Windows 10: Intel unlocks graphics drivers so you can now bypass OEM customizations

But Intel cautions corporate customers against using its generic graphics drivers, which are for testing new features.

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For Windows 10 users, in particular gamers, Intel has unlocked its graphics DCH drivers to remove obstacles to installing Intel generic graphics drivers. 

The move will allow end users with older computer manufacturer (OEM) DCH drivers to upgrade their systems with new Intel generic DCH drivers, which Intel says are updated and released regularly and contain its latest game optimizations, features, and bug fixes. 

However, Intel notes that OEM customizations are preserved when users upgrade with Intel drivers, while OEMs can maintain their customizations through Microsoft's Windows Update process.

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"We heard how much our users want the freedom to upgrade their systems to our regularly released generic graphics drivers and enable our