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I have a Windows Server 2012 server computer. I tried to install a webcam driver from Logitech to view the camera. The camera is old one and doesn't have new drivers (latest for Vista). I tried to install XP drivers in compability mode but it detected my OS and didn't install. Then I tried the Vista ones in Vista compability mode. It installed but I wasn't able to connect the camera for viewing. It only showed a gray screen instead of live stream from the camera.

I tried to restart the machine to see if it would work. After logging in (as an administrator) I wasn't (and still aren't) able to see anything but a black screen and the cursor. Even waiting (I waited about an hour) doesn't help.

This one proves that the drivers weren't good for the OS. I restarted again and went to safe mode. I opened Control panel to remove the program and the driver I had installed. I wasn't successful with uninstalling the software. It said Windows Installer doesn't exists. I searched the internet and got a way to remove it from the registry. It worked.

Then I tried to uninstall the driver itself. I clicked Uninstall/Repair and it started to do something. A dialog came up and asked if I wanted to delete the previous version as well. I'm not sure what it means because I don't have anything related installed. I selected yes. It started to remove it (at least I think it should have started) and the progress bar went almost 100 %. It freezed and went fullscreen with a dark gray screen. I was able to exit it by switching the window with ALT + Tab (I couldn't access the task bar) and I terminated the process.

So I wasn't able to delete the drivers. What should I do to remove the inoperative driver?

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If your Windows Server 2012 server is a home toy, try restoring the backup you made before you tried something which you knew could lead to problems (read: installed wrong OS drivers). If you do not have those check if server 2012 creates restore points. Else, if it is a server: reinstall so it is back into production. – Hennes Jan 12 '13 at 14:05
Restoring the system will do nothing.. no other backups made. – MikkoP Jan 12 '13 at 14:47
Ouch. I hope that someone has an answer soon. Else reinstalling might be the quick way to solve it. (Ofc. depending on how much extra programs were installed and if you kept an installation log. It is a good idea to document that all when installing a server, but I come from corp. environment where each and every changed setting is described in a recovery document. I do realize not everybody has that). – Hennes Jan 12 '13 at 14:50
Can you go back to a system restore point from before the installation of the driver? – harrymc Jan 14 '13 at 16:45
No I can't. Server editions doesn't do the restore points themselves. I didn't know that and therefore I don't have a backup. – MikkoP Jan 14 '13 at 17:06

Try run driver installation again and maybe if it detects previously installed version, it will give you option to uninstall it. This use to work in cases when standard uninstall did not.

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I haven't used Windows Server 2012, but this process has worked for me on bad drivers in Windows7, Server 2003, and Server 2008. It requires you have a spare machine since a small piece of software must be installed prior to the driver.

If you have access to a testbed machine, or can quickly build one, install Zsoft Uninstaller (it's freeware) on the test machine. Install the offending driver just like you did on your server machine. Then boot up in Safemode and use the analyze function in Zsoft Uninstaller to get the record of registry and file changes performed by the driver software. Then manually remove those changes using the File Explore and Regedit.

I first discovered this method back when WinXP was new and there were lots of Driver incompatibilities. I think I used a different "uninstaller" program back then, and there are probably substitutes still available.

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I tried it. It didn't show the program in the list because I had already removed it manually (removed the registry entries with CCleaner and the files). – MikkoP Jan 15 '13 at 16:31
Installing Zsoft Uninstaller on the troubled machine will do nothing for you. As I said you will have to use a testbed. Using the testbed as described above will tell you every change made to the system by the culprit driver installer. You can then use that information, revealed by Zsoft Uninstaller to manually restore the troubled server to its prior working condition. – OCDtech Jan 15 '13 at 17:58
up vote 0 down vote accepted

I had no choice but to reinstall the server. Now it's working again.

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Open the Device Manager, locate the device, right-click Properties, Driver tab and click on Driver Details.

Locate the driver files in the filesystem. Uninstall the device from the Device Manager and remove the files from the filesystem. Reboot.

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