Windows Vista Tweaks: Remove Unused Drivers
Article by George Norman
On 10 Feb 2009
The simple truth about drivers is that they are necessary pieces of software as long as you want your hardware to function at its best, or at least properly. We’ve already seen how to back up and keep drivers up-to-date, so let’s focus on another aspect now: removing drivers that are no longer necessary and are needlessly taking up disk space.

Imagine this scenario of you will; you purchased a new piece of hardware, went home and fitted it to your system. You had to install a driver for it and everything ran smoothly. You have now moved on (Just like EVE Online and Linux) and you no longer have that piece of hardware installed; but the driver remains stored on your HDD, regardless if it is needed or not. Your Windows operating system will keep track of your hardware mods, just in case you will some time in the future connect that device once more. Worst case scenario: hardware conflicts; least worrisome scenario: you are just wasting space.

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Follow this step by step tutorial and you will have no problems addressing this issue:
1. Access the System Applet either from the Control Panel, or by Start Menu -> right click My Computer -> Properties.
2. Access the System Properties window by clicking on Advanced System Settings. Now click Environment Variables Button -> System Variables Area -> New.
3. You should be seeing a sub-window called New System Variable right about now. In the Variable Name field: devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices; in the Variable value field: 1. Click OK and keep doing so until you exit System Properties.
4. Right click My Computer -> Properties – Device Manager -> View -> Show Hidden Devices. All the steps leading to this one were so that you could activate the Show Hidden Devices option. You can now wiev a list of devices connected or not; those that are not connected to your machine are faded out. Feel free to go through them and uninstall them as you see fit (Right click -> Uninstall).

Keep in mind that some devices are faded out meaning that they are not connected right then and there, but you might want to connect them later on (devices such as your iPhone or Android).

Tags: Microsoft, Windows, Vista, Driver
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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Windows Vista Tweaks: Remove Unused Drivers
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