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Microsoft to Remove All Support for Third-Party Printer Drivers

Printers are the bane of even the most experienced of IT service technicians. While they are certainly useful to have around in case you need to print an important document, they can be a real hassle to troubleshoot if they start experiencing issues – and boy do they ever experience issues. However, a team of developers from the likes of Canon, Samsung, HP, Xerox, and, most recently, Microsoft, are hoping to change that with the introduction of Mopria.

What is Mopria?

Headed up by the Mopria Alliance and established in 2013, Mopria represents a concentrated, industry-wide effort to create a set of universal standards for printers and scanners. Microsoft has included Mopria with every version of Windows ever since Windows 10 21H2, and it supports printers and scanners that are connected via USB or as a network device.

The introduction of Mopria frees up the resources of printer and scanner manufacturers, as they’ll no longer need to provide their own drivers, diagnostic utilities, or installers. Moreover, consumers will also benefit from a true plug-and-play experience with printers and scanners moving forward.

However, the change isn’t expected to officially occur until 2027. When that happens, any printer that isn’t already compatible with Mopria will lose all of its functionality when connected to a PC. If you’re still using a legacy printer, either at home or in the workplace, now is the time to start shopping around for an upgrade.

Mopria’s next milestone will arrive 2025. At this point, Microsoft will stop including new printer drivers with their regular Windows updates. They will, however, continue to support drivers for existing printers. By 2027, however, these drivers will no longer be supported.

But it’s important to note that this really only affects drivers and software updates that are delivered automatically via Windows update. Certain printer manufacturers might decide to continue support for their devices, but they’ll be responsible for providing their customers with a safe and efficient means of downloading their updates.

Common Printer Problems

While Mopria is expected to curb a lot of common printer and scanner problems, especially when it comes to compatibility, there are still some issues to watch for. These include:

- Paper Jams occur when paper becomes misaligned or when using the wrong type of paper for the device. In some cases, damaged printer rollers might be to blame.

- Various print quality issues are known to occur, including ink streaks, fading, or smudges. These issues are usually traced back to problems with toner or ink cartridges, but it can also be a sign of dirty printheads.

- Network and other wireless devices can sometimes experience issues connecting with your PC, which could be a sign of outdated drivers or reception interference.

- Print queue issues can occur when too many print jobs are sent to the printer at any one time. To fix this issue, simply clear your print queue and avoid sending simultaneous print jobs to the same printer.

- In rare cases, the print spooler can also malfunction. Restarting the spooler will usually solve the issue.


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