My long-time favorite Windows Driver Store management tool got a new version on October 5. The program is named Driver Store Explorer, aka RAPR.exe (here’s the original Admin Toolkit item about this great little utility, first posted on January 13, 2018). The latest version is V0.11.42, and it now includes support for Arabic and Traditional Chinese languages, with updates for Portuguese and Polish translations as well.
Basically, Driver Store Explorer examines a targeted Windows Driver Store and displays its complete contents. It can also immediately pick out and simplify deletion of outdated items Step 1: click Select Old Driver(s); Step 2: Click Delete Driver(s) Done!. When you consider just two givens, this program is incredibly worthwhile. First, that Nvidia updates its drivers at least once a month (sometimes, 2 or even 3 times a month). And second, as shown in the following screenshot, such drivers run around 900 MB nowadays, so cleaning them up is worth doing. That’s not to mention all the other outmoded drivers that can pile up in a heavily-used Windows installation over time…
Notice two NVIDIA drivers in the red box: a 902 MB version dated 9/30 replaces an 896 MB version dated 9/24. Deleting the old version saves substantial space.
[Click image for full-sized view.]
More About RAPR.exe’s capabilities
It’s been a while since I visited the release notes for this program, so I’m going to recap some of the more interesting items I found there. Here are the Features bullet points, copied verbatim therefrom:
+ Support online (local machine) and offline driver store.
+ Enumerate / list all third-party driver packages in the driver store. Showing device associated with drivers. Export the driver package list as CSV.
+ Add a driver package to the driver store.
+ Delete one or multiple driver packages from the store.
+ Detect old and not used driver packages (best effort).
+ Full fledged GUI Supports grouping / sorting on any column. Supports re-arranging of / selecting specific columns.
If you look closely at the preceding screencap, you’ll see a checkmark next to the entry for the “older” of the two NVIDIA display adapter drivers. I turned this on by clicking the “Select Old Driver(s)” button, and was then able to get rid of it by clicking the “Delete Driver(s)” button next. Note that if you take this route, you lose the ability to roll back to the preceding driver version in Device Manager. I usually keep the previous Nvidia version around for a week or two before I clean it out, just to make sure I won’t need to roll back.
Occasionally (as with an older 2155cn Dell Networked Printer driver) the system may insist on using an old driver (in this case because it’s part of an active, ongoing networked connection). To switch to the new version, Forced Deletion is necessary.
Why Is Force Deletion Sometimes Needed in RAPR?
Sometimes, when you click an old driver for deletion inside RAPR it won’t be removed. When that happens, you’ll get a message from the program that reads “Error removing some packages from driver store.” As the related tip text indicates (see preceding screencap), this usually means the old driver is still in use for any number of (mostly understandable) reasons. You can click the “Force Deletion” box to try make it disappear. For networked printer drivers, you may have to “Remove device” in Devices and Printers before you can do this, reboot, then force delete the old driver, and then find and reinstall that device again afterward to load and use the new version. Just a word of warning…
Author: Ed Tittel
Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran. He’s a Princeton and multiple University of Texas graduate who’s worked in IT since 1981 when he started his first programming job. Over the past three decades he’s also worked as a manager, technical evangelist, consultant, trainer, and an expert witness. See his professional bio for all the details.