How to uninstall driver from recovery environment on Windows 10

If your computer doesn't boot after installing a device driver, you can use these steps to remove it and fix the problem using WinRE and a few command lines.

Uninstall driver won't Windows 10 won't boot
Uninstall driver won’t Windows 10 won’t boot

On Windows 10, sometimes, a third-party driver can prevent a computer from starting correctly because of compatibility issues or other problems. When this happens, you can restart in Safe mode to remove the problematic driver or use a System Restore Point to roll back to the last good known working state. However, there will be times when the device won’t even start in Safe mode, and even the restore point will fail to apply.

If Windows 10 can’t boot correctly after installing a device driver, and Safe mode and System Restore Point doesn’t work, you can use the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE) to uninstall drivers manually using the Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) command-line tool to resolve the issue.

In this guide, you will learn the steps to uninstall an incompatible driver from the recovery environment that’s causing Windows 10 not to start correctly.

Uninstall driver when Windows 10 won’t start

To remove an incompatible driver that won’t let Windows 10 start correctly, use these steps:

  1. Create a Windows 10 USB bootable media.

  2. Change the computer Basic Input Output System (BIOS) settings to start from the bootable media.

    Quick tip: This process usually requires pressing one of the function keys (F1, F2, F3, F10, or F12), the ESC, or the Delete key. For more accurate instructions, visit your PC manufacturer’s support website.
  3. Start computer with USB bootable media.

  4. Click the Next button.

  5. Click the Repair your computer option in the bottom-left corner.

    Windows 10 Setup repair your computer option

  6. Click on Troubleshoot.

    Windows 10 Recovery Environment troubleshoot option

  7. Click on Command Prompt.

    Windows 10 Recovery Environment Command Prompt option

  8. When the computer boots in Command Prompt, it’ll start on X:\Sources. You need to move to the drive letter where Windows 10 is installed. While the operating system resides on the main drive (C:\), when you boot your computer on recovery mode, the drive letter changes to something different. However, in most cases, the drive letter is D: or E:. Type the following command to access the correct drive letter, and press Enter:

  9. Type the following command to verify the right drive is selected and press Enter:


    Check Windows 10 installation drive

    You’re in the correct drive letter if you see the “Windows” folder. If not, go back to step No. 5 and try another letter.

  10. Type the following command to generate a list of all the installed drivers and press Enter:

    dism /image:e:\ /get-drivers

    DISM Get-Drivers command

    In the command, change e: for the driver of your Windows 10 installation.

  11. Confirm the “Publisher Name” of the problematic driver. The “Original File Name” and “Provider Name” will help you identify the driver. (Installed third-party drivers will usually carry the oem0.inf, oem1.inf, and so on. The number is the installation order, which means that the last driver you installed will have the highest number.)

    DISM list of drivers

  12. (Optional) Type the following command to view more information about the driver and press Enter:

    dism /image:e:\ /get-driverinfo /driver:oem1.inf

    In the command, change e: for the drive of your Windows 10 installation, and change the oem1.inf for the name of the driver to remove.

  13. Type the following command to remove the problematic driver and press Enter:

    dism /image:e:\ /remove-driver /driver:oem1.inf

    DISM Remove-Driver command

    In the command, change the drive letter e: for your Windows 10 installation drive and change the oem1.inf for the driver’s name to remove.

  14. Click the X to close the console.

  15. Click on Continue.

Once you complete the steps, the device will reboot, and Windows 10 should start normally again.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].