This post shows students and new users the steps to export (backup) or import (restore) device drivers when using Windows 11. If you need to migrate or replace an old PC and you have legacy devices installed, you may need to you want to export the drivers for those devices so that you can reuse them on the new PC.
Some of the critical devices you have installed on your machine may no longer be supported by their manufacturers. Once you have a working device with the drivers installed, you can export the device drivers and use the device on your new PC and reinstall the corresponding driver.
It may also be a good practice to back up your device drivers in case you need them when it is corrupted or you just need to reinstall them. Windows allows you to export and import device drivers with simple commands, then the steps below show you how.
The new Windows 11 comes with many new features and a new user desktop, including a centered start menu and taskbar, rounded corner windows, themes and colors that will make any computer look and feel modern.
If you’re excited about Windows 11, keep reading our posts about it.
To start exporting and importing your device drivers in Windows 11, follow the steps below.
How to export device drivers in Windows 11
As mentioned above, Windows allows users to export their device drivers with simple commands. If you need to export drivers for devices installed in Windows, please follow the steps below.
First, open the command prompt as an administrator. To do that, click on the Start Menu, then look for Command Prompt. Right-click on Command Prompt and select Execute as an administrator as shown in the picture below.
When the command prompt opens, run the following commands to export the drivers for all devices installed in Windows.
dism /online /export-driver /destination:"full_path_to_export_folder"
Replace full_path_to_export_folder with a folder that you want to export to. Example: C: Drivers Export
If you are exporting the drivers for use on a different PC, simply save the export to an external drive or flash drive and then use it to import to the new computer.
You should see a screen similar to the following when you successfully export the drivers for the devices.
Folder containing device drivers
You can also use the following commands to export device drivers.
pnputil /export-driver * "full_path_to_export_folder"
That will export all the installed drivers for the devices on your machine.
If you want to use PowerShell, search for PowerShell and run it as administrator. Once PowerShell opens, run the following commands to export all device drivers.
Export-WindowsDriver -Online -Destination "full_path_to_export_folder"
How to import device drivers in Windows 11
After the drivers are exported, use the following commands to import them. Again, open the command prompt as administrator, then run the following commands to import all the drivers.
pnputil /add-driver "full_path_to_import_folder*.inf" /subdirs /install /reboot
If you don’t want to import all the drivers that were exported, you can simply use Windows Device Manager to import only the drivers you want.
Read the post below to learn how to install device drivers in Windows 11
How to install device drivers in Windows 11
You should do that!
In this tutorial we have seen how to export and import device drivers in Windows 11. If you find any errors above or have something to add, use the comment form below.