Turn On or Off Device Driver Automatic Installation in Windows 10

Windows 10’s automatic driver installation is incredibly useful – until it isn’t. If the OS automatically detects the incorrect driver, it can be a real pain to get it to accept a different one, and this can be incredibly frustrating.

Generally, turning off this feature isn’t recommended, but disabling automatic driver installation for a short period is just fine if you have a particularly stubborn device. Before we get started with a tutorial, though, it’s worth noting the different types of updates Windows makes to your devices.

The one we’re all familiar with is a simple driver update. These let your hardware communicate with your computer. Without a driver, it won’t function correctly, and with generic drivers, it may not function optimally. However, Windows also downloads driver information. Product names, model numbers, and other details help the user find what they’re looking for in Device Manager.

We’re going to show you how to enable or disable automatic driver installation but bear in mind that it will switch off both of these update types. If you leave it off, you’ll also be missing out on the information required to discern devices from each other. Let’s get started:

How to Enable or Disable Automatic Driver Installation in the Windows 10 Control Panel

  1. Open the Control Panel


    Press “Start” and type “Control Panel”. Click the first result under ‘best match’.

    Windows 10 - Search - Control Panel

  2. Open Hardware and Sound


    In the Control Panel, click “Hardware and Sound”.

    Windows 10 - Control Panel

  3. Open Devices and Printers


  4. Open Device Installation Settings


    In the Devices and Printers window, right-click on the icon for your PC and click “Device installation settings”.

    Windows 10 - Control Panel - Devices and Printers

  5. Disable automatic driver installation


    In the installation settings dialog, switch it to “Yes” to enable or “No” if you’d like to disable automatic drivers installation.

    Windows 10 - Device Installation settings

How to Turn off Automatic Installation via the Registry

Alternatively to the first method and maybe faster, you can also disable driver driver updates in the Windows 10 registry.

  1. Open the Registry Editor


    Press “Ctrl+R” and type regedit, then press “OK”.

    Windows 10 - run - regedit (1)

  2. Edit the DWORD value


    Navigate to Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Device Metadata.

    Double-click the DWORD named “PreventDeviceMetadataFromNetwork” and type “0” in the “Value data to turn off driver downloads or “1” to turn it on.

    Windows 10 - regedit - PreventDeviceMetadataFromNEtwork