Windows 10: Changes for driver updates from 11/05/2020

[German]Starting November 5, 2020, Microsoft will introduce a clear distinction between automatic and manual driver updates that are delivered via Windows Update in Windows 10 version 2004 or higher. According to Microsoft, this will complete the redesign of the driver service that was started at the beginning of the year.


In August 2020 I had reported about changes in driver management in the article Windows 10 V2004: Driver search on the Internet removed from Device Manager. Microsoft has removed the driver search via internet from the device manager in Windows 10 May 2020 Update (version 2004). Only those who search in Windows Update may be offered drivers there (see also Windows 10: News about driver updates from March 2020).

From November 5, 2020 there are further changes

Yesterday, Microsoft published the Techcommunity article Redefining manual driver updates –  became aware of this topic through Martin Geuß. To give users more control, Microsoft changes the way drivers for computers running Windows 10, version 2004 and later, are updated manually. As of November 5, 2020:

  • If a device is connected to a Windows 10 computer for the first time, the relevant drivers will be installed automatically.
  • Also if a device manufacturer releases a driver for automatic installation via Windows Update, an automatic update is performed on the Windows 10 client.

In this area nothing changes in the previous plug-and-play scenarios, even if an automatic driver update is available under Windows Update. But there is a possibility that the manufacturer does not release drivers for automatic installation.

Instead of using the Device Manager as before, manual driver updates via Windows Update are possible via the settings page. Driver updates can be installed manually on the computer by users going to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update. Manually installed drivers are then listed under Show Optional Updates. These can then be manually selected for download and installation.

Windows 10: Optionale Treiberupdates
(Source: Microsoft)


The changes described above only apply to computers that receive driver updates directly via Windows Update (i.e. usually consumer machines). However, nothing changes for administrators in corporate environments.

The Background

Microsoft has given device manufacturers the option of rolling out drivers via Windows Update. The release can be specified by the partner as 'Automatic' or 'Manual'. I had already announced this in March 2020 in the blog post Windows 10: News about driver updates from March 2020 this change, which will be activated from Nov. 5, 2020. I had also already reported this extensively in February 2020 in the blog post Windows 10: Changes in driver updates about the new approach applied to Windows 10, version 2004 and above.

Similar articles:
Windows 10 V2004: Driver search on the Internet removed from Device Manager
Windows 8.1/10 blocks wrong signed drivers
Windows 10: News about driver updates from March 2020
Windows 10: Changes in driver updates

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