Extract and Add Driver Packages

Applies To: Windows Server 2008 R2

In order to add driver packages to your server, you must first obtain them from the manufacturer and ensure that they are extracted (the packages cannot be in .exe or .msi format). This is a requirement because Windows Deployment Services needs the .inf file that describes the package. For a list of driver Web sites for your manufacturer's hardware, see Update Management Drivers Directory (https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=143440).

In this topic

  • Locating the .inf file

  • Extracting driver packages

  • Adding driver packages to the server

Locating the .inf file

When adding the packages, you can point to a folder that contains the extracted driver packages, or to the .inf file that describes the package. The .inf file includes a list of the files that make up the package (and their locations), and is included with the driver installation program. Generally, the .inf file is located on the driver installation media in the same folder as the Setup program, or in a subfolder.

Extracting driver packages

If your packages are in .exe or .msi format, you must extract them in order to add them to your server.

Non-Microsoft driver packages

For non-Microsoft packages you should contact the manufacturer of the driver package for information about how to extract them because each manufacturer designs their drivers in different formats. However, the following are some general ways to extract driver packages.


The non-Microsoft products that this document discusses are manufactured by companies that are independent of Microsoft. Microsoft makes no warranty, implied or otherwise, regarding the performance or reliability of these products.

  • Use a file compression program to extract the files. If the driver files are packaged in a single executable file, you may be able to use a file compression tool such as WinZip or WinRAR to extract the contents of the driver package to a folder.

  • Use the Windows Compressed Folders feature to extract the files. If you do not have the WinZip program or the WinRAR program, you may be able to extract the files by using the Windows Compressed Folders feature. To do this, change the file name extension from .exe to .zip. Then, use Windows Explorer to copy the files from the compressed folder.

  • Extract the contents from the .cab file. If there is no .inf file in the driver package, but there are one or more .cab files, you may be able to extract the contents of the .cab files. However, this method is usually unsuccessful. Typically, these kinds of driver packages are created by using the InstallShield program. The InstallShield program uses a special .cab format that is not designed to be accessed by tools such as WinZip or WinRAR.

  • Locate the files in the temporary folder. Some driver package installers (for example, for video cards) use an .exe installer that will prompt you for a location where the files should be temporarily extracted. In these cases, you can specify a location, and view the folder while the installer is running. Even if your computer does not have compatible hardware and the installer stops, you can copy the files from the temporary folder.

Microsoft driver packages

If you obtained your package from Windows Update, use the following procedure to extract the package.

To extract a driver package from Windows Update

  1. Download driver packages from the Microsoft Update Catalog (https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=66676).

  2. Extract the contents of each .cab file to a directory on your computer using one of the following:

  3. Add the driver packages to your Windows Deployment Services server. For instructions about managing and deploying your packages, see Deploying Driver Packages.

Adding driver packages to the server

After you have obtained and extracted your driver packages, you must add them to the server. To do this, right-click the Drivers node, click Add Driver Package, and follow the instructions in the wizard. For step-by-step instructions about how to add and deploy driver packages, see Deploying Driver Packages.

Additional references