Windows 10 new driver system is rolling out: What you need to know

On November 5, Microsoft has started rolling out a new driver
system that is intended to improve the overall experience but
it could result in a frustrating problem for some users in rare
cases.

The new driver system is changing the way Windows Update deals
with automatic and manual drivers updates on Windows 10.

Windows Update currently scans for device drivers without your
permission when you connect a Plug and Play (PnP) device,
such as a keyboard, mouse, web camera, etc.

Your mouse or keyboard uses Plug and Play (PnP), which is a
combination of hardware and software support, to automatically
check for a compatible driver already available on your system.

For example, if you used similar peripherals before and a
driver was installed, Windows will detect and use it.

Windows 10 mouse setup

If a compatible driver is not available on your system, Windows
10 searches Windows Update for the driver. During the scan, it
will look for the latest version and a new driver will likely
show up 24 hours from when the device is plugged in.

Currently, driver vendors are allowed to publish these drivers
in Windows Update with two values – Automatic and Manual.

Windows 10 is prioritized to look for the highest
highest-ranking driver marked as “Automatic” by the vendor. If
the automatic driver is not available, Windows 10 version 1909
or older proceeds to get the Manual driver to get the
peripheral up and running.

Driver delivery options
Options available for driver vendors

This ensures that your mouse or keyboard work as intended.
Starting in Windows 10 version 2004 and 20H2, Microsoft says it
will not install drivers marked “Manual” automatically and this
will break your device.

According to a new update to support
document, Windows will now return DNF (Driver Not
Found) error when your peripheral does not have an automatic
update available. As a result, the device simply won’t work or
respond to your inputs.

This happens because manual drivers are no longer installed
automatically when the automatic update is not available. If
you get the above error when installing a new device, you’ll
need to grab the “manual” driver manually by following these
workarounds:

  • Go to Windows Update > View optional updates > Driver
    updates.
  • Reconnect your device.
  • Look for drivers on the manufacturer’s site.

It’s also important to understand that
Windows 10 has now disabled Device Manager’s ability to
download drivers, so you’ll now need to use Windows Update
if you want to get the device up and running.

Microsoft noted that this change is part of the company’s
long-term intention to give users more control over Windows
updates, but it also causes annoying issues when peripherals
don’t have automatic drivers.

The changes are now rolling out and it only affects some new
and old peripherals when automatic driver update is not
available.

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