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Windows 10 could make installing and updating drivers easier than ever

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft is beginning the rollout of changes to the way updates work in Windows 10, with a new system of optional updates now being implemented for drivers which aren’t a compulsory installation.

Bringing in optional updates has been in the works for quite some time, and what Microsoft is doing here – as explained in a Techcommunity blog post – is giving hardware makers a way to deploy drivers as automatic (delivered as normal) or manual (the latter meaning as an optional update).

Microsoft explains: “Driver publishing can be complicated. Optional drivers have various methods of acquisition, which creates confusion. Starting now we are making changes to streamline things a bit.

“All partners will now be able to publish drivers as automatic! This grants access to driver flighting, and gradual rollout. Which will allow Microsoft, and our partners to detect issues earlier and take corrective action if necessary.”

So Windows 10 users will see an Optional Updates area which can be clicked through to, containing drivers that can be manually installed, or simply left alone if the user prefers. Much like things were with Windows 7 and 8, of course, which also featured optional updates that could be left aside.

Justification isn’t optional

If a hardware manufacturer wants to choose optional (manual) delivery, they must “explain the business justification for the choice.”

With automatic delivery – which is the default – Microsoft notes that all driver manufacturers will now be able to benefit from “Microsoft’s quality and reliability processes”.

Which of course sounds like a good idea in theory, but when you look at the way Microsoft’s quality assurance has been going with updates this year – and indeed in 2019 – we’re not sure all that many Windows 10 users are going to be particularly reassured by those words.

Windows 10 has been continually hitting problems with cumulative updates, damaging Microsoft’s reputation considerably, and indeed actively damaging user data as we’ve recently seen.

Microsoft concludes its blog post by stating: “We believe that this new effort will enable our collective customers to get the highest quality, and most reliable drivers faster and with less friction.”

Via Betanews