How to Completely Remove Any Driver

Driver Sweeper

I’ve seen a lot of people having serious issues because they didn’t sweep their computer for any leftover driver files. Some driver manufacturers (especially AMD) fail to create uninstallers that completely remove drivers. Some older driver files can get “tangled” with newer ones and lead to serious problems: Windows crashes, game crashes, sound problems, video corruption etc.

One piece of software that I use and recommend is: Treexy Driver Fusion. Treexy Driver Fusion can sweep drivers from all major manufacturers: AMD, Nvidia, Intel, Realtek, Nec, Microsoft, Marvell, Jmicron, HP. Everything from GPU drivers to printers.

How to Use Treexy Driver Fusion for removing AMD drivers

The Old Fashion Way

  • Use AMD Catalyst Install Manager to uninstall the driver.
  • Restart when prompted.
  • Install and run Treexy Driver Fusion.
  • Select AMD – Display checkbox.
  • Hit Analyze.
  • Hit Clean and wait for the software to search for all the files. When prompted for action hit Yes
  • Restart your PC.
  • Install whatever driver you want.
  • My Way

  • Use AMD Catalyst Install Manager to uninstall the driver.
  • Restart when prompted.
  • Delete ATI and AMD folders from C: Drive or whatever drive you installed Windows on.
  • Enter Device Manager.
  • Under Display Adapters, right click your Graphics Card name and select Uninstall.
  • Check the Delete the Driver Box and hit OK.
  • Check if any of the following processes are running: CCC.exe, atieclxx.exe, atiesrxx.exe, MOM.exe and close all of them.
  • Install and run Treexy Driver Fusion.
  • Select AMD – Display checkbox.
  • Hit Analyze.
  • Hit Clean and wait for the software to search for all the files. When prompted for action hit Yes.
  • Restart your PC.
  • Install whatever driver you want.
  • Note: It is recommended that you do all these steps in Safe Mode.

    Why do I need to sweep drivers?

    After uninstalling a driver there are always some files left on the machine that could damage the next driver you install or even Windows itself may fail.

    What does a driver sweeping software?

    A driver sweeping software removes all files (dll, inf etc.) and registry information that the uninstaller missed or failed to remove.

    • Onyx

      Thanks, I’ll be upgrading to a HD 6850 soon from an Nvidia G210 so I was wondering how I would go along with switching over cleanly.

    • hank

      I just installed the newest 11.12 drivers from amd and my battlefield 3 started crashing and freezing up .I had no problems with 11.10 drivers,so i figured why not uninstall the 11.12 and reinstall the older drivers.That’s where hell began. On uninstall using the 11.12 uninstaller my screen turned black with partially visible letters and many other colors mixed in so I can’t see anything that I am clicking on.It’s like a screen with radiation poisoning .haha. DAmn those people at AMD suck at their job.I have never seen anything like this.I manually shut down the computer by pressing the power button and holding it until it shut off.Then I went into safe mode and used the driver sweeper program and rebooted and jumped back into windows 7 where I could now see everything again,but much larger and try to reinstall 11.10 drivers and still have the distorted black and partial glowing letters screen after that installed. I tried multiple times in safe mode to delete and reinstall the drivers but still got the same crap. Damn you AMD ,to all Hell. 11.12 drivers are evil to get rid of and ruined my windows 7. I am going to try to pull the card out of it’s pcie slot after uninstalling the drivers from safe mode and put it back in and see what happens.The uninstaller either left something behind or took something out it shouldn’t have and my windows 7 seems to be toast.

      • http://benchmark3d.com Johnny 3D

        All you have to do is go to Device Manager and uninstall the Graphics Driver (tick the delete driver check box) and then use scan for new hardware and Windows will take the latest video driver from Windows Update. Restart PC (you can sweep driver and reboot) and install 11.10. That should work.

    • hank

      Oh yeh i took a photo and video with my camera of the screen distortion/partially radiated if you want to see.I think I’m going to post it on youtube. I have a separate partition on that computer with Ubuntu and it works fine,so no problem with the video card or any other hardware.

    • hank

      Thank you for the information.That fixed it with a few different things I had to do to get it to work.
      I first had to get into safe mode which i did by shutting down windows from the signin window by pressing the Power button on my PC to make windows recognize that it was not shut down correctly and then automatically have the safemode prompt come up when it restarted without having to press F8 which seems not to work with my dual boot of windows and Ubuntu.I used Driver Sweeper in Safe mode and checked off AMD to just remove anything related to that.
      Afterwards I rebooted and signed into windows and went into Device Manager from the control panel and did as you said with uninstall and check mark it to delete the driver also.
      I tried to let it scan for new hardware but after 10 minutes of finding nothing,I figured why not just reboot and it found the driver when it restarted and then I installed the 11.10 drivers. If anyone else has the same problems as I did with my asus 6850 and those 11.12 drivers ,maybe this will help them if they have access to another PC or a dual boot machine. Thanks again.

