Shipping Label Changes, and Manual Drivers

This post has been republished via RSS; it originally appeared at: Hardware Dev Center articles.

Driver publishing can be complicated. Optional drivers have various methods of acquisition, which creates confusion. Starting now we are making changes to streamline things a bit. All partners will now be able to publish drivers as automatic! This grants access to driver flighting, and gradual rollout. Which will allow Microsoft, and our partners to detect issues earlier and take corrective action if necessary.

We’ve referred to this new publishing strategy as “Manual Drivers”. Below we’ve broken down the changes you will see in both Windows 10, and Hardware Dev Center.


Windows 10

We’ve tweaked the UX under the Setting page for Windows Update.  The new Optional updates area will enable support teams to easily direct users to the right driver.


Sample of the new WU user experience


Hardware Dev Center

On the publication side, Hardware Dev Center (HDC) has made several changes to streamline the effort:

  1. Opening the Automatic publication path to all driver manufacturers – enabling the entire ecosystem to benefit from Microsoft’s quality and reliability processes.
  2. Creating a new set of Hardware API’s (v2) with an Automatic shipping label as a default. The old Hardware API’s (V1) will be deprecated the end of April 2020 to allow partners a smooth transition to the new version. To learn more about the changes, and deprecation of Hardware API v1 refer to this blog article:
  3. Allowing Automatic drivers to be offered to Windows 10 clients during throttling via the new Windows Update UX, enabling support teams to quickly address driver issues in the field without waiting for a full release.
  4. Changing the web UX default shipping label to “Automatic”. The “Automatic” delivery option will publish the driver both as Critical (CU) and Dynamic (DU).
  5. The “Manual” delivery option requires the publisher to specifically choose it and explain the business justification for the choice. The drivers that are submitted through the “Manual” path will be offered to applicable machines through the new Windows Update UX.

New User Interface


We believe that this new effort will enable our collective customers to get the highest quality, and most reliable drivers faster and with less friction.


These changes should be live before 5:00PM on February 19, 2020 (Redmond).

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