Microsoft has removed a useful driver updating feature from Windows 10

Windows 10 box

With the arrival of any update for Windows 10 there are questions. What problems does it fix? What new problems does it introduce? What new features does it add? What does it break? What features does it remove?

With the release of the KB4568831 update a couple of weeks ago, Microsoft took Windows 10 version 2004 (Windows 10 May 2020 Update) up to build 19041.423. As well as fixing connectivity and printing problems, this update also killed off a handy option related to updating drivers -- the ability to search online for new drivers from the Device Manager.

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The change means that Windows 10 users who are fastidious about keeping drivers up to date now have one less way to do so. After installing KB4568831 and updating to build 19041.423 you'll see the change in Device Manager when you try to update a driver. You are still presented with two options, but one has changed. If you've manually downloaded a driver and want to point Windows in its direction, you have the "Browse my computer for drivers" option (previously labelled "Browse my computer for driver software").

But it is the automatic driver updating option that has changed. Previously there was one labelled "Search automatically for updated driver software" with the description: "Windows will search your computer and the Internet for the latest driver software for your device, unless you've disabled this feature in your device installation settings". This has been replaced with a rather briefer "Search automatically for drivers" option with the description: "Windows will search your computer for the best available drive and install it on your device". No online search will be performed.

Driver update

Microsoft has made no announcement about killing off the option, so we can only guess as to the thinking behind it. However, it is likely to be part of the company's on-going drive to push people away from what remains of the Control Panel in Settings. Here, in Windows Update, it is possible to search online for drivers using the "optional updates" section.

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