      • http://benchmark3d.com Johnny 3D

        It didn’t find any drivers because you were in safe mode and the network didn’t work (you have to choose safe mode with networking to have Internet access in safe mode). I’m glad you figured it out.

    • SolidEther

      The Catalyst uninstall software has come a long way since the 9.0-10.0 when it left even more files in the sys 32 file of the windows OS and in the registry. There are now two ways to gain a proper functioning install.

      1.) A full install
      2.) A clean update

      When you uninstall a Catalyst driver using just the AMD uninstaller you may get lucky and re-install the new drivers a couple times at most without severe issues but without a proper clean install you will run into issues fast. I am talking about severe artifacting, performance hits, game breaking errors, blue screens, hard black screen crashes and VGA freezing.

      The clean install involves using the Cat uninstaller to first uninstall all AMD software. (this will not remove CAP installs nor will any driver cleaning software (keep that in mind) a seperate uninstall is always needed for a C.A.P. After that uninstall reboot as requested and run a driver clean.

      I have used Phyxion Driver Sweeper but now I use Driver Cleaner.NET v.3.6.4.0. As the name states it uses Microsoft.NET framework as its foundation the very same program that the Catalyst Control Center is built on. Also it uses multiple cleaning filters allowing an individual section of each and every ATI file. IT also uses advanced cleaning which gets all the data previously left in folders on the C drive so it really scrubs it out. It can also clean out .cab files (COMPLETELY understand what this is and if you need to clean your .cabs before you utilize this tool) DC.NET leaves just the folder (NO FILES) there. You can delete those empty files but Catalyst needs them and will just determine that the file is not there and inquire if you would you like to create a new one if not no install so…, if it installs it to that folder already there it will save the step of having a pop up question. Once I run that I will uninstall any CAP file and either reinstall the file or install a new version (just my pref.) Not uninstalling the C.A.P. yeided no negative results, however.

      I then restart again to allow the registry to log whatever files are out of place and then run a registry cleaner utility from TuneUp Utilities 2012 (Retail) to rid the reg of any stray .dlls, program files, or missing shortcuts.

      Then Install the driver. -If it is a hotfix or preview package (AMD) then it will install everything including the AVIVO Codecs and HYDRAVISION. WHQL you can install each individually. But the base package includes The DD, WDM, APP & CCC with the AVIVO codecs and HYDRA availible as seperate installs. This brings me to the 2nd option of driver install

      The Upgrade install: Simply when you launch the newer version of the Catalyst installer (happens with any part of the package (DD,CCC,APP) The Launcher will unpack and analyze your system and detect what components of Catalyst you have installed and what versions. If you pick express it will automatically overwrite anything that is an older version. I recommend Custom so you can see what components are new. They will have a check box next to them that can be modified (Can check or uncheck) those are the newer components. Leave the ones you want updated checked and CCC will take care of the rest.

      To do this make sure the initial install was clean and proper. Also a system that is malfunctioning in anyway is NOT fit for an upgrade overwrite. The benefits are that you do not need to undo everything and risk stripping too much from your registry and end up damaging your OS’s ability to properly operate the drivers. Also if you are one to have many presets that you do not wish to loose or go through hell to save and rewrite this options is great. Alot of people will tell you this is not a good way to update drivers, but many experioenced users I know don’t do it any other way UNLESS there is a malfunction. Same way as the running your computer 24 hours question. The only way it would be harmful is if your machine is under malfunction, or in a driver situation a broke registry and corrupted system files.

      My experience….

    • Free Bee

      Just used this software to delete TONS of old driver files that my system had and didn’t know that I had on my system. Now the blue death screen doesn’t happen and it doesn’t randomly restart when i’m trying to install a new driver. Thanks for recommending this software I’ll be sure to refer it to others. WIN ! :D

    • Onyx

      Well Filesonic is down now so the link is dead. But you can always go to Phyxion.net to pick it up.

      • http://benchmark3d.com Johnny 3D

        Some file hosting companies have been shut down by the feds, hopefully this is not the case. No official response yet…

        If this is the case I’ll have to move all files, another waste of money…

    • hap

      Im using ATI Uninstaller for years and ive never had any problems with driver installations. I rarely use betas and i do install new drivers every month. Am i lucky ? I think generally ATI uninstaller works good enough. However i clean install windows every year or so.

    • Name

      Driver Sweeper does more damage than it fixes.

      • Bob’s yer uncle

        Not. The latest version is safe. I have used it twice with no issues.

      • cowboy

        If you download the old, out of date, borked Driver Sweeper from Guru 3D you will/can have problems. As stated, download from the developer Phyxion. Note: the “new” driver sweeper is called Driver Fusion and it works great..even added SetPoint removal option. There is a free version and a payforit version.

    • anil

      Using mirekusoft uninstaller is a great way you to completely uninstall any of your programs. It is reliable application, is a very efficient way of expanding the life span of your Windows operating system.

    • cowboybillyboem

      I always use Driver Fusion, works perfectly here!

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