Windows 10 administrators and users who connect printers or scanners to devices running the operating system may have noticed a change in how printer drivers are installed on the devices.
Windows installation media included basic drivers for printers and scanners in versions prior to Windows 10 version 1809; these were installed automatically on the device if a printer or scanner was detected by the operating system so that the devices would work right away.
Starting in Windows 10 version 1809, Windows 10 installation media does not include the bulk of default drivers for printers or scanners anymore.
Microsoft revealed that it changed how default printer and scanner drivers are distributed in the October 2018 Update for Windows 10 (and going forward).
Here is what happens:
In other words: Default drivers for printers and scanners will only be installed if the machine is connected to Windows Update. While that is the case for most PCs running Windows 10, it may pose issues for admins who maintain PCs and devices that are offline or on which Windows Update is blocked.
Not all printers support the Mopria standard and functionality may be limited for printers that do.
The installation of a full printer or scanner driver provided by the device's manufacturer overrides any default driver that Windows may install.
Why did Microsoft implement the change?
Ron Martinsen of the Windows Print Team reveals that Microsoft wanted to reduce the footprint of the operating system to provide users with more storage space.
To reduce the Windows footprint and provide more storage space to users, these drivers no longer ship with the OS and instead are available through Windows Update.
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