How to Install Unsigned Drivers in Windows

Windows unsigned driver warning message.

Windows tries to protect you from malicious drivers, so if you want to install unsigned drivers, it takes a little extra work. Drivers are necessary for hardware and Windows to talk to each other. By default, only officially signed drivers are installed, so try this workaround for unsigned drivers that you trust.

Before You Proceed

Checking driver signatures is a security feature, and disabling it is not recommended. Signed drivers are verified to work well with your system and don’t contain any malicious code.

Only install unsigned drivers from trusted sources. Always back up your computer fully before proceeding, and ensure you’ve created a recovery drive. An SSD makes a great local backup source. An untrusted driver could render your PC unusable without a complete format.

Set a restore point as well. If you’ve never used System Restore before, learn what it can do and how to set restore points. Or, if you’re having issues setting a restore point, learn how to troubleshoot System Restore issues.

Always verify the download is safe by checking it with the free VirusTotal tool. Also, watch for any common red flags that the site isn’t safe.

The easiest way to install unsigned drivers is to use the Windows Advanced Boot menu.

Press Win + X, navigate to Shutdown, then Shift + left-click on the Restart option to restart your system and be taken to the Advanced Boot menu.

Select the Troubleshoot option in the Advanced Boot menu.

Selecting Troubleshoot in the Advanced Boot menu.

In the Troubleshoot section, select Advanced Options, then select Start-up Settings to boot your Windows system in different modes.

Selecting Start-Up Settings in Advanced Boot menu.

Click on the Restart button at the bottom right to continue. Since we need to install unsigned drivers, press F7 on your keyboard to select the seventh option: Disable driver signature enforcement.

Selecting startup settings in Advanced Boot menu.

When your system boots into Windows, you can install your unsigned drivers in Windows without issue. After installing, restart your system, and Driver Signature Enforcement will be automatically enabled from the next reboot.

If at any time you want to install another unsigned driver, go through the above process again.

Method 2 – Install Unsigned Drivers by Enabling Test Mode

Another way to install unsigned drivers in Windows is to enable Test Mode. It will stay enabled until you manually turn it off, which is pretty useful if you are testing different drivers.

Open your Start menu, and type “command prompt.” Select Run as administrator under Command Prompt.

Selecting command prompt with administrative options.

This opens the Command Prompt with admin rights, which are required to enable Test Mode. At the prompt, copy and execute the below command:

bcdedit /set testsigning on
Executing the command prompt command to enter Test Mode to install unsigned drivers.

Once you see The operation completed successfully, you’re all set. Just restart your system to boot into Test Mode, then install the unsigned drivers without Windows blocking you. You will also see a watermark to let you know that your Windows system is in Test Mode.

Verify message that you're in Test Mode.

Once you are done installing the driver, it is important that you turn off Test Mode. Use the below command as an admin, and reboot your system:

bcdedit /set testsigning off
Turning off Test Mode in Windows.

You can also do all of the above from Terminal. Press Win + X, select Terminal (admin), then proceed with the same steps as above.

Method 3 – Install Unsigned Drivers by Disabling Integrity Checks

You can also disable the integrity checks to install unsigned drivers in Windows. Open the Command Prompt as admin (Start, search for Command Prompt, select Run as administrator), and execute the below command:

bcdedit /set nointegritychecks off
Turn off integrity checks via command prompt.

After executing the command, restart your system, and install the unsigned driver on your Windows machine.

Just like with Test Mode, it is important to reverse the changes you made. To re-enable integrity check, execute the below command as an admin in the command prompt:

bcdedit /set nointegritychecks on
Turning off integrity checks in Windows.

Restart the system, and you are good to go.

Method 4 – Use Group Policy Editor

By default, the Group Policy Editor is only available in the Pro and Enterprise editions of Windows. However, if you’re a Home user, enable the Local Group Policy Editor to access many of the same settings, including the ability to disable Driver Signature Enforcement. Even if you restart your PC, the setting stays disabled.

Press Win + R, and type gpedit.msc. Press OK to open the Local Group Policy Editor (or main Group Policy Editor in Pro and Enterprise editions). Navigate to User Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> System -> Driver Installation.

Right-click Code signing for driver packages, and select Edit.

Editing the code signing details in Group Policy Editor.

Select Enabled. In the Options section, select Ignore from the drop-down box. Click Apply.

Enable the option to ignore unsigned driver warnings in Windows.

Reset this to Not configured any time you want to re-enable Driver Signature Enforcement.

Uninstall Unsigned Drivers in Windows

If you need to uninstall an unsigned driver in Windows, you’ll need to manually delete the drivers. With signed drivers, they uninstall when you uninstall the hardware from Device Manager. But even if you uninstall the hardware, the unsigned driver remains on your system.

First, uninstall the hardware. Press Win + X, select Device Manager, right-click the hardware you want to uninstall, and select Uninstall device. You can also select Disable device if you just want to remove the unsigned driver and install a signed one.

Press Win + R, and type sigverif.exe. Press OK to run the tool. This automatically scans your system for files that haven’t been officially digitally signed. Press Start to begin the scan.

Verify which drivers aren't signed on your system.

Check the log file. Create a new folder on your desktop, and move the unsigned driver(s) you want to remove into the new folder. Make sure you move the file instead of just copying it. Then, restart your PC.

Windows will automatically try to install an official driver for any hardware that’s still installed but no longer has a driver attached.

This tool is also ideal for finding any malicious drivers that a virus may have left behind. If your system has old drivers (signed or unsigned) that are getting in the way, use these methods for finding and removing old drivers.

It’s not a bad thing to install unsigned drivers in Windows from a trusted source. Sometimes official Windows drivers just don’t work as well. If you’re looking for new software to use with your new hardware, check out these safe websites for downloading Windows software.

All images and screenshots by Crystal Crowder.

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Crystal Crowder

Crystal Crowder has spent over 15 years working in the tech industry, first as an IT technician and then as a writer. She works to help teach others how to get the most from their devices, systems, and apps. She stays on top of the latest trends and is always finding solutions to common tech problems.

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