Third-party drivers might be stored separately in Windows 10

Sinziana Mihalache
by Sinziana Mihalache
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Sînziana loves getting people to better understand products, processes, and experiences beyond a simple user guide, either in writing or making use of images. She joined the team after a long-term collaboration with one... Read more
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  • The next major Windows 10 update might include a separate third-party drivers folder.
  • All non-Microsoft drivers should be placed there, as spotted in the latest preview build.
  • This should be a good idea in view of a more secure system.
  • As a matter of fact, reactions to this new addition have been positive so far.
oemdrivers folder

Microsoft might introduce a separate folder for third-party drivers in the 21H1 update. According to recent tweets posted by user Albacore, Windows 10 preview build 21343 has this item in the dedicated system folder.

Presently, these drivers are located in Windows\System32\DriverStore. The folder contains both Microsoft and third-party drivers, and users can only install those listed there. When attempting to install a driver, the system first verifies if it’s safe.


What we know about the new separate folder

The new folder, as the tweets show, is called OEMDRIVERS and will contain only non-Microsoft drivers. After installing the build, the full path for the new folder was the following: Windows\OEMDRIVERS\System32\config

oemdrivers folder

This new feature is called Writeable_DriverStore. So when the preview build is installed, Windows 10 will migrate all third-party to this dedicated OEMDRIVERS folder.

One small detail also mentioned by Albacore: the feature must be enabled before the first boot of a new version of Windows 10. Otherwise, the new folder is not visible.

The idea seems a good one, users say, as they prefer having all non-Microsoft elements out of the entire System32 folder.

One user even suggested that Microsoft should, instead, move dedicated files to a protected folder and not risk breaking the entire system with this new folder.

On the other hand, the addition is seen by most a step forward toward strengthening the system’s overall security, by not allowing other developers to store their drivers in the same location.

Another visible element in the screenshots provided by Albacore is the new fluent design of the File Explorer icons. This is one important change that Microsoft is preparing for the next big update.

Note that the preview build is available only for those part of the Insider program and, as Microsoft has acknowledged, it might lead to game crashes.

Although the new separate folder might not have a direct impact for you as a user, we’d like to hear your opinion on that.

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