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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?

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