While Windows 7 makes things a lot easier than previous versions of the operating system, it can sometimes be an aggressive bug when it comes to detecting, downloading, and installing device drivers for newly discovered hardware.
Many Windows 7 users prefer to install drivers manually and do not need an operating system to help with new devices. Fortunately, there are several options you can use to prevent Windows 7 from automatically downloading and installing device drivers. This guide works with Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate editions
Turn off automatic device driver downloads
To stop the automatic downloading and installation of device drivers in Windows 7, first click Start Control Panel Hardware and Sound Devices and Printers.
This window contains icons that represent devices connected to your computer. The following devices are displayed here: monitor, keyboard, mouse, printer, external drives and almost all other peripheral devices.
Find the icon representing your computer here. Note that your computer name is not “My Computer” here, as you might expect. Instead, it is the actual individual name of your computer, which may appear on the network.
If you don’t know the name of your computer, click Start, right-click My Computer, and select Properties. Find the variable named Computer Name and notice your computer name on the right.
Return to the “Devices and Printers” window and find an icon under it with the name of your computer. Right-click this icon and select Device Installation Options.
In the window that opens, you will be asked if you want to download drivers and realistic icons for your devices. In this window, you will notice that there are two options. Select the option labeled “No”, let me choose what to do and a few more options will become available.
You now have three options to choose from. The first option gives Windows 7 permission to always install the best driver from Windows Update. Select this option if you want Windows to go to Windows Update and download and install the driver when it detects a new device or when it finds an updated driver for hardware on your PC.
The second option is a little more conservative as Windows 7 will first use any local drivers on your computer before going to Windows Update to find, download and install the driver. The latter option is the most conservative, and you should choose it if you want to prevent Windows 7 from downloading and installing drivers automatically, or if you always want to manually install drivers yourself.
When you make your choice, click the “Save Changes” button and you’re done.
You may have noticed that the option “Replace standard device icons with extended icons” was selected in the last window. This cosmetic change will give you pretty icons instead of the default ones.
For example, note in the image above that the generic icon for the Logitech G500 Gaming Mouse has been replaced with an icon representing the real product. Note the same for the SideWinder X6 keyboard and Brother HL-1440 printer.
If you like these icons, select this option, then click â€œSave Changes,â€ and soon the icons will change to match the specific devices connected to your computer.
However, there is one caveat when using these icons. Only icons for which there is a specific icon in the Microsoft database will appear here. Please note that the Logitech Z Cinema Sound System icon appears as a keyboard and not a speaker or other related image.
Since Microsoft doesn’t have a dedicated icon for the Z Cinema sound system, it used its best guess. Your mileage may vary depending on the devices you have installed and connected to your Windows 7 computer. Enjoy!