Microsoft to Phase Out Third-Party Printer Drivers in Windows for Enhanced Security

Microsoft

Microsoft is set to embark on a transformative journey in its approach to printer drivers in Windows, with a focus on enhancing security. In the near future, Windows will adopt a default print mode that will discontinue support for third-party printer drivers, ushering in significant security improvements.

The Current and Future Landscape of Microsoft

Currently, printer manufacturers like Canon, Epson, and HP provide printer drivers to Microsoft. Which are subsequently distributed to users worldwide through the Windows Update process. This mechanism encompasses drivers for new devices as well as essential security updates for existing drivers.

Microsoft’s overarching goal is to transition most printers to the new, more secure printer driver framework by the end of this decade. This strategic shift aims to address long-standing security concerns associated with third-party printer drivers.

The Deprecation Plan of Microsoft

Microsoft’s deprecation plan outlines several key milestones:

  • Ceasing New Driver Acceptance (2025): Starting in 2025, Microsoft will no longer accept new printer drivers from device manufacturers.
  • Existing Driver Delivery (Post-2025): Windows Update will continue to deliver existing printer drivers. However, after 2025, printer manufacturers will be responsible for distributing new (legacy mode) drivers through their own download portals.
  • IPP Class Driver Adoption (2026): From 2026 onwards, both Windows 10 and Windows 11 will prioritize the installation of printer drivers based on the “IPP Class Driver” platform.
  • Security-Only Updates (Post-2027): Beyond 2027, Windows Update will exclusively deliver security updates for old-generation third-party printer drivers.

Why the Change?

Printer drivers have historically been a security challenge for Windows systems. Vulnerabilities often persist for extended periods due to the focus on OS security. This change intends to mitigate these risks and enhance the overall security of the Windows ecosystem. By defaulting to a more secure print mode and gradually phasing out third-party printer drivers, It seeks to fortify the foundations of its printing system.

With the release of Windows 10 21H2, Microsoft introduced inbox support for Mopria-compliant printer devices. Result in reducing the reliance on printer manufacturers’ installers, drivers, and utilities.

A Bold Move for Enhanced Security

Microsoft’s decision to discontinue third-party printer driver delivery via Windows Update marks a significant shift in its approach to printer drivers. This transformation aims to bolster the security posture of Windows. It ensures that users can print documents with confidence in a more secure environment.

For more news and updates on Cybersecurity, visit The Cybersecurity Club.

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