Taking Control

How to stop Windows 10 from installing drivers automatically

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.

Stop Windows 10 from installing drivers

Windows 10 is really good at detecting and installing new drivers for hardware you connect to your computer. However, there will be times when you may not want them to install automatically. It could be because Windows 10 may try to install a version of the driver that is not compatible or a version that contains bugs and it’ll result on more issues.

Sometimes you may also want to stop drivers from installing automatically because there is another version (newer or older) known to work better on your computer. For whatever the reason it might be, you can stop the operating system from trying to use Windows Update to download driver updates.

In this guide, you’ll learn the steps to change the settings and stop Windows 10 from automatically installing drivers on your computer.

How to stop automatic driver installation using Control Panel

  1. Use the Windows key + X keyboard shortcut to open the Power User menu and select System.

  2. Click on Advanced system settings from the left pane.

    Control Panel System settings
    Control Panel System settings
  3. On System Properties, click the Hardware tab.

  4. Click the Device Installation Settings button.

    Control Panel System Properties settings
    Control Panel System Properties settings
  5. Select No (your device might not work as expected) option.

  6. Click Save Changes.

    Device installation settings
    Device installation settings
  7. Click OK to complete the task.

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

How to stop automatic driver installation using the Group Policy

Alternatively, if you’re running Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, or Education, you can use the Local Group Policy Editor to stop the operating system from checking and installing updates for drivers.

  1. Use the Windows key + R keyboard shortcut to open the Run command.

  2. Type gpedit and click OK to open the Local 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
    Local Group Policy Editor Windows Update policies
  5. Check the Enabled option.

  6. Click Apply.

  7. Click OK to complete the task.

    Windows Update policy
    Windows Update policy

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

How to stop automatic driver installation using the Registry

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

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.
  1. Use the Windows key + R keyboard shortcut to open the Run command.

  2. Type regedit and click OK to open the Registry.

  3. Browse the following path:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\DriverSearching
  4. Double-click the SearchOrderConfig DWORD key, and change its value from 1 to 0.

    Registry DriverSearching settings
    Registry DriverSearching settings
  5. Click OK.

  6. Close the Registry.

  7. Restart your computer to complete the task.

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

You can always revert the changes by using the same steps, but on 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 on Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 as well.