Add Windows Drivers With PnPUtil

To preface this how-to, I would like to lay out the scenario that led me to write this article. Most of our clients that deploy an enterprise image of Windows typically use SysPrep to create a machine agnostic base configuration and then they capture the SysPrep’d image using either Clonezilla or Acronis True Image. This process is extremely easy to manage if you have the ability to build your base Windows install on a Virtual Machine. Using snapshots makes testing your Sysprep’d image a breeze. The problem with this process is injecting the drivers for the physical machine that the Sysprep image will reside on. Alot of people will tell you that using Microsoft ImageX and Windows PE is the way to go. I strongly disagree and here is why. In the IT Landscape today, a large majority of our clients only exposure to Microsoft is using the Windows client operation system (Windows 7 or 8.1). With the advent of Samba4 and products like Zentyal Server, being tied to an all Microsoft Enterprise environment is no longer the only option. Over 90% of our clients are now running some flavor of Samba4 Active Directory as they have voted with their dollars to forgo the ridiculous licensing costs associated with the Microsoft Server Products. This is not so much a rant as it is a point of view that is shared by myself and many of my peers. With that said, using to tooling that is already in place makes the most sense in my opinion. So injecting drivers into a Windows base image is very easy with the help of PnPUtil, which is a tool Microsoft has included in all versions of Windows since Vista. In order to install the drivers in our Windows installation, we will need to download and extract all the drivers we want to install. For the purpose of this article we have created a folder on the desktop aptly named Drivers. Inside this directory we will copy all the drivers we would like to inject into the Driver Store. Once you have extracted all drivers to the Drivers folder, simply hold shift and right click your Drivers folder on the desktop, then select Open command window here. Once at the command prompt, simply type the command below and watch the utility add all the drivers to your Driver Store.

# Inject all drivers to Driver Store
pnputil -a *.inf


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