How to stop automatic driver installation on Windows 10

Windows 10 provides an easy way to install new device drivers, but to avoid problems sometimes you may want to stop the operating system from installing them automatically -- here's how.

Windows 10 disable automatic driver installs

Windows 10 can automatically detect and install new hardware drivers you connect to your computer. However, sometimes you may not want the system setting up specific devices automatically. It could be because Windows 10 may try to install a version of the incompatible driver or a version that contains bugs, which will result in more issues.

Sometimes you may also want to stop automatic driver installations because there is another version (newer or older) known to work better on your computer. Whatever the reason, you can stop the operating system from trying to use Windows Update to download driver updates.

This guide will teach you the steps to change the settings and stop Windows 10 from automatically installing drivers on your computer.

Disable automatic driver install on Windows 10

To prevent Windows 10 from setting up drivers automatically, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Click on System.

  3. Click on About.

  4. Under the “Related settings” section, click the System protection option.

    Open System Protection

  5. Click the Hardware tab.

  6. Click the “Device Installation Settings” button.

    Control Panel System Properties settings

  7. Select the “No (your device might not work as expected)” option.

  8. Click the Save Changes button.

    Device installation settings

  9. Click the OK button.

Once you complete the steps, Windows 10 will no longer try to install drivers automatically for new devices on your computer. If upgrading your graphics card or setting up a new printer, you will need to download and install those drivers from your manufacturer.

Disable automatic driver install from Group Policy

Alternatively, if you have Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, or Education, you can use the Local Group Policy Editor to stop the operating system from checking and installing driver updates.

To disable automatic driver install from Group Policy, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.

  2. Search for gpedit and click the top result to open the Group Policy Editor.

  3. Browse the following path:

    Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update
  4. Double-click the “Do not include driver with Windows Update” option.

    Local Group Policy Editor Windows Update policies

  5. Check the Enabled option.

  6. Click the Apply button.

  7. Click the OK button.

    Windows Update policy

After enabling this policy, Windows Update will stop providing drivers during updates.

Disable automatic driver install from Registry

While the first method is the safest way to stop Windows 10 from automatically installing drivers, if you’re up to the challenge of running Windows 10 Home, you can tweak the Registry to accomplish the same.

Warning: Modifying system files can further damage your Windows installation if it’s not done correctly. It’s assumed that you know what you’re doing and that you have previously created a full backup of your computer. Proceed with caution and use this as the last course of action.

To disable automatic driver installation from the Registry, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.

  2. Search for regedit and click the top result to open the Registry.

  3. Browse the following path:

  4. Double-click the SearchOrderConfig DWORD key, and change its value from 1 to 0.

    Registry DriverSearching settings

  5. Click the OK button.

  6. Restart your computer.

Setting SearchOrderConfig to 0 will block drivers from updating every time Windows 10 checks for new updates.

You can always revert the changes by using the same steps, but in step 4, change the DWORD key value from 0 to 1. It’s worth pointing out that this not only works on Windows 10 but also on Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 as well.