Microsoft has changed driver distribution and installation processes on the company's Windows 10 operating system in recent time. The company moved the functionality to search for optional drivers from the Device Manager to the optional updates section of the Settings application, saying that it would improve the visibility of these updates to the user.
In August 2020, Microsoft revealed that "view optional updates" would be displayed on the main Windows Update page of the Settings application if optional updates, including drivers, are available.
These drivers can be installed manually by an administrator, but Microsoft suggests to only do so if specific problems or issues are noticed when using installed drivers.
Another change becomes available from November 5, 2020 onward for devices running Windows 10 version 2004. It changes the automatic driver installation process on Windows 10 version 2004 and newer machines.
The process does not change for devices that are connected to the Windows PC for the first time. Windows will check for available drivers and install these automatic driver updates on the device to ensure that devices function properly once connected.
The process changes for devices known to the PC already. While it is still possible to install drivers via Windows Update, these won't be installed automatically anymore on the device if available. Administrators need to seek out the optional updates section of Windows Updates to install these manually, e.g. when the installed driver has issues and no manufacturer driver is available or working properly either.
Microsoft decided to change the process of known device driver installations to give users more control over the entire process.
Now, to give users more control, Microsoft is redefining the way manual drivers are serviced for machines running Windows 10, version 2004 and later.
Basically, what it means is that less drivers will be installed automatically on Windows 10 version 2004 or newer devices.
The optional updates section is also the location that new feature updates are listed. While these are also listed on the startpage of Windows Update, along with options to download and install the feature update right away or to check out what is new, it is also possible to install the feature update from the optional updates page.
System administrators may disable automatic driver installations via Windows Updates using the Group Policy.
Windows 10 Home administrators may configure the option using the Registry:
Now You: have you installed drivers manually in the recent past on your Windows PCs?Advertisement
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