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Microsoft has announced that it will end support for third-party printer drivers on Windows.
In general, printer OEMs provide their own installers, drivers, utilities, and so on to make their printers work with Windows PCs. Starting with Windows 10 21H2, Microsoft added inbox support for Mopria compliant printer devices over network and USB interfaces via the Microsoft IPP Class Driver. This native support for printers in Windows removed the need to install printer OEM provided drivers. Also, printer OEMs no longer have to create drivers for each version of Windows since Microsoft’s inbox solution is supported across all Windows versions and editions.
Because of the above changes, Microsoft is ending the servicing of the legacy v3 and v4 Windows printer drivers. This is a huge change, so the end of servicing will be staged over multiple years as per the below timeline:
|September 2023||Announce legacy third-party printer driver for Windows end of servicing plan.|
|2025||No new printer drivers will be published to Windows Update.
Existing printer drivers on Windows Update can still be updated.
|2026||Printer driver ranking order modified to always prefer Windows IPP inbox class driver.|
|2027||Except for security-related fixes, third-party printer driver updates will no longer be allowed.
Existing third-party printer drivers can be installed from Windows Update or users can install printer drivers using printer manufactures installer programs.
For now, printer OEMs can continue to submit printer drivers to Microsoft for driver validation and signing. However, in 2026, Microsoft will no longer publish new printer drivers on Windows Update. After this date, printer OEMs can request customers to install drivers via separate installation packages.
Microsoft also mentioned that it will continue to deliver security fixes related to the legacy printer driver platform while the Windows OS version is still within Microsoft Support Lifecycle.