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Nvidia drivers – Bloatware?

The other day, I decided to create a new Win10 deployment image, so I clean-installed and customized a copy of Insider Preview, Build 17083. All drivers on my laptop were working properly, and posing no issues for my then-current Build 17074 installation. Thus, I decided to export those drivers and then to inject them into my brand-new copy of the generalized 17083 image. This approach speeds up the OOBE. In fact, it’s something I do quite often –namely, build a hardware independent image, then make a copy of it. When deploying a copy to specific hardware, that’s when I add drivers using DISM.

Exporting drivers to a folder, I noticed yet again how Nvidia display drivers bloat the driver store. There, I found nearly 40 copies of the exact same driver, each consuming 291.9 MB of disk space:

Almost 40 copies of the same driver. Click screenshot to open it enlarged in a new tab

Because I would then wind up exporting all these duplicates, the folder size was 14.8 GB. Crazy!

I have no idea why this happens. But each time even a minor update is applied to Windows 10, Nvidia adds another driver. Same version. Anyway, this happens all the time, and is more like a rule than an exception.

Luckily I remembered Ed posting about DriverStore Explorer a few days ago. So I downloaded and installed the program. Here’s the same folder, as shown in DriverStore Explorer:

DriverStore Explorer clearly shows how Nvidia drivers have bloated my driver store. Click screenshot to open it enlarged in a new tab.

Because I was going to re-deploy Windows to this laptop, I was not too worried about selecting all Nvidia display drivers, then deleting them. Logic told me that DriverStore Explorer would probably delete all copies except the one currently in use. In practice my presumption was confirmed: all but one of the resident Nvidia drivers disappeared.

Back to PowerShell, where the list of exported drivers was looking much leaner now:

Looking better! Click screenshot to open it enlarged in a new tab.

DriverStore Explorer resolved my issue in less than a minute. Here’s a little before and after, to illustrate its utility. First, the total size of exported drivers before deleting “bloatware”:

Second, here’s the same folder after DriverStore Explorer took care of things:

Quite a difference, eh? I’d much rather inject 1.5 GB’s worth drivers into an offline image instead of almost 15 GB! In addition, I’m pleased to report that deployment went well. OOBE was quick because the image already contained drivers. I’ve now been running a clean installed 17083 Build since yesterday morning, and everything is working just fine. After my recent tribulations, all I can say is “Thank God!”


Author: Kari Finn

A former Windows Insider MVP, Kari started in computing in the mid 80’s writing code for VAX / VMS systems. Since then, he’s worked in a variety of IT positions. He specializes in Windows image capture, customization, repair and deployment as well as Hyper-V virtualization. Kari is a proud Team Member at number #1 Windows site TenForums.com.

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