Redefining manual driver updates

Published Oct 28 2020 02:10 PM 11.9K Views

Beginning November 5th, 2020, you will see a clear distinction between automatic and manual updates in Windows Update, completing the transformation of driver servicing that we began earlier this year.

Back in August, we introduced an improved update experience on Windows 10 PCs to help you discover available Windows 10 feature updates, monthly non-security quality updates, and driver updates. Now, to give users more control, Microsoft is redefining the way manual drivers are serviced for machines running Windows 10, version 2004 and later.

In the past, when a user connected a peripheral device (a web camera, for example) to their machine for the first time, and that device had a manual driver (formally known as an optional driver) available on Windows Update, the manual driver was automatically installed on the user's machine. The user had no control over the decision.

Beginning November 5th, 2020:

  1. Automatic driver updates will automatically be installed on your machine either when you plug-in a peripheral device for the first time, or when a device manufacturer publishes a driver to Windows Update. In other words, there will be no change to the plug-and-play scenario when an automatic driver is available on Windows Update.
  2. Manual driver updates can be installed manually on your machine if you specifically request them by navigating to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > View optional updates.

For IT professionals managing drivers on behalf of their organizations, there will be no change. The changes described above applies only to machines that are open to receive driver updates directly from Windows Update.

For more information, see Understanding Windows Update automatic and optional rules for driver distribution.


Senior Member

Hello, and thanks a lot for the update.


I see, however, something rather curious. At the bottom of the "Understanding Windows Update automatic and optional rules for driver distribution" article, there is a table summarizing the delivery methods. However, the "Windows Update Optional page" column of that table is full of "No".


Edit: Thanks for fixing the mistake. The last column now seems correct.

Senior Member

What das "For IT professionals managing drivers on behalf of their organizations, there will be no change." actually mean? Guess WSUS, MEMCM managed Clients are for sure not affected by this, but what about WUfB?


Hi @TobiasPB,

For IT pros - All machines that are blocked from a direct Windows Updates (WU) connection will not be impacted here.

In most cases WUfB machines will be impacted unless they are blocked from WU completely.

Senior Member

Hi @The_Smart_One,

Automatic updates are not optional. Starting in 2004, they are installed when WU runs, no need to manually install them.  

Senior Member

@Richard Lafontaine 

Hello, newcomer. This is your second post in this community, right? Well, don't worry. We'll probably forget about it soon. The nice thing about this community is that there is no "Dislike" button, so funny comments like the one you made here won't haunt you for the rest of your life. And to help others not get confused, I've updated my original message with an addendum. Although, to be fair, perhaps its better not to read other people's comments more carefully before replying.

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