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Extirpating persistent but un-needed Windows Drivers

Last summer, my trusty Dell All-in-One 968 became unusable, thanks to the failure of one of its color inkjets (if memory serves it was either red or magenta, depending on whether that device uses an RGBK or CMYK color model). Ever since its retirement via the safe electronics disposal available from the great folks at Goodwill Industries, I’ve been struggling to remove all traces of its existence from the driver files on the Windows PCs belonging to the Homegroup on my house network. I finally took out the heavy artillery over the holiday, and used Driver Store Explorer [RAPR] and its “Force Deletion” option to forcibly remove all remaining traces of the AIO drivers from those machines. [Warning! RAPR requires an older .NET version –which means either version 2.0 or 3.0 — serviced by the MS 3.5 Framework download. It will manage the download process for you, but you may need to apply relevant Windows Updates to patch potential security issues and functionality gaps as well. When I added this to one of  my 8.1 PCs that lacked this support, however, Windows Update gave it a clean bill of health immediately thereafter.]


The key to removing persistent drivers is in checking the “Force Deletion” box below the Delete Package button.

Only by checking the boxes to the left of the two Dell Inkjet Drivers entries shown (oem44.inf and oem45.inf), and then checking the “Force Deletion” box beneath the Delete Package button in RAPR was I able to make these pesky and persistent printer drivers disappear from my Windows PCs. This technique works for any such persistent drivers that otherwise resist removal, but you’d better be darn sure that you don’t need those drivers (or can find them again) should their return ever be mandated. To ease any concerns you might have in restoring them, you can first use the right-click “Export” option in RAPR to make backup copies in another directory of your choosing, before getting rid of them. I had no such concerns for the inkjet drivers, because I have replaced that printer with a very nice Dell 2155 cn color laser printer, whose drivers you see already resident in the foregoing RAPR display as well.

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