Why are all Windows drivers dated June 21, 2006? Doesn’t Microsoft ever update its drivers?

If you have been using any Windows run PC and have tinkered with the internals of the operating system, you must have noticed one thing very odd. All the generic Windows drivers are dated June 21, 2006. While most of you may have brushed it off as not relevant, a few of you may have questioned whether Microsoft ever updates its drivers.

Have you ever wondered why do all Windows drivers have an old timestamp of June 21, 2006, which includes even Windows 10? Why does it also apply to drivers like Storage Spaces, which didn’t even exist in 2006? Why is Microsoft using these June 2006 drivers even for hardware that were released years later?

Why are all Windows drivers dated June 21, 2006

According to Reddit user and Microsoft developer zac_l, the June 21, 2006, date, in reality, has a completely different role.

He says, “When PNP ranks drivers, it first looks at the hardware ID that the driver matches. If any two drivers match identical hardware, the first tiebreaker is the date of the driver. So if you had a device that could use a built-in driver, but you had installed some custom/OEM driver on your device, every time MS updates our driver, it would overwrite your custom driver because the date is newer than the one you wanted.”

In order to avoid this, Microsoft timestamps all drivers with the Windows Vista Release To Manufacturing (RTM) date, which is June 21, 2006.

“Every driver we ship has the Vista RTM date, regardless of when it was last updated (we update the version number, which is the next tiebreaker if the date is the same). Since only drivers as far back as Vista are compatible with new versions of Windows, every driver should have a date newer than Vista RTM, preserving the driver you installed as the best-ranked driver,” he added.

However, updated Windows drivers from Microsoft do carry a new version number to differentiate them, but the Vista RTM date will always be used. The reason is because Microsoft is currently only supporting modern operating systems and all drivers released these days that are launched after Windows Vista reached RTM should be for hardware.

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