This post shows students and new users steps to export (backup) or import (restore) device drivers when using Windows 11.
If you need to migrate or replace an old PC and have legacy devices installed, you may want to export the drivers for those devices so you can reuse them on the new PC.
Some critical devices installed on your machine may no longer be supported by their manufacturers. Once you have a working device with drivers installed, you can export the device drivers, use the device on your new PC, and reinstall the driver.
It might also be a good practice to back up your device drivers in case you need them when you’re corrupted or simply need to reinstall. Windows allows you to export and import device drivers with simple commands; the steps below show you how to do that.
To start exporting and importing your device drivers on Windows 11, follow the steps below.
How to export device drivers on Windows 11
As mentioned, Windows allows users to export their device drivers with simple commands. If you need to export drivers for devices installed on Windows, use the steps below.
First, open the Command Prompt as administrator. To do that, click the Start menu and search for Command Prompt. Right-click Command Prompt and select Run as administrator, as shown in the image below.
When the command prompt opens, run the commands below to export the drivers for all devices installed on Windows.
dism /online /export-driver /destination:"full_path_to_export_folder"
Replace full_path_to_export_folder with a folder you want to export to. Example: C:\Drivers\Export
If you’re exporting the drivers to use on a different PC, simply save the export to an external drive or flash drive, then use it to import to the new computer.
You should see a similar screen to the one below when you successfully export device drivers.
Folder containing device drivers
You can also use the commands below to export device drivers.
pnputil /export-driver * "full_path_to_export_folder"
That will export all installed drivers for devices on your machine.
If you want to use PowerShell, then search for PowerShell and run as administrator. Once PowerShell opens, run the commands below to export all device drivers.
Export-WindowsDriver -Online -Destination "full_path_to_export_folder"
How to import device drivers on Windows 11
Once the drivers are exported, you use the commands below to import them. Again, open the Command Prompt as administrator, then run the commands below to import all drivers.
pnputil /add-driver "full_path_to_import_folder\*.inf" /subdirs /install /reboot
After the drivers are imported, you should see a similar message below.
If you don’t want to import all the exported drivers, 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 on Windows 11
That should do it!
This post showed you how to export and import device drivers on Windows 11. Please use the comment form below if you find any errors above or have something to add.