Windows 10/11 Won’t Install Drivers on PC: A Detailed Exploration

This article provides detailed, user-friendly solutions to the common problem of Windows 10/11 not installing drivers. It covers a range of methods, ensuring comprehensive guidance for resolving driver installation issues.


By Lori / Updated on January 30, 2024

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Encountering the "Windows 10/11 won’t install drivers" issue can feel like hitting a brick wall, especially when you're trying to ensure your PC runs smoothly. Drivers are the linchpin that connects your computer's hardware with its software, enabling them to communicate effectively.

When drivers fail to install, it can lead to hardware malfunctions, reduced functionality, or even system crashes. But why does this happen? It could be due to outdated system files, compatibility issues, corrupted drivers, or conflicts within the system. Let’s delve into detailed methods to resolve this vexing issue.

Uninstall Driver Device Manager

Windows 10/11 Won’t Install Drivers on PC: Unpacking the Problem

Before we jump into the solutions, let's understand the crux of the matter. Drivers are the essential link between your PC's hardware and software. Without them, your computer might as well be a fancy paperweight. When Windows 10 or 11 refuses to install drivers, it's usually due to compatibility issues, outdated system files, or even corrupted drivers. But fear not, each problem has a solution.

Fix 1: Run the Hardware and Device Troubleshooter

Windows has built-in troubleshooters designed to detect and fix a variety of issues automatically. The Hardware and Device Troubleshooter is a tool specifically for diagnosing and resolving hardware-related problems, including driver installation issues.

Step-by-Step Guide to Running the Troubleshooter

Access Troubleshooter: Press the Windows key + I to open 'Settings.' Navigate to 'Update & Security' > 'Troubleshoot.'

Run the Troubleshooter: Click on 'Additional troubleshooters.' Find and select 'Hardware and Devices,' then click 'Run the troubleshooter.'

Follow On-Screen Instructions: Allow the troubleshooter to run and follow any on-screen prompts. It will attempt to diagnose and resolve any issues it finds related to hardware and device drivers.

Fix 2: Update the Device Driver

Outdated or corrupted drivers are common culprits behind installation failures. Updating them can often resolve the issue.

Ensuring Your Drivers are Up-to-Date

Open Device Manager: Right-click the Start menu and select 'Device Manager.' This tool lists all the hardware components and their drivers.

Locate Problematic Device: Look for devices with a yellow exclamation mark, indicating a problem.

Update Driver: Right-click the device and choose 'Update driver.' Select 'Search automatically for updated driver software.' Windows will then search for and install any available driver updates.

Fix 3: Run DISM and SFC

The Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) and System File Checker (SFC) are powerful tools that repair Windows system files, potentially resolving driver installation issues.

Repairing System Files to Resolve Driver Issues

Open Command Prompt: Press Windows key + X and select 'Command Prompt (Admin)' or 'Windows PowerShell (Admin).'

Run DISM: Type DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth and press Enter. This command repairs the Windows image.

Run SFC: After DISM completes, type sfc /scannow and press Enter. SFC will scan and repair any corrupted system files.

Fix 4: Clean Boot Your Computer

Performing a clean boot starts Windows with a minimal set of drivers and startup programs. This can help identify if a background program is causing the driver installation issue.

Isolating Software Conflicts

System Configuration: Press Windows key + R, type msconfig and hit Enter to open the System Configuration utility.

Selective Startup: Go to the 'General' tab, select 'Selective startup.' Uncheck 'Load startup items' to prevent these programs from starting automatically.

Services Tab: Switch to the 'Services' tab, check 'Hide all Microsoft services,' and then click 'Disable all' to turn off third-party services.

Restart: Click 'OK' and restart your computer. This will boot your PC with only essential services and drivers, allowing you to troubleshoot further.

Fix 5: Reset Your PC

If all else fails, resetting your PC to its default state can be a last resort. This process reinstalls Windows, potentially resolving any deep-seated issues causing the driver installation problem.

A Fresh Start for Stubborn Driver Issues

Access Reset Option: Go to 'Settings' > 'Update & Security' > 'Recovery.' Under 'Reset this PC,' click 'Get started.'

Choose an Option: You’ll have the option to 'Keep my files' (which resets Windows but keeps your personal files) or 'Remove everything' (which removes all personal files, apps, and settings).

Follow Instructions: The system will guide you through the reset process. This can take some time, so ensure your PC is plugged into a power source.


Dealing with the "Windows 10/11 won’t install drivers" issue can be frustrating, but with these detailed methods, you're well-equipped to troubleshoot and resolve the problem. Start with simpler solutions like updating drivers or running the Hardware and Device Troubleshooter. 

And if needed, progress to more comprehensive steps like performing a clean boot or resetting your PC.Remember, each step brings you closer to a solution, and with patience and perseverance, you'll have your PC back in optimal condition.


How do I know which drivers are causing issues?

In Device Manager, devices with driver issues usually have a yellow exclamation mark.

Can Windows Update automatically fix driver issues?

Often, yes. Windows Update can install the latest drivers, but sometimes manual intervention is required.

Is it safe to disable all services during a clean boot?

Yes, as long as you select 'Hide all Microsoft services' first, which ensures vital system services remain active.

How long does a PC reset take?

It varies based on PC specifications and the amount of data, but it can take anywhere from an hour to several hours.

Should I always try resetting my PC if other methods fail?

Resetting should be a last resort, as it's a time-consuming process and you might lose some data or settings. Always try other methods first and ensure you have backups of important data before proceeding with a reset.

Lori · Editor
Lori receives professional technical training since joining AOMEI, and aims at helping users troubleshoot problems on data recovery and protection. She focuses on simple, efficient and practical methods, and provides professional advice. Being able to help readers and users is her ultimate goal.