Microsoft has announced that it will stop distributing printer drivers to device manufacturers. Previously, manufacturers could certify printer drivers from Microsoft and then have them distributed via Windows Update. From 2025, the company no longer wants to add any new printer drivers.
In an article, Microsoft explains that since the release of Windows 10 21H2, the operating systems support Mopria-compliant network and USB printers with the Microsoft IPP class driver. As a result, it is no longer necessary for printer manufacturers to provide their own installers, drivers, tools and so on. To deliver a special printer experience, manufacturers could rely on printer support apps that are automatically distributed through the Windows Store.
Windows Update: Slow phase out of proprietary printer drivers
Technically, this should mean a switch from the Win32 framework to the UWP software environment, thereby delivering improved reliability and speed. Manufacturers would also have the advantage of no longer having to develop customized software, as the printers would be supported across all Windows versions.
As a result of these advances, Microsoft can now stop supporting the delivery of the old legacy drivers for the Windows printer platforms. The company is aware of the implications, so it wants to gradually phase out the support over a number of years. The company also provides a schedule at the same time. The announcement will be made in September this year. Starting in 2025, Microsoft will no longer accept new printer drivers for publication in Windows Update, but existing drivers can be updated. From 2026, Windows is said to favor the Windows IPP drivers over proprietary drivers. From 2027, driver updates will no longer be permitted, with the restriction that security updates are of course possible.
The Mopria Alliance, an association of various printer and scanner manufacturers, is behind the preferred Mopria system. This develops standards for scanners and printers, which result in a kind of universal printer driver.
In February 2020, Microsoft introduced the ability for Microsoft hardware partners to distribute drivers via Windows Update. Initially, this was supported for Windows 10, but subsequent operating systems have since benefited from this mechanism.
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