Device drivers serve as essential software components enabling communication between hardware devices and the operating system. Windows incorporates a Driver Store, which keeps a collection of driver packages. You can even contribute your own driver package to this store. Pre-installing drivers in Windows Driver Store prove helpful, especially in cases where driver availability in case of device connection is desired. So, read this guide to learn the whole process.
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How to Pre-Install Drivers in Windows Driver Store
In this blog, we have explained two ways to put a driver package into the Driver Store. One needs you to copy and paste manually, good for EXE files. The other requires Command Prompt and the pnputil tool, mostly for INF files. So, let’s begin!
Method 1: Manually Place Driver Files
This method essentially involves copying driver files to a specific directory to pre-install them in the Windows Driver Store.
Note: Obtain the necessary driver files from the manufacturer’s website or another trusted source. This might include downloading an executable (EXE) file or a compressed archive.
1. Hold down the Windows key on your keyboard and press the R key to open the Run dialog box.
2. In the Run dialog box, type %SystemRoot%\Inf and click on OK.
Note: This command takes you to the location on your Windows system where driver files are stored.
3. Within the Inf folder, create a new folder with a name that identifies the device or the driver.
For example, you named the folder Dell WM713 to match the device.
4. If you have downloaded an EXE file, then you need to Extract files using a tool like WinRAR.
5. Place the extracted driver files into the folder you created in the Inf directory.
Once the driver files are in the appropriate folder, Windows will recognize them as pre-installed drivers. When you connect a device that requires these drivers, Windows will automatically reference the pre-installed driver files from the Driver Store.
By placing the driver files in this specific directory, you essentially trick Windows into thinking that the drivers are pre-installed, even though you placed them manually. It’s important to ensure that you have the correct driver files and follow the directory structure to avoid any potential issues with driver installation.
Method 2: Use Command Prompt and pnputil
Using the pnputil tool via Command Prompt, you can install drivers on Windows 10 Driver Store. This process can be particularly useful when you want to troubleshoot compatibility issues for hardware devices.
Note: Place the driver package (with the .inf file) in a convenient location on your computer.
1. Search for cmd in the Windows search bar.
2. Right-click on Command Prompt in the search results and select Run as administrator.
3. Use the following command syntax to add the driver to the Driver Store using pnputil:
pnputil.exe -i -a <path_to_inf_file>
Here’s a breakdown of the command:
- pnputil.exe: This is the PnP Utility tool, which manages the driver packages in the Windows Driver Store.
- -i: This parameter tells pnputil that you want to install a driver package.
- -a <path_to_inf_file>: This specifies the path to the .inf file of the driver package you want to install.
For example, if your driver’s .inf file is located at C:\Drivers\MyDriver.inf, the command would be:
pnputil.exe -i -a C:\Drivers\MyDriver.inf
4. After typing the command, press the Enter key on your keyboard.
Running this command will add and install drivers on Windows 10 Driver Store.
Pre-installing drivers in Windows Driver Store can streamline the device setup process and improve compatibility, especially in enterprise environments. We hope our guide helped you with the same. Please share your experience and let us know which method worked for you by leaving a comment below.