I've upgraded my PC from Windows 7 Ultimate to Windows 10 Pro; overall it seems to be working fine, with small bugs here and there. One thing that I find really annoying is that Windows seems to think it is OK to install drivers and vendor-specific control panels for me.

I've always installed drivers manually to get around having all the bloatware (i.e., Realtek's audio management panels and other vendor-specific tweaking tools).

How do I stop Windows from automatically installing bloat on my custom PC, so that I can use the drivers I've exported from packages and binaries to get around bloats?

If I uninstall everything Windows automatically installed, it seems as if a reboot persists them and installs again.

Preferably I'd like to perform a clean install and have Windows skip installing any drivers automatically. Is this possible?

  • superuser.com/questions/946957/… the answers here are about deferring or shutting off "updates" temporarily at least, which is where the automated driver/software packages come from. Generally (but i dont have facts for win10) after you install fully the driver set for a specific piece of hardware, and it is mostly up to date, the updater will quit stuffing updater versions of drivers in. At any rate after you perfect things, getting a backup clone of the OS , you could then releace the dogs of update again.
    – Psycogeek
    Jul 30, 2015 at 17:02
  • I actually disabled that function but still I got bloatware. Though it may have been so that the drivers installed before I got to disable it.
    – Daniel
    Jul 30, 2015 at 17:05
  • 1
    And the only problem with being disconnected is getting the activation key stuff going once, which one might want to do before spending hours manually updating. .
    – Psycogeek
    Jul 30, 2015 at 17:10
  • @Psycogeek Yeah, thats a big note to everyone: Update first, and get your Windows 10 activated before you do the clean installation!
    – Daniel
    Jul 30, 2015 at 17:11

3 Answers 3


After 2 hours of angry web searching, I posted this question. And of course the next search I did yielded the answer I was looking for;

Note: Make sure your windows upgrade has been activated before you perform a clean installation!

Performing a clean installation with the Windows 10 ISO with the network cable disconnected seems to be the way to go. After first boot one have to disable this feature by;

  1. Open File explorer (Win+E)
  2. Right click "This PC" and select properties
  3. Click "Advanced system settings" and select "Hardware" tab
  4. Click "Device Installation Settings"
  5. Select "No, let me choose what to do" and check "Never install driver software from Windows Update"
  6. Reconnect your network cable

Windows will be activated sometime after you connect the network cable again.

Hope this helps others too, and save hours of anger in search for a solution.

  • Does this only apply to Windows 10 Professional? I understand updates are required for Win10 Home, but I'm not sure this applies to drivers. Jul 30, 2015 at 17:16
  • @ChrisInEdmonton I don't think this would be a Pro specific feature, best way to know is to check the procedure before you perform a clean installation.
    – Daniel
    Jul 30, 2015 at 17:17
  • @Ramhound Precisely the way it should be. Windows 7 was optimal!
    – Daniel
    Jul 30, 2015 at 18:09
  • 3
    "Never install driver software from Windows Update" this dialogue is no longer there in v1511
    – Moab
    Jan 12, 2016 at 23:49
  • 2
    The text on this has changed to "Do you want to automatically download manufacturer's apps and custom icons available for your devices?" with "Yes (recommended)" and "No (your device might not work as expected). This has no effect on Windows Update installing drivers and does not prevent it. Jan 29, 2016 at 0:27

The best solution for Windows 10 updates is using a 3rd party software to install and hide updates.

It installs nothing, it is portable, it allows you to hide any update including drivers. This Software makes no changes to the normal windows update or your system (except for the updates you allow it to install) but does use the Windows update service, once you have hidden your updates and installed others you want, be sure to go into Windows Services and stop the Windows update service and then set it to disabled, or it will install the updates you hid using the other software.

So keep the windows update service disabled, the minitool will start it automatically when you run it, then disable it again when done using the minitool.

Originally found it here

Can be downloaded here

Double arrow = check for updates

Down Arrow = download Only

Down Arrow with underscore = Download and Install selected updates.

+H = Hide Selected Updates.

Trash Can = Uninstall updates from the Installed Updates menu.

Also if you do not want any automatic updates set the automatic Updates drop down to "Disabled"

enter image description here


The accepted answer is outdated since it does not apply to Windows 10.

The proper answer for any operating system starting with Windows 7 lies in configuring the group policy:

Local Group Policy Editor

Press <Win+R>, then type gpedit.msc and press <Enter>. Once you get the Local Group Policy Editor like in the screenshot above, navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System > Device Installation and in the right pane double-click on the Specify search order for device driver installation option which will present you with the following dialog:

Specify search order for device driver installation

Set the option to Enabled, and select Do not search Windows Update from the dropdown as shown above, then click on the Apply button.

Once you do this, Windows won't install any drivers from Windows Update.

If you are unable to run gpedit.msc because you don't have a Pro version of Windows, then create the associated registry key manually using regedit.exe or by running the following command from the command prompt as Administrator:

REG ADD "Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\DriverSearching" /v "SearchOrderConfig" /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f

Finally, please note that this might not prevent automatic installation of companion applications (things like Alienware Control Center, Intel's CPU/GPU DRM services, HP printer and scanner applications, etc).

Those companion apps are categorized as software "devices" (each of them has a unique ID), and they are automatically installed from Windows Store when you install the drivers, unless you take steps to block their installation beforehand.

Blocking of those can be done through the group policy as well (Device Installation Restrictions), so if you are interested in that please consult the relevant Microsoft group policy documentation.

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