Disable Windows Update for device driver installation

When new hardware is installed on a Windows Server, there are a number of options, such as which driver to use and whether to utilize Windows Update for the driver. There are options for specifying this behavior.

For standalone systems, the Device Installations settings option from System properties can dictate behavior for device installation. Figure A shows this option for standalone systems.

Figure A

If the option needs to be centrally managed for a number of computer accounts, Group Policy can configure this centrally. Device installation behavior can be managed in Group Policy in the Computer Configuration | Policies | Administrative Templates | System | Device Installation section. From there, the Specify Search Order For Device Driver Source Locations value and a number of other behavior values can be configured to dictate how drivers are installed on servers. In the case of disabling Windows Update, enabling this value is shown in Figure B.

Figure B

It can be very important to set this type of configuration for client systems as well as server systems. Storage systems, for example, may be very peculiar on supported versions of drivers for devices such as fibre channel host bus adapters (HBAs) that work with a storage processor driver that manages multipathing. Other devices such as tape drives may have specific driver requirements for interaction with HBAs, SCSI, or SAS controller interfaces. On the client side, printers can be the primary target on driver revision control. This same area of Group Policy can be used to specify additional options on device installation behavior.

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