At Virtuas, we always strive to keep our clients updated on the latest developments in the Windows ecosystem. One of the recent changes that may affect our clients is the end-of-servicing plan for third-party printer drivers on Windows.
What is The End-Of-Servicing Plan for Third-Party Printer Drivers on Windows?
The end-of-servicing plan for third-party printer drivers on Windows is a new policy that will gradually phase out the support for printer drivers that are not provided by Microsoft or the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of the printer. This means that starting from October 2021, Microsoft will no longer distribute third-party printer drivers through Windows Update or other channels. Instead, users will have to obtain and install these drivers directly from the third-party vendor’s website or other sources.
Why is Microsoft Implementing This Policy?
Microsoft states that the main reason for this policy change is to improve the security, reliability, and performance of Windows devices. By reducing the number of third-party printer drivers that are distributed through Windows Update, Microsoft aims to minimize the potential risks of malware infection, driver compatibility issues, and system instability that may arise from these drivers. Additionally, Microsoft claims that this policy will also reduce the size and frequency of Windows updates, which will benefit users with limited bandwidth or storage space.
Some Of the Benefits of This Policy Change Are:
1.Security: Third-party printer drivers can be a source of malware infection, as they may contain malicious code or vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers. Requiring users to download and install these drivers directly from the vendor’s website or other sources will prevent the spread of malware through Windows Update. Users will also have more control over the drivers they install on their devices, and they can verify the authenticity and integrity of the drivers before installing them.
2. Reliability: Third-party printer drivers can also cause driver compatibility issues, as they may not work well with the latest version of Windows or other software. This can result in printing errors, crashes, or performance degradation. By eliminating the need for third-party printer drivers, the number of compatibility issues will be reduced.
3. Performance: Third-party printer drivers can also consume disk space and system resources, as they may include unnecessary or outdated components. By removing these drivers from Windows Update, Microsoft intends to free up disk space and system resources for users. Businesses will also benefit from smaller and less frequent Windows updates, as they will no longer need to download and install third-party printer drivers along with other updates. This will save bandwidth and storage space for users, especially those with limited internet connection or device capacity.
How Will This Policy Affect Businesses?
Businesses still using a printer that requires a third-party driver may need to take some actions to ensure that their printer continues to function properly after the policy takes effect. Here are some steps that businesses can take:
- Check if the printer model is supported by a Microsoft or OEM driver. Businesses can use the Printer Compatibility Database to find out if their printer has a compatible driver that is provided by Microsoft or the OEM. If the printer is supported by a Microsoft or OEM driver, businesses do not need to do anything else. The printer will continue to receive updates and security patches from Windows Update as usual.
- If the printer model is not supported by a Microsoft or OEM driver, businesses will need to obtain and install the latest third-party driver from the vendor’s website or other sources. Organizations will also need to keep track of any updates or patches that the vendor may release for the driver. Businesses will be responsible for installing these updates manually, as they will not be delivered through Windows Update anymore.
- Alternatively, organizations may consider upgrading your printer to a newer model that is supported by a Microsoft or OEM driver. This way, businesses can avoid the hassle of managing third-party drivers and enjoy the benefits of enhanced security, reliability, and performance that come with Microsoft or OEM drivers.
How Can Virtuas Help Businesses?
Organizations that have any questions or concerns about the end-of-servicing plan for third-party printer drivers on Windows, please do not hesitate to contact Virtuas.