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The Windows directory is a special folder on Windows 10 computers that acts as a catchall for everything from system files to third party apps. Windows 10 has to store them somewhere so that the operating system knows where to look for them. So where are these specific drivers located?
The Windows 10 drivers can be located in C:\WINDOWS\System32\drivers and in C:\WINDOWS\inf. Windows 10 also maintains a driver cache under the Driverstore directory on your computer. You can access that system directory by going to C:\WINDOWS\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository.
Are the drivers stored on the hard drive?
Before we get things started and you wanted to know if you can find your drivers in your computer’s hard drive, yes, they are stored in the computer’s main storage drive similar to how all the main Windows 10 files are stored in the drive. That’s because you are actually installing your Windows 10 operating system on your computer’s main storage drive, and that means that all the necessary system files are also stored there.
So, if you are looking for your Windows 10 drivers, you shouldn’t search anywhere else because all the necessary files will be located in your main storage drive or the drive where you installed your Windows 10 operating system.
After all, if the drivers and the necessary system files are located in any other drive or location, your Windows 10 operating system won’t be able to boot normally.
Now, let’s move on to learn more about where you can find your drivers on your Windows 10 computer.
Where are the drivers stored in Windows 10?
If you have ever owned a Windows 10 computer in the past, you would know that locating your different files should not be too difficult.
However, you might have also experienced that, in comparison, the most difficult files to find are the drivers. After all, you would never know when knowing where your drivers are located can be handy in the future.
So, is it possible for you to locate those driver files in case you wanted to tinker with them?
Before we get there, you might there’s no good reason for you to want to know where your drivers are stored in your Windows 10 computer.
After all, you are not going to use those files on a regular basis because the system instantly uses them for you whenever you may want something from those drivers.
For example, the drivers for your graphics card are utilized by the entire operating system automatically when you need them so long as they are installed in the computer.
So, in case you didn’t know what drivers are for, they are there so that your different internal and external devices can function correctly without the need for you to install additional software.
Going back to our graphics card example, so long as the correct drivers for the graphics card are installed on the computer, there is no need for you to use separate software for the operating system to immediately utilize the graphics card.
Another example, which is quite simple, is the driver for your speakers in case you are using a laptop. By having those drivers installed, your laptop’s speakers no longer need any additional software to work automatically whenever you play music or watch a video.
Now that you know how important drivers are, let us go back to why you may want to look for them in your Windows 10 computer, and the reason is quite simple.
If you are an informed regular computer user such as when you have plenty of different important files that are stored in your computer, you should be smart enough to have a backup of those files in case something happens to your computer.
Those files could be important documents about work or school or they could be memorable photos. Whatever the case may be, you know how important it is to have a backup for those files regardless of whether you are storing them in a cloud-based app or in a physical backup drive.
So, if you know how important it is for you to have a backup for your different important files, it should be obvious by now that you might want to have a backup for your different drivers as well.
That’s because anything can happen to your computer such as when a virus suddenly deletes everything in the system or if something goes bad with the system software or hardware that your computer needs an entire system overhaul.
That said, in case something does happen to your computer, you would always have your backup drivers to get your system back to close to what it was before everything was wiped out.
This makes it easier for you to be able to use all of your different internal and external devices after an entire system overhaul.
But while the different system drivers are usually available for download automatically when you prompt the system to download the corresponding drivers for certain devices, it still is easier for you to simply copy and paste the drivers from your backup.
In that regard, now you see why it is important for you to know where your drivers are stored in your Windows 10 computer. Knowing where they are located can allow you to easily create a backup for those different drivers.
Going back to our point, if you want to know where the location of your drivers is if you are using Windows 10, they can be located in the C:\WINDOWS\System32\drivers, C:\WINDOWS\inf, and C:\WINDOWS\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository.
Each of these different directories has files that have their own unique purposes.
The ones located in your C:\WINDOWS\System32\drivers are the system drivers themselves. That means that these are the more important drivers that have already been installed into your system so that your different internal and external devices can work well. That’s why the files stored under this folder are .sys files.
Meanwhile, the files stored in the C:\WINDOWS\inf directory are actually the installation files for the different drivers your system needs.
Whenever you automatically download or update a driver, the Windows 10 operating system uses the different files located in this directory to install the system drivers on your computer.
That’s why the files located in this directory are .inf files.
Finally, we have the Driverstore directory, which is located in C:\WINDOWS\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository.
This directory contains a list of a lot of different drivers that your Windows 10 system can use whenever you install a new device that needs the correct driver to work on the computer.
So, when the system detects a new device, it will automatically refer to this directory to find the corresponding driver that it can install for the new device.
So, by backing up all the files you find in these three directories, you will have a backup of all of your drivers in case your system gets wiped out and you need to quickly get everything back to normal without having to download all the different individual drivers.
However, the most important ones are the files you can find in C:\WINDOWS\System32\drivers because these are the actual system driver files.
The files in the other two directories are also important but you can still do without them if your goal is to simply back the system drivers up so that you can simply copy and paste the drivers in case something wrong happens to your Windows 10 computer.
Where can I find a list of drivers on my computer?
If you are looking for a list of the different drivers installed in your computer, the list can be found in the C:\WINDOWS\System32\drivers because these are the important system drivers that the different devices you use need to function correctly.
Even your computer’s Wi-Fi receiver needs its own driver to function. The same is true for your mouse and speakers.
However, if you are looking for the list of the devices that make use of the different drivers installed in your computer, you can find do so by doing the following:
- Click the Start menu
- Look for Settings
- Click Device Manager, which is located in your Control Panel
- From there, you can see all of the different devices that your Windows 10 computer uses.
- If you want to manually update the drivers of these devices, you can right-click on the corresponding device and choose Update Driver