You may have noticed that Windows 10 is eager to keep your system software up to date. The OS will automatically download and install new drivers for your graphics card, sound card, modem, or other hardware components. While this can be convenient, it also risks breaking previous driver configurations and introducing bugs to your system through the updated driver.
1. Click on the Start Menu
The Start menu provides easy access to commonly used programs and system settings. You can click on the Start button from the taskbar or press the Windows key on your keyboard.
The Windows Start Menu (as shown above) should pop up whichever approach you take, allowing you to proceed to the next step.
2. Double-click on Advanced System Settings
In the search bar, you can find it in the Windows menu, type in Advanced System, and select Advanced System Settings from the options that appear.
Windows 10 comes with a range of system settings that you can access to control how the operating system and its apps behave.
3. On the System Properties Window, select the Hardware tab
Windows provides a variety of built-in system properties, which are attributes that describe specific features of the system.
You can view and change these properties on the System Properties window. Specifically, you’ll want to access the Hardware tab, which you can do by selecting it in the menu that pops up.
4. Select Device Installation Settings
Windows 10 users can now set their device installation settings to receive important updates.
Here, the system will ask you whether you want to automatically download the manufacturer’s apps and custom icons available for your device.
Select No (your device might not work as expected).
5. Save to apply the setting
Lastly, click Save to apply the new settings.
Using the Device Installation Settings is one of the easiest ways to prevent your Windows device from automatically updating drivers.
If that doesn’t work, there’s no need to worry. There are a few other alternative solutions you can try.
Windows Update automatically downloads and installs software updates that are released occasionally.
These updates introduce new features, fix problems with existing apps, or improve the operating system’s performance.
If you have an OEM computer or a pre-installed version of Windows on your computer, you might not have much control over what updates get installed on your system.
Sometimes, these updates can cause stability issues and lead to blue screen crashes.
If this happens to you after installing graphics driver updates, here are some alternative ways to stop Windows from updating graphics drivers in the future:
Stop Automatic Updates through the Local Group Policy Editor
Windows Local Group Policy Editor (LGPE) is a snap-in that can be used to manage local group policy objects on Windows operating systems.
In Windows, the traditional system controller isn’t always enough for managing user settings and other configurations.
Administrators can use the Local Group Policy Editor to:
- Manage the operating system and user behavior.
- Set restrictions on user applications.
- Control what software the computer can install.
- Restrict their access to certain programs and folders, and much more.
In this section, we’ll focus on how to use it to stop Windows from automatically updating graphics drivers.
- Click the Start button on your keyboard.
- Copy gpedit.msc and paste it into the search box at the bottom left corner.
- Open the Local Group Policy Editor.
- Click Computer Configuration.
- Navigate to Administrative Templates> Windows Components.
- Scroll down to Windows Update.
- Navigate to Do not include drivers with Windows Update and double click.
- You should see three options: Not Configured, Enabled, and Disabled.
- Select Enabled and click on Apply.
- Click OK.
Windows will still receive other updates but will exclude drivers from being installed on your computer. In that case, you may have to download and install drivers manually.
Stop graphics drivers update with Windows Registry
The Windows Registry is a central location for storing configuration information and user settings for Windows and its applications.
The registry stores information about user preferences, operating system settings, and application configurations to help your computer run smoothly and efficiently.
The Windows registry is organized into different categories known as keys. Each key stores specific information in the form of values, which are either numbers or text strings.
Here’s how to use the registry to stop automatic driver updates:
- Click the Start button on your keyboard.
- Type Regedit on the search box and open the Registry Editor app.
- Allow the application to make changes to your computer.
- Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, go to SOFTWARE and scroll down to Policies.
- Select Microsoft and right-click Windows.
- Select New > Key.
- Rename your newly created key, preferably as Windows Updates.
- Right-click your newly created key, and go to New > DWORD (32-bit) Value.
- Right-click the DWORD and rename it as ExcludeWUDriversInQualityUpdate.
- Right-click the new DWORD and select Modify. Set the value data from 0 to 1 and click OK.
Using the Microsoft Show or Hide Updates Troubleshooter
The Microsoft Show or Hide Updates Troubleshooter is a lightweight, portable tool that can be used to identify and hide problematic updates on your computer.
Unfortunately, if you’re using Windows 10, you’re bound to run into some issues.
You might find yourself in a situation where an update messes up something essential to your workflow.
Perhaps an upcoming update has broken some functionality or compatibility with other programs.
In that case, try the Show or Hide Updates Troubleshooter to block automatic updates for a problematic driver:
- Download the Microsoft Show or Hide Updates Troubleshooter.
- Run the troubleshooter to select the drivers that will install automatically.
- Click Next and wait as the system detects problems.
- Select Hide Updates.
- Choose your graphics drivers from the list.
Hidden drivers will be temporarily blocked from automatic updates. If this tool does not work, you may always roll back to the previous version of the driver.
