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Windows 7: how to remove unused drivers?

22 Aug 2014   #21
jmm

7 Pro 32
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by maxseven View Post
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

thanks for the link! it works for me too -

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?

boot's normal - just doing summer cleanup... - and hopefully it doesnt hurt trying to improve (i can't even remember how i came across Autoruns)

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.

i agree - i think i'll wait at least until i know what exactly comodo prog mngr does...

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.

i agree - seems they're mainly concerned by malware - i saw none of the "sys files not found" detected by autoruns...

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!

did you call?

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.
yes, i've done that of course... too bad it doesnt take you to the driver package - jump to image systematically takes me to "my documents"...


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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22 Aug 2014   #22
maxseven

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

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jmm View Post
[autoruns] doesnt take you to the driver package - jump to image systematically takes me to "my documents"
Yeah drivers can be installed anywhere; there's NOT a nice neat area where drivers are located and clearly delineated one-from-the-other. That's why ComputerGeek's idea to delete the Autoruns that point to missing files is reasonable to do--the files they reference are gone, so the pointer is a waste of bits.

Ultimately that Windows starts & runs with missing files and garbage in its Registry is the best defense the folks at MS have for designing Windows the way they have. I'll never forget a statement I heard early-on with my first exposure to Windows, from a guy with way more experience than I: "Installing programs onto Windows is like pouring sand into your computer. Try as you might to get rid of it later, you can never completely clean it up again..." Well it's not completely true, but you have to work awfully hard at it sometimes (and it will involve that very controversial subject: registry cleaning).

BTW that "Jump to" takes you to Documents is probably a good thing in that the files are truly gone. Maybe all you should do at this point is delete all the bad Autoruns and be done with it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Aug 2014   #23
ComputerGeek

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

Let me see if i can try to summarize here... There are a variety of different tools that help provide info about different bits and pieces of the puzzle we call "Windows drivers" (and Windows startups which got you here in the first place!)

DevManView - provides a lot of the gory detail buried in Device Manager in a nice tabular view. Learning what it all means is the challenge! You can use it to immediately identify and group all ghosts by simply clicking on the Connected column header to sort entries by Connected= Yes or No. All entries with Connected=No are ghosts but that doesn't mean you want to uninstall them. Many, many of those "un-connected" devices are non-plug and play devices to be left alone. (Non plug and play always appear unconnected). Look at the Device name for unconnected devices.
> Do you recognize device names of things you USED to have installed?
> I can see things like an old instance of your DVDRAM still installed (it shows Connected=No)
> And did you used to have AverMedia sound card installed?
> There's also lots of Bluetooth devices but they can be tricky to uninstall. Are there any device uninstall apps for you BT devices in Programs and Features?
> Several HP printers too. Though they're also best uninstalled by Programs and Features

Autoruns by SysInternals - it's showing you everything that gets loaded and or started up when Windows boots or when you logon. The registry key the entry is under indicates the type of startup. (I haven't looked at Commodo but IMHO this tools provides the most comprehensive list of this type) Most of your File not Founds are registry references to driver files no longer on disk. But there's also a reference to a Lavasoft task that used to get run on Startup. All of these are a nuisance on Windows startup. Since they're defined in the registry windows tries to start or load them. But can't as File Not Found. Autoruns allows you to delete each registry reference to these files that no longer exist.

DoubleDriver - it;s a driver backup tool. It'll show you all the driver packages that are installed on your machine. It creates a backup of each package. You can also see all the non-Microsoft packages installed. All the packages with names oemxx.inf are packages that didn't come with your OS installation.

Terminology: All the drivers that come with your Windows installation are called "InBox" drivers. You can see a list of all non-InBox driver packages on your computer. From a admin command prompt type
Code:
Dism /online /get-drivers /format:table > "C:\NonInBox.txt"
Note that Double Driver shows you installed packages. The output file from this command shows you all the packages in the DriverStore (whether installed or not).

OK. All for now. Time for some sleep.... You've already created an Autoruns .arn file you attached to a prior post so you can always see your original Autoruns output should you want to delete the registry entries. You can also review all the driver packages on your machine using Dism command - but i wouldn't remove anything.. at least yet.

Aren't Windows drivers fun?! LOL
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23 Aug 2014   #24
maxseven

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

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ComputerGeek View Post
Aren't Windows drivers fun?! LOL
You said a mouthful!

Had trouble finding Double Driver download myself, but did find it finally here. I also ran dism and naturally the results from DD and dism are not consistent with one another.



