Driver signature enforcement
Signed apps are similar to driver signature enforcement; a signature on a file verifies that the app being run is both safe and approved by the developer and Microsoft. The two-tier approval signifies that the manufacturer has released drivers for a specific system and operating system, as well as having received Microsoft’s approval. They’re delivered through the operating system to make it easier for users and Microsoft to distribute them.
As useful as this feature is, it can occasionally cause issues, such as when installing drivers that aren’t digitally signed when there isn’t a signed alternative. Unfortunately, installing non-signed drivers is much more difficult than installing non-signed apps. You can’t just hit the ‘allow run’ button and be done with it. To install the driver, you must first disable driver signature enforcement.
Restart with driver signature enforcement disabled
This is only a workaround. You can install the driver you need by booting to your desktop with driver signature enforcement disabled. It will be enabled again when you restart your computer.
- Open the Start menu and click the Power button.
- Hold down the Shift key and click Restart.
- When you next boot, you will see the Troubleshoot screen/menu.
- Go to Advanced Settings. Select Startup Settings.
- Use the number keys to select the Disable driver signature enforcement option. It’s seven in the screenshot below but it might be different on your machine.
- When you boot back to your desktop, you will be able to install the driver.
Disable signing from the group policy
If you have Windows 10 Profession, this solution will work. Group policy is not available on Windows 10 Home, and if it is installed, it may not function properly.
- Tap the Win+R keyboard shortcut to open the Run box.
- In the Run box, enter ‘gpedit.msc’, and tap Enter.
- Expand User Configuration.
- Go to Administrative Templates>System>Driver Installation.
- Look for and double-click Code signing for device drivers entry.
- In the window that opens, look under the ‘Options‘ section. Open the dropdown and select ‘Ignore‘.
- Click OK and restart your system.
Run Windows 10 in test mode
You can run Windows 10 in a special mode designed for unsigned apps and drivers. It’s known as Test Mode.
- Open Command Prompt with admin rights.
- Run the following command.
bcdedit /set TESTSIGNING OFF
- Restart your system and install the driver you want to use.
- When you’re done, open Command Prompt with admin rights.
- Run the following command to return to the normal Windows 10 mode.
bcdedit /set TESTSIGNING ON
- Restart your system.
Permanently disable driver signature enforcement
You should use this method with caution. Permanently disabling a security feature on any operating system is rarely a good idea, but in some cases it may be the only option.
- Open Command Prompt with admin rights.
- Run the following command to permanently disable driver signature enforcement.
bcdedit.exe /set nointegritychecks on
- Restart the system and install drivers.
- If you want to enable drier signature enforcement, you can open Command Prompt and run the following command. Restart your system.
bcdedit.exe /set nointegritychecks off
Installing unsigned drivers on Windows 10
Users are typically forced to install unsigned drivers in one of two scenarios: their hardware is either very old or extremely new. If a driver is too old, Microsoft may no longer allow it to run on its operating system. Newer drivers, such as those for new hardware, may not have been submitted or approved by Microsoft because OS technology must catch up to the hardware’s capabilities.
In either case, you can see why running the driver might not be a good idea; you might encounter issues with either the hardware or the operating system.
Installing these drivers isn’t always a bad idea, though. In some cases, the driver is ideal for a given system. It’s missing only one thing: a signature. You can install an unsigned driver if you are certain it will improve hardware performance on your system.
It’s not a good idea to install unsigned drivers on Windows 10. Make do with drivers that have been signed and delivered through Windows Updates. If you’re getting a lot of BSsODs, it’s possible that the unsigned driver is to blame, and you should uninstall it. If you’re unsure about a driver but want to install it anyway, make a system restore point first.