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How can I remove the driver completely from my system.

I have installed the wrong driver for my ethernet controller (network card) and when I choose uninstall, it uninstalls it, but after searching for new hardware again, the driver finds the ethernet device and installs the same WRONG drivers again...

How can I completely remove these drivers?

Thanks

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migrated from serverfault.com Dec 28 '09 at 20:46

This question came from our site for professional system and network administrators.

    
@oscar : After un installing drivers, are you able to see a yellow exclamation mark on your network adapter section in device manager –  Renju Chandran chingath Oct 15 '13 at 9:25

5 Answers 5

Open the Device Manager window and expand if necessary the Network adapters node. Right click on your network card. and choose Properties. Click the Driver tab in the properties window and click the Driver Details button. The window that opens should have the path and file name of the driver. You can then uninstall the hardware, then delete the file from your system. You should do a search of your system before rebooting because Windows will make backups of drivers and if it backed up your network card driver it will just reinstall from that cache. When you reboot you should be prompted to install your new hardware.

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open the device manager

expand Network Adapters

right click on the wrongly installed controller and select Update Driver...

choose No, not at this time, click Next.

choose Install from a list or specific location (Advanced) and click Next.

choose Don't search, I will choose the driver to install and click Next.

click Have Disk... and Browse.

Navigate to the location of the correct driver and click OK.

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You can look at c:\windows\setupapi.log to see precisely which inf/pnf files are causing the problem, then just remove those files from the c:\windows\inf folder.

The problem arises when Windows thinks that an incorrect driver is a better match than the correct one. The setupapi.log file will take you through the decision process, showing which drivers it considered (and their associated pnf files) and what ranking it gave to each driver. Windows will install the lowest ranked driver, and even attempting to manually install a driver from a specific path doesn't override this behaviour. By removing the inf and pnf files for the lower ranked drivers, you can force Windows to install the correct one.

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It works! Cut and paste all the files oemXXX.inf and oemXXX.pnf to and new folder . Restart PC and plug in your new hardware. Let the system (windows) runs for itself. After correctly select the driver to install, you may put back the files oemXXX.inf and oemXXX.pnf back to the original folder. Thank you for the above suggestion.

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This is basically a copy of another answer. If you feel like you can improve it, then edit that answer. –  gronostaj Aug 31 '13 at 11:30
    
I found out that one or more of the oemXXX.inf having some similarity with your device. The priority is set the the old driver. Use search for word in the c:\windows\inf folder. For example the word "ethernet" on the files oemXXX.inf, then cut and paste that file(s) to other folder. –  user250214 Aug 31 '13 at 12:13

As I understand you have installed some driver (WRONG driver) and now your Windows XP find/install this driver every time you perform search for new hardware?

If yes - remove ALL oemXXX.inf and oemXXX.pnf (where XXX - numbers starting from 0) files from %WINDOWSDIR%\inf\ folder.

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Shotgun approach to driver removal isn't necessarily the best approach. There are many other drivers stored there, some of which may be needed later and removing all of them makes things much more difficult in the future. –  Tom Dec 28 '09 at 21:27

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