Microsoft has announced they will stop servicing third-party printer drivers on the Windows platform. The company plans to end the distribution of manufacturer-produced drivers through Windows Update. Instead, it will focus on the Microsoft IPP Class Driver and devices that comply with Mopria, a feature that was introduced with Windows 10 version 21H2.
Transition to Microsoft Store Apps
The move aims to eliminate the need for printer manufacturers to supply dedicated installers and drivers. Users will have the option to customize their print settings through apps available on the Microsoft Store. The change is expected to offer enhanced performance, reliability, and compatibility across various Windows versions and editions.
Gradual Implementation Over Years
Microsoft has been clear about the implications of ending the servicing for v3 and v4 printer drivers. The company has chosen a phased approach to introduce these changes. The timeline is as follows:
2025: Manufacturers won't be able to publish new printer drivers to Windows Update, but they can still update existing drivers.
2026: The printer driver ranking order will prioritize the inbox IPP Class Driver.
2027: Updates to third-party printer drivers will stop, except for those related to security. However, users will still have access to existing third-party drivers.
According to Microsoft, manufacturers will still offer customers alternative methods for downloading printer drivers. The company emphasizes that users can install drivers from official or third-party websites. The company also stated that it won't prevent users from using separate installation packages or remove features from the existing v3 and v4 printer drivers.
FAQs for the Transition
Addressing potential concerns, Microsoft provides answers to several questions in an FAQ. The company confirmes that while printer manufacturers can still submit drivers for validation and signing, new drivers won't be published to Windows Update from 2026. Microsoft also clarifies that it will permit the installation of vendor-supplied printer drivers through separate packages. Additionally, Microsoft has no plans to remove features specific to the legacy printer driver platform. Devices with multiple functions, such as print, scan, and fax, will operate over IPP. For network devices, Print and Fax endpoints will function via IPP and IPP Fax Out, while the Scan endpoint will use WS-Scan or eSCL.