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How To Disable Automatic Driver Installation In Windows 7 / Vista

Suppose you have connected a device with your computer, Windows 7 / Vista will now automatically search for the driver and install it. If you want to select every driver manually(because you have a manual driver that is better), then you should disable automatic driver installation. To do this you don’t need to install any software at all, you can do this using Windows Driver Settings.

Update: Some people complained that the original method doesn’t work at all. Reader mufuti0815 points out a method to properly disable automatic driver installation. I have tested it and it seems to be working. Here is what you need to do:

  • Go to Start–>Search type in gpedit.msc
  • Click the file to open the Local Group Policy Editor and show Windows who is in control!!
  • You want to go here: Computer Configuration->Administrative Templates->System->Device Installation. Click on the subfolder Device Installation on the left and on the right side you will see the possible restrictions.
  • Right Click on Prevent Installation of Devices not described by other policy settings and edit this option, set it on ENABLED.
    Reboot Windows and enjoy its inability to pollute your system with its standard driver, open gpedit.msc again and revert the change so you will be able to install your driver.

Go to Start menu, right-click on Computers and click Properties. On the left sidebar of the System dialog box, select Advanced System Settings. Now navigate to Hardware tab and click Windows Update Driver Settings as shown in the screenshot below.

You will see a box as shown below, now simply select Ask me each time I connect a new device before checking for driversNever check for drivers when I connect a device, depending on how you want Windows Update to find a matching driver ? or

Once you have selected the options, click OK and you are done.

Update: If this doesn’t work, also try the solution here.

71 Comments

  1. just quickly undo the change after pluging in your device and selecting the drivers you wish to use but before proceding with actual install

  2. In home premium (vista, 7) this is NOT AN OPTION as Home versions have no group policies. This could be made clear in the article.

  3. Yeah when I try to search anything in the Search under the windows tab, nothing comes up but programs. Help?

  4. Hey, um for some reason the device installation folder is missing from my editor. Can anyone pass some tips along about this?

  5. when i wanna setup win7 but it hasn’t drive option that i chose which be delete or new or format drive .. how can i come this option when i setup ?!

  6. Very few versions of windows 7 have gpedit capability! I don’t. I found this out in the process of trying to correct another problem.

  7. I’d lie to point out the the solution with the strikeout worked for me, and the “epdate” was a load of crap, for gpedit didn’t exist on my system. That noted I shall mention I am running Win7 64-bit SP1 update on an HP Probook 4730S. Though the options are now: (!) Always install the best driver software from Windows Update; (@) Install driver software from Windows Update if it is not found on my computer; and (#) Never install driver software from Windows Update. I discovered this while trying to solve the occurrence of the BSoD while playing SWtOR, as it was the latest DisplayLink update that caused it.

  8. I tried this on my lenovo w520 since it wasnt installing an external keyboard correctly. Now it is not even recognising the laptop keyboard or trackpad. I am completely locked out of the system. I cant do anything now.

  9. Just type in the Start search-box ‘change device installation settings’…
    Windows 7 already provides a panel to change these settings. No need of Group Policy editing (Windows Professional+) or registry hackings…

  10. Funny, can’t do the “new” method under Win 7, but the old crossed out version works fine. Glad that you left it there for reference!

  11. i think you will find in the same place if you go to internet communication settings and then there it is “turn off windows update device driver searching”

  12. kuch nahi download hotra add dikhatey ha bus or kuch nahi don’t west time open this side save moneyΒ &time Β 

  13. I know this is a little old, but I had this problem in Windows 7 Home Premium, and since I don’t have gpedit.msc had to dig around a bit more.Β  Hopefully this will help keep someone else from having to google for an hour to get this to work. πŸ™

    You can get the results above in Windows 7 Home Premium through the registry editor … not going to tell you how to edit the registry… I’ll assume you know how…

    Add/update the following DWORD value in

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREPoliciesMicrosoftWindowsDeviceInstallRestrictions]
    “DenyUnspecified”=dword:00000001

    I had to manually add the “DeviceInstall” and “Restrictions” keys, then add the dword value “DenyUnspecified” and set it to 1.

    To turn enable again, change DenyUnspecified to 0.

    Hope that helps!

    • This is exactly what I was looking for, and it worked! This will let you disable device installation completely.

