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To protect the average user, Windows 8 requires all hardware drivers have a digital signature before you can install them, making it more difficult to install malicious drivers.

Hardware drivers have low-level kernel access, so malicious or just badly programmed drivers could cause crashes and open gaping security holes. However, some hardware drivers without digital signatures — particularly older ones — may work perfectly fine on Windows 8. Or, you may be an enterprising developer coding your own drivers and may want to install them on your system for development purposes. Let me show you how you can install drivers without a digital signature.

A Word of Warning

Driver signature enforcement isn’t a feature Microsoft added to Windows just to annoy us. It’s a security feature that makes it much more difficult for average users to install malicious hardware drivers on their systems. If a driver isn’t properly signed — or it was signed with a signature that’s been revoked because it was used for malicious purposes — Windows 8 won’t allow users to install it.

Disabling the driver signature check may still be necessary for installing legitimate hardware drivers that aren’t signed — possibly because they’re too old — and installing drivers that you’re developing on your own. But you should only do this if you know what you’re doing.


Reboot Into Advanced Startup Options

Before beginning this process, be sure to save all your work in any open programs. Your computer will reboot during this process.

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First, open the Settings charm. You can do this by moving your mouse to the bottom-right corner of your screen and clicking Settings. If you’re using a touch-enabled PC, swipe in from the right and tap Settings. Press Windows Key + I to open the Settings charm directly with a keyboard shortcut.


Select the Change PC settings option at the bottom of the Settings charm.


In the PC settings app, select the General category.


Scroll down and click the Restart now button under Advanced startup. Your computer will reboot.

Note that you can also hold the Shift key while tapping or clicking the Restart option on the Settings charm to immediately reboot your computer and bring up the advanced startup options. You could also use a special command to directly reboot into this menu How to Access the BIOS on a Windows 8 Computer How to Access the BIOS on a Windows 8 Computer Among the many changes coming with Windows 8 and new computers designed for it is a change in the way we access our computers’ BIOS. No longer do we press a certain key during the... Read More .


Access Startup Settings

When the Choose an option screen appears, click or tap the Troubleshoot tile.


Next, click or tap the Advanced options tile.


Select the Startup Settings tile on the Advanced options screen.


Click the Restart button on the Startup Settings screen to reboot your computer again.


Disable Driver Signature Enforcement

On the Startup Settings screen, tap the F7 or 7 key on your keyboard to select the “Disable driver signature enforcement” option.


Windows 8 will immediately boot to its typical lock screen. Sign into Windows 8 as you normally would — everything will look the same, except Windows will no longer demand driver signatures until you next reboot.

You can now install unsigned drivers as you would on previous versions of Windows. Windows will alert you if you try to install a driver that isn’t properly signed, but you’ll see an “install this driver software anyway” option you can choose.



When you’re done installing the unsigned drivers, reboot your computer. Windows will keep using any unsigned drivers you’ve already loaded, even as it enforces signature requirements for new drivers.

Updating or Installing More Unsigned Drivers

If you ever need to update to a new version of the unsigned drivers, you’ll have to go through this process once again and install the new unsigned drivers in the special startup environment.

There’s no way to permanently disable driver signature enforcement. Whenever you reboot your computer, the driver signature enforcement will kick in. If you want to use your computer with driver signature enforcement always disabled, you’ll have to perform this process each time you restart your computer. This is for users’ protection — typical users shouldn’t have to disable driver signature enforcement and doing so could put them at risk. Driver signature enforcement helps keep malware What Is The Difference Between A Worm, A Trojan & A Virus? [MakeUseOf Explains] What Is The Difference Between A Worm, A Trojan & A Virus? [MakeUseOf Explains] Some people call any type of malicious software a "computer virus," but that isn't accurate. Viruses, worms, and trojans are different types of malicious software with different behaviors. In particular, they spread themselves in very... Read More out of the Windows kernel, where it can dig deep into the system and do a lot of damage.

What unsigned drivers did you need to install on Windows 8? Leave a comment and let us know what old and unsupported hardware is giving you trouble.

Image Credit: K?rlis Dambr?ns on Flickr

  1. VazhaGelashvili
    December 10, 2015 at 8:59 am

    I tried I couldn't install bluetooth driver on server12 R2 standard.

  2. Gergely Gubacsi
    August 8, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    Fiio X3 DAC driver was Win 8.1 compatible.

  3. Farhan Nurzaman
    June 4, 2015 at 11:37 am

    Are intel g33/g31 express chipset can install in this windows version?

  4. Gihan
    May 20, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    I cant install my arduino uno in my windows 8.1

  5. asdf
    May 4, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    Jeff Beck and Michael Reese,

    It's under Update and recovery > recovery in Windows 8.1

  6. asdf
    May 4, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    "When you’re done installing the unsigned drivers, reboot your computer. Windows will keep using any unsigned drivers you’ve already loaded, even as it enforces signature requirements for new drivers."

    This part isn't working for me. The driver stops working with code 52 every time I reboot out of special admin mode. How do you make it remember unsigned drivers that have been installed?

