How to Uninstall Drivers

By David Wayne

Windows doesn't always automatically install the best drivers for older hardware.
i Lisa F. Young/iStock/Getty Images

Windows automatically installs drivers when you're connected to the Internet, but if they don't work correctly or conflict with drivers from a disc, Windows provides several ways to remove them. Device Manager lists drivers for essential components, such as USB and networking cards, while the PC Settings menu contains driver settings for external devices, such as printers and scanners. If Windows loads a problematic driver at startup, you can prevent it from doing so by booting into safe mode, a Windows startup option that enables you to diagnose PC problems and roll back updates.

Step 1

Uninstall drivers for wired or wireless devices such as headsets, webcams, printers and fax machines by opening the PC Settings menu. Press “Windows-C” to open the Charms bar, click "Settings," then “Change PC Settings.” Select “Devices” in the PC and Devices menu and click “Remove” next to a device's name; confirm that you want to uninstall the driver when prompted. You don't need to restart your computer; the device immediately becomes inaccessible.

Step 2

Remove drivers for essential components such as video cards, network adapters and USB controllers from the Device Manager. Press “Windows-X” to open the system menu, then click “Device Manager.” Click the arrow next to a device to expand its list of drivers, then right-click a driver and select “Uninstall” in the resulting drop-down menu to remove the driver. After a few seconds, when the removal completes, restart your computer to ensure Windows isn't still using the driver.

Step 3

Roll back a driver to a previously working version by right-clicking the driver in Device Manager and selecting “Properties.” Click the “Driver” tab and select “Roll Back Driver” if this option is available. If this button is grayed out, Windows doesn't have an earlier version of the driver and you can't roll it back. Alternatively, to see if a particular driver is causing a problem, click “Disable” to mute the driver without uninstalling it. To ensure the driver is muted, restart Windows.