Microsoft has provided information regarding the end-of-servicing plan for third-party printer drivers on Windows. This is an important development in the Windows print platform, which aims to enhance reliability and performance while reducing the need for third-party printer driver installations.
Printer manufacturers can still submit printer drivers through the Partner Center hardware tool for validation and signing. Even after the end of servicing, existing printer drivers can still be installed on Windows PCs. In addition, Windows will continue to allow vendor-supplied printer drivers to be installed via separate packages. This change applies to all versions of Windows.
Windows 10 21H2 now supports Mopria-compliant printers through Microsoft IPP Class Driver, eliminating the need for manufacturers to provide installers, drivers, and utilities.
Print Support Apps are now used for device experience customization, improving reliability and performance. This solution is supported on all Windows versions and editions, reducing the need for software rebuilds.
Microsoft has provided a timeline for guidance on the end of the servicing roadmap:
- In September of 2023, it was announced that the servicing plan for legacy v3 and v4 Windows printer drivers would end.
- By 2025, no new printer drivers will be available on Windows Update, although existing ones can still be updated.
- In 2026, the printer driver ranking order will favor the Windows IPP inbox class driver.
- By 2027, third-party printer driver updates will not be allowed except for security-related fixes. However, existing drivers can still be installed from Windows Update or manufacturer installer programs.
Microsoft will continue to provide security updates for the legacy printer driver platform throughout the Microsoft Support Lifecycle. Print features related to the legacy driver platform will not be disabled.
The move to Microsoft IPP Class Driver and Print Support Apps simplifies the user experience, boosts reliability, and enhances security on Windows. It guarantees consistency, eases manufacturer maintenance, and supports Mopria certification while also contributing to eco-friendliness.