    • this works on vista. be sure to set it back to zero before you manually install, else you will get an error. steps. follow his steps. plug in device . wait for auto install to fail. set to zero, update manually

    • Dude, from the bottom of my heart, Thank you! I’ve been working on a brain tumor all day trying to upgrade this POS vista Acer machine to Windows 7. Current SATA/RAID drivers halted install of Windows 7 and Vista handcuffed me into using their “correct,” uncompatible driver. It’s insane to me that any OS programmed in the last decade would make you have to manually edit the registry so you can install a driver manually…then again, Vista will never cease to make you want to go all “office space” on some towers. This Works!

    • I cannot, for the life of me, find that registry path. I get as far as [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREPoliciesMicrosoftWindows

      But then there is no DeviceInstall. I am running Windows 8.1. Any idea on how to find it?

  14. I dont know why you think the above method doesnt work, it worked perfect for my wife’s laptop running vista 32bit. Just wanted to straighten that out.

  15. hello, brothers and sisters my problem is I have 2 hard disks the first one had winxpsp2 and the lan type is: 3com etherlink xl 10 / 100 PCI (3C905C-TX) and it is working good but when I install win7 in the 2nd hard disk the lan was didn’t work , the problem is I don’t have lan cd driver but I backup it using several programs like magician driver and driver finder from windows xp in the 1st hard and I had restored it in windows 7 but it’s olso didn’t work , please help me if anyone have another method and u can send me a mail to may e-mail
    truelove_b88@yahoo.com
    thanxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.

  16. THANKS A LOT!!!!!

    Windows 7 (x64) refused to install the driver that I KNEW was the latest and greatest for my Adaptec 31205 SAS disk controller.

    Following your explanation : disabling the setting via gpedit.msc, rebooting, reverting the setting via gpedit.msc, and then directing Windows 7 (x64) to install the driver I manually specified — worked !!!!!

    Jebus… I was getting so frustrated… THANKS AGAIN!!!!!!

  17. Haha, it worked =D

    the only funny thing was that it also prevented my nvidia setup to install another driver πŸ˜›

    well, thanks for the guide anyways, I’m sure it’ll come handy nevertheless πŸ™‚

  18. HOLD yer horses! Don’t tear out yer hair y’all..
    This WORKS..!
    Yup Vista is crippled al right theres no Group policy editor, intentionally on M$’s part, like a lot of other necessary programs.that all have to do with regaining control over your own pc there..
    But heres what you do..
    Delete/ uninstall the current driver, by whatever means you like.. device manager is the easiest way.. and MAKE sure you select the box that says ‘delete driver files’
    Now, next boot, it’s gonna ASK YA what you wanna do.. and doncha break a finger now, y’hear, with yer enthusiastic clickin on the “Dont bother me again option , at the bottom” (i mean if you were as frustrated as i was ;-)..
    That’s it partners!
    Doccus

  19. Hello there. I am trying to disable the automatic driver installation, but when I go into gpedit there is only “Software Settings” and “Windows Settings” under Computer Configuration and they are both empty. There is no “Administrative Templates”
    Here is a picture of the problem: http://oi53.tinypic.com/2h6cd91.jpg

    Can anybody help me get Administrative Templates?

    Thanks.

  20. Help! I’ve followed all the steps mentioned by mufuti0815. For more than 6 months I couldn’t use the build in microphone because of the windows driver. Now, I have managed to disable the driver installation enabling the “Prevent Installation of Devices not described by other policy settings”.
    Then, I have disabled “Prevent Installation of Devices not described by other policy settings” but I cannot install the original driver, “Realtek” and thus, I have no sound anymore.
    Can someone be so kind and help me providing any other steps to be followed?
    So, I’ve tried:
    1. enable “Prevent Installation of Devices not described by other policy settings”
    2. Disable windows preconfigured driver
    3. Restart computer
    4. disable “Prevent Installation of Devices not described by other policy settings”
    5. Installing Realtek sound driver
    6. Result: no sound, no sound driver !!!!!

    Thanks in advance for your answer!

  21. the original instructions work now, but accessing gpedit.msc is more difficult. This is still the first hit when someone googles for instructions, so p;ease confirm if your altered instructions are still valid.

