Let's face it. After running your Windows PC for a long time, it often starts to feel slow, which leads you to decide that it would be best to blow everything away and reinstall the operating system. Backing up applications and documents isn't usually a problem, but sometimes, acquiring the appropriate drivers for any of the hardware can be a bit of a chore and you would rather have everything on that end in one place for easy access, especially when the drivers can only be found on OEM installation media that you might have accidentally tossed in the trash way back when.
- Title: Double Driver
- Company: BooZet Freeware
- Product URL: http://www.boozet.org/dd.htm
- Supported OS: Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8
- Price: Free
- Rating: 5 out of 5
- Bottom Line: Instead of playing the driver download dance every time you need to reload the operating system, you can use this nifty tool to consolidate your efforts and save time by backing up drivers and restoring them later.
Double DriverDouble Driver by BooZet Freeware, a site by Budy Setiawan Kusumah, aims to solve this problem with a nifty little utility, which is designed to scan for and backup any drivers located on your PC and then offer a faculty to restore them after Windows is reinstalled. To that end, the software is just as simple as it sounds.
Simply open the application, scan the host PC, select the appropriate drivers you'd like to carry over, and then choose the method of backup, be it by zip file or a directory dump. When you make it over into your new shiny Windows desktop, you can then fire up Double Driver again and perform a driver restore (only in Administrator mode). Now, you can save precious time spent in the rebuild because you are not wasting it on visiting each component manufacturer's website to gather the needed drivers.
Double Driver can also scan for drivers contained in another Windows installation, which can be convenient if you have another PC hard drive connected to your live one externally. For instance, I was able to use Double Driver to scan for drivers on a Windows XP partition I had set up and then back up drivers locally, either to the system disk or to a thumb drive for easy storage. If you are curious about what the extra details are behind each driver you select, you can print out a report to an XPS doc that will describe intricacies, such as the device class, setup information file (e.g. OEMSETUP.INF) and hardware ID.
It is important to make a note about driver backups in general, whether it is made with a tool like Double Driver or by hand. For compatibility reasons, backups should only be restored when the reinstalled operating system is the exact same version as the one installed previously. However, depending on the hardware, it might be possible to restore some or even all the drivers in question if you are upgrading to a version of Windows with a substantially similar core to the previous version.
An example of this would be an upgrade to Windows 8. Drivers used in Windows 7 can theoretically work just fine in Windows 8, given the similarities between the two OS versions. Just keep in mind that your mileage will vary and in some instances, driver downloads from the manufacturer websites are warranted.
As an IT specialist, I believe a tool such as Double Driver is an excellent addition to the IT toolkit, since it can save a system administrator, or even a home computer user, a lot of time by keeping backups of your system drivers. No more fetching various driver setup EXEs and installing each one along with all the extra bloat ware that can inevitably sneak its way into the system. Go ahead and give it a try, and give thanks to the author for offering this gem as a freeware product!
An avid technology writer and an IT guru, Matthew is here to help bring the best in software, hardware and the web to the collective consciousness of TechRepublic's readership. In addition to writing for TechRepublic, Matthew currently works as a Customer Success Professional for Ultimate Software in Santa Ana, California.