Windows 10 automatically updates your device drivers as part of its regular Windows Update installations. Drivers available on Windows Update will be downloaded to your PC as they become available, which could cause unexpected configuration changes. Generally, it’s advisable to source updated drivers directly from your hardware manufacturer, since the Windows Update packages can be outdated at the time of release and may be incompatible with your other hardware.
There’s no built-in way to disable Windows driver updates through the Settings app. However, you can block them using a manual registry edit – this is a trick I’ve been using for years, but it carries our usual reminder that registry editing can have unexpected side-effects down the line. This technique will work on all editions of Windows 10, including Home.
Launch the Registry Editor (type “regedit” into the Start menu) and then navigate to the following key:
With newer Windows 10 releases, you can copy and paste the path directly into the address bar at the top of the Registry Editor. Otherwise, you’ll need to navigate through the tree view in the left pane. Note that the WindowsUpdate key may not already exist; in this case, navigate down to “Windows”, right-click the key in the tree view and choose New > Key to create the WindowsUpdate key.
Once you’ve reached the WindowsUpdate key, right-click in the right editing pane and choose New > DWORD (32-bit value).
Name the new value “ExcludeWUDriversInQualityUpdate” and then double-click it to change its value. Set the “Value data” field to “1” and then click “OK”.
The changes will take effect after you reboot your PC. You should find Windows Update no longer bundles device drivers with its regular quality patches.
Should you ever want to reverse this change, return to the Registry Editor and delete the “ExcludeWUDriversInQualityUpdate” key which you created above.
If Windows Update has already installed a new driver which is causing problems, you can use Device Manager to reverse the change. Type “devmgmt” into the Start menu and press enter. In the Device Manager window, find the relevant device and double-click it. Switch to the “Driver” tab and then press the “Roll Back Driver” button. The previous version of the driver will be reinstalled.Further reading: Drivers, regedit, Windows 10, Windows update