Windows Update to stop offering printer drivers from manufacturers

Windows users will no longer receive third-party print drivers from Windows Update.

Windows Update printer driver
  • Microsoft to stop providing third-party print drivers through Windows Update.
  • The new change will make the built-in Microsoft IPP Class Driver the new default.
  • Manufacturers will be able to provide additional customization through apps in the Microsoft Store.
  • The process will take multiple years (through 2027).

Microsoft plans to stop offering third-party printer drivers in future versions of the operating system through Windows Update. According to the official documentation (via Neowin), the company will stop using Windows Update to distribute printer drivers from manufacturers. Instead, the idea is only to offer the Microsoft IPP Class Driver and Mopria-compliant print devices, which the software giant introduced with Windows 10 21H2.

The new approach will still allow users to easily connect and set up printers on Windows 11, 12, and higher releases without manufacturers using custom installers and drivers while offering performance, reliability, and compatibility across the different versions of the operating system. And for additional configurations, manufacturers could provide dedicated apps in the Microsoft Store.

Since this is a significant change, the transition will be gradual and take multiple years. For example, in 2025, manufacturers won’t be permitted to publish new drivers on the Windows Update service, but serving existing drivers will be allowed.

In 2026, the company will change how drivers are installed in the operating system, making the Microsoft IPP Class Driver the default driver for printers. Then, in 2027, Windows Update will no longer offer printer driver updates, but the exception will be for security updates, and existing third-party drivers will continue to be available.

Although the idea is to use only one set of drivers for printers, Microsoft will not block manufacturers from using other mediums to install printers. This means that you will continue to be able to download the drivers from the manufacturer’s website as needed.

The new change will apply to every supported version of Windows, including 11, 12, or any other future release. Furthermore, Microsoft will now require manufacturers to obtain the Mopria certification for Hardware Lab Kit to ensure that the printer is compatible with devices.