Intel has officially pledged its support for Microsoft's Universal Windows Driver (UWD) format, a mandatory requirement of Windows 10-compatible hardware as of the still-faulty October 2018 Update.
Announced by Microsoft earlier this year, the Universal Windows Driver (UWD) model, also known as Windows Modern Drivers (WMD), is designed to allow hardware vendors to produce a single driver package for multiple device types as an extension of the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) application format. All UWD drivers are distributed and updated via Windows Update, while any supporting applications required to use the hardware need to be provided via the Windows Store.
While use of UWD drivers was initially optional, Microsoft has made it mandatory as of the ongoing Windows 10 October 2018 Update roll-out. Once installed, the Update mandates that hardware vendors supply drivers exclusively in UWD format. Existing legacy drivers will continue to work, but updates must move users across to UWD - and Intel has become the first major hardware vendor to publicly agree to the plan.
In a support announcement, Intel confirmed it has begun shipping UWD this month, beginning with the recent release of the Intel Graphics Driver 100.6444. Users who find the new drivers buggy - not impossible, given that Windows 10 October 2018 Update is still blocked on systems running particular Intel display driver releases - will have the option to roll back to legacy drivers, the company has stated, but with the warning that 'rolling back isn't recommended as it involves a complex process that could result in system instability,' an issue particularly pertinent to graphics drivers.
Intel is currently recommending that users fire up the Intel Driver and Support Assistant to install the drivers, apparently skirting Microsoft's requirement that drivers are provided via Windows Update.