Disable Automatic Driver Installation in Windows 10

Last Updated on December 29, 2016

Windows 10 driverYou may have noticed that Windows automatically installs drivers for almost any device that you connect to your PC. This is called as plug-and-play. It’s quite a useful thing that has made Windows ubiquitous in the computer world.

This isn’t without its downsides, though. Sometimes, Windows isn’t able to find the correct driver for the device and installs a generic one. This generic driver limits the functionality of your external device connected to the PC.

This happened to me while I was trying to hook my HP Printer on Windows 10 PC the other day. The generic driver that Windows automatically installs works fine for printing and scanning documents. But for manually adjusting stuff it isn’t enough. Other finer controls aren’t also accessible through it.

The problem I was getting was that the HP driver setup wasn’t succeeding because it needed to detect the printer as a new driver. But because Windows automatically installed the printer drivers, the official driver installation completing.

Fortunately, I was able to disable the automatic driver installation in Windows using this simple registry trick. Here’s how you can do it too.

Disable Automatic Driver Installation in Windows

To do this, you just have to stop Windows from checking driver updates automatically. Whenever you connect your external device, Windows searches the driver catalog for updates and installs the driver which it thinks is the most appropriate one. Stopping this check will stop the automatic driver installation problem.

  • Press Windows + R to open Run. Type regedit and press Enter to open the Registry Editor.
  • Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > Software > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion > DriverSearching.
  • On the DriverSearching key, look for the DWORD named SearchOrderConfig. Double-click on it to modify its value. By default, it is 1 which means that automatic driver installation is enabled. Change it to 0 and press Enter.
  • Restart your PC to allow the changes to be applied.

That’s it. From now on, Windows won’t install drivers automatically for the devices you connect to your PC. Of course, this isn’t ideal for all the time since you will manually need to tinker with the Device manager after connecting anything to your PC.

You can undo the changes you did in this post by setting the value of SearchOrderConfig DWORD to 1 again in the registry. Restart your PC after doing that, and it will be as good as it was before.

Photo of author

Written by Utkarsh

Utkarsh Bhatt is a certified tech expert and software engineer for a Fortune 500 Company. He was born in 1995, making him one of the oldest members of the team at EFX. Utkarsh loves solving technical issues and is always the first to jump on any problem that needs solving. When he’s not coding or debugging, he enjoys playing video games (especially Super Smash Bros.) and watching cartoons.

Share on:

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.