Staging Device Driver Packages in the Driver Store

Applies To: Windows Server 2008

All device drivers are installed from a secure folder called the driver store. Any device driver that is present in the driver store can be installed by a standard user by plugging in the device. The Windows hardware installation service detects the device, and finds the device driver, and installs it. To the user, he or she simply plugs in the device and it works.

If a suitable driver package cannot be found in the driver store, Windows can search in several other locations, including folders specified in the DevicePath registry key, Windows Update, or prompt the user for media. If a device driver is found in one of these other locations, it must first be copied to the driver store, and installed from there. Copying the driver package to the driver store requires administrative permissions to write a driver package to the store folder. The package must also be signed by a trusted publisher to be placed in the driver store. These requirements mean that to allow a user to install a device whose device driver was not included with Windows, the administrator must first place the device driver package in the driver store. For security reasons, and by default, only an administrator can add device driver packages to the driver store. The process of placing a device driver package in the driver store is called staging.

There are options that allow a standard user to stage and then install a device driver package, but these must be carefully controlled for security purposes. For more information about these alternatives, see Controlling Which Devices Can Be Installed by Standard Users.

Task requirements

The following is required to perform the procedures for this task:

  • PnpUtil.exe. This tool is included with Windows.

To complete this task, you can perform the following procedures:

  1. Add a Device Driver Package to the Driver Store

  2. List all Added Device Driver Packages in the Driver Store

  3. Remove a Device Driver Package from the Driver Store