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How to Uninstall a Driver in Windows

device manager

Microsoft Windows and, by extension, its programs can use the printer, keyboard, mouse and any hardware device if the appropriate driver is installed. If you have bad or outdated drivers, your devices can go haywire. User actions and Windows Update blunders can introduce bad drivers to your computer, and you must learn how to remove them through the Device Manager.

Go to the Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Device Manager. A quicker alternative is to launch the Start menu/screen, type “device manager” in the search field, and click on Device Manager when it appears in the results. Better yet, press Windows+R, type “devmgmt.msc” in the Run dialog box, and click OK.

How to Roll Back a Driver

Before you uninstall a driver, you may want consider the rolling it back first. This option essentially removes the current driver for a hardware device and restores the previous version. It’s a recommended step for when the newer version fails to improve the performance and reliability of the hardware device or introduces additional problems.

Find the device whose driver you want to roll back in the Device Manager. Right-click the device, and select Properties. In the properties dialog box that appears, switch to the Driver tab, and click the Roll Back Driver button. Confirm your decision when a new dialog box appears. Reboot your computer.

If the Roll Back Driver button is dimmed, that means there are no previous versions installed.

How to Uninstall a Driver

Locate the device whose driver you want to uninstall in the Device Manager. Right-click the device, and select Uninstall. In the dialog box that appears, mark the “Delete the driver software for this device” checkbox if it’s present, and confirm your action by clicking OK. Reboot your computer.

When it has been uninstalled, the driver’s hardware device is completely unusable to the computer. You need to download a new one from the device manufacturer’s website, or let Windows find one automatically. If you bought the hardware device separately, its packaging may contain installation media that include drivers.

How to Find the Driver You Want to Roll Back or Uninstall in the Device Manager

By default, the devices are categorized according to type. So if, for instance, you want to uninstall the driver for your graphics card, see the display adapters section. If you can’t find the problematic one, go to the View menu and make sure that the Show Hidden Devices option is checked. This should display more devices.

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