Any hardware devices attached to your Windows system require you to install hardware drivers to work properly. The hardware drivers have low-level access to your Windows system so that they can work as they should. Since the drivers get access to the kernel, Windows requires those drivers to be officially signed. This means Microsoft tries to block any attempt to install unsigned drivers in Windows 10.
However, there will be times when you need to install unofficial drivers, unsigned drivers, or even old drivers with no digital signature. It’s possible but not quite as easy as installing signed drivers.
Note: Checking driver signatures is a security feature and disabling it is not recommended. Only install unsigned drivers from trusted sources. Always back up your computer fully before proceeding and ensure you’ve created a recovery drive. An untrusted driver could render your PC unusable without a complete format.
There are three different ways to install unsigned drivers in Windows 10. Each works, so pick the one you feel most comfortable using or whichever works best for you.
1. Install Unsigned Drivers from Advanced Boot Menu
The easiest way to install unsigned drivers is to use the Windows 10 Advanced Boot menu. To do that, press Win + X, navigate to “Shutdown,” then Shift + left-click on the “Restart” option.
The above action will restart your system and will take you to the Advanced Boot menu. Here, select the “Troubleshooting” option.
In the Troubleshoot section, select “Advanced Options.”
Select “Start-up Settings.”
The Startup Settings option will allow you to boot your Windows system in different modes. Just click on the “Restart” button to continue.
Since we need to install unsigned drivers, press F7 on your keyboard to select the seventh option: “Disable driver signature enforcement.”
As soon as you select it, your system will boot into Windows. You can then install unsigned drivers in Windows without issues. After installing, restart your system, and the Driver Signature Enforcement will be automatically enabled from the next reboot.
If you ever want to install another unsigned driver, you have to go through the above process again. This method is ideal if you just need to install an unsigned driver once or rarely.
2. Install Unsigned Drivers by Enabling Test Mode
Another way to install unsigned drivers is to enable the Test Mode in Windows 10. The good thing about this method is that it will stay enabled until you manually turn it off – a pretty useful way if you are testing different drivers.
To begin, open your Start menu and type “command prompt.” Select “Run as administrator” under Command Prompt.
The above action will open the Command Prompt with admin rights, which are required to enable Test Mode. At the prompt, copy and execute the below command:
You’ll see that the command has been successfully executed. Just restart your system, and you’ll be booted into Test Mode. When you are in Test Mode, you can install the unsigned drivers. Moreover, you will also see a watermark, something like the one in the screenshot below, to let you know that your Windows system is in Test Mode.
Once you are done installing the driver, it is important that you turn off Test Mode. To do that, use the below command as an admin and reboot your system:
3. Install Unsigned Drivers by Disabling Integrity Checks
You can also disable the integrity checks to install unsigned drivers in Windows. Disable integrity checks by opening the Command Prompt as admin (Start, search for Command Prompt, select “Run as administrator”), and execute the below command:
After executing the command, just restart your system, and you can install the unsigned driver on your Windows 10 machine.
Just like with Test Mode, it is important to enable the integrity checks. To re-enable integrity check, execute the below command as an admin in the command prompt:
Now, restart the system, and you are good to go.
Comment below to share your thoughts and experiences about using the above methods to install unsigned drivers in Windows 10.
If you’re dealing with a bunch of old, outdated drivers lingering in Windows 10, learn how to remove the clutter to save space and optimize performance. If you’re dealing with the opposite problem, learn how to roll back a driver.