Feature updates will not include drivers needing approval

Teodor Nechita
by Teodor Nechita
Software Managing Editor
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Microsoft stated that from now on, all feature updates will no longer include any drivers that need approval, nor will they be included in Patch Tuesday updates.

This piece of information was first shared through an update to the Driver Shiproom release cadence for 2020. It was originally shared under Non-Disclosure Agreements with Hardware Dev Center users.

For those of you that don’t know, drivers that need approval belong in one of two categories:

  • Flighted drivers
    • Drivers that are marked as Automatic = Critical Update (CU) or Dynamic Update (DU) or both
  • Optional driver classes
    • These are the ones that always go through Shiproom approval

Why are drivers no longer included?

There is a reason for the separate release of drivers marked as needing approval around Patch Tuesdays and Windows 10 Feature updates.

Apparently, the decision was made so that quality drivers could be provided, and to reduce the risk of releasing drivers at the same time as OS changes, thus providing ecosystem partners a predictable driver release cadence.

What’s more, drivers requiring approval will also not be released one day before and after Patch Tuesdays, and two days around feature OS update rollouts

Exceptions to the rules

Partners can request Windows update blocks to devices running drivers with known compatibility issues to prevent issues that will impact the OS after application.

You can make these requests while a partner validates a compatible driver. This is to prevent issues like driver crashes, BSODs or data loss, security issues, or connectivity losses.

To make a request, you will need to open a Hardware Dev Center Partner Support Request (ticket).

When doing so, you will have to use a Driver release deferral exception request title.

You will also need to provide info on the Shipping Label ID(s), as well as specify the reason for the Urgent Driver release request.

Finally, you will need to bring arguments regarding the impact on end-users of a driver release delay. Currently, there is no info on whether Microsoft can deny requests or not.

Do you think that these update changes ar for the best? Let us know in the comment section below.