(Figure) Windows 10 Driver Update Adjustment: Manual drive updates are no longer automatically installed

Microsoft has tweaked the Windows 10 driver update, as announced late last month. Although the purpose of this new adjustment is to improve the overall experience, in rare cases it may cause problems for some users. Currently, when you plug in a plug-and-play (PnP) device (e.g., keyboard, mouse, webcam, etc.), Windows Update automatically scans the device driver without your permission to check that there are compatible drivers on the system.

(Figure) Windows 10 Driver Update Adjustment: Manual drive updates are no longer automatically installed

If you’ve used a similar peripheral before and already have a driver installed, Windows will use it when it’s detected. If a compatible driver is not detected on the system, Windows 10 searches Windows Update for the appropriate driver. During the scan, Windows Update looks for the latest version, and the new driver appears within 24 hours of the device being plugged in.

In February, Microsoft offered an improvement that allowed hardware developers to provide drivers both automatically and manually. Whether these driver updates are deployed to user devices through Windows Update depends entirely on the choice of the hardware developer.

For example, when Intel specifies a driver as Automatic, Microsoft includes the driver in the general experience update for Windows Update and automatically downloads the driver when you check for updates.

If you set the driver to Manual, it is also delivered through Windows Update, but is published as an optional update and will only appear on the new optional update page. Manual drivers are considered optional and are not automatically installed on your device.

(Figure) Windows 10 Driver Update Adjustment: Manual drive updates are no longer automatically installed

The priority for Windows 10 systems is to first look for the highest-level driver that the vendor marks as Automatic. If the Auto driver is not found, Windows 10 Version 1909 and previous versions get the “manual” driver to get the peripheral up and running. This ensures that peripherals such as the mouse and keyboard function properly.

However, starting with Windows 10 May 2020 (20H1/Version 2004) and October 2020 (20H2/Version 2009) feature updates, Microsoft says it will not automatically install drivers labeled Manual to avoid damaging your device after finding a matching Auto driver update.

According to the newly released support documentation, the Windows 10 system returns a DNF (driver not found) error when the peripheral is not scanned to the appropriate Auto driver. In this case, the device may not work properly or respond to your input.

(Figure) Windows 10 Driver Update Adjustment: Manual drive updates are no longer automatically installed

This occurs because Windows 10 no longer automatically installs manual driver updates if they are not found. If you have a DNF error installing a new device, you will need to follow the following solutions to manually obtain a “manual” drive update

1. Visit Windows Update to view optional updates and drive updates

2. Re-connect your peripherals

3. Look for drivers on the manufacturer’s website

It’s also important to understand that Windows 10 now disables Device Manager’s driver download feature, so if you want to get your device up and running, you now need to use Windows Update. Microsoft points out that the change is part of the company’s long-term plan to give users more control over Windows Update, but can also cause annoying problems when the peripherals don’t have automatic drivers.