How to Force Windows to Use Different Drivers


Device drivers allow your hardware device to communicate with your operating system and other software programs. Occasionally, installing and using different drivers in Windows may provide protection against a critical security flaw in your current version and may add features and software compatibilities. Prior to switching to different drivers in Windows, you must download and extract the drivers you wish to use. Make a note of the location of the drivers, as you will need to point to them.

Things You'll Need

  • Administrator access
  • Click on "Start," then "Control Panel." Click on "Classic View" in the left column, if applicable.

  • Double-click "System." Click on "Device Manager" in Windows Vista or Windows 7. Click on the "Hardware" tab then "Device Manager" in Windows XP.

  • Double-click the category that contains the drivers you wish to update, then double-click the hardware device.

  • Click on the "Driver" tab. Select "Update." Click on "No, not this time" then "Next" if using Windows XP.

  • Select "Browse my computer for software" in Windows Vista and Windows 7. Click "Install from a list" in Windows XP, then click on "Next." Click on "Don't Search," and click on "Next" again.

  • Click "Browse" or "Have Disk" then "Browse" to navigate to the downloaded and extracted drivers. Double-click the appropriate file. Click on "Let me pick from a list" in Windows Vista and Windows 7 or simply select one of the compatible drivers listed in Windows XP if you wish to use pre-installed device drivers.

  • Click on "Next," then "OK" or "Close."

Tips & Warnings

  • Rollback your device driver if you experience any problems with your forced driver installation.
  • Installing a driver that is not compatible with your hardware device may cause your computer to become unstable.

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  • Photo Credit computer image by Orlando Florin Rosu from
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