Microsoft Windows 10 Driver Update Changes Format For Detection And Installation Of Manual And Automatic Drivers

Microsoft Windows 10 is about to undergo yet another change in the way drivers are detected, downloaded, and installed. The system will now be extra cautious particularly about plug-and-play peripherals. The change comes after Microsoft separated drivers into ‘Automatic’ and ‘Manual’ categories.

Earlier this year, Microsoft made a change that allows hardware developers to offer their drivers in two ways – Automatic and Manual. The driver updates for installed devices via Windows Update are based on the way the drivers are specified by the OEM. Now Microsoft has announced that it is changing the way manual drivers are automatically installed on Windows 10 PCs.

Microsoft Windows 10 To Be More Cautious With Plug-N-Play Devices And Their Drivers:

Earlier this year, Microsoft revised the Windows Update page and separated quality/assured updates and optional/driver updates. This change moved the optional as well as driver updates to a new location and allowed users to independently search for driver updates without using the Device Manager. Now, Microsoft is making another change to how manual driver updates are delivered to Windows 10 users. Specifically, the change applies to the way drivers for Plug-N-Play devices are installed.

To date, drivers that qualified as ‘Automatic Drivers’ were installed automatically when a device was plugged in for the first time. If the Automatic Driver was not available, Windows 10 used to install the driver that was tagged as ‘Manual Driver’ as a part of the plug-and-play feature to get the device up and running.

However, Microsoft has now changed this behavior for the driver installation of Plug-N-Play devices. Starting from November 5, Windows 10 users will have a stricter distinction between Automatic and Manual updates in Windows Update. Microsoft claims the new policy will allow users to have more control over plug-and-play accessories that automatically download and install drivers.

Plug-N-Play Device With Driver Marked As ‘Manual’ Or ‘Optional’ Will Not Work Immediately After Connecting:

Essentially, starting from November 5, if a user plugs in a peripheral that does not have an Automatic Driver Update available, Windows 10 will return a ‘Driver Not Found’ (DNF) error and the device won’t work immediately. To get the Plug-N-Play device to work, users will need to manually install the driver by navigating to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > View optional updates.

[Image Credit: WindowsLatest]
Technically, the Automatic Driver option will publish the driver as both as Critical (CU) and Dynamic (DU) while the Manual Driver option will make the driver available under Windows Update UX. Needless to mention, while this does give more control to the user, it also means a Plug-N-Play device may not work right away if the additional drivers or drivers are marked as ‘Manual’ by OEMs.

Drivers have been one of the most troublesome in updates for Microsoft Windows 10. Faulty, bad, or poor-quality drivers have caused a lot of problems including freezes, system crashes, BSOD, etc. Microsoft has been attempting different techniques to eliminate problems with updates. Changing the way driver updates are delivered and installed is just one of them.

Alap Naik Desai


A B.Tech Plastics (UDCT) and a Windows enthusiast. Optimizing the OS, exploring software, searching and deploying solutions to strange and weird issues is Alap's main interest.