Home > Backup, Driver Tools, Troubleshooting, XP Drivers > Rolling Back To A Previous Driver

Rolling Back To A Previous Driver

September 3rd, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

Computer owners that are trying to keep a new system running smoothly from day one are often told by well-meaning friends and experts to always check for driver updates. In nearly all cases, this is perfectly good advice. Installing the latest versions of the software offered by the manufacturer is a good way to keep the devices communicating clearly with the rest of the system. Most driver updates get rid of bugs or improve security, but it is always possible that an update causes a problem rather than fixing one. If unwanted or unexpected errors have been popping up since you installed a specific file, you may need to rollback to a previous driver.

 

Why Do Drivers Need To Be Rolled Back?

 

In a perfect world, every software update is complete and only remedies issues with the corresponding hardware. Unfortunately, this isn’t a perfect world. Many Windows XP drivers are released and cause serious issues before the manufacturer realizes there is a problem. A specific piece of coding could lead to all sorts of problems that didn’t arise during the testing phase. It is almost impossible to test for every system and setup before the files are released. In far rarer cases, drivers may be damaged or infected during the downloading process.

 

Rolling Drivers Back The Easy Way

 

Your computer should be able to restore the previous version of the device driver fairly quickly. Windows XP stores the last version before any updates in case something goes wrong. Complete the process by:

 

  1. Clicking on the Start menu button to open it. Click on the Control Panel listing to the right, then double-click. This should open the Control Panel folder.
  2. Find the icon labeled System, then double-click it. At the top of the screen, click on the tab labeled Hardware. Locate the Device Manager button and give it a click.
  3. Pick through the list of installed hardware until you find the device experiencing driver issues. It may be highlighted with a yellow caution icon or appear completely normal. Double-click on the listing for the corresponding hardware.
  4. Select the tab at the top of the screen labeled Driver. There will be a button entitled Roll Back Driver near the bottom of this window. Clicking it begins the process, which should take only a few seconds.
  5. Follow any on-screen prompts to restart your system or disconnect and reconnect the device.

 

Try this process first when driver updates seem to cause issues. When the process succeeds but the problem doesn’t go away, you may have an issue with the hardware itself. Reinstalling the driver won’t help if your printer is malfunctioning or out of ink.

 

Going Further Back

 

This automatic process will only restore the last driver version installed before your most recent update. For some errors, it may be necessary to go back two or three versions. This must be done manually. Most users will find that the Roll Back Driver button becomes grayed out and unusable after one roll back. The process only records copies of one former installation. If the system can’t find proper files, the process will fail. A pop-up will appear stating that no backup files were found. In both cases, you will need to manually uninstall the latest driver update and do a clean installation of your preferred driver version.

 

Manual Removal Of Misbehaving Drivers

 

When Windows XP doesn’t have any options for rolling back your drivers, you can always uninstall the problem files and start fresh.

 

  1. Open the Device Manager again by using the above instructions. Locate your problem device in the list.
  2. Right-click on the device’s listing and select the Uninstall option. Windows will ask if you are sure about your decision – only select Yes if you have the replacement driver files ready to install and the hardware is not essential to the functioning of the computer. Uninstalling files for hard drives or commonly used ports should only be handled professionals.
  3. Disconnect the device from the computer. Start your installation process from the beginning with your preferred driver files.

 

You may also have better luck by uninstalling the drivers through a software package from the manufacturer. Checking your Add or Remove Programs window could help you quickly wipe out unwanted updates.

 

  1. Open the Control Panel from the Start Menu. Double-click on the Add or Remove Programs icon.
  2. Check the list for a software package provided by the device’s manufacturer. Most video and sound cards now come with these programs to make installation easier and more thorough.
  3. Select the right list item and double-click on it to begin the automatic uninstallation process. Pay careful attention and note the locations of any files not removed, which may include drivers. You can go in and manually remove them when the program is completed.

 

Don’t Always Uninstall

When some computer owners learn about the uninstallation process for drivers, they decide to remove older versions before each update. However, this defeats the purpose of having a backup for rolling back. If you discover an issue with the newest version, you must go through the lengthy manual work rather than just hitting a button. Leaving older driver files intact ensures that Windows XP can quickly restore order to your system when unexpected errors start to pop up for a specific component.

 

Removing All Driver Files

 

While the manual uninstall process through the Device Manager won’t wipe out every driver file, it does remove the associations that make it hard to install an older driver version. It is rarely necessary to completely eradicate all .dll or .inf files associated with a specific device. If a virus infects the drivers for your system, your antivirus software should quarantine them before deleting. This allows you to copy down the file names and find replacements before you actually approve their full removal. Installing replacements as quickly as possible eliminates the chances of data loss or other serious problems that occur when system files are damaged.

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.