Microsoft Kills Windows 10’s Automatic Driver Search

Someone using a laptop to study

The May 2020 update for Windows 10 brought in a few documented additions, but not every change made the patch notes. The Device Manager had one such change, as Microsoft has quietly removed the ability to automatically find driver updates.

How Did the May 2020 Update Change the Device Manager?

Before the May 2020 update, you had the choice to let Windows 10 automatically search for device drivers online. You could find this option during the driver update process, labeled “search automatically for updated driver software.”

The driver update window before the Windows 10 May 2020 update

However, after the May 2020 update, this option is now labeled “search automatically for drivers.” The button’s explanatory text says that this option will search your PC for drivers, but won’t use the internet. As such, you can no longer automatically hunt for drivers using the Device Manager.

It’s worth noting that the option to manually browse your PC for a driver is still present. You can also still update your drivers via Windows Update. The update only prevents the Device Manager from using the internet to update your drivers.

Why Did Microsoft Change Windows 10’s Device Manager?

Because Microsoft made the change without an official announcement, we don’t know why the company removed this feature. However, there’s a good chance Microsoft changed it simply because it didn’t do a fantastic job. When using the automatic update option, the tool often stated there were no updates for the driver, even if one existed.

As such, it was generally better for a user to visit the manufacturer’s website and download the drivers themselves. This may have led Microsoft to ax the feature and replace it with a local-only search, which makes installing manually-downloaded drivers easier.

Changing to Manual Driver Updates

With the May 2020 Windows Update, the Device Manager has lost its ability to automatically find and download drivers; however, not many people will miss it as it didn’t do a great job in the first place.

If you did make use of the automatic tool, here’s how to find and replace outdated Windows drivers.

Read the full article: Microsoft Kills Windows 10’s Automatic Driver Search

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