Monday, 8 February 2010

Stop Windows [re]installing [dodgy] drivers

If you have the issue where an 'official' driver that comes down with Windows Update is basically broken then you need to disable the update mechanisms for that device. In Windows (Vista, and probably WinXP, Win7) you can stop Windows from updating drivers for specific hardware by using Windows' Local Group Policy Editor:
  • Start Device Manager by going to 'Start' button and typing devmgmt.msc and hitting return
    • Locate your dodgy device and click on Properties
    • Copy the 'Hardware ID' from Properties->Details->Hardware ids
    • Right click on device and select uninstall
  • Start Policy Editor by going to 'Start' button and typing gpedit.msc and hitting return
    • Edit the following key(s): Local Computer Policy->Computer Configuration->Administrative Templates->System->Device Installation->Device Installation Restrictions->Prevent installation of devices that match any of these IDs.
    • Paste in previously copied dodgy Hardware Ids. e.g:

  • Reboot
In my case the dodgy driver in question is for an oldish NVidia card - Vista thinks it is an GeForce 6800 LE (whilst Linux thinks it's a Quadro NVS 280 SD - where it actually works ok) and the latest drivers (11 Jan 10) still result in total system crashes (machine just freezes - no 'screen of death') when I do mundane things like bringing a PDF document up in Adobe Acroreader or clicking on the 'office button' in Office 2007?!

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