But at least it should give the OP a good idea of what's "officially installed" in the system, and being acted upon, versus remnants of other files & whatnot that he wants to delete.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Aug 2014   #25
ComputerGeek

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

Hi maxseven

Ooops. Sorry, I added the link to DoubleDriver after the fact. This hyperlink will avoid the piggy-back installs that often come with CNET. UseBooZet Freeware | Double Driver - backup and restore installed drivers

As to what may appear as differences between DISM and DoubleDriver, i can clarify:
> DoubleDriver is showing all installed drivers whether an Inbox driver that came with the OS or not

When DoubleDriver opens click on the Setup Information column header to sort by filename, Look at the oemxx.inf files, you'll see the oem file list is a subset of what DISM is showing.
> Double Driver is only showing whats installed
> DISM is showing all the driver packages on the machine (many of the packages are there but not installed)

As you also mentioned, i think it's useful to do "garbage cleanup" using Autoruns to remove registry references that cause Windows to try and load something no longer there. Otherwise, it can be an interesting exercise to compare your "installed" 3rd party drivers to what's available in the DriverStore. But unless you have a specific need I wouldn't be concerned or aggressive with packages in the store unless you KNOW it's something you really don't need any more.

p.s. As another exercise in curiosity, you can include the /all parameter in DISM to see all packages in the store. It will take several seconds to run. My Win 7 Pro SP1 x2 reveals 570! inbox driver packages came with my OS.
Code:
Dism /online /get-drivers /all  /format:table > "C:\AllPackages.txt"
/* EDIT */
p.s. Notice the Inbox column header in the DISM report tells you whether the driver package came as part of your OS install or not
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Aug 2014   #26
maxseven

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

Well it's confusing, to me anyway, to see that the DriverStore contains original MS drivers included with Windows, but then clearly 3rd party software can install their own drivers into the DriverStore, and that I suppose is some of what the OP was interested in when this started, i.e. "how to uninstall".

In my case I find only one driver package that is of questionable value, though it's not presently "installed" or running, and so small it is not worth worrying about: some asferr.inf thing from 12 years ago. Then again I have so few of these, only 115 for my W7HPSP1x64 vs your 570, that no doubt I did some sort of cleanup; must have been a few years ago now cuz I don't recall and it wasn't readily searchable in my diary...
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23 Aug 2014   #27
jmm

7 Pro 32
 
 

so many driver explorers, so little time to rate them all! (can't seem to deal well with doubledriver)
to summarize, i must say i refrained from my initial intention to use autoruns to disable file-not-found entries because of their unofficial guideline saying:
"Never ever simply untick any driver!
Drivers have to be maintained (installed, updated, deactivated, removed) using devmgmt.msc."

anyway, here's what i did:
- both restore point and save system image
- uncheck all file-not-found entries in autoruns (registry results below)
- was going to wait a few days to make sure everything was ok before deleting entries
- gave up deleting entries as unchecking = disabling attempts to load makes me happy enough - reasonable?
well, it's been a pleasure, i've learned a lot (and i hope you too) - after this weekend, i have to go back to real work and reverse the summer situation (me idle = computer busy)...
talk to you next summer!


Attached Images
how to remove unused drivers?-capture.png 
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24 Aug 2014   #28
maxseven

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

Some of these things are tricky, but it seems your example should not be i.e. either your PC has Bluetooth capability which the Atheros driver was installed-for, or it does not. So you look in DRIVERS for btath_flt.sys (making sure to "show Hidden and show System files" just in case) and if it's gone you can safely (IMO!) delete the AthBTPort key entirely. If your BT adapter was/is a pluggable one, then when you replug it the driver will need to be installed again, however that might happen (from Windows/MS or from disc/website).

But as has been said numerous times already if Autoruns checkboxes are good enough, and the PC starts & runs happily, you can move-on to more important issues like that neighbor dog that's pooping in your yard...

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24 Aug 2014   #29
jmm

7 Pro 32
 
 

i have a fujitsu-siemens laptop with bluetooth built-in, but the story is a bit complicated: if i remember well, the machine came (2008!) with a toshiba bt stack - then, not being satisfied with it, i think i installed csr drivers - still not satisfied (there were issues communicating with my cell phone), i came across the intel basic bt driver, which is what i'm using now and am 100% satisfied with, BUT...! i occasionally use a driver updater (driver genius), which keeps wanting me to install another driver package (can't remember the name - could be atheros...?), which i did once and then uninstalled as it was a real mess - so you see... no wonder i have so much bt junk in here!
as for autoruns, i imagine that windows reading the registry with the additional couple of kb the atheros key makes up shoudnt make any difference, a totally different issue from spending time trying to find a file that doesnt exist (yes, i checked and btath_flt.sys is not there), dont you think?
excuse me, i have to check on my dog who's i think pooping in my neighbor's yard...

[edit] it's even more complicated: i seem to have bt keys from brother industries and yes i have a brother printer but it aint bt at all!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Aug 2014   #30
maxseven

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

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jmm View Post
talk to you next summer!
If you're still around jmm I would only suggest that you [try to] play with Autoruns and Device Manager every few weeks if for no other reason than we have a tendency to forget how to do things unless we deal with them more/less regularly. One of the reasons I have a select few friends & relatives I support--use it or lose it y'know.

Hey another idea for you is iDailyDiary or something like it. I can't tell you how often I encounter something like "now didn't I see this before" or find a new problem and I can go-back over my notes from e.g. that time period and Eureka--yeah I installed that Brother printer and then un-installed it again already.

Good luck to you~!
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