  22. Thanks this worked for me, note you dont have to reboot after doing the change, i just did a gpupdate /force then uinstalled the driver via device manager and it didnt reinstall.

    • No it stops windows from downloading the drivers. it doesn’t stop it from installing pre-existsing drivers

  23. Many people are getting confused, the disable function within window allows you to disable windows update from connecting to the internet to look for drivers. As it is under the windows update section. It will not entirely disable windows update.

  24. The option is there, you probably looking in driver installation and not device installation πŸ™‚ i have win 7 ultimate, this method preventing me from any form of driver installation, so if you dont want to install anything this is good, but its not disabling automatic driver installation

  25. Thank you this worked brliantly for me!!
    I was able to prevent Windows 7 repeated reinstalling the Intel 82852/82855 GM/GME graphics card driver at every single boot up … i've been trying for days to get my new Windows 7 intallation working, and this was the only driver problem I could not fix.

    After I enabled as above, and then after retarting the first time afterwards I got a Win 7 message saving that the drivers could not be updated, then I permanently disbled one of the video controllers that showed up in Device Manager/Other Devices.
    Windows 7 then worked fine without reinstalling after each boot.

    Then later after I was sure that the video drivers were not going to reinstall for sure I disabled “Prevent Installation of Devices not described by other policy settings”, and since then I have a working Windows 7 installation at last.

  26. Unfortunately, vista home and windows 7 home do not have a Local Group Policy Editor. πŸ™ Any ideas for those of us in that group?

  27. Unfortunately, vista home and windows 7 home do not have a Local Group Policy Editor. πŸ™ Any ideas for those of us in that group?

    • PLEASE READ THIS !

      As you guys probably know the however well-intended, obvious and obviously non-functional advices you would see if you google for disabling automatic driver installation or disabling it will not work. From what I have gathered it is a known issue with Windows Vista and Windows 7 that the option to never update your drivers obviously doesnt work. Disabling windows update does not help either because the driver windows installs for you is the system driver already stored in your windows installation.

      So to make a long story short here is exactly what you have to do:

      Go to Start–>Search type in gpedit.msc
      Click the file to open the Local Group Policy Editor and show Windows who is in control!!
      You want to go here: Computer Configuration->Administrative Templates->System->Device Installation. Click on the subfolder Device Installation on the left and on the right side you will see the possible restrictions.
      Right Click on Prevent Installation of Devices not described by other policy settings and edit this option, set it on ENABLED.
      Reboot Windows and enjoy its inability to pollute your system with its standard driver, open gpedit.msc again and revert the change so you will be able to install your driver.

      Now I had to figure all this out pretty much on my own so I am not sure as to what would be the best way to adjust other policy options to just affect your graphics driver, printer, whatever. Honestly I wasted so much time with this issue I did not even bother.
      If you enable the above mentioned line it will disable EVERYTHING from getting automatic driver updates.
      In your face, stupid Windows

    • Unfortunately, vista home and windows 7 home do not have a Local Group Policy Editor. πŸ™ Any ideas for those of us in that group?

    • Use the other method, from the above or read here:
      Go to Start menu, right-click on Computers and click Properties. On the left sidebar of the System dialog box, select Advanced System Settings. Now navigate to Hardware tab and click Windows Update Driver Settings as shown in the screenshot below.
      You will see a box as shown below, now simply select Ask me each time I connect a new device before checking for driversNever check for drivers when I connect a device, depending on how you want Windows Update to find a matching driver ?

    • DOES NOT WORK WITH WINDOWS 7 BECAUSE IT STILL INSTALLS THE DRIVERS THAT COME WITH IT!!!

    • THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

  28. Yes, this feature doesnt work in Win Vista Home Premium..
    Windows drivers are installed automatically though it is disable to do.

  29. Vista still installs anyway, it’s ruining me, and when I want to install the right drivers it denies me saying “windows has determined your drivers are up to date, uhm, NO THEY’RE NOT!!!
    I can’t use my midi keyboARD UNTILL i CAN INSTALL THE RIGHT DRIVERS BUT i’VE TRIED FOR 4 HOURS AND REALISE IT’S IMPOSSIBLE.

    • If you actually looked around you might find that the alternative solution to this is needed also to be done. When you do both not only will you not be able to install new drivers at all but windows update service won’t force them apon you. Nice fail.

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