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Copy Windows Drivers From One Machine to Another

Driver problems are a source of never-ending issues in the Windows world. Often you’ll have a working driver on another machine, but don’t have the installation cd anymore to install on the new computer.

The simplest way to handle this is a tool called DriverMax, which will allow you to backup and restore your drivers. More importantly, it will allow you to pick a particular driver that is installed on the system and export it into a folder for reinstallation later or elsewhere.

You can use this tool to export drivers from either Vista or XP, and you could even try and use some of your working XP drivers in Vista if you were forced to. (This won’t always work)

Launch DriverMax after installation, and you’ll be presented with this graphically pleasing screen where you can select the “Export drivers” option.

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You’ll have to hit the next button to get to the list of drivers. This should show you all drivers installed on your system.

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You can select just the particular driver you are trying to transfer, or you can use Select all if you wanted to backup your entire driver list (useful).

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Use the next button again and you’ll be taken to a screen where you can choose how to backup the drivers. If you are trying to move the drivers between machines you should choose the option to export to a folder.

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Use the next button again and everything is done. You’ll be able to directly open the folder using the “Open extraction folder” button.

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In here you should see the folders containing the actual driver files. This is what you’ll want to copy to the other computer using a thumb drive.

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On the other computer, you can choose to update the drivers for the problem device, and when you are prompted on how you want to search, just choose to “Browse my computer for driver software” and then pick the folder with your exported drivers.

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These instructions are fairly generic, but I’ve found the basic principles to be very handy.

Download DriverMax from Innovative Solutions

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 10/12/07

Comments (29)

  1. Lisaweb

    This is soo awesome! I have been looking for an inexpensive solution to fix driver problems for ages! Dang, this makes me want to send you flowers! Thanks soo much!

  2. Michael

    Wow. Well – it’s the same Michael. :D Thanks Geek.

  3. digitalhead

    I’ll have to try this program. It could come in handy when I have to reinstall Windows on customers’ computers and there are no drivers disks. Looks a lot better than going online and getting them all one at a time.

  4. TP

    There is a program called Double driver that does all these work. It is also free, just google it.

  5. Hank

    DriverMax is THE BEST BAR NONE!!!

    I have tested a lot of similar software, and DriverMAX rocks !!!!

  6. Ken Cantle

    This is a great innovation but what do you do when Windows XP stops recognising drivers and will not therefore install tham?

  7. Erik

    Now all we need is a program that does the same thing only it exports windows drivers so you can use them on Linux. Because anyone who has used Linux knows what a pain compatibility is.

  8. Tim

    I cannot seem to get the free registration code for Driver Max. The page never loads. I used the program under trial and it is an awesome software!

  9. Tim

    I tried today and got it, no problem. It must have been a website problem yesterday. It is some great free software!

  10. Cheryl

    I seem to have lost my D drive…I’ve done all the checks as suggested on the hp site and to no avail. Any recommendations?

  11. kthulhu

    I have 4 hard drives, the first has XP on it, but isn’t bootable. my 2nd hard drive has a messed up version of vista on it and isn’t bootable. my 3rd drive has ubuntu, which i’m currently on. I’m trying to get XP on the fourth, and I got it installed alright, but I need the drivers, and I don’t want to search again. How do I get the drivers from my first HD (the one with non-bootable XP) onto my new HD? I tried copying the system32/drivers folder to my new HD, but it didn’t work, even if I tell the driver updater to search that folder, it doesn’t let me – it says there are no drivers in it.

  12. pervez

    will vista drivers work on an xp?

  13. Avijit

    its just amazing. it is a very useful software. thanks geek for giving this soft free.

  14. Jim Leslie

    Looks like just what I need. But the computer I want to copy the drivers from is not to be put on the internet, so I can’t download DriverMAX to that machine. Can I download it to another machine and move it over? Is there a DriverMAX disk available. Can I install DriverMAX on multiple machines?

