Windows optimize

How do I . . . get a complete list of loaded drivers with DriverView?

DriverViewer is free tool that will give you a list of all installed drivers on your Microsoft Windows system, including any information about those drivers.

I am one of those users who really likes to know what is going on in my system. On all of my Linux systems, this functionality is built-in via command-line and some GUI tools. With my Windows system, to get a listing of all loaded drivers (as well as any information about those drivers), the easiest way to get this information is with the free tool DriverView.

DriverView allows you to easily gain access to various driver listings and quickly access the following information:

  • Load addresses of the driver
  • Description of the driver
  • Driver version
  • Product name
  • Company that created driver
  • File type
  • Modified date
  • Created date
  • File attributes

With this information you can:

  • Generate HTML reports
  • View Microsoft, non-Microsoft, or all drivers
  • Choose what information you see about a driver

DriverView can be used in Windows NT, 2000, XP, and Vista. Windows 98 and ME are not supported, and if you want to use DriverView in Windows NT you need to download the psapi.dll file and place it into the system32 folder.

DriverView not only has an easy-to-use GUI, it also enjoys a robust command line that allows you to quickly generate reports in various formats.

This blog post is also available in PDF format in a free TechRepublic download.

Getting and installing

Unlike some Windows applications, DriverView doesn't actually have an installation tool. Instead, when you download the file you will unzip it, which will unpack three files:

  • DriverView.exe - The executable command that is used for both the GUI and the command-line formats
  • DriverView.chm - The DriverView help file
  • DriverView.cfg - The DriverView configuration file

Once you have unzipped the file you can place both the DriverView.exe and DriverView.cfg into a directory that you keep other, similar executables in. If you want to have an entry for DriverView in your Start menu you can right-click the DriverView.exe file and select Pin To Start Menu or you can add an entry in the Quick Launch menu by right-clicking the DriverView.exe file and selecting Add to Quick Launch. Either method will give you quick access to the DriverView tool.

Note: You will still need to know where the .exe file is in case you want to run DriverView from the command line.

Basic usage

When you first open DriverView you may think the application has frozen. Upon first run, DriverView takes a while to gather a listing of your drivers. I noticed this and opened up the Task Manager to see DriverView listed as "Not Responding." This is not truly the case. DriverView is working and will complete its task, just give it a moment.

When DriverView finally opens, you will be treated with a full listing of the drivers loaded on your machine (Figure A).

Figure A

At a glance you can see how much information you can gain from DriverView.
Once you have your listing, what can you do with it? The most important task you can do with DriverView is to generate a report. To do this, go to the View menu and select HTML Report - All Items. What this will do is generate an HTML file and open it in your default browser. Figure B shows a portion of an HTML report generated with DriverView.

Figure B

To save this report, go to your Browsers' File menu and click Save Page As.

Searching

You can also search your entire listing of loaded drivers with the built-in search tool. To do a search, click on the search button, shown in Figure C.

Figure C

The search button is shown inside the gray square.

Hiding drivers

With DriverView you can hide certain types of drivers. Say, for instance, you want to see only drivers that are non-Microsoft drivers. Go to the View menu and select Hide Microsoft Drivers. When you do this, your listing of drivers will be cut by more than 50 percent, so the listing is easier to weed through (Figure D).

Figure D

My listing went from 144 drivers to 22 drivers.

Command line

With the command-line aspect of DriverView you can do one thing: generate reports. But with the command line you can generate your reports in different formats. To use the command line you have to open up the Microsoft Command Window, change to the directory you placed the .exe file, and issue one of the following commands:

  • DriverView.exe /stext FILENAME.txt - Regular text file
  • DriverView.exe /stab FILENAME.txt - Tab-delimited text file
  • DriverView.exe /scomma FILENAME.txt - Comma-delimited text file
  • DriverView.exe /stabular FILENAME.txt - Tabular text file
  • DriverView.exe /shtml FILENAME.html - Horizontal HTML file
  • DriverView.exe /sverhtml FILENAME.html - Vertical HTML file
  • DriverView.exe /sxml FILENAME.html - XML file

Where FILENAME is the name of the file you want to save your report as.

Final thoughts

For those administrators where information is critical to a well-oiled machine, DriverView is a tool you should not be without. The information you can gain from this tool is invaluable and will, at some point, get you out of a jam. DriverView is considered Freeware, so there is no cost. You can distribute the tool as much as you want via disk or Internet. DriverView is not, however, open source, so you cannot modify the code.

