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Microsoft

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.

We’ve referred to this new publishing strategy as “Manual Drivers”. Below we’ve broken down the changes you will see in both Windows 10, and Hardware Dev Center.

 

Windows 10

We’ve tweaked the UX under the Setting page for Windows Update.  The new Optional updates area will enable support teams to easily direct users to the right driver. This feature will be available in Windows 10 versions 20H1 and higher.

 

Sample of the new WU user experienceSample of the new WU user experience

 

Hardware Dev Center

On the publication side, Hardware Dev Center (HDC) has made several changes to streamline the effort:

  1. Opening the Automatic publication path to all driver manufacturers – enabling the entire ecosystem to benefit from Microsoft’s quality and reliability processes.
  2. Creating a new set of Hardware API’s (v2) with an Automatic shipping label as a default. The old Hardware API’s (V1) will be deprecated the end of April 2020 to allow partners a smooth transition to the new version. To learn more about the changes, and deprecation of Hardware API v1 refer to this blog article: https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/hardware-dev-center/hdc-rest-api-v2-0/ba-p/1180500
  3. Allowing Automatic drivers to be offered to Windows 10 clients during throttling via the new Windows Update UX, enabling support teams to quickly address driver issues in the field without waiting for a full release.
  4. Changing the web UX default shipping label to “Automatic”. The “Automatic” delivery option will publish the driver both as Critical (CU) and Dynamic (DU).
  5. The “Manual” delivery option requires the publisher to specifically choose it and explain the business justification for the choice. The drivers that are submitted through the “Manual” path will be offered to applicable machines through the new Windows Update UX.

New User InterfaceNew User Interface

 

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.

 

These changes should be live before 5:00PM on February 19, 2020 (Redmond).

13 Comments
Senior Member

Are the changes in Windows 10 UX for Windows 10 2004 - or will be see a backport to supported older Windows 10 builds via WU?

Microsoft

The changes to Ux for Windows 10 20H1 detailed here will not be backported to previous releases. For older versions of Windows Manual drivers are obtained via Device Manager (same as Optional drivers were).

Senior Member

@kevintremblay wait, so these changes are just for the upcoming Windows 10 20H1, not for Windows 10 version 1909 and 1903? The "These changes should be live before 5:00PM on February 19, 2020 (Redmond)" is kinda ambiguous :thinking_face:.

Also, I'm not sure I understand why allowing all partners to publish drivers as automatic should be better for users? To me it means less control over driver updates.

Microsoft

@Laurent Giret the first picture in the post is of the new Ux in the settings app on Windows 10 20H1. That Ux will be present in 20H1+, and there is no plan to backport to prior releases. End users acquire manual drivers on previous Windows 10 releases through the Device Manager Ux that was used to acquire Optional drivers.

 

The changes we've made on the HDC side in both our publishing actions, and the Ux that is displayed on the Shipping Label page was deployed yesterday. I hope this helps break it down.

 

All drivers published as automatic are subject to driver flighting, and gradual rollout. During these periods we are reviewing telemetry around the performance of the driver, and it's effects on overall system health. We catch a lot of driver issues this way before they hit the Windows user base writ large. From an end user perspective we believe this will result in higher quality drivers (stable, performant) being delivered, and a better ability to stay current.

 

We are constantly watching and learning here based on the data we see coming back from the field. We'll continue to make adjustments (as we have been all along) based on what we are seeing.

Senior Member

@kevintremblay Just to clarify, currently Microsoft chooses the drivers that are available from Windows Update, and not the OEMs, is that correct?

Occasional Contributor

@Laurent Giret with current releases the drivers in WU are tested OEM drivers

This was not the case before.

 

 

@kevintremblay will drivers that fix security issues be offered as manual drivers or with the search for updates?

I personally don't want to have all drivers to be acknowledged by users when they are critical. 

Microsoft

@K_Wester-Ebbinghaus There are a couple avenues to address that. When a driver is published as automatic, we will first flight the driver to the Windows Insider rings. Presuming we don't see anything troubling there, the driver will enter Gradual Rollout to the general retail population. While the driver is in flighting, and GR stages, it will also be available to any seeker using the Manual Drivers Ux shown in the post. For versions of Windows 10 prior to 20H1/Vb, the driver can be acquired by selecting the relevant device in Device Manager, and then clicking the update driver button.

 

If a submitter has a driver that contains a critical security fix, we ask that they contact us and we can figure out the best path forward together if there are concerns the standard process doesn't address.

Senior Member

@kevintremblay: I'm getting confused. In your above reply you wrote:

The changes to Ux for Windows 10 20H1 detailed here will not be backported to previous releases. For older versions of Windows Manual drivers are obtained via Device Manager (same as Optional drivers were).

But now we have the article Gradual rollout, that give precise hints how Microsoft is planning driver updates via Windows Update. And there I read:

 

When the throttled percentage is at 100% it is completely live on WU to all systems running Windows 10 version 1709 and later. Microsoft will continue to monitor the release for rest of the 30 day period.

 

Does that mean: We will have driver shipping via Windows Update (instead of Device Manager) also in older Windows 10 builds, but don't get the new GUI to block drivers?

Microsoft

@Günter Born The Device Manager Ux in versions of Windows 10 <20H1 is used to acquire drivers that were published as Optional, or Manual.

 

Drivers that were published as automatic will be visible to users via the Ux in Settings -> Update & Security -> Windows Update, as they have been for some time now.

 

 

Occasional Contributor

@kevintremblay thanks for the detailed and helpful reply.

 

One practical question in this regard. 

 

20H1 slow and 20H2 are both receiving Nvidia drivers 450.12 for a longer time now. 

 

Even though there are a couple of "known" issues with Snip and Sketch.

 

 

I miss a remediation on qualified feedback in the FBH either through fixing snip and sketch or the revoking the driver to the latest (older) official from Nvidia which does fix this issue. 

 

How can we handle these occasions better when people, even few, report compatibility issues, easy to repro, that do not see many upvotes (because of the low usage in this combination and usecase perhaps)?

 

@Günter Born 

Occasional Visitor

Can you please tell me what 'Provide the email address of the Microsoft sponsor working with you on this request' field is for and how do I get this information?

Microsoft

Hi,

 

If you are working directly with someone at Microsoft for a specific submission/publication provide their email address. If you are not working with anyone from Microsoft on a submission/publication simply enter sysdev@microsoft.com.

Occasional Visitor

Thank you.