Focusing on providing more frequent and better graphics updates, Intel has unlocked its GPU drivers enabling users to install the latest version on their systems without needing OEMs approval.
Although blocking drivers have offered the required protection against new drivers tampering with system customizations, it has also restricted users to older systems. This happens because most OEMs don’t provide regular updates for drivers.
Fixing the issue, yesterday, Intel released a new version (126.96.36.19941) of its Windows 10 GPU driver. This version is fully unlocked and allows users to install it on virtually any OEM system running a current, supported version of Windows 10 on top of an Intel Gen9 or later iGPU.
One of the key developments here is Microsoft’s newer Declarative Componentized Hardware (DCH) video driver format that was introduced two years ago with Windows 10 1803. For the uninitiated:
DCH is a newer, modularized driver format that allows for more piecemeal distribution of the components within a driver.
Currently, OEM-specific customizations are also based on DCH, which means that it is now possible to distribute and update the base driver as a generic package, removing the need for OEM-specific builds. Hence, the catch is, this will only work for systems that already have an OEM DCH driver installed.
Meanwhile, Intel has also issued a warning that details:
Installing this Intel generic graphics driver will overwrite your Computer Manufacturer (OEM) customized driver. OEM drivers are handpicked, customized, and validated to resolve platform-specific issues, enable features and enhancements, and improve system stability. The generic driver intends to temporarily test new features, game enhancements, or check if an issue is resolved. Once testing is complete, Intel advises reinstalling the OEM driver until they validate it and release their own version.
For now, Intel has termed these drivers as ‘test drivers.’ However, since intel is hasty with sending out updates, there’s going to be little need to go back to using pre-baked OEM drivers.