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How to Extract Drivers From Windows XP

Updated February 21, 2017

Each hardware device installed on your Windows XP computer requires a set of files called drivers that allow it to communicate with the other portions of the machine and therefore function properly. Using the device manager utility in Windows XP you can readily locate and then extract or back up driver files for whatever hardware device you choose. Consider backing up drivers before updating them or before reformatting a computer system to avoid having to re-download the drivers. This will keep your PC running smoothly after setting it up again.

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  1. Right-click on the "My Computer" icon on the desktop of the computer. Select "Properties" when a menu appears.

  2. Click the "Hardware" tab in the system properties window and choose the "Device Manager" button. The device manager window displays all hardware installed on the PC arranged into groups according to what function they serve. For example, sound devices appear under "Sound, Video, and Game Controllers, while graphics card are files in the "Display Adapters" category.

  3. Expand the group that contains the device for which you wish to extract a driver and then double-click on the name of the device to open a device properties window.

  4. Click the "Driver" tab in the device properties window and then press the "Driver Details" button. A new window opens showing the name and location on the computer's hard drive where the driver files are stored.

  5. Insert a portable storage device such as a flash drive or rewritable DVD into the appropriate slot in the front of the PC and open it by clicking on the appropriate icon inside "My Computer." Go to the location of each driver and drag and drop the icon for each file onto the portable storage device. Repeat this process for all driver files you wish to extract.

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About the Author

William Hirsch started writing during graduate school in 2005. His work has been published in the scientific journal "Physical Review Letters." He specializes in computer-related and physical science articles. Hirsch holds a Ph.D. from Wake Forest University in theoretical physics, where he studied particle physics and black holes.

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