Microsoft extends optional updates feature in Windows 10
The release of the August 2020 security patches for Microsoft Windows operating system has brought another change that the company has been working on for a while.
You may remember stories about the removed driver search and update functionality in Device Manager that circulated on some sites not too long ago. It appears that Microsoft has not removed the feature but moved it.
The timing was off, as is the case often, as Microsoft removed the feature first before it introduced the functionality at another location.
Starting with the August 2020 releases for Windows 10, optional updates is now the place to get feature updates, monthly non-security updates (also called preview updates), and driver updates.
A "view optional updates" is displayed on the main Windows Updates page when optional updates are available. To get there, select Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update.
If optional updates have been detected, "view optional updates" is displayed below the check for updates button. The page that opens lists all detected optional updates sorted by group, e.g. driver updates. Checkboxes are provided to install some or all of the optional updates on the device.
Windows Update will install drivers automatically on the device to ensure that all components and installed devices will work properly. The optional drivers are useful if issues are encountered while using these devices.
Windows users who have used the Device Manager to search for updated drivers for selected devices on the system can't use it anymore for that, as everything is now handled directly on the Windows Updates page of the Settings application.
It is a welcome move to group all optional updates, e.g. drivers and feature updates, into a single page on the Windows Update Settings page; this should make it easier for administrators to check for and potentially install these updates.
Administrators who prefer to install updates manually, by searching for updates on manufacturer sites, can still do so as it is easy enough to ignore the optional updates link in Windows Update.
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