Device Drivers after OS Install

Hello all,

Kind of a mundane thing to ask, but I still wanted to ask our resident computer experts a question. The short version is I want to do a fresh install of Windows on my desktop and will be using the opportunity to upgrade the primary drive, so it’s looking like a clean install (which is what I want).

When it comes to the device drivers, I have seen some resources online give suggestions for device driver backup utilities, but then other sites claim that these utilities should not be trusted. Does anybody here have any input on whether backing up device drivers is indeed a reasonably reliable thing, or am I going to have to hunt down the drivers manually prior to the OS install? Bear in mind that this system was custom built, so there isn’t a manufacturer’s site to go to to get the drivers en masse.


Tim Wagner


Are you talking about the standard drivers for a consumer desktop (lan cards, A/V stuff, etc…) or do you have something more bespoke on there? I haven’t tried a backup utility for drivers specifically, but I’ve never found any driver utility to be useful at all. I had a MB repair on an HP laptop and even that made the Intel and HP driver utilities worthless. So I keep a folder of driver installer files backed up for clean installs because it’s the only thing that has worked. Additionally, I’ve found that updates to windows 10 often blow away drivers I’ve installed, so having that group ready has helped a lot.

For my custom built machine though the motherboard came with a CD that had most of the critical drivers in one place, although I had zero fancy hardware on it. But anyway bottom line IMO is that a fresh install of windows on a custom system is an annoyingly frequent need, so there’s some sense in doing it methodically and saving time next time.

Good luck,

Well most generic boards should have a master disk driver for the board drivers, if you have some main brand board Asus, Intel , EVGA, MSI , Gigabyte, even some the more generic boards even have sites, if you no longer have your main disk any longer, You will just need to know make and model easy enough windows 7+ is pretty good at providing at least semi functional driver out the box, for install usually only thing I ever worry about is network card driver, if its the only pc you have,


I have used this driver backup tool with success. You can use it on a running Windows installation, or plug your old hard drive in and extract the drivers offline:

If your PC was custom-built, look for the manufacturer and model # printed on the motherboard. See this example from an Asus motherboard You can then google drivers for that model #, or visit the support/downloads site for the manufacturer and download the most recent drivers. For the board in that image, this is the downloads page: The only other devices you would need to hunt drivers down for would be a video card or USB devices.

Windows has been getting increasingly good at providing drivers through updates. When you run Windows Update, look for any hardware devices you can download drivers for.