  7. Anonymous
    April 28, 2015 at 1:19 am

    Micro python driver for serial comms

  8. Brian Bailey
    February 12, 2015 at 10:43 pm

    I have a new 64 bit Win 8.1 / Ubuntu 14 linux dual boot machine that has no parallel port so my old EPROM programmer wouldn't work.
    I bought a new GQ-4X USB E/EEPROM programmer that works great, but only has unsigned drivers. At first I just used a Win XP virtual machine guest running under linux VMPlayer but wanted to make it work under Windoze 8.

    Thank you for your article, I now can run the programmer under both Windows versions. Now if I can only get them to write a linux driver for their nice programmer...

  9. Michael Reese
    February 5, 2015 at 1:02 am

    There is no 'General" tab on my version.
    I should have known better than to buy a laptop with windows 8.crap installed on it.
    Is there a way to turn off the annoying "my first PC" interface of windows 8?
    I am so annoyed right now.

    • Jeff Beck
      February 21, 2015 at 2:23 pm

      I have the same issue: no "general" tab is shown. I have Windows 8.1. Help! There must be a work around, probably in control panel somewhere.

  10. TJ
    January 14, 2015 at 1:34 am

    Thank you so much!!!

  11. Steve O.
    January 1, 2015 at 8:12 am

    I can do this all fine but after I restart and have to press 7 to disable checking for signing my keyboard wont work. I have tried multiple keyboards and multiple usb ports but it still wont work. I'm stumped.

  12. Art
    March 8, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    The smart thing to do is to get rid of Windows 8. I suggest installing Windows 7 after you have deleted all partitions on your hard drive and formatted the disk. You can do this to any Windows 8 computer. Just disable "secure boot" in BIOS and take it from there.

  13. Todd D
    March 8, 2014 at 3:14 am

    I was just bored and attempting to see if I could turn a USB Thumb Drive into a non-removable drive so I could add it to a drive pool. If anyone has done this, please let me know. No real reason for doing this, just wanting to see if it can be done.

  14. Davide
    February 23, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    Arduino Uno.

  15. anonimus
    February 23, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    if you want to disable this signature check permanently I guess you can use test mode, worked for me

  16. Anonymous
    February 22, 2014 at 10:03 am

    Thanks! Fujifilm ask2500 printer did not have signed drivers. Friend asked for help, but I have been a Mac guy since vista .

  17. Sarath Kumar
    February 19, 2014 at 5:18 am

    Thank’s a lot it was so helpful :)

  18. Rodacki
    February 19, 2014 at 12:59 am

    Used this procedure to install MagicDisk "mcdbus.inf" driver.
    Only after boot in Advanced Mode/Disable unsigned driver I coud do this procedure:
    "Control Panel and open Device Manager
    Click Action, Add Legacy hardware, and a Wizard will appear.
    Click Next and then "Install the hardware that I manually select from a list (Advanced)" and then click Next
    Scroll down and select Storage Controllers and then click Next
    Click Have Disk and then click Browse
    Navigate to where MagicDisc program was installed and open the folder and choose file "mcdbus.inf" and click Open and then click OK.
    You will be prompted that the driver is unsigned, choose Install this driver anyway (not recommended)
    Click Next twice and then click Finish."
    Tks Chris.

  19. Mauro
    February 9, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    i cannot install spark driver on my win 8.1
    i've tried to use this: to install uncertificated drivers and it's install but without a serial port configured (not com1 or comx..)

    some help?

  20. Bert van Raalte
    January 26, 2014 at 10:52 am

    I use an Oki C3400 laser printer, which only has an unsigned driver for Vista X64 on the internet. works fine with windows 7, but need this mambo jambo trick to use it in windows 8.1
    Shame on both microsoft and Oki.

  21. ahmed bakr
    January 20, 2014 at 2:36 am

    thank's a lot to was so helpful :)

  22. Jay J
    January 12, 2014 at 6:29 am

    ADS MiniHDTV USB TV-384 works in Win7 with DSEO 13b, but Win8 is immune from it. The USB TV tuner works perfectly fine.

  23. Jon
    December 10, 2013 at 5:02 am

    Used to install touchpad drivers on a Lenovo Y510p to make it not shitty. Thanks

  24. Scott
    November 17, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    I'm running Windows 8.1 on an Acer. I disabled Driver Signature Enforcement, but I still do NOT receive the "Install this Driver Software Anyway" option. I also turned off UAc. Any ideas?

  25. J Jones
    November 15, 2013 at 2:52 am

    I have an LCD display that uses a community-created driver. There IS NO SIGNED DRIVER for this device. I installed the driver using the above procedure, but as soon as I restarted in "normal" mode, the device is disabled and shows "Windows cannot verify the digital signature for the drivers required for this device. A recent hardware or software change might have installed a file that is signed incorrectly or damaged, or that might be malicious software from an unknown source. (Code 52)"

  26. Tiago
    November 7, 2013 at 4:57 pm


  27. Shaun
    November 5, 2013 at 10:37 am

    I'm really sick and tired of Microsoft trying to hold our hands.
    I understand the need to protect stupid users from unsigned drivers, but this trash about forcing the protection back on needs to stop. If I go through all that trouble to disable a feature, I want it DISABLED.

  28. Hien Nguyen
    October 21, 2013 at 3:26 am

    I used an ASIX AX88772A USB2.0 to Fast Ethernet Adapter. It only works with firmware. This is an unsigned firmware. If I update it, it won't work anymore.

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