Windows users with printers have seen everything from issues with third-party drivers to Windows updates that completely break printer functionality. Things are supposed to get better: Microsoft is discontinuing third-party printer driver services in Windows Update. The company has announced plans to simplify the printer installation process and reduce the number of security and compatibility issues that can arise when using third-party drivers.
Starting with Windows 10 21H2, Microsoft’s IPP class driver supports printers compatible with the Mopria printing service. IPP-class drivers provide basic printer functionality without the need to install third-party drivers or utilities. This method of providing native support via Windows Update works so well that Microsoft is moving away from servicing so-called updates “Outdated printer drivers v3 and v4”.
In 2025, Microsoft will stop publishing new drivers in Windows Update through the Windows Hardware Compatibility Program (WHQL), but the ability to update existing drivers already published in Windows Update will remain.
Starting in 2026, when installing a new printer, Windows will prioritize its own driver over the manufacturer drivers published in Windows Update. In 2027, Microsoft will permanently ban third-party driver updates unless they address security issues.
Windows users can still install third-party drivers using their hardware manufacturer’s installer. Drivers that have already been downloaded to Windows Update before end of life (and even after the service ends in 2027) can still be installed on your Windows system.
Microsoft has promised that security issues related to the older (non-Mopria) driver platform will continue to be addressed throughout the operating system’s support lifecycle. The company will not remove existing features from older v3 and v4 drivers once retirement is complete.
Since the IPP-class driver natively supports USB and network printing, faxing, and scanning, Microsoft expects the transition to be seamless and smooth for users. In addition, all major printer manufacturers (Hewlett-Packard, Canon, Brother, Epson, Lexmark, Samsung, etc.) offer Mopria-compatible devices.
Now all that remains is to solve the problem of ink prices, which are more expensive than penicillin, elite alcohol and donor blood …