Last year Windows 10 users experienced endless issues due to driver updates from RealTek, Intel, and others. On numerous occasions, Microsoft had to block some Windows 10 users from upgrading as a result of driver compatibility issues.

As a solution, the Redmond company now has introduced a new document defining dates of when hardware partners should release new drivers that need approval from Microsoft.

The document also talks about the key change in how Microsoft applies blocks on Windows 10 when they discover a drive compatibility issue.

Microsoft also explains, “Recently, when a driver update is released alongside OS updates, it has resulted in a poor experience and significantly impacted end users.”

“Occasionally, we have had other driver release incidents which occur outside normal business hours (Redmond time), which impact our ability to intervene and prevent additional devices from receiving ‘poor’ drivers. Additionally, we have received many requests to have a predictable driver release cadence from many partners.”

However, to better the upgrade experience of Windows 10, Microsoft has put in place a process that allows hardware partners to submit request update blocks until a driver has been validated. Post which the drivers can be distributed via Windows Update (WU).

Microsoft states, “If there are known issues for a feature update and driver compatibility, partners can request feature update offer block mitigation while a compatible driver update is being validated and posted to WU.”

Microsoft also mentioned that partners have the facility to request a temporary Windows Update offer block of between 30 to 60 days, “so that Windows Update will not offer the feature update to devices running a driver version with a known incompatibility.”

“The offer block will be removed once a partner has posted an updated driver,” Microsoft explained. 

Microsoft also explains that the criteria for requesting an upgrade block include “issues that affect the OS after upgrade such as a driver crash, BSOD or data loss, security issues, connectivity issues, etc., for which there is a fix in progress.”

Taking everything into account, Microsoft works toward improving drive and Windows 10 update experience by creating what they call a predictable driver release cadence, which is why the company has restricted new driver releases anytime around key holidays in the US and weekends when employees at Redmond are not available to resolve the issues.