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What is a Driver Sweeper?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 03 December 2016
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A driver sweeper is a type of computer program used to remove files and partial files that may remain after drivers have been removed from a computer. This is typically done to prepare a computer for new drivers to be installed onto it, in an attempt to reduce or eliminate the risk of newer drivers conflicting with any older drivers. While standard driver deletion will typically be sufficient, sometimes drivers are not properly removed from all aspects of a computer’s operating system (OS) and can cause problems. A driver sweeper can be used to scan a computer and eliminate any drivers or partial drivers that are no longer required.

Drivers are computer files used by the OS on a computer to properly recognize and function with various components and devices connected to a computer. Without the proper drivers for a device, the OS will either not be able to work with the device or may work in a way that is ineffective. Many types of OS will come with generic drivers for many different devices, which are installed during the installation of the OS itself. While these can often be sufficient, specific drivers are often needed to ensure the components and devices connected to a computer all function properly.

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When drivers are installed, however, they may have negative interactions with previous drivers that may have been used with a computer. This can lead to issues with devices still not working properly, and a driver sweeper is often used to clear up these types of problems. A driver sweeper will scan the hard drives of a computer, especially the folders used by the OS on the computer, and find old drivers that may be causing issues. The driver sweeper will then allow the user to delete any of these files or make other changes to the files to try to keep the computer running more efficiently.

Drivers may often need to be uninstalled before new ones can replace them, and this can even be true when new versions of existing drivers are being installed. When the drivers are uninstalled, however, the process is not always perfect and some files that are not needed may be left on the computer. A driver sweeper will not only find outdated drivers, but will usually also find partial drivers and remove them as well. By using a driver sweeper, a computer user can keep his or her OS less cluttered, and potentially solve numerous hardware issues on the computer as well.

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