How to prevent Windows 10 from updating specific drivers
Windows 10 has a lot of valuable features comparing to its predecessors. However, Microsoft went too far in some regards with underwhelming changes that have a major influence in everyday and professional use. Namely, the automatic Windows Update that won’t let users adjust it.
They stated that this is a positive feature, primarily for security reasons. And that is understandable. But, what about drivers? The drivers are installed without users confirmation and that can lead to all kinds of issues.
Moreover, that leads to unusable hardware, all-around underperformance and, eventually, to the Blue Screen of Death. So, we’ve prepared some temporary workarounds that will let you surpass automatic drivers update.
Block Windows 10 drivers from updating
Prevent Windows 10 updates downloads with metered Wi-Fi connection
Since Microsoft forgot to implement standard selection, we must use tricks. This is a simple workaround that will prevent Windows 10 from updating. Have in mind that this shuts down complete update so you’ll skip on various security and stability updates. This makes it a temporary solution.
While metered connection is enabled, PC updates are on hold. Your system assumes that you are using an alternative connection like phone tethering or another limited data package. Windows automatically sets limited connections to metered, but you can do it with your Wi-Fi, too. And this is how:
- Open Start and click Settings on the left.
- Go to Network & Internet.
- Choose Wi-Fi and click Manage Known Networks.
- Select your Wi-Fi network and click Properties.
- Enable Set as metered connection.
If you are using more wireless networks, you’ll have to set them up individually.
Block Windows 10 updates downloads with metered Ethernet connection
However, when it comes to the Ethernet connection, things are not as simple as this. Apparently, Microsoft thought that all of the Ethernet connections have an unlimited data and we know that is not the case. In order to tweak wired connection, you’ll have to use a registry edit. We’ll lead you trough the procedure. Have in mind that Registry Editor misuse can cause all kinds of trouble so use it carefully. Additionally, you’ll have to tweak permissions in order to make changes.
Here’s exactly what you need to do:
- Open Search Windows and type Regedit.
- Right-click on the icon and choose Run as administrator.
- In the left sidebar follow this path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\NetworkList\DefaultMediaCost
- Right-click DefaultMediaCost and choose Permissions.
- Choose Advanced.
- Click Change at the top.
- Type your Microsoft account e-mail address in the Enter the object name box.
- Click Check name and confirm.
- In the Permissions for the DefaultMediaCost window select Users group.
- Then check Full Control box bellow and confirm.
- This would enable editing this specific registry key so let’s move on.
- Right-click Ethernet and choose Modify.
- In the Value Data box type 2 instead of 1.
- Save the settings.
This is easily reversible with switching between 2 and 1. Two stands for metered connection. Even though the system won’t inform you, you’ll be running metered ethernet connection.
Use Group Policy Editor to stop Windows 10 installing specific driver
This is a complex workaround that won’t work on Home edition of Windows 10. You’ll need Professional, Enterprise or Educational versions in order to access Group Policy Editor. If you fulfill these requirements, you could try it out. Have in mind that it is not advisable to make rush moves since this is a quite powerful tool. The main advantage is that update is still enabled. Namely, Windows Update will still download drivers but it won’t install them. You’ll first need to find hardware ID for a wanted driver. Follow these steps in order to set things up:
- Right-click on the Start and choose Device Manager.
- Find wanted device and open Properties from the context menu.
- Open Details tab.
- In the Property drop-down menu select Hardware ID.
- Select all ID’s, copy and paste in any text editor. Be sure to save it.
- In the Search Windows type gpedit.msc. Right-click and Run as administrator.
- In the left sidebar follow this path: Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\System\Device Installation\Device Installation Restrictions.
- On the right side open Prevent installation of devices that match any of these devices IDs.
- In the Policy window, click Enable and then Show.
- Copy ID’s one by one from the saved document and past them in separate Volume columns.
- Save changes and exit Group Policy Editor.
At the next update, you should be prompted with an error. That is the confirmation that the tweaks were successful. Selected drivers won’t install anymore.
Download TweakBit’s Driver Updater Tool (approved by Microsoft and Norton) to safely update your drivers automatically and preferentially. This tool will scan your PC and give you a list of outdated drivers. Review the list and see if you want to update each driver individually or all at once.
Disclaimer: some functions of this tool are not free.
The ”Show or Hide updates” tool hides troublesome drivers
Since even Microsoft is aware of possible driver malfunctions that may occur after updates, they prepared a downloadable tool. You can’t block updates with built-in software, so this is a viable solution. This troubleshooter is easy to use and you can download it here. You should use this tool before you install updates, so it is worth to use it as often as you can in order to hide unwanted updates.
- Open the link and download the troubleshooting tool.
- Let the tool scan for the available updates.
- If there are available updates, you can choose whether you want to hide them or not.
- Hide unwanted updates and confirm.
- When the next update occurs, selected updates will be skipped.
Microsoft presents this tool as a temporary solution, but we think you can use it as long as you want.
Uninstall malfunctioning drivers from Windows 10
However, if the drivers are already installed and the damage is done, you can try and uninstall or rollback inflicted drivers. That way you’ll prevent additional issues. To uninstall the latest updates, do as follows:
- Go to Search Windows and type Windows Update Settings.
- Click Update history.
- Select Uninstall updates.
- Find unwanted ones and uninstall them.
You can additionally try and roll-back drivers from Device Manager. This way you’ll retrieve the older, functioning version of the driver.
- Right-click Start and open Device Manager.
- In the Device Manager, find a faulty device driver.
- Right-click it and open Properties.
- Open Driver tab.
- Click Roll Back Driver.
If everything is as should be, you’ll get the pre-update version. In addition, we strongly advise you to ignore all Windows generic drivers and obtain drivers from the official site of the device producer. That is the best way.
Microsoft insists on automatic Windows Update no matter what the users say. However, there is a positive side to this. People were ignoring updates on previous Windows versions too often. And, in some cases, your system security and all around stability suffer because of that.
But, at least they should let us choose what to update. What is your standing on this subject? Is an automatic update a problem or a relief? Tell us in the comments.
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