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About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

32 comments
ssbaca
ssbaca

This is a very useful tool. However, what I'm looking for is a tool that will help me identify and clean up all the .exe files that are be being loaded at startup...the .exe files that show up in the Processes Tab of the Windows Task Manager. Thanks!

gaby.hoste
gaby.hoste

if you try : command prompt : type : devcon driverfiles * -- ok you will have all drivers on the machine , whithout any probleme

Servicemaster
Servicemaster

This is a great tool. Helped me find out I have two sound drivers loaded. It might be because I installed new sound card. Even I disabled the on-board one in the BIOS and uninstalled the software, the driver is still loading for the old one as well. How can I get rid of it? This is on my HP Media Center, Win XP Pro, Dual Core,3.2 GHz, 3G RAM.

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

...identifies the site as a malware source. Is Kaspersky being excessively paranoid?

Ron_007
Ron_007

If someone is too cheap to download this freeware there is a command native to Windows (Vista at least) that provides some of the same information. The command is "driverquery". It provides the following info: C:\Users\xxxxx>driverquery Module Name Display Name Driver Type Link Date ============ ====================== ============= ====================== Acceleromete HP Accelerometer Kernel 2008/08/07 9:28:52 AM ACPI Microsoft ACPI Driver Kernel 2009/04/10 11:19:03 PM However they don't seem to find all the same drivers. On my Vista SP2 the "DOS" command found 277 drivers while driverview only found 211.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Are you spending much time managing your Windows drivers these days?

paladin2
paladin2

I use the paid version but even the free one gives you exaustive info on startups, services, processes, active x and more. I thought everybody used Winpatrol. If not the paid, which with a double click on anything takes you to a page that tells you anything you might need to know. And the details on the web are the only thing the free version lacks.

petremure
petremure

Autoruns.exe is yr answer. It lists all that starts on a system, with possibility to enable/disable/delete entries, without the hassle of running msconfig.

DNSB
DNSB

While useful, devcon needs to be downloaded from Microsoft, it's not part of the standard Windows installation. The link I have is http://support.microsoft.com/kb/311272. As far as I know, devcon hasn't been updated in over 5 years.

Kenneth.mullins.ctr
Kenneth.mullins.ctr

I can't remember the name, but I have a program that not only identifies all the drives it backs them up. A great FREE utility, that really comes in handy when restoring a system. My only complaint is that many of the drivers have cryptic names, which makes it difficult to find the driver that you need. If someone knows the name of the driver backup utility, please post a reply. Ken

gitmo
gitmo

Get-WmiObject -Class Win32_SystemDriver | Format-List Name, Caption, Description, InstallDate, PathName, Started, StartName, Status, SystemName

sean10
sean10

CMD = driverquery > "C:\documents and settings\%username%\desktop\filename.rtf"

cbertsch
cbertsch

Sounds like a program I would like to try. My only problem is, my 72 year old brain cann't figure out where to go to download the program. Lyman E. Bertsch cbertsch1@juno.com

DNSB
DNSB

Not as much as I used to but still a need on occasion. Latest was when one laptop user decided to install all the Windows updates which included several hardware driver updates -- one of which caused her laptop to stop supporting external displays by conflicting with IBM/Lenovo's Presentation Director. "I didn't do anything, it just stopped working."

Old Dodger
Old Dodger

I use Gabriel Topala's S.I.W which lists all driver info and a lot more besides.

mvpatrick
mvpatrick

I still use the paid version of WinPatrol. And continue to like it very well. It does a great job of letting me know when changes are being made to my systems.

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

When a site linked from a TechRepublic article gets flagged, one tends to get nervous.

burt
burt

This link will get you the latest 32bit down-load, if you need the 64bit well just search this link's mother site. the latest ver. is one ahead of what was mentioned in the article. http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/driverview.zip Hope this helps someone. Burt Henry

Servicemaster
Servicemaster

Looks like a good utility,but in Spanish only.

DNSB
DNSB

Currently using McAfee VSE at work and had no issues with either the .zip file or the files within it. What version of McAfee are you using? Locally, it's 8.7 P1 with the latest DATs.

macieku
macieku

I downloaded it from TR and Sophos reported is as Adware/PUA. Mcafee doeasn't like it either...

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

There's something about the nirsoft site that somebody thinks is bad news.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

The link in the blog post goes to the TechRepublic Software Library - is that the site raising flags?

burt
burt

When I got on the page I saw something to the like (0 items available), but don't remember if it was the link you posted or when I tried a cnet search.