It’s the beginning of the end for third-party printer drivers in Windows, according to a support document the company released earlier this month. Instead of bespoke drivers for individual printers and scanners, Windows will rely on its built-in universal “class driver” that supports the Internet Printing Protocol (IPP) and other standards embraced by the Mopria Alliance.
The phase-out will kick off in earnest at some point in 2025, when Microsoft will stop accepting new third-party printer drivers in Windows Update. Updates to existing printer drivers will still be allowed, but drivers for new printers can no longer be added. In 2026, all printers connected to a Windows PC will default to the built-in class driver even if a customized third-party driver is available. And starting in 2027, only security-related fixes will be allowed for printer drivers in Windows Update.