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Where are Device Drivers stored in Windows 7? – DriverStore

DriverStore is a new and a central location in Windows Vista and Windows 7 where all the driver files will be stored., before they are copied to their final destination during the device driver installation.

The location of the driver store is – C:\Windows\System32\DriverStore

Driver files are stored in folders, which are located inside the FileRepository folder as shown in the image below.

Driver Store

For eg: the driver package developed by Microsoft that contains the core mouse support files is present in the following folder.

C:\Windows\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository\msmouse.inf_amd64_neutral_6f653f6716c1448c

Within this folder are the driver files (.sys), driver setup files (.inf), pre-compiled INF files(.pnf), and an XML manifest file that contains the manifest of all the files within the driver package. Together, all of these different files add up to the driver package, which contains all the files needed to install the device. To protect these files, the NTFS permissions on the driver store and its sub-folders and files is full control for the local system account and Read& Execute for the Everyone built in identity.

Earlier in Windows XP and 2000, the driver source files neeeded for installing the devices were typically found in several locations.

  • %SystemRoot%\Driver Cache\i386\drivers.cab
  • %SystemRoot%\Driver Cache\i386\service_pack.cab
  • .inf files under %windir%inf
  • .sys files under %SystemRoot%\System32\Drivers
  • Support DLLs under %SystemRoot%\System32
  • Third Party co-installers in various locations.

Advantages of maintaining a central store:

  1. Allows for potentially faster device installation and more realiable driver rollback and is a single standard for un-installing drivers.
  2. Allows you to protect drivers by using the Windows Resource Protection(WRP).
  3. Uses index files to minimize the performance impact on installing devices when the driver store grows in size as a result of new package additions.

To learn, How to get an Inventory of all the Installed Device Drivers in a Machine – Read this article

References: Vista Resource kit and Technet

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • VIveka

    I think We can Store all the Drivers in the “Driversstore” folder and it may help in Desktop Image management on one Image supporting multiple hardware models. Am I correct Vijay?

  • VIveka

    I think We can Store all the Drivers in the “Driversstore” folder and it may help in Desktop Image management on one Image supporting multiple hardware models. Am I correct Vijay?

  • Vijay Raj

    Yes Vivek. This is one very good statergy from Microsoft to have a central location for driver files., so that the IT Pro’s job gets easy. They had implemented this in Vista, and it is also present in Windows 7. Subsequently, it would be present in all OS’s of MS.

    I will post out an aricle on how exactly the OS takes this folder and installs the drivers in a day or two. I think, that will make things more clear for all, who have been working with Driver packages.

  • Vijay Raj

    Yes Vivek. This is one very good statergy from Microsoft to have a central location for driver files., so that the IT Pro’s job gets easy. They had implemented this in Vista, and it is also present in Windows 7. Subsequently, it would be present in all OS’s of MS.I will post out an aricle on how exactly the OS takes this folder and installs the drivers in a day or two. I think, that will make things more clear for all, who have been working with Driver packages.

  • Vivek’s

    That would be great VJ. Looking forward that information. Please try to give info on how intelligently the OS will pick up drivers which is stored, If there any driver confilicts how we can manage it automatically or so. I hope, you will be doing it.

  • Vivek’s

    That would be great VJ. Looking forward that information. Please try to give info on how intelligently the OS will pick up drivers which is stored, If there any driver confilicts how we can manage it automatically or so. I hope, you will be doing it.

  • Vikash

    now how i should detect my device drivers

  • Anonymous

    I didn’t know that there is even a palce to store drivers in Win7…

    win 7 is quite powerful

  • Anonymous

    That’s great! I don’t need to search for some driver through out my system.

  • http://twitter.com/willadair willadair

    Thank you so much. Great tip for those that forgot the system32 folder.

  • http://www.facebook.com/subbubisani Jaya Subba Reddy Bisani

    Great stuff….thanks….

  • sheryl

    you have good answers

  • thetrellan

    That’s nice, but I’m looking for a place that stores simple .inf folders, not these crazy things that continue past .inf to God knows where. Where do I put the driver for my monitor? Not the color profile, just the driver.

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