    Thanks

  15. Killer

    Exactly what I needed. Thank you!!!!

  16. Travis Pritchett

    This looks like it is a great tool.

    I will be using this to export drivers the next time i will be doing a format.

  17. Majid

    Thanks so much!

    I am very thankful to this site, Awesome

  18. Joes

    DriverMax is a spyware loaded program requiring registration and lacks the drivers needed for some Acer laptops, Toshiba laptops…
    Also unhelpful in my experience were forums where you register and create an account to find the same useless link to a nonexisting driver.
    Incredibly frustrating is the Vista experience. XP Pro is needed for all of my professional computing – – otherwise I would use Linux(Ubuntu works well enough for my purposes excepting the professional software restricted to Windows).
    Newer models of computers often come with Vista drivers only.
    It would be a professional approach for these manufacturers to ship the device driver CD’s and other necessary CD’s with OPTIONAL bunk software CD’s as opposed to preinstalled junkware. Hmm… funny how there are not too many businesses concerned with being professional and how there is such a temptation($) to preload stripped OS’s and junkware.

    Try searching scroogle.org for various languages of the device drivers you need. Other countries may have what you need.

  19. Tweaks 4 PC

    Hey, thanks for the great tip. Will soon give it a try. I think this should help in making things much easier in upgrading over to my new PC. Cheers!

  20. Ted

    I’am about to build my first p.c. My question is How do I get it running/ installing windows 7 . Will my new CD-DVD RW Drive run the software right out of the box? Or will I have to download the drivers to the p.c.? How do I accomplish this? I currently have an H.P. Laptop running windows XP do I need to use my laptop to transfer the data to the p.c. that I’m assembeling? If so, What cables do I need and how would I accomplish this to get the new P.C. running? Thank you.

  21. Nino Longobardi

    Hello. I have 2 acer aspire laptops one is aspire 3630 the other an aspire 5100. The Aspire 5100 has vista but i want to load XP on it. I managed to load it but seem to be missing some drivers for particular things.2 main ones are the sound and wireless connection. I reloaded vista from the recovery discs and tried to backup the drivers using drivermax bu when it come time to load the drivers they didnt work. The items were still showing up in device manager with drivers not being loaded. Ive checked up on the acer site itself and downloaded their drivers but to no avail. They also never worked. If anyone can help that would be much appreciated. Thanks

  22. Classic

    I have an hp compaq nc6000 labtop and ever since I formatted
    it, I have not gotten all the drivers back. Worst still is the fact
    that I have tried all free download sites to no avail.
    Please can some one help me?.

  23. agila

    it doesn’t work believe me guys!I’ve tested drivermax when it come to backing up pc drivers
    and drivermax just hangup for an hour!The is perfectly useful in identifying unknown drivers
    with accuracy and links to get it to their server.The only cut down for free user is you have to
    wait for a while before your driver can be downloded…

  24. Dru

    REPLY TO:
    Classic

    I have an hp compaq nc6000 labtop and ever since I formatted
    it, I have not gotten all the drivers back. Worst still is the fact
    that I have tried all free download sites to no avail.
    Please can some one help me?.
    ****************************************************************************
    I have all the drivers you need for this system. I have only ever run xp pro on that laptop but i’m assuming they will all work for you. email me for ftp info: andrewdangelmayer at gmail

  25. niecieW

    yes but u got to pay for it

  26. trinity343

    wow this programs interface sucks. it cut’s itself off on the edges so i can’t see the buttons or the scroll bar making it impossible to use. STAY AWAY FROM THIS PRODUCT ITS A WASTE OF TIME

  27. Menekse

    this is wonderful! i`ve done what its said to fix a friends computer, instead of having them pay $300 to a computer company to fix it : )

  28. Deejay_k

    Hi this method is so helpful and it works 100%,thank you very much

  29. Carolina

    Good Day

    How do I install my monitor is blank in my pc …I deleted the drivers by accident..I am using my laptop also how do I conect both equipment…Thanks

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