INF AddSoftware Directive

Each AddSoftware directive describes the installation of standalone software. Use this directive in an INF file of the SoftwareComponent setup class. For more details on software components, see Using a Component INF File. This directive is supported for Windows 10 version 1703 and later.

Valid installation types depend on the target platform. For example, Desktop supports MSI installers and setup EXEs. Note: Type 2 is supported in Universal Drivers, Type 1 is desktop-only.

When a software component INF file specifies AddSoftware, the system queues software to be installed after device installation. There is no guarantee when or if the software will be installed. If referenced software fails to install, the system tries again when the referencing software component is updated.

An AddSoftware directive is used within an INF DDInstall.Software section.




Specifies the name of the software to be installed. This name must be unique system-wide, regardless of the INF or section name. The processing of an AddSoftware directive checks the version against previous software installed with the same name by an AddSoftware directive from any driver package. We recommend prefacing the SoftwareName with the vendor name, for example ContosoControlPanel.


Specifies one or more (ORed) flags.

The AddSoftware directive is processed only once.

The AddSoftware directive is processed once for each component device that specifies AddSoftware with the same unique SoftwareName.

For example, consider a configuration in which three devices are installed using the same INF file. The software installation process runs only once for flags 0x00000000 but three times for flags 0x00000001.


References an INF-writer-defined section that contains information for installing software.


Each INF-writer-created section name must be unique within the INF file and must follow the general rules for defining section names. For more information about these rules, see General Syntax Rules for INF Files.

An AddSoftware directive must reference a named software-install-section elsewhere in the INF file. Each such section has the following form:


[SoftwareArguments=argument[, argument] …]


See SoftwareType for information about constraints on section entries and values.

Any software installed using AddSoftware must be installed silently (or quietly). In other words, no user interface can be shown to the user during installation.

Any software installed using AddSoftware will not be uninstalled if the virtual software component device or its parent devices are uninstalled. If your software is not a UWP app (i.e. you're using AddSoftware with a value of 1), please make sure users can easily uninstall it without leaving a trace in the registry. To do so:

  • If you're using an MSI installer, set up an Add/Remove Programs entry in the application's Windows Installer package.
  • If you're using a custom EXE that installs global registry/file state (instead of supplementing local device settings), use the Uninstall Registry Key.

[software-install-section]: SoftwareType


SoftwareType specifies the type of software installation and is a required entry.

A value of 1 indicates that the associated software is an MSI or EXE binary. When this value is set, the SoftwareBinary entry is also required. A value of 1 is not supported on Windows 10 S.

If SoftwareType is set to 1, SoftwareBinary and SoftwareVersion are also required, but SoftwareArguments and flags (in the AddSoftware directive) are optional.

Starting in Windows 10 version 1709, a value of 2 indicates that the associated software is a Microsoft Store link. Use a value of 1 only for device-specific software that has no graphical user interface. If you have a device-specific app with graphical elements, it should come from the Microsoft Store, and the driver should reference it using SoftwareType 2.

If SoftwareType is set to 2, SoftwareID is required, and flags (in the AddSoftware directive) are optional. If SoftwareType is set to 2, SoftwareBinary and SoftwareVersion are not used.


When using Type 2 of the AddSoftware directive, it is not required to utilize a Component INF. The directive can be used in any INF successfully. An AddSoftware directive of Type 1, however, must be used from a Component INF.

Do not use AddSoftware to distribute software that is unrelated to a device. For example, an OEM-specific PC utility program should not be installed with AddSoftware. Instead, use one of the following options to preinstall an app in an OEM image of Windows 10:

For info about pairing a driver with a Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app, see Pairing a driver with a Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app and Hardware Support App (HSA): Steps for Driver Developers.

[software-install-section]: SoftwareBinary


Specifies the path to the executable. The system generates command lines like the following:

MSI: msiexec /i "<SoftwareBinary>” ALLUSERS=1 /quiet /qn /promptrestart [<SoftwareArguments>]

EXE: <SoftwareBinary> [<SoftwareArguments>]

If you use this entry, you must add the executable to the DriverStore by specifying the INF CopyFiles Directive with a DestinationDirs value of 13.


See SoftwareType for information about constraints on SoftwareBinary entries and values.

[software-install-section]: SoftwareArguments

SoftwareArguments={argument1[, argument2[, … argumentN]]}

Specifies extension-specific arguments to append to the command line. You can specify command line arguments that the system simply passes through into the generated command line. You can also specify special strings called runtime context variables. When you specify a runtime context variable, the system converts it into a device-specific value before appending it to the generated command line. You can mix and match literal string arguments with runtime context variables. Supported runtime context variables are:


The system replaces the string above with the device instance ID of the software component.

For example:



The above example results in a command line like this:

<DriverStorePath>\ContosoControlPanel.exe PCI\VEN_0000&DEV_0001&SUBSYS_00000000&REV_00\0123

If SoftwareArguments contains multiple arguments:


The above results in:

<DriverStorePath>\ContosoControlPanel.exe arg1 PCI\VEN_0000&DEV_0001&SUBSYS_00000000&REV_00\0123 arg2


See SoftwareType for information about constraints on SoftwareArguments entries and values.

[software-install-section]: SoftwareVersion


Specifies the software version. Each value should not exceed 65535. When the system encounters a duplicate SoftwareName, it checks the SoftwareVersion against the previous SoftwareVersion. If it is greater, Windows runs the software.


See SoftwareType for information about constraints on SoftwareVersion entries and values.

[software-install-section]: SoftwareID


Specifies a Microsoft Store identifier and identifier type. Currently, only Package Family Name (PFN) is supported. Use a PFN to reference a Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app using the form pfn://<x.y.z>.


See SoftwareType for information about constraints on SoftwareID entries and values.

See Also