In Windows 10, Windows Update forces not only system updates but also driver updates. Even if you install a third party driver which you downloaded offline, it overrides that and installs the driver from Windows Update. This may not be what you want. Often, the hardware OEM provided driver is better and the Windows Update driver produces an issue. Here is how to prevent Windows 10 from automatically reinstalling the driver it finds on Windows Update.
This method requires Group Policy Editor so unfortunately it will work only for Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise and Education editions. Users running Windows 10 Home are out of luck.
We already showed you previously how to hide or block Windows or driver updates in Windows 10 using Microsoft's official troubleshooter. However, there are two problems with this method.
- First, when the build of Windows 10 is upgraded, for example, when November 2015 update (Version 1511) or some other newer build installs on top of Windows 10 RTM, all hidden updates get shown again. If you are part of the Windows Insiders program, it will be impossible to keep using the troubleshooter to hide driver updates.
- Second, that method only blocks the particular driver that you choose. If another driver is released on Windows Update, it will be installed regardless.
So let's see how another method can be used to control and prevent forced device driver installation on Windows 10.
Here is how to block drivers auto update in Windows 10. Every hardware device installed on your PC has a hardware/Plug and Play ID assigned to it. That is how the device is uniquely identified and a matching driver for it is installed by Windows. Starting with Windows Vista, Microsoft introduced Group Policy settings for device driver installation. If a policy is configured to allow or block device installation that matches a specific hardware ID, the driver cannot be changed or updated for that device. This still works in Windows 10 and is precisely what we will be using to block the drivers from Windows Update.
- Obtain the desired driver and then block internet access to Windows Update temporarily.
You must have the preferred driver that you wish you use readily available locally on your disk drive. Download it if required and then disconnect from the internet so Windows Update cannot quickly override it. For Ethernet/LAN connections, you can simply unplug the cable temporarily to disconnect from the internet. If the only connection you have is a Wi-Fi or data connection, you don't need to disconnect from the internet. Simply mark the connection as a metered connection.
- Copy the device hardware ID and then install your preferred driver.
- Press Win + X keys together on your keyboard to show the Power Users menu.
- Open Device Manager.
- In Device Manager, expand the right category of the device for which you need to block automatic driver updates by clicking the + sign. Then right-click on the device, choose Properties, and go to the Details tab.
- On Details tab, set the Property to Hardware IDs. The hardware IDs will be shown below. Click to select the hardware IDs. If there is more than one hardware ID shown, select one and press Ctrl+A to select them all. Now press Ctrl+C to copy the displayed IDs.
- Open a blank document in Notepad and paste them there by pressing Ctrl+V and save the file somewhere.
Now go back to Device Manager and close the Properties. Uninstall the driver installed by Windows Update and install your own driver. This can be done by right clicking the device and choosing "Update driver...". You can complete the wizard as you usually do by pointing it to the path of your desired driver or using "Have Disk..." button to install the desired driver. Then restart Windows and ensure that the driver stays as installed.
- Block driver update for that device using Group Policy
- Press Win + R keys together on your keyboard and type:
- Group Policy Editor will open. Go to Local Computer Policy → Computer Configuration → Administrative Templates → System → Device Installation → Device Installation Restrictions.
- Locate and double-click on "Prevent installation of devices that match any of these device IDs" and set it to Enabled.
- Click the Show... button to launch the dialog "Prevent installation of devices that match any of these Device IDs".
- Now open the file containing hardware IDs in Notepad again and select the hardware ID values that you pasted earlier, one ID at a time. Paste these IDs into the Value box. If there are multiple hardware IDs, paste each ID on a new line. Do this for hardware IDs of all the devices for which you need to block automatic driver installation from Windows Update.
- Click OK when you are finished.
- Press Win + R keys together on your keyboard and type:
- Reconnect to the internet.
Now you can plug in your Ethernet cable or set your Wi-Fi/Data connection as unmetered. Even if Windows Update now installs updates without your control, the drivers installed for your hardware should not be overwritten by the drivers on Windows Update. It may still download them but it will fail to install them and log an error. You can safely ignore errors about device drivers failing to install since you blocked them.
Note that this method blocks automatic as well as manual driver installation so if you need to update the driver manually, you can temporarily disable the Group Policy mentioned above, update the driver offline and then enable it again.
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