indexing the already installed drivers in your system. This may take a couple of minutes to finish.

Drivermax setup screen

3. Once the installation is over, start the program and click the “Backup drivers” link.

Backup Installed Windows Drivers using Drivermax

4. In the next step, just hit “Next”.

Export Drivers wizard in Drivermax

5. Click “Next” and the application will start listing all the installed drivers in your system.

Installed Windows drivers

6. If you want to see the device details or driver files, click the “Details” button placed at the right of the respective drivers.

Driver files details and Device information

7. Before creating the backup, you can tweak the program settings to show hidden drivers and Windows default drivers on the final list.

Drivermax program settings

The application can also group the drivers according to “Type”. For example: You may be interested in only backing up the drivers required for the keyboard. In that case, select the required type from the dropdown menu and hit “Next”.

Driver type export

8. Select the location where you want to save the driver backups. It’s advisable not to use the “My Documents” folder or the same drive where the OS is installed, because after system format the backups will also be deleted. Use a removable drive or a non OS partition instead.

Select export location of drivers

9. Click “Next” and the application will backup all the installed drivers and save them in the location you specified in the earlier step.

Exporting the installed drivers and creating a backup folder

Driver export complete

You can click the “View Extraction folder” button to open the folder of the backup. Here is how my driver backup folder looks:

Driver backup folder and files

Restoring the Drivers from the Backup Files

After you have performed a complete system format and have the backup, you can again use DriverMax to restore it. Just follow the steps mentioned below:

1. Run the program and select “Restore drivers from backup”.

Restore Windows drivers from backup files

2. In the next step, specify the location of the backup which you had created earlier. You can also import a ZIP file containing all the driver backups ( just ZIP the folder containing all the backup files, refer step 9 above).

Select the location for importing driver backups

3. Hit “Next” and you are all done. All the drivers would be imported and installed in your system in a minute or two. Then restart your computer for the changes to take effect.

DriverMax works in Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows7. Do you use any tool to backup the drivers installed in your system? Please share your ideas in the comments section.