Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums

How do i remove drivers without rolling back or updating?

  1. #1

    Posts : 10
    windows 8.1 pro

    How do i remove drivers without rolling back or updating?

    I have two wifi adapters i have been trying to get to work consistently with no luck for several days now. One had been working fine for a few weeks, then it stopped, i tried switching, and that one worked for half a day, then it stopped. Once it stops working the connection is 'limited' but works fine on other machines, or it says it is connected in settings but Chrome says it isn't online. So i wanted to try to install a different driver, having read that this can often be the solution.

    But in both cases, there is no old driver to roll back to, and when i try to tell Windows to load a driver i've downloaded or have on a disc, it says, no, the one it already has is 'up to date', and it won't do it.
    Is there some way to dig around in the system to get rid of the driver it claims is better so i can try another one?

    I tried the suggestion in a Dell troubleshooting article - How to Fix Limited Wi-Fi Connectivity Issue in Windows 8.1 | Dell Netherlands Antilles/Curaçao
    of going to the command prompt and changing the TCP parameters. Then the wifi worked for a while, but it stopped. I plugged in the ethernet cable and surfed that way for a while. Then i unplugged it, and the wifi is working. But if the pattern of the last few days continues, that won't last long. It seems like some background thing keeps resetting, and i don't know how to make it stop.
    I went and shut off Automatic Updates after reading what other people have said about Microsoft supplied drivers.
    How can i surgically remove a driver?

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2

    San Jose - California
    Posts : 2,846
    8.1x64PWMC Ubuntu14.04x64 MintMate17x64

    1. Physically disconnect the Adapters from your PC.
    2. Open Device Managers->View->Show hidden devices
    3. Network Adapters and right click to uninstall all the grayed out drivers. If a popup windows is displayed, tick on also delete files.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3

    Maybe this will work:

    Click Start, type Device Manager, and press Enter.
    Find and double-click the category of device whose driver you wish to uninstall (for example, the graphics card would be listed under Display Adapters).
    Right-click the device, and click Uninstall.
    Windows will prompt you to confirm the device’s removal. Click OK to remove the driver.
    DO NOT reboot
    Install the new driver.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4

    Posts : 10
    windows 8.1 pro

    I tried topgundcp's approach and removed several drivers from the Network Adapters section in Device Manager. Each time i got a warning that i was about to delete the driver permanently and i said okay. With all the possibly buggy drivers removed i tried restarting for good measure, and then plugged one of the Wifi adapters back into the machine. Instantly two of the drivers i had supposedly deleted reappeared. Both are signed by Microsoft.

    Okay. So maybe the reboot was the problem, as Ztruker says. Let me try this again.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5

    Posts : 10
    windows 8.1 pro

    Well, i tried uninstalling it with it disconnected, but as soon as i plugged it back in, the driver reappeared. Then i tried uninstalling it with it plugged in. That seemed to work. So i went to run the setup file on the CD that came with the adapter, but it threw up a Runtime Error window almost immediately - abnormal program termination. I tried right-clicking the Network Adapters section in the Device Manager > Scan for hardware changes. The system picked up on the presence of the adapter, and reinstalled the same driver i have uninstalled three times now. Clearly no file is being deleted from the system. Somehow, if i want to get rid of it, i have to find it and delete it manually. This is the message i'm getting.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6

    Posts : 10
    windows 8.1 pro

    I managed to install the driver that came with 2nd, identical wifi adapter for my husband's machine, which runs Windows 7, by telling the install wizard not to check online but to load from the folder i browse to, even though when i tried to run setup from the CD the runtime error occurred. That adapter is working fine.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7

    So it's now fixed? If so that's good news.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8

    Posts : 10
    windows 8.1 pro

    No - the adapter i installed on my husband's Windows 7 machine works fine. Is that where you got confused? Maybe i should edit that. I only mentioned it because it is exactly the same kind of adapter. We bought two, one for each computer.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9

    United States
    Posts : 3,093
    Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit

    Would help to know which wifi adapter. May have to experiment with different drivers. I had to and eventually found one that worked and didn't drop out. The most recent drivers caused problem in my case.

    Are you trying the computer manufacturer supplied drivers at this point?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10

    Posts : 10
    windows 8.1 pro

    I wish i could. I go to the device manager and ask it to update the driver. I tell it to Browse my computer for the software, and then browse to the DVD drive. It then tells me the best driver software for my device is already installed.
    So then i try 'Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer', and tell it i have a disk, and to install from the dvd drive. It then tells me there is no driver for my device on the disk.
    No other driver was ever installed for the device, so i can't roll back.

    The device is a Realtek RTL8188ETV Wireless LAN 802.11n USB 2.0 Network Adapter.
    I note that in the Device Manager, when i right click on the device under network adapters, go to the Drivers tab and click on Driver Details, two drivers are listed for the device - the one provided by Realtek, and one provided by Microsoft. But under the Drivers tab the only one mentioned is the Microsoft one.

    I actually took the rather rash decision to go into c:/windows/ system32/ drivers and delete the listed Realtek file, RTWlanU.sys. That just broke it. Fortunately i was able to just copy it back from the CD. Maybe the other listed file is the problem one - c:/windows/ system32/ drivers/vwifibus.sys. But i guess i can't just ax it.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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How do i remove drivers without rolling back or updating?

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