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Windows 7: how to remove unused drivers?

21 Aug 2014   #11
maxseven

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit 6.1 Build 7601 (SP1)
 
 

Good idea Joe, I forgot about Nir's utility.

jmm I fiddle with my computers all the time, have always fixed them and NEVER have had to reinstall Windows, but would not touch any of drivers, DriverStore, or DRVSTORE (ya I have Vbox stuff only in there) directories with any manual edits.

BTW I just ran DriverView on this PC and of the 448 total drivers only 42 are non-MS. Interesting...


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21 Aug 2014   #12
jmm

7 Pro 32
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by maxseven View Post
would not touch any of drivers, DriverStore, or DRVSTORE
and i wont either...
right now i'm looking into your howtogeek suggestion: turns out i have a huge load of greyed out - ie non connected - items - tempting to deinstall... however, how do i know a device not connected to-day wont be connected to-morrow? will look into all other suggestions in this post and lets see...
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21 Aug 2014   #13
ComputerGeek

Desk 1: Win 7 Pro x32; Desk 2: Windows 10 x64
 
 

Yea, you have a lot of stale references to old driver files in your Autorun output. (With an old Lavasoft scheduled task and a vbs script thrown in). It is safe to remove each of the entries from the registry using Autoruns. Create a System Restore point first (never hurts). Start Autoruns with admin privilege, search autoruns for each File not found entry, right click delete the file reference entry from the registry.

If you want to clean up ghosts, start with old USB mass storage related devices, see USB drive or flash problems? How to cleanup and remove old USB storage drivers - TechSpot Forums. Windows leaves a lot left behind

p.s. I LOVE Nirsoft tools too. But the one you want for your case is DevManView. Cleanup your usb mass storage first (per above link), then run x32 or 64-bit version of DevManView based on your OS. Click Ctl-A to select all entries, Ctl-S to Save. BUT before you save the output change the File Save As type as Tab Delimited Text. Attach to next post
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21 Aug 2014   #14
jmm

7 Pro 32
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ComputerGeek View Post
Windows leaves a lot left behind
!!!


Attached Images
how to remove unused drivers?-capture.png 
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21 Aug 2014   #15
jmm

7 Pro 32
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ComputerGeek View Post
Save As Tab Delimited Text. Attach to next post
done


Attached Files
File Type: txt devmanview.txt (190.5 KB, 10 views)
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22 Aug 2014   #16
maxseven

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit 6.1 Build 7601 (SP1)
 
 

ComputerGeek is giving good advice--I have used Uwe Sieber's DriveTools many times and never had any problems resulting from it. I would say your 147 USB devices etc is an uncommonly high number! You must connect/disconnect stuff very often indeed! I wonder also: what's a "Floppy device"?



As for Device Manager, it is safe to un-install any ghost items there in my experience, with the exception of the Storage Volumes and Storage volume shadow copies which I try not to touch.

Any hardware that you may have inadvertantly uninstalled with DevMgr should immediately be re-installed when connected again, and/or when you click "Scan for hardware changes" under Action.
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22 Aug 2014   #17
jmm

7 Pro 32
 
 

can anyone tell me if you manage to download csu: Windows Registry Cleaner and Repair Software | Comodo System Utilities
(it seems their server has a problem)
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22 Aug 2014   #18
ComputerGeek

Desk 1: Win 7 Pro x32; Desk 2: Windows 10 x64
 
 

just a quick note as i haven't had the time to review your DevManView data yet and explain next steps. But I do want to reply to your last question about using a Registry Cleaner

IMHO I strongly advise against using Registry Cleaners. The more aggressive the cleaner the more likely it will corrupt something now or in the future. That said, i'll add the only exception i'd grant is toCCleaner. It's not aggressive and i've never had a problem with its level of "cleaning" on my or any other computer i've used it with.

As to your situation, I'd be happy to walk you through the remaining steps if you can be patient and wait a bit. For next step, if you haven't already, follow my instruction in prior post to delete File Not Found entries in Autoruns. (Ctl-F to open the Find window, search for File Not Found hit F3 to find next instance) For each file not found entry, right click select->Delete. (just double check it;s a File not Found entry before you delete). Autoruns will then delete the correct registry entry foryou

Feel free to ask any questions and will try my best to answer
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22 Aug 2014   #19
jmm

7 Pro 32
 
 

sorry, i should have been more verbose: my intention is not to clean the registry but to see if comodo's system utilities can help me, as their help pages mention an autorun check (how this compares with Autoruns i have no idea) with a focus on drivers -
i was going to post a summary of my results with all the options given in this thread (many thanks folks!) but i think i'll chicken out given the amount of time it'd need...
let me just say that comodo so far seemed like the best option regdg my initial concern for corrupted (? -> "file-not-found") drivers called during startup, which then moved to a more general topic of "unused drivers"... indeed, with comodo's program manager it seems rather easy to find the driver packages matching the missing sys files found by autorun, and then hopefully uninstall them - however i still dont know if cpm actually uninstalls whole driver packages including registry entries (if someone knows please speak up!) - so the whole thing would obviously be even easier if comodo sys util finds both corrupted startup drivers AND thoroughly uninstalls them...
as to your advice to do that with Autoruns, i'd like to know what exactly it'll do: uninstall packages, clean registry, ot both? if it does both, then i'll go with it and wont bother trying to dnld csu (has someone tried? i start downloading just under 1 mb and then always get the result below -> am suspecting a dirty commercial trick...)


Attached Images
how to remove unused drivers?-image2.png 
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22 Aug 2014   #20
maxseven

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit 6.1 Build 7601 (SP1)
 
 

I have never used CSU but had no trouble downloading and installing the latest version using this link:

http://download.comodo.com/csc/downl...r2008_win7.exe

I understand that you have a hunch these "unused drivers" are causing slowdowns on your system, but are they really? How long does it take to boot your system?

AFAIK all that deleting the Autoruns pointers does is just that: deletes those system pieces (shortcuts or registry entries) that point to files that no longer are there on your hard drive. If you want to delete these go right ahead, but if instead you want to find & eradicate all manner of system files and registry items associated with all of these now-missing files, you just might want to leave Autoruns alone for now as it is giving you clues about drivers etc that were clearly not properly un-installed. Or maybe make screenshot(s) of these before you delete them so you can refer-back to what you deleted.

I will look at CSU and see what to make of that toolset...

EDIT: Well I looked at the Drivers tab in the Autorun Manager of CSU and nothing about it impressed me as being particularly useful for your concerns jmm. And when I right-clicked on one of my own drivers "AFD" (afd.sys) and selected "Search on internet" it took me directly to the home page of the Austin Fire Department! Not very helpful! Right-clicking on items in Sysinternals' Autoruns is gonna give you more help i.e. Jump to Entry (registry location), Jump to Image (file location), Search Online etc.
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