Juanita Asks "Where Does Windows Store Drivers?"
When I reformat my PC once a year I always end up searching the net for 1 or 2 drivers. Where does XP store the drivers so that I can make a backup before I reformat? Thanks, Juanita

Whew! You're using Windows XP and you format once-a-year? Our question is "Why?". We've been using the same Windows XP personal computers for almost 4 years now, and one of us (Eightball) has only formatted once. The other one (who wishes to remain nameless) has formatted three times; but he's the one that tests all the software for "Freeware Of The Week" and tests other programs readers write about. So, when you're testing software on your main computer sometimes you can get into trouble :) But, even then he didn't have to format once a year (and one of the formats was caused by a bad hard drive actually). So we'd be curious as to why you have to format once a year. We can understand that if you were using Windows 98 or ME. We had to format twice a year or more when using those operating systems; but Windows XP is much better and more "robust" as Microsoft likes to say.

Anyway, enough of our questions. Now, we'll answer yours. Windows stores drivers in several places. Most of them are stored in C:\Windows\System32 on Windows XP computers. However, depending on your hard drive, they may be stored in other locations. And even if all your drivers are stored in your Windows System 32 folder, but they might not do you any good without the corresponding registry entries.

If your computer didn't come with a driver disk, or if you've purchased hardware and can't find the installation disk(s) that came with your hardware, you can usually go to the hardware manufacturer's Web site and download the drivers in an executable installation file. But, sometimes, without opening your case and peering inside you don't know which manufacturer made what hardware devices that are in your computer.

Easy way? If you format your computer often, we suggest you invest in a good driver backup program that will backup your drivers and their corresponding registry entries and allow you to restore them at the click of a button. Once such program we recommend is called "Driver Magician" ($39). It's name describes exactly what it does. It magically backs up your drivers and restores them whenever you need to restore all your drivers...for instance, after you've formatted and reinstalled Windows. It creates the proper registry entries too. Or for a cheaper solution (free, in fact), see our "Freeware Program Of The Week" (below) and create a mirror image of your hard drive including your Windows folder, drivers and registry. Then click the "Restore" button and use the backup hard drive "image" you created of your hard driver to restore your computer just the way it was before you formatted. It's free of course - duh! That's why we call it Freeware Of The Week. Why am I writing this?

Our Freeware Pick Of The Week

DriveImage XML

Once in a blue moon, we stumble on something so good and so useful we barely can wait to tell you about it. Well, this week, look out your window because there must be a blue moon risin' somewhere. This program is incredible; and even more incredible is that it's free. No adware, no spyware, no browser hijackers, no search engine manipulators, no tricky-wicky stuff - just great software - for free. This site makes a lot of software that is not free and that's how they support our featured freeware "DriveImage XML".

Well, it's not fantastic if you don't know what it's for; so here's what it's for (in the words of its developers):

"...DriveImage XML is an easy to use and reliable program for imaging and backing up partitions and logical drives.

The program allows you to:

  • Backup logical drives and partitions to image files

  • Browse these images, view and extract files

  • Restore these images to the same or a different drive

  • Copy directly from drive to drive

  • Schedule automatic backups with your Task Scheduler

  • Image creation uses Microsoft's Volume Shadow Services (VSS), allowing you to create safe "hot images" even from drives currently in use. Images are stored in XML files, allowing you to process them with 3rd party tools. Never again be stuck with a useless backup! Restore images to drives without having to reboot...."

    Those of you looking for a wonderful backup program that works like a charm and is easiest enough for most everyone with just a little computer experience - you've found it - or we've found it for you - or something like that. Anyway, for more information and/or to download our Freeware Program of The Week "DriveImage XML" follow me ------------> Let's Go!


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