How Can I Install Hardware with Unsigned Drivers in Windows 8?

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 If a driver isn’t properly signed — or it was signed with a signature that’s been revoked because it was used for malicious purposes — Windows 8 won’t allow users to install it.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.

does not contain driver signature information   How Can I Install Hardware with Unsigned Drivers in Windows 8?

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.

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.

open settings charm   How Can I Install Hardware with Unsigned Drivers in Windows 8?

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

open pc settings app   How Can I Install Hardware with Unsigned Drivers in Windows 8?

In the PC settings app, select the General category.

pc settings general category   How Can I Install Hardware with Unsigned Drivers in Windows 8?

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.

access advanced startup options on windows 8   How Can I Install Hardware with Unsigned Drivers in Windows 8?

Access Startup Settings

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

troubleshoot boot options   How Can I Install Hardware with Unsigned Drivers in Windows 8?

Next, click or tap the Advanced options tile.

troubleshoot advanced options   How Can I Install Hardware with Unsigned Drivers in Windows 8?

Select the Startup Settings tile on the Advanced options screen.

windows 8 startup settings   How Can I Install Hardware with Unsigned Drivers in Windows 8?

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

windows 8 startup settings restart   How Can I Install Hardware with Unsigned Drivers in Windows 8?

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 disable driver signature enforcement   How Can I Install Hardware with Unsigned Drivers in Windows 8?

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.

install unsigned driver anyway on windows 8   How Can I Install Hardware with Unsigned Drivers in Windows 8?

Reboot

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 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

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17 Comments -

Hien Nguyen

I used an ASIX AX88772A USB2.0 to Fast Ethernet Adapter. It only works with 3.16.0.1808 firmware. This is an unsigned firmware. If I update it, it won’t work anymore.

Shaun

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.

Tiago

Thanks!

J Jones

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)”

Scott

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?
Thanks.

Jon

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

Jay J

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

ahmed bakr

thank’s a lot to was so helpful :)

Bert van Raalte

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.

Mauro

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

some help?

Rodacki

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.

Sarath Kumar

Thank’s a lot it was so helpful :)

Anonymous

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

anonimus

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

Davide

Arduino Uno.

Todd D

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.

Art

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.