How to stop automatic driver installation on Windows 10

  • To disable driver updates on Windows 10, open Settings > System > About > System Protection, click on “Device Installation Settings,” choose “No (your device might not work as expected),” and save changes.
  • It’s also possible to stop automatic driver installations from Group Policy, Registry, and the “Show and hide updates” troubleshooter.

UPDATED 10/27/2023: On Windows 10, the system can automatically detect and install new hardware drivers you connect to your computer. However, sometimes, you may not want the operating system to set up specific devices automatically. For example, when the system keeps installing a version of the incompatible driver or a version that contains bugs, that could 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 hardware configuration. Whatever the reason, you can stop the operating system from trying to use “Windows Update” to download driver updates.

In this tutorial, I will teach you the steps to change the configurations and stop automatic driver updates on Windows 10.

Disable automatic driver updates on Windows 10

On Windows 10, you have four ways to prevent automatic updates for drivers, including using the Settings app, Group Policy, Registry, and the update troubleshooter. Here’s how.

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1. From the Settings app

To disable driver updates on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings on Windows 10.

  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.

    System Protection settings

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

  8. Click the Save Changes button.

    Disable drive updates

  9. Click the OK button.

Once you complete the steps, Windows 10 will no longer install driver updates automatically for new devices on your computer. If you have to upgrade your graphics card or set up a new printer, you will have to download and install those drivers from your manufacturer support website.

2. From the Group Policy Editor

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 updates 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.

    Disable driver updates policy enabled

  6. Click the Apply button.

  7. Click the OK button.

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

3. From the Registry Editor

While the first method is the safest way to stop Windows 10 from automatically installing drivers, on Windows 10 Home, you can tweak the Registry to accomplish the same configuration.

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. You have been warned.

To disable automatic driver installs 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:

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

    Registry disable driver updates

  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.

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4. From the Troubleshooter app

If the computer is still trying to download a specific driver update, you can block it using the “Show or hide updates” troubleshooter.

To block a specific driver download on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Download the Show or hide updates troubleshooter.

  2. Double-click the wushowhide.diagcab file to launch the tool.

  3. Click the Next button.

  4. Click the Hide updates option.

    Hide updates option

  5. Select the driver to block on Windows 10.

    Windows 10 block driver update

  6. Click the Next button.

  7. Click the Close button.

Once you complete the steps, the system will stop trying to download that specific driver. However, when a newer version of the driver becomes available, Windows 10 will try to install it automatically.

If you want to block a driver installed on the device, you must uninstall it before blocking it. The option to remove updates is available on Settings > Update & Security > Windows Updates > View update history > Uninstall updates.

These instructions include more details on blocking and unblocking updates and drivers on Windows 10.

Update October 27, 2023: This tutorial has been updated to ensure correctness and reflect new changes.

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