Recipe 3.4. Recovering from a Bad Device Driver Update


A recently updated device driver fails.


  1. Log on with an account that has administrator rights.

  2. Click Start, right-click My Computer, and select Properties.

  3. Select the Hardware tab, then click Device Manager.

  4. In the device list, double-click the device branch for the type of device you need to roll back (e.g., Network adapters).

  5. Right-click the specific device, then click Properties.

  6. Select the Driver tab, then click Roll Back Driver.

  7. Click Yes when you receive the following message:

    Are you sure you would like to roll back to the previous driver?

  8. The previous device driver is restored. Click Close.

  9. Quit Device Manager, then click OK and restart Windows.


Windows XP is smart enough to remember driver changes and provides an automatic way to roll back to the previously installed driver. Rolling back to a previous driver can save you a great deal of time and frustration, if you are aware of the specific change you made to your hardware. If the device driver update you did fails completely, preventing you from using the system, then you may have to perform this step in Safe Mode or use Recipe 3.5 to get the system back to a previous state. Windows System Restore is an alternative solution that will roll back more than just your hardware configuration, since it rolls back all software and Registry changes as well.

See Also

Driver rollback is a feature unique to Windows XP and will likely be in future versions of Windows. Microsoft is generous about its coverage of this feature in sev-eral knowledge base articles, including those found at, MS KB 83922, "A device does not work after you try to update the driver by using Windows Update";,, and

Windows XP Cookbook
Windows XP Cookbook (Cookbooks)
ISBN: 0596007256
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2006
Pages: 408

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