Intel Releases Its First Universal Windows Drivers (Updated)

Posted on November 29, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Hardware, Windows 10 with 29 Comments

Intel this week has released its first set of hardware drivers that conform to Microsoft’s more modern Intel Universal Windows Drivers specification. Naturally, because this is Intel, they call it something else: Windows Modern Drivers.

“Microsoft is changing the way that hardware drivers work on the Universal Windows Platform (UWP), Windows 10 (and later), and Microsoft Windows Server 2019 (and later),” and Intel document explains. “Hardware running on these operating systems can use Windows Modern Drivers (also known as Universal Windows Drivers – UWDs). Note that Microsoft requires the use of Windows Modern Drivers for Windows 10 1809 (RS5) and later.”

That last bit is of particular importance.

Effective immediately, any new Intel drivers for Windows 10/Windows Server 2019 or later will be Universal Windows Drivers. This should dramatically impact the stability and reliability of Intel display drivers in particular. Which is personally very interesting to me, as I’m having an Intel display driver issue right now. And I’m pretty sure I’m not using the Universal Windows Driver for this adapter. I will be soon.

Microsoft revealed Universal Windows Drivers at Build 2018 back In April. According to its documentation, Universal Windows Drivers enable developers to create a single driver package that runs across multiple different device types, from embedded systems to tablets and desktop PCs. As part of the requirements, hardware makers can no longer bundle Win32 applications or utilities with their drivers.

Better still, they are distributed through Windows Update, and hardware support apps are distributed through the Microsoft Store. This should lessen our reliance on the often-terrible support apps that PC makers bundle with their hardware.

You can find Intel’s first Universal Windows Driver, for its integrated graphics chipsets, on the Intel website. I’ll be installing this as soon as I post this article.

UPDATE: I just got home after doing some errands and found my PC’s display like below. So these new drivers have fixed nothing for me. —Paul


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