Microsoft is organizing a crusade against drivers. The operating system should be liberated in 2027.
When a printer isn’t working, there is usually a problem with one of the device drivers. If Microsoft has its way, we’ll soon get rid of those drivers completely. Instead, there must be universal standards that all printers can use.
It will take some time before Microsoft waves goodbye to drivers. The timeline for this is currently 2027, although the Windows manufacturer also indicates that that deadline can always be postponed. Perhaps the company will base this on usage statistics: your printer must of course support that new, universal standard. Unfortunately, this is not the case for many older printers.
The universal standard that Microsoft wants to print with comes from Mopria. That company was founded in 2013 by printer giants such as Canon, HP, Samsung and Xerox. In the meantime, Epson, Lexmark, Adobe and Microsoft also joined. The target? Create a protocol that all printers understand and that all printers can work with. It is useful for manufacturers: they no longer have to provide an installation tool or carrier for their drivers. It is also a good idea for users: they no longer have to search for drivers on the Internet if they have problems. In other words: you no longer run the risk of installing suspicious drivers.
The new Mopria standard has been working in Windows since version 10 21H2. It does not matter whether your printer is connected to the PC with a USB or network connection. The technology giant adds that you can still fiddle with the printer settings, although you will have to download a program from the Microsoft Store. Do you have an Epson printer? Then search for ‘Epson Print and Scan’. For Canon it is about the ‘Canon Inkjet Print Utility’. Such apps can also be found in the Microsoft Store for printers from other manufacturers.
Starting in 2025, new printer drivers will no longer be included in Windows updates, although existing drivers will continue to be updated. In 2026, Microsoft will change a setting that will give the IPP drivers, which any printer can handle, priority over other drivers. In 2027, drivers would become completely taboo and no longer allowed in the operating system unless in secure environments.
During the transition to a driverless world, your printer, scanner and fax machine will continue to work, Microsoft says. Even afterwards, these devices could work without drivers. It is important that your printer supports the standard – this should be the case for all printers by 2027.