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Modify the DevicePath Registry Key

Applies To: Windows Server 2008

You can use this procedure to modify the DevicePath registry key to support installing device drivers from a shared network folder. This search is performed after checking the driver store for a driver package, and only occurs if one is not found in the driver store. If enabled, the Windows Update driver search is performed after the DevicePath search, and occurs even if a matching driver package is found in a DevicePath specified folder. After all enabled searches are completed, Windows ranks each package to determine the best match for the device.

Membership in the local Administrators group, or equivalent, is the minimum required to complete this procedure.

To modify the DevicePath registry key

  1. Start the Registry Editor.

  2. In the navigation pane, open HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion.

  3. In the details pane, double-click the DevicePath entry.

  4. In the Value data text box, make sure that existing paths are not deleted.

  5. Add a semi-colon (;) to the end of any existing paths, then add the folder path (for example, c:\drivers) or UNC network path (for example, \\server\share) to the end of the line. Separate multiple folders with semi-colons.

Additional considerations

  • To start the Registry Editor, click Start, then in the Start Search box, type regedit.exe, and then press ENTER. If the User Account Control dialog box appears, confirm that the action it displays is what you want, and then click Continue.

  • Do not attempt to disable this search by removing the default entry (%systemroot%\inf). That entry must remain, or device installation can fail.

  • In a multi-computer environment, you might want to use a tool that allows you to modify the DevicePath registry key in an automated fashion. One way to do this is to script Reg.exe in the user logon script.

  • Placing a device driver in a location specified by the DevicePath registry key does not eliminate the security checks performed by Windows to stage the device driver. To make a device driver package silently installable by a standard user, the device driver package must:

    1. Be signed by a Trusted Publisher certificate. For more information about deploying certificates to your client computers, see Deploying Certificates to the Trusted Publishers Store.

    2. Belong to a device setup class whose globally unique identifier (GUID) is present in the appropriate Group Policy setting. For more information, see Controlling Which Devices Can Be Installed by Standard Users.