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Cleaning up old NVIDIA driver files

Did you know that each time you installed a Geforce driver update the old files get left behind on your system? This phenomenon has existed for years. However, with the introduction of the NVIDIA Geforce Experience it has gotten even worse. There are now three locations that get filled with unused files. GameplayInside shows you how to clean up old NVIDIA driver files to save disk space!

2017 update: This guide was originally released in 2014. Since then Nvidia introduced a major update of the Geforce Experience software. Unfortunately new Geforce Experiences still clutters your storage device, it just uses different file paths. Therefore this update was created.

Video tutorial

A video tutorial will be placed here later this week.

Location 1 – installer extraction directory

What is it?

When you run the NVIDIA Geforce Driver installer it will extract all files to a temporary directory. Each driver version has it’s own sub folder. Reinstalling the same version just overwrites the same directory.

Screenshot of the nvidia temporary driver installation folder.
Screenshot of the nvidia temporary driver installation folder.

The impact: 5.2 GB

As you can see I currently have 5214 MB of installation files on my C drive. It is actually a Samsung 850 Evo 500 GB so every MB does count!

Screenshot of the nvidia temporary driver installation folder with file sizes
File size of the temporary Nvidia driver installation folder

Removal instructions

All of these files and folders files are 100% safe to remove. They are only used during installation of the Nvidia graphics driver. To remove them and save disk space simply navigate to:

C:\NVIDIA

Now delete all folders inside it and you’re done!

Location 2 – Geforce Experience Download folder

What is it?

Geforce Experience also keeps a copy of all drivers it has downloaded automatically.  If you decide to install the driver it will still keep a copy forever. These copies are not cleaned and will stay on your system until you take action. Eventually you will end up with dozens of useless files because Nvidia releases updates monthly.

The impact: 3.7 GB

In this example there are 3721 MB of unnecessary files.

Removal instructions

This is one of the directories that was changed in GFE 3.x. To remove these files and save disk space navigate to:

C:\ProgramData\NVIDIA Corporation\Downloader

Most subfolders contain installer executables. Simply remove all folders with a random name, only leave config and latest. For example on my system the folder  0cfd1195e705a478237a4db99f7ce77c  contains GeForce_Experience_Update_v3.4.0.70.exe.

Location 3 – Geforce Experience driver installation repository

What is it?

With the introduction of Geforce Experience NVIDIA has decided it is a good idea to build a library of files. In theory these files can be used in a roll-back and SHOULD be deleted when uninstalling or updating your driver. However in reality you usually update your driver without the “perform a clean install” checkbox.

So guess what? You get a ton of files inside the actual driver installation directory that are completely useless!

The impact: 4.4 GB

The Installer2 folder is by far the largest folder in the Geforce Experience installation directory.

In this example I have 4445 MB of useless files collecting dust in the Installer2 folder.

Removal instructions

To remove these files and save disk space simply navigate to:

C:\Program Files\NVIDIA Corporation\Installer2

Now delete all folders inside this folder. Do not delete the Installer2 folder itself.

Disclaimer: Removing these files means you can no longer uninstall the Geforce Experience regularly. However, do not worry. If you ever need to uninstall Geforce Experience simply download the latest geforce experience setup and re-install the latest version. Hereafter you can uninstall the Geforce Experience as if nothing happened.

Bonus: Windows driver repository (14.4 GB)

The final location is not something Nvidia can be blamed for. Ever since Windows vista Microsoft started to keep a copy of every driver that was ever installed by the system. This caused the annoying phenomenon that  after a few years your 20 GB windows install was suddenly 60 GB. In those times most of us had no clue what was happening, we simply started to do a yearly reinstall of Windows. Microsoft kept using this system in Windows 7, 8 and 10. So today the same principle applies.

Impact: 14.4 GB

Do not delete these folders! Deleting them will mess up your OS. If you want to check your impact then you can find the driver store at

 C:\Windows\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository

Again do not delete these folders!

Removal instructions

Soon

Summary

In 2014 I managed to reclaim 4 GB of storage using my own guide: 1726 MB from the Geforce Experience Installer2 directory, 1002 MB from the Netservice directory and 1287 MB from the temporary Nvidia folder.

A few years have passed and I have been using Windows 10 for about a year. Today I was able to reclaim a whopping 13.3 GB. Soon I will also clean the driver repository which will boost my personal savings to over 27 GB!

Conclusion: cleaning up after Nvidia drivers is now more important than even. Especially now that SSD storage is becoming more expensive due to NAND chip shortages.

How much did you save?

GameplayInside recommends gaming on:

Comments:

  • Daniel

    The Path
    C:\ProgramData\NVIDIA Corporation\NetService
    Also has a bunch of the downloaded installer .exe’s which can be cleared out too.

    • Sebastiaan de Kooter

      Awesome find! Thank you for sharing. I found 1,02 GB there.

