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I've just installed a new Windows software but I don't have any of the drivers needed for computer hardware, I've got all the files from old Windows drive and I'm asking if I can set the new installed Windows to use drivers installed in the old one?

I've already tried copying everything in drivers folder but Windows still can't recognize the drivers.

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We need exact windows version to be helpful. In my opinion, the whole idea is basically asking for trouble, but I hope that someone will be able to provide better answer. – AndrejaKo Mar 24 '11 at 23:08
what versions of windows are you working with? Are you just wanting to isntall a newer Windows version (ie Vista or 7) on to an old computer with old windows (95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP etc)? – Xantec Mar 24 '11 at 23:10
it's windows xp – Ali.S Mar 24 '11 at 23:15
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I think I have an answer for you. At least a proposed solution that worked for me.

I didn't want to install all the extra software with the drivers, so I found that if you look at the "Driver Details" you will see a .sys name. Just copying that WILL NOT work. You need the .inf file as well which of course isn't stored there.

So if you go to C:\Windows\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository that is where all the needed information is stored. How you find what you need is by looking at the name of .sys (mentioned above), and then finding that same name or something very close to that.

For example:

A driver that has a system file of bthpan.sys (Bluetooth), so if you look in the FileRepository you will find a folder like this "bthpan.inf_amd64_neutral_024281c0e4e954e2" Notice that the first part matches the same name of the .sys, but has the .inf_.... If you open that folder up, bingo! There is your .sys, .inf, and any other necessary files matching the name of the .sys file.

Now you just need to copy that folder or files to a flash drive, and bring it to the computer that isn't working. Point the device to that folder, and it should install the driver without any issue.

Hope this is helpful!

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it seems something I could try, but right now I don't have any device to test it. so for now I'm only giving an up-vote, and whenever I test it (or if other people also back your solution) I'll accept it. – Ali.S Jun 14 '13 at 21:02

I wouldn't copy anything. I'd slave up the old drive, and as Windows prompts for drivers, point it to the OLD system32 folder (C:\WINDOWS\system32). At that point, usually it will be able to find everything it needs on its own. Copying is trouble 'cause you could overwrite newer drivers, plus you'll surely copy far more than you actually need, filling up your folder with unnecessary files.

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i also tried that but it didn't work either since installing a driver needs configuration file (*.ini) but there is no such file in system32 or system32\drivers folder – Ali.S Mar 25 '11 at 20:04

For anyone who's coming here in 2014: Just go to Device Manager, Other Devices, right click on whatever needs a driver and Browse my computer for driver software and choose the system32 folder from your old windows. Simple as that. You should be able to install all your drivers.

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This is unlikely to work as many driver installers use scripted behavior to install themselves onto a system. (Eg; graphics drivers)

The best course of action is to install the network driver and download them from the manufacturer's web site. Alternatively, put them on a USB key and install them.

Note: It probably is even less likely to work if you are switching Windows versions and it flat out won't work if you go from 32 to 64 bit or vice versa.

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the main problem is that i can't find any details about the hardware installed in computer, it's one of my relatives computer and they themselves don't know details about the parts – Ali.S Mar 24 '11 at 23:16
If you manage to just get it on the internet, Windows Update should be able to get the majority. – Matt Mar 24 '11 at 23:30

there's a handful of applications that do that - i've messed with driverbackup! before and it should do what you need.

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Use the windows sysprep tool with OBBE experience and don't check the generalised option, it should keep your drivers and make a ready to capture image that you can capture and install with any capture/install software (such as ghost/clonezilla/imagex...).

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It's a bit of a pain, but reasonably easy to do.

  1. Download Double Driver and put it onto a USB stick (no installation is required)
  2. Swap out the hard drive back to the old one
  3. Boot into Windows
  4. Run Double Driver from the USB stick, it'll automatically select all the non-Microsoft drivers.
  5. Click on "Save" and point it at your USB stick. All your drivers will be downloaded onto the stick.

Then all you need to do is swap out the hard drive to the new system, boot into Windows and walk through the device manager selecting any of the items that it doesn't recognise.

When Windows asks you for the driver CD, point it at the folder on your USB stick instead.

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Links doesnt work, at least the DoubleDriver ones. – erm3nda Jul 17 at 15:27
You can also get it from MajorGeeks, although be very careful that you don't click on an advert pretending to be the download. – Richard Jul 17 at 15:36
So often i search on the cnet too ;-) – erm3nda Jul 18 at 4:25

Try looking in C:\Windows\inf, that worked for me.

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How does this provide an answer? Do what with C:\Windows\inf? – Tog Oct 2 '13 at 8:46
@Tog he meant the files I was looking for were in that folder. and by the way I think it's the second time I've seen this answer (or something similar) that folder almost contains all the information about all the drivers installed on ones computer. it's also there is win vista and win7, but I never tried to see if it works – Ali.S Oct 2 '13 at 12:27

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