Microsoft to change how Windows 10 manual driver updates work on November 5

Laurent Giret

Windows Update Optional Updates

Microsoft is changing the process of installing manual driver updates on Windows 10 next month. In a post on the Windows IT Pro Blog (via Neowin), the company explained that starting November 5, 2020, Windows Update will better differentiate automatic and manual drivers updates.

Earlier this year, Microsoft rolled out a change in Windows 10 that made optional driver updates appear in a new page under Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > View optional updates. But as of today, when a user connects to a Windows 10 PC a new peripheral that has a manual (previously optional) driver update available on Windows Update, this driver is automatically installed without any input from the user.

Microsoft has acknowledged that this isn’t ideal, and the company will now give users more control over manual driver updates with the Windows Update change that will roll out on November 5. Here’s what’s changing for PCs that are open to receive driver updates directly from Windows Update:

  1. Automatic driver updates will automatically be installed on your machine either when you plug-in a peripheral device for the first time, or when a device manufacturer publishes a driver to Windows Update. In other words, there will be no change to the plug-and-play scenario when an automatic driver is available on Windows Update.
  2. Manual driver updates can be installed manually on your machine if you specifically request them by navigating to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > View optional updates.

This is an important next step in the transformation of driver servicing that Microsoft kicked off on Windows 10 earlier this year. However, this upcoming Windows Update change won’t impact IT Pros currently managing drivers on behalf of their organizations.