Ever wrestled with a printer driver and thought, "There's gotta be a better way?" Well, folks, your prayers have been answered! Microsoft is severing ties with third-party printer drivers on all Windows OS devices, including the much-debated Windows 11.
Say goodbye to juggling countless manufacturer-made drivers. Microsoft is rolling out the red carpet for IPP Class Driver and Mopria-compliant print devices. In layman's terms? A faster, more reliable, and universally compatible printing experience!
But wait, there’s more! Manufacturers can still offer nifty customization options via Microsoft Store apps. Plus, your printer will play nice with a range of devices, from PCs to smartphones, thanks to mandatory Mopria certification. Ah, the joys of not having to double-check compatibility!
Don't panic! The phase-out isn't happening overnight. Microsoft has laid out a detailed timeline that stretches all the way to 2027. And breathe easy, your old but gold printer won’t turn into a paperweight; existing third-party drivers will still be accessible.
- September 2023: The initial announcements.
- 2025: Manufacturers can no longer publish new printer drivers to Windows Update. However, they can still service and update existing drivers.
- 2026: Microsoft changes the printer driver ranking order to make Windows favor the inbox IPP Class Driver.
- 2027: Third-party printer driver updates are no longer available, except for security-related fixes. However, existing third-party drivers remain accessible.
Now, if Microsoft could only apply this same thoughtfulness to, well, almost anything else involving Windows 11. Aggressive upgrade nudges, bloatware nightmares, and a Start Menu flooded with ads, anyone? Sure, no OS is perfect, but some TLC on these fronts wouldn’t hurt.
When it comes to printer drivers, Microsoft’s move is nothing short of a home run. It makes life easier for both manufacturers and end-users. While Windows 11 may still have its 'quirks,' this decision shows Microsoft is capable of making user-friendly choices.
Could this be the start of a new, more considerate Microsoft? One can only hope! In the meantime, let's celebrate the end of our printer driver headaches!