In that case, you may have to uninstall the driver, reinstall the previous one, and download it from the vendor’s website.
Troubleshooting graphics drivers on Windows
We don’t normally think of graphics cards as independent units, but if you’re an avid gamer or a professional video editor, you know how important they are in your work.
Graphics drivers are programs that tell your computer how to operate its graphical user interface (GUI) efficiently.
If you recently updated graphics drivers and are experiencing issues with your Windows 10 computer, you may want to revert to the previous version.
Updating graphics drivers may differ depending on your system’s manufacturer and type.
Here are some things to check if you’re having trouble with your graphics driver:
- Low-performance computer: A slow computer is one of the most common graphics driver issues. While many computers experience some slowdown over time, poor drivers can worsen this issue. Playing games, editing videos, or performing other tasks requiring high demands with problematic graphics drivers is virtually impossible.
- Display issues: Display issues can be caused by several culprits, including a faulty computer or graphics driver. While a faulty computer is less likely, a faulty one is much more common. You can tell that your graphics drivers are not working properly by checking for distorted images, colors that look washed out, or black-and-white screen issues.
- Video card issues: A video card is responsible for converting your computer’s instructions into images that appear on your monitor. If your video card is misconfigured or damaged, it can cause various issues, including distorted images, poor color quality, or even a blank or black screen.
- Failed driver updates and installs: A failed driver update is one of the most common graphics driver issues. Fortunately, this problem is easy to spot and usually has an easy fix. Download and reinstall your graphics driver.
A graphics driver issue can cause various subsequent problems, including low performance, display issues, and video card issues.
To troubleshoot these issues, start by ensuring that your computer’s display is set up properly. Then, if your computer has display issues, check your computer’s graphics settings.
Check for Windows Updates
When looking for potential issues with your Windows 10 computer, don’t forget to check whether any Windows updates are interfering with your graphics drivers.
When your computer installs a Windows update, it may modify the driver file associated with your graphics card, which can cause your computer to malfunction.
To check for pending Windows updates:
- Open the Windows 10 Start Menu.
- Go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update.
- Select Check for updates.
Windows users are always at risk of a virus, trojan horse, or other malicious software. Windows updates are the solution to all these issues.
It’s up to you to keep your computer secure. Check for updates regularly and install them as soon as possible to avoid problems that can slow down or crash your computer.
Reinstall the current version of the graphics driver
If you’ve recently installed new graphics drivers and are having issues, it might be best to uninstall them and reinstall the older version.
To remove the current graphics driver:
- Open the Start Menu and search for Device Manager. You can also open the Control Panel and search for Device Manager.
- Once there, select Display adapters and right-click the installed graphics driver.
- Select Properties.
- Navigate to the Driver tab.
- Select Uninstall Device and reboot your computer.
Once you’ve uninstalled the driver, go back to the manufacturer’s website and download it. Then, go ahead and install it.
Roll back to an earlier version of the graphics driver
If you’ve tried installing a different graphics driver and the issues persist, you can roll back to an earlier version of the driver.
- Open the Device Manager and scroll down to Graphics adapters.
- Right-click your installed graphics driver (under Display Adapters) and select Properties.
- Navigate to the Driver tab.
- Select Roll Back Driver and follow the on-screen instructions to return to an earlier version of the graphics driver.
If none of the above solutions work, it may be best to completely uninstall your current graphics driver, restart your computer, and then manually reinstall the latest version of the driver.
Check your Device Manager
If your computer is running slowly and you suspect that the graphics driver may be to blame, one thing to check is the Device Manager.
In the Device Manager, you can see a list of all the hardware installed on your computer.
If there is a yellow ! or red X next to a device, it means the computer is having some issues with it.
If there is an exclamation mark next to your graphics card, it means there’s a problem with the device driver, which can slow down your computer.
Check for hardware compatibility issue(s) and update(s)
If you recently installed a new driver accompanied by a new device and are experiencing issues when using it, you could be experiencing a hardware compatibility issue.
To check for compatibility issues, you can browse through the supported devices list for the program or device you’re using.
As for updating the device driver, you should do this to ensure it is compatible with your computer and operating system.
If you’re using a brand-new device, it may not yet have a working third-party graphics driver installed on your computer. Check the manufacturer’s website to see if a compatible version has been released.
Ensure your computer is using the latest software
Last but not least, ensure that your computer has the latest updates. If your computer runs slow or has issues, it could result from the old software.
While some updates are crucial and address important computer security issues, others may create more problems than they solve.
Windows will automatically prompt you to install new updates when available. However, you might need to check for updates yourself in some instances.
Installing the latest updates for your computer’s operating system, browser, and other programs keeps your computer safe from cyber criminals who try to exploit outdated software.
Updating software regularly also helps prevent crashes, reduce blue screen errors, and increase system performance.