Have you ever found yourself needing to load a device driver but unable to because Windows 7 reaches back to home, via Windows Update, and tries to install what it thinks is the best version/copy of the driver out there? This can also become an issue if you need to install an older version of a driver for compatibility reasons.

Well there is a setting that allows you to turn off this automatic driver installation and give you a choice of how to get that driver.

To get to that Control Panel applet just type change device installation settings into the Start Menu search box and you will see a link to this applet:


Once you click on that to start it up you will get the following dialog that gives you two choices:


The top option: Yes, do this automatically is the recommended setting. If your not having any driver installation issues then leave it at this setting. However, that is not why we have come to this applet is it?

When the second option is selected the options expand:


When it is expanded you see a default choice and this is basically the same as the automatic option above. The other two choices are the big difference here.

  • Install driver software from Windows Update if it is not found on my computer.  This will search your computer first instead of Windows Update. If it is not found locally then it will go to Windows Update and look there for a driver.
  • Never install driver software from Windows Update. The system will always ask you to provide the device driver.

That last check block on the dialog box will replace the systems generic icons with ones provided by the manufacturer. For an example when I installed my Brother Multifunction LaserJet printer it replaced the generic printer icon with one that looks like my MFC-9010CN.