Software

How to disable automatic device driver updates in Windows 10

Would you rather download and install driver updates yourself instead of allowing Windows Update to do it for you? Here are the steps you need to take.

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Windows 10 comes with a huge database of device drivers, allowing you to install and use just about any known hardware device. Once a device driver is installed, the operating system will essentially add it to a watch list and can regularly check Windows Update for new or updated drivers.

Of course, when it comes to using the device drivers that Microsoft provides, there are two schools of thought. The first is that getting the drivers from Microsoft is a good thing because you can be sure that the drivers have been through Microsoft's testing procedures and are certified before they ever make it to Windows Update. The other school of thought is that getting device drivers from Microsoft is a bad thing because they are essentially stripped-down versions of what the device manufacturer provides.

Additional considerations fall into the categories of installation and ease. Device drivers from Windows Update are automatically detected and installed with little effort on your part. To find device drivers manually you have to remember to check device manufacturer's Web site often to look for them and then you have to manually download and install them.

Which approach you ascribe to will usually correspond to your Windows skills level. If you are novice or intermediate user, or don't care to take responsibility for driver updates, chances are you'll leave the automatic device driver updates feature in place. If you are an advanced user who is constantly tweaking your system, chances are you'll want to disable it.

Assuming that you fall into the latter category, let's suppose that when you installed Windows 10 you chose the default option to have Windows Update deliver driver updates along with operating system updates. So how to do you change this behavior? Fortunately, a little-known feature called Device Installation Settings will allow you to reconfigure Windows 10's ability to detect and install updated device drivers. Let's take a closer look.

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Accessing Device Installation Settings

To change Windows 10's ability to check Windows Update for new or updated drivers, you'll start by accessing Devices And Printers. To do so, click Start and type Devices in the search box to display Devices And Printers in the results panel, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A

Figure A
Accessing Devices And Printers from Search is quick and easy.

Once you see Devices And Printers, right-click on your computer icon in the Devices And Printers window. When you do, you'll find a context menu that provides easy access to a host of features, including the Device Installation Settings feature, shown in Figure B.

Figure B

Figure B
This context menu provides fast access to a host of useful features.

Select Device Installation Settings from the context menu to open the window shown in Figure C. If you wanted Windows to automatically download device drivers, you would select the Yes (Recommended) option. If you select No, you'll be warned that your devices might not work as expected.

Figure C

Figure C
The Device Installation Settings window allows you to change the way Windows updates device drivers.

After you make your selection, click the Save Changes button. You may encounter a UAC prompt, and if you do, you will need to respond accordingly.

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What's your take?

When it comes to using the device drivers Microsoft provides, which school of thought do you support? Do you think you will you use the Device Installation Settings feature to change your device driver update setting? Keep in mind that you can always reverse the procedure later if you want. Share your thoughts with fellow TechRepublic members.

About Greg Shultz

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

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