OEMs can now block Windows 10 updates to avoid driver issues


Matthew Adams
by Matthew Adams
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It is not entirely uncommon for some device drivers to be incompatible with Windows 10 build updates. When Microsoft realizes a driver is incompatible with a new build version, it announces a Windows 10 update block for laptops and desktops with that driver version. However, a new Microsoft PDF document reveals that the big M will now give hardware partners a chance to request Windows Update offer blocks for devices with incompatible drivers.

Microsoft has circulated a Driver Shiproom Release Cadence Windows 2020 PDF report on the web that outlines changes for releasing drivers marked with Microsoft Approval required. The document also provides the details for new Windows Update offer blocks that hardware partners can request via MS Collaborate. That document states:

When a driver has a known incompatibility with a feature update, partners can request a temporary WU offer block (~30-60 days) so that Windows Update will not offer the feature update to devices running a driver version with a known incompatibility. The offer block will be removed once a partner has posted an updated driver (as Automatic and/or Dynamic) via Hardware Dev Center portal.

Blocking Windows 10 updates got easier

OEM block windows 10 update

Thus, Microsoft will place a temporary hold on rolling out a Windows 10 build update for devices that include a driver a hardware partner requests a WU offer block for. That will give the hardware partner time to release an updated driver. A requested WU offer block must be for a driver that will have a direct OS impact after upgrade, such as BSOD (Blue Screen of Death).

Microsoft often reports update blocks on Windows 10 build version status pages after releasing the updates. Those update blocks might pertain to both incompatible driver or software versions. For example, Microsoft announced a Windows 10 1909 update block for devices with Realtek Bluetooth radio drivers as follows:

Microsoft has identified compatibility issues with some driver versions for Bluetooth radios made by Realtek. To safeguard your update experience, we have applied a compatibility hold on devices with affected driver versions for Realtek Bluetooth radios from being offered Windows 10, version 1903 or Windows Server, version 1903 until the driver has been updated.

The WU offer block will give hardware partners a chance to warn Microsoft about potential device driver incompatibility with new Windows 10 builds before the big M rolls out the updates. That will help Microsoft reduce the number of driver compatibility issues that arise after devices receive new Windows 10 build updates.

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