End of servicing plan for third-party printer drivers on Windows

With the release of Windows 10 21H2, Windows offers inbox support for Mopria compliant printer devices over network and USB interfaces via the Microsoft IPP Class Driver. This removes the need for print device manufacturers to provide their own installers, drivers, utilities, and so on.  Device experience customization is now available via the Print Support Apps that are distributed and automatically installed via the Windows Store. This framework improves reliability and performance by moving customization from the Win32 framework to the UWP software development framework. Finally, print device manufacturers no longer have to rebuild their software since this solution is supported across all Windows versions and editions.

With these advancements in the Windows print platform, we are announcing the end of servicing of the legacy v3 and v4 Windows printer drivers. As this is an impactful change, end of servicing will be staged over multiple years.

Printer drivers used to be an absolute hell on Windows. Whereas on Linux you just plug the printer in and Linux will find and use the printer without much issue, on Windows, you had to trawl vendor websites using obscure device names and minor version variations just to get the right driver installed – usually accompanied by a whole boatload or crapware. Things got better as Windows eventually started downloading printer drivers and accompanying OEM management software by itself, and it seems this is the next step in the process by moving the functionality from these often crappy printer management applications into Print Support Apps.


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