Microsoft's New Printer Driver Direction
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Windows users can experience two scenarios when connecting a printer to their PC: it's either recognized instantly or requires a manual driver installation. However, Microsoft has recently revealed its intention to terminate printer driver servicing. This implies that soon, printer manufacturers won't distribute drivers through Windows Update.
Instead, Microsoft is urging these manufacturers to adopt a uniform printer driver for connectivity, paired with Print Support Apps for functionality. These UWP apps, found in the Microsoft Store, will be installed automatically upon detecting a compatible printer.
The recommended default driver is the Microsoft IPP Class Driver. This offers inbuilt support for printers compliant with the Mopria standard across both network and USB connections. Established in 2013 by tech giants Canon, HP, Samsung, and Xerox, the Mopria Alliance sought to devise universal print and scan standards. Presently, the alliance comprises various other notable members and has developed over 6000 printer models that follow their standard. The Mopria website offers a comprehensive list of these devices.
Microsoft's timeline for these changes spans the next four years:
- September 2023: Announcement to cease old third-party printer driver updates via Windows Update.
- 2025: Ban on releasing new printer drivers on Windows Update, though updates to existing ones are permissible.
- 2026: Prioritization of standardized drivers over others.
- 2027: Updates to third-party printer drivers on Windows Update will be restricted, save for security-related ones.
However, manufacturers can still craft and share printer installation kits outside of Windows Update, ensuring continued support for older printers if drivers exist.
Microsoft emphasizes that Windows will still allow new print driver installations from standalone packages post-2027. Additionally, features supported by existing printer drivers will persist in Windows post the servicing halt, as confirmed in Microsoft's FAQ.
This change in service will be implemented across all Windows versions, encompassing Windows 10 and 11.
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