      • I’ve noticed that when I delete files from this folder, a Nvidia service seems to re-download the latest four versions of the video drivers AND the Geforce_Experience_Update exes.

        • Sebastiaan de Kooter

          I have not been able to reproduce that.

  • Almost 10GB on my SSD … now removed. Thanks!

    • Sebastiaan de Kooter

      Glad to be of assistance!

  • Kawasuzu

    How much did you save?

    I have saved around 5 to 6 GBs.

  • Joseph VanSandt

    16GB on my SSD, thanks a whole lot! I realized I was losing more space than I expected and noticed the first folder full of old drivers. Luckily I decided to google search if there were more.

    • GameplayInside

      That is a lot! You just set the new record :).

  • Classisisimo Tertain-ment

    Dun forget that Windows keep a full back up of all driver history in the driver store, so nvidia drivers are accounted for. Deleting these are more complicated, go google Windows driver store clean up, could free up a few more GBs

    • GameplayInside

      That is a really good suggestion. My Windows 7 is quite old (somewhere around 2012). So I found 17 Nvidia related driver folders there with a combined size of 4,63 GB! And guess what, the total folder size is 4,96GB. So Nvidia is really taking up all my space.

      Gonna work out a safe procedure and then add it to the guide :).

      • Shadrach Luke Hargreaves

        My Install has be migrated to new drives so damn much it’s almost 5 years old

    • Manuel Tejera

      Recently Microsoft made an update to Disk Cleanup tool so it deletes old updates, including driver updates AFAIK. If your system has been running for a couple of years, you might clean a surprising amount of space.

  • Shadrach Luke Hargreaves

    I save 7GB, 7 fucking GB!!! I don’t need this crap on my SSD, over the 4 years I’ve been using Nivdia I’ve only ever rolled back once, ONCE! doesn’t justify the fucking size.

    • Sebastiaan de Kooter

      Exactly, these rollbacks are strange. Especially since the Windows drive repository also has rollback files.

  • Joe321

    Man… thanks a lot. I was having a problem with GeForce Experience not able to install new drivers. So… I was looking for the download folder to delete it and start over again and I found this article. I did put my new NVIDIA card 5 months ago after passing on my good old ATI and saved 4GB… say whaaat? Thank you. 😉

    • Sebastiaan de Kooter

      Nice! No problem :).

  • Pkmmte

    Thank you! I have saved 8GB on my SSD thanks to you! 😀
    Right when I had less than 100MB left.

    • Sebastiaan de Kooter

      Nice. Be careful though! If you have only 100MB left then you were too late and have semi-permanently reduced the writing speed of your SSD. To fix that you will most likely need to use the Secure Erase command (which whipes all data from your SSD).

  • Sirius

    Hey Sebastiaan,
    thank you very much for the great hints, that’s awesome! I’ve one questian though, what’s about the folders with the cryptic names in C:ProgramDataNVIDIA CorporationNetService? Can they be safely deleted, too?

    • Sebastiaan de Kooter

      Good question.

      My suggestion is to close the Geforce Experience and then delete the .exe files inside those folders with the cryptic names (or simply do a search for .exe within the folder). You can leave the folders “alive”. An empty folder does not really take up space :).

      Again these are the installer files that are 350MB in filesize, so good find!

  • Sebastian

    Can I delete the folders inside the Installer2 folder?

    • Sebastiaan de Kooter

      Yes.

  • Having difficulties with deleting EXEs from the C:ProgramDataNVIDIA CorporationNetService folder. In Windows, says can’t delete because it is open in windows explorer. In CMD, I get access denied. Tried changing permissions on the EXE files… still not cooperating. I have Win8.1 on Alienware 18.

    • Sebastiaan de Kooter

      Changing permissions is only something you need to do on Linux OS. Although in theory applications exist to “unlock” files I have not needed to do this in the 20 years I have been using Windows.

      Most likely issue would be forgetting to close the Geforce Experience. Other possibilities would be over enthusiastic Antivirus Software and User Account Control (because you are inside a programdata folder). If you really want to get rid of the files then you could always boot into safe mode (hold f8 during boot).

      • Thanks, Sebastiaan. I opened a cmd window, changed properties, then rebooted. I was then able to delete the files. Ultimately recovered ±8GB of hard drive space.

  • Heavensdemon_562

    People are saving 7-10gb… I just saved like 30…

    • Peter Slavchov

      HOLY…. And I thought that my 15-20 gigabytes of Nvidia junk files
      were big… I thought those guys like to keep a few backups(like 5 or 10)
      just in case of emergency, but turns out they just dont wana to bother
      with clearing up the old files.

      But as a gamer I can forgive this to Nvidia, since they are the only Vcard manufacturers who do support ancient games, and provide options for visual compatibilities with almost any game.

  • i deleted around 14 GB. But i deleted also files from “C:WindowsSystem32DriverStoreFileRepository” (with a tool named driver store explorer [RAPR])
    i don’t know what the engineers do at nvidia

    • jakeViz

      …Over engineer stuff. Clearly.

  • Perry Verheij

    I saved more than 9 GB!

  • There’s actually more EXE files within C:ProgramDataNVIDIA CorporationNetService within the hexidecimal coded folders (ie : C:ProgramDataNVIDIA CorporationNetService1a1267e7-c160-4f87-a857-1042e4f60ff6) Should these be deleted as well?

    • Sebastiaan de Kooter

      You can remove these. For me they were auto cleaned.

  • head Gr.

    Is someone sent this link to NVidia? Just cleaned 5Gb of junk. Just to be clear – it’s 10% of my SSD

  • OMG I just did all the above and got back 10gig on my SSD. Thank you

    • Sebastiaan de Kooter

      Nice :).

  • robax

    This doesn’t seem to work. After rebooting once or twice, the drivers all start to download again. Done it three times now and downloaded the same 7gb three times over. Last time I left the xml and log file in place but it didn’t matter. Unbelievably stupid programming by NVIDIA. I only noticed this because my ssd was full.

    • thes

      I’m having this same problem. Anyone know of a fix? I’ve tried unchecking every box in the Geforce Experience updates tab, still doing it.

    • I think you are right. The old driver versions I uninstalled are back!

      • robax

        To resolve this and get the space back, I’ve now simply uninstalled Geforce Experience. I’ll just get the latest driver download when it arrives and install in the conventional manner. Obviously that doesn’t help for people who want Shadowplay, but it’ll do for me for now an until there is a proper fix from Nvidia.

    • Sebastiaan de Kooter

      Try to disable the checkbox at the Geforce Experience settings that states “automatically download driver updates and let me choose when to install them”. It is located at the General>Updates tab.

  • Manuel Tejera

    Pretty useful, thanks.

    • Sebastiaan de Kooter

      No problem, thanks for caring :).

  • 6 GB of files deleted…. Unbelievable! Thanks a mil, six mil to be precise ;-).

  • sinwar

    i deleted 8GB from like 4 years or driverupdates…

  • Nicolaus Eddy

    I made a neat script to automate this since NVIDIA likes to release drivers so often these days. Make the following into a batch file and enjoy a few seconds more free time! (Run as Admin):

    RMDIR /S /Q “C:NVIDIA”

    DEL /F /S /Q “C:Program FilesNVIDIA CorporationInstaller2*”

    for /D %%i in (“C:Program FilesNVIDIA CorporationInstaller2*”) do RD /S /Q “%%i”

    DEL /F /S /Q “C:ProgramDataNVIDIA CorporationNetService*”

    for /D %%i in (“C:ProgramDataNVIDIA CorporationNetService*”) do RD /S /Q “%%i”

    PAUSE

  • yamenshahin

    Saved 11 GB using this!!

  • bugme143

    Just saved 3gb. Thanks!

  • Zed68

    I just saved 15 Gb !!! 15 ! What the hell are nvidia programmers thinking ?

  • lac007

    I cleaned up 7,5 GB, THX

  • WhiteZero

    WARNING: the C:Program FilesNVIDIA CorporationInstaller2 folder also contains the uninstaller exe for Geforece Experience. So you’ll have a bit harder time uninstalling it properly if you’re clearing that folder as well.

    • Sebastiaan de Kooter

      Did you actually try uninstalling? I can go to Software and Uninstall the Geforce Experience just fine.

      • WhiteZero

        I did a few months ago, when I ran into that issue. I’ll have to test again if you didn’t see this issue.

      • WhiteZero

        Confirmed the issue in Windows 8.1 at least, don’t know if its the same for Windows 10. I renamed the Installer2 folder to Installer2.old and tried running the Uninstall from Programs and Features (appwiz.cpl). I get the following error:

        RunDLL
        —————————
        There was a problem starting C:Program FilesNVIDIA CorporationInstaller2InstallerCoreNVI2.DLL
        The specified module could not be found.

        It’s pretty obvious this will happen if you check the UninstallString in the Registry for Geforce Experience under HKLMSOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionUninstall. The string is: “C:WindowsSysWOW64RunDll32.EXE” “C:Program FilesNVIDIA CorporationInstaller2InstallerCoreNVI2.DLL”,UninstallPackage Display.GFExperience

        I also tried moving all of the folder except Installer2 to another folder and tested the Uninstall again, it would not produce and error and nothing would happen. So it seems that at least in Windows 8, Installer2 is necessary in order to properly Uninstall the software.

    • Lars

      This is correct. I had to download and reinstall the Gefore Experience software just to be able to remove it after cleaning up the above folders. Windows 7 btw.

  • Eden Sama

    I saved 4-5GB For fuck sake Nvidia fix that shit! I’m using an SSD!!!!!

  • Lars

    This is just lazy programming from Nvidia. I had to repeat these steps multiple times a year to free up my SSD until I got fed up with it. I now completely removed this piece of crap Geforce Experience from my pc. Seriously considering to switch to AMD for my next graphics card just because of this.

  • Thanks a lot. 7 giga on Installer2 and 4.30 on NetService.

  • Julio García

    Hello, very useful indeed, by following these directions I recovered almost 11 Gigs in used space (2 Gigs in first folder, 8 Gigs in second and like 650 Mb in third). Almost 3 years of driver history.

  • Hisham Ibrahim

    Guess what, 7 GB been saved!

  • DaveyD

    Whenever I install the latest Nvidia drivers I make sure to do a custom install. I always make sure not to install the geforce experience, 3D vision related stuff (since I don’t have a 3D monitor), the HD audio driver (since I have realtek drivers)… so I’m only installing the actual driver and PhysX (if there’s a new version). Nevertheless, I just freed up about 4 GB of space on my SSD by deleting the old drivers / installers.

  • super_slav

    Every time my drivers update I loose 2gb of space, I delete the installer2 folder and only get around 500mb back, I have lost 80gb so far on my SSD, I never had this problem with AMD, I am thinking of going back.

    • Sebastiaan de Kooter

      Windows itself also keeps a copy of your drivers. This is the same for both NVidia and AMD. When I find the time I will write a guide on how to clean up that Windows cache.

      • Allen Scantland

        There is the FileRepository in the C:WindowsSystem32DriverStore it has 14+ gigs of drivers that I’m looking to clean up as it has 44 400+meg file folders

        I completed the 3 tasks outlined by you above and saved equal amounts of install files. Many thanks

  • Cade Johnson

    I did this and no problems, except that I now want to uninstall Geforce Experience and I can’t. I deleted something out of Installer2 that the system needs to perform an uninstall. I guess I can manually delete the Geforce Experience application…

    • Sebastiaan de Kooter

      Just re-install the Geforce Experience from the latest installer/driver. After that you can safely uninstall.

  • Kiomaru

    Hello sir,
    But the thing you are saying, nothing is the same in my pc.Any help?

    • Kiomaru

      I would like to attach this

      • Sebastiaan de Kooter

        The screenshot shows an extracted driver. Those files are only used during installation. You can delete the entire 368.22 folder.

      • Sebastiaan de Kooter

        Hi there. You are inside the temporary folder of the setup wizard. So basically you went down 3 levels too deep.
        ps Updated guide with video coming before this weekend.

  • Jason

    Thanks for the advice.
    I found this page by googling ‘nvidia shit in the hard drive’.
    And YES! This was exactly the information I was looking for. lol

  • Tom Carter

    I deleted over 4.8 gig from the installer2 folder…..

  • Timo Vosse

    Holy shit. I almost got to 40 GB, including the driver store cleanup advised by Classisisimo. I only knew about the first step, thanks! Bunch of amateurs over there at Nvidia…

  • Moktadir

    Guys, a certain tool helps make disk cleanup a lot easier 🙂 Look up WinDirStat.

    Essentially, finding 10GB’s worth of NVIDIA files led me to Googling what they might be relevant for, and this article came up, haha

  • Rui Ning Wang

    HOLY SCHMUZZLES! I knew about deleting basically each 1 out of 2 files NVIDIA ever installs on your computer, i did not know about the DriverStore Explorer [RAPR] trick. I just evicted 6GB worth of outdated drivers out of my C partition. Life feels SOOOO great.

  • kryllyn

    How about C:ProgramDataNVIDIA CorporationDownloader ? There’s 2.2GB of files at the moment and I think this is some sort of copy of downloaded drivers so far but I’m not sure. Can clean this folder? Best regards.

    • Sebastiaan de Kooter

      Hi there, that seems to be the location of the new version of GeforceExperience. Mine is already at 1.36 GB… I see they are no longer using the old path. I will take a note and update the guide when I find the time. Thanks!

      • JohnS

        did you found it? 😉

        • Sebastiaan de Kooter

          Yes I did, I have found a total of 4 locations and will update the guide soon.

          • Hisham Ibrahim

            we’re waiting 🙂 regards!

          • Sebastiaan de Kooter

            First update was just posted. Will fill in the Driver Repository and the video later.

  • Maxime Cuillerier

    I saved 14gig but I used ddu instead in safe mode.

  • Jumbalia

    I love this guide and use it often but Nvidia seem to have changed all their file names and settings in the last few updates making most of this guide less useful. :/

    • Sebastiaan de Kooter

      Geforce Experience 3 changed location 2 and 3. Updated guide coming before this weekend :).