What’s the direct URL for a Windows Update driver?


I use all sorts of quirky hacks for GPU driver diagnostics. I found the new Windows 10 ETL log file process cumbersome and the Update Catalog limiting when I just needed to know driver download URLs. In %windir%\logs\WindowsUpdate\ there are several ETL log files. To find all the URLs of drivers that have been downloaded, run a regular expression match like “h t t p : \/ \/ .* d r i v e r.*. c a b” against those files. Then remove the spaces from the strings to reveal the exact URLs used to download and install drivers.

 

Here is a more involved hack that cleans up the local Windows Update cache, removes drivers for a particular device, and forces the latest available Windows Update driver to be installed.

Flush local Windows Update cache (use admin cmd prompt and backup first!):

  • net stop wuauserv
  • del /s /q %windir%\SoftwareDistribution\*.*
  • del /s /q %windir%\Logs\Windows Update\*.etl

Uninstall current device driver(s):

  • Start – device manager
  • Open Display adapters
  • Right-click on the device – for example the AMD Radeon R9
  • Click Uninstall
  • At the prompt, ensure that “Delete the driver software for this device” is checked.
  • Click OK
  • Wait until the driver is uninstalled
  • On the Action menu click “scan for hardware changes”
  • The device now comes up with a Yellow-mark over it indicating a driver could not be found. If an older driver was found and installed, you can uninstall that too and repeat until the only thing left is the Microsoft Basic display adapter (MSBDA).

Start Windows Update service (use admin cmd-prompt):

  • net start wuauserv

Install latest available Windows Update driver:

  • Start – device manager
  • Right-click on the device and click “Update Driver software”
  • Click “Search automatically for updated driver software”
  • Wait for driver update to complete

Check logs:

References:

 

Back to the main blog: https://aka.ms/danchar

Comments (3)

  1. Matthew Steeples says:

    Another way to find them is to have a look at catalog.update.microsoft.com

  2. Danchar4 says:

    @Matthew

    Unfortunately not all drivers appear in Windows Update catalog. For example 15.200.1023.0003 is not listed explicitly: catalog.update.microsoft.com/…/Search.aspx

    Also when directing someone to catalog they still have to step through the UI rather than just clicking a direct link. Hacking catalog to find the direct download links isn't too hard though.

  3. Danchar4 says:

    AnandK@TheWindowsClub has added pictures to my tutorial and reposted at:

    http://www.thewindowsclub.com/identify-direct-url-for-windows-update-driver

    I had no idea this would be interesting enough for anyone to goto the trouble.

    Thanks Anand!

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