Nvidia releases first WHQL-certified video driver for Windows 10

In yet another sign that Windows 10 is hurtling toward its official release at full speed, Nvidia has released Microsoft-signed certified drivers for Windows 10. They've got a leg up on their two main rivals, AMD and Intel.

Last week, Nvidia officially released new Windows 10 drivers for its family of graphics adapters.

Normally, that would be no big deal--graphics hardware companies update their Windows video drivers all the time.

The twist is that these new drivers, version 352.84, are certified for Windows 10 by the Windows Hardware Quality Lab (WHQL), with full support for DirectX 12. After installation, Nvidia's GeForce Experience app reports that "this driver ... is the first WHQL-certified and latest recommended driver for all pre-release Windows testing."

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If you have an Nvidia adapter and you're running the Windows 10 Insider Preview, you can download the drivers directly from the company's download site.

WHQL certification is a big deal. It means the drivers have passed a battery of independent tests from Microsoft and the driver package can include a digitally signed WHQL catalog file. Most importantly, it means the drivers are eligible to be distributed through Windows Update.

If it seems odd to see third-party code being declared ready to ship while the operating system itself is still in preview mode, welcome to the brave new world of Windows development. Thankfully, it's a far cry from the driver chaos that contributed so much to the disastrous launch of Windows Vista.

So far, the other two major PC graphics players have been less embracing of Microsoft's upcoming Windows release.

AMD, for example, doesn't list Windows 10 at all in its driver download pages. A "General questions" support page explains why:

Q: Which graphics driver should I use for my AMD Radeon™ GPU or AMD APU?

A: Microsoft has indicated that updated device drivers are not required at this time, as existing device drivers are compatible with the Windows® 10 technical preview. AMD Radeon™ graphics and accelerated processing unit customers should use the latest available drivers from Windows Update until official Windows 10 driver support is posted on amd.com at a later date.

Likewise, Intel has no Windows 10 drivers available for download from its support site, although Microsoft has shipped several recent Intel video drivers through Windows Update. The most frequent complaint I hear from testers involves glitches with USB 3 based DisplayLink adapters for external monitors.

A recent post on Intel's support forums suggests that Intel might be punting on Windows 10 driver support completely. A contributor with an Intel logo in his username and signature told a poster: "Intel does not have plans to develop drivers for Windows 10. You may need to check at Microsoft Support if their inbox driver is compatible for your graphics controller..."

I've installed the new Nvidia drivers on a Windows 10 test system here (the same one I'm using to write this post). Gamers and other who are testing the Windows 10 Preview on Nvidia equipment, feel free to share your experiences in the comments.

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