Why Printing Documents on Windows Could Get Complicated and Then Much Simpler

Microsoft has announced the end of support for third-party printer drivers on Windows. This measure will no longer allow some printers to be updated directly from Windows Update. A practical feature… but fortunately, there is also good news to compensate for this stoppage.

Did you get driver updates for your printer through Windows Update? Things will change, not right away, and not too quickly, but Microsoft has announced the end of support for third-party printer drivers on Windows.

Result ? Installing a new printer on your Windows PC will eventually become easierbut some turbulence may occur in the meantime.

It is ultimately a matter of evil for good explained Neowin. Because if the idea is to stop providing drivers developed by third-party manufacturers through Windows Update, Microsoft will take the opportunity to push forward its Microsoft IPP driver, as well as Mopria-compliant printing devices – support native introduced with version 21H2 of Windows 10.

This saves print device manufacturers from providing their own installers, drivers, utilities, etc. Personalization of the device experience is now available through printing support apps that are distributed and installed automatically through the Windows Store. This framework improves reliability and performance by moving customization from the Win32 framework to the UWP software development framework. Finally, printing device manufacturers no longer need to rebuild their software, as this solution is supported in all versions and editions of Windows.

A new policy applied to all versions of Windows

In other words, a long period of transition is coming. It will last until 2027 and should prove beneficial in the long term, despite some hassle caused to users of certain printers in the meantime. Microsoft knows this and is therefore betting on a very staggered change.

Here is how the firm programmed this change:

  • September 2023: first announcements
  • 2025: Manufacturers will no longer be able to publish new printer drivers in Windows Update (but they will still be able to maintain and update existing drivers)
  • 2026: Changed printer driver classification in Windows Update so that Windows starts favoring the IPP class driver
  • 2027: Third-party printer driver updates will no longer be available, except for security-related fixes (but existing third-party drivers will remain accessible).

This new policy will concern all versions of Windows, we learn. Microsoft nevertheless specifies that printer manufacturers will be able to continue providing their customers with “ alternative means » to download their drivers. This fuss is nevertheless supposed to improve and simplify the use of printers on Windows in the long term.

Thanks to this change, printer manufacturers will no longer need to provide dedicated installers and drivers, the thing will be managed by Microsoft through proprietary drivers. This new feature should also help improve the performance and reliability of future generations of printers, as well as broad compatibility between different versions and editions of Windows.

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