Earlier this week, Microsoft published a blog post to its Hardware Dev Center that details new changes to Windows Update. Microsoft is giving its partners the ability to publish drivers as part of the Windows automatic update system. Microsoft’s purported aim with this move is to catch driver issues before the drivers are fully deployed by taking advantage of the Windows gradual rollout system. Microsoft is calling this new publishing strategy “Manual Drivers.”
This new system went live on Wednesday, but an additional feature will become available with the upcoming version 20H1 of Windows 10. The settings menu will have a new “Optional updates” section where Microsoft partners will be able to list optional driver updates. The blog post includes a list of key points of interest for publishers that gives a detailed view of what exactly is changing:
- Opening the Automatic publication path to all driver manufacturers – enabling the entire ecosystem to benefit from Microsoft’s quality and reliability processes.
- Creating a new set of Hardware API’s (v2) with an Automatic shipping label as a default. The old Hardware API’s (V1) will be deprecated the end of April 2020 to allow partners a smooth transition to the new version. To learn more about the changes, and deprecation of Hardware API v1 refer to this blog article.
- Allowing Automatic drivers to be offered to Windows 10 clients during throttling via the new Windows Update UX, enabling support teams to quickly address driver issues in the field without waiting for a full release.
- Changing the web UX default shipping label to “Automatic”. The “Automatic” delivery option will publish the driver both as Critical (CU) and Dynamic (DU).
- The “Manual” delivery option requires the publisher to specifically choose it and explain the business justification for the choice. The drivers that are submitted through the “Manual” path will be offered to applicable machines through the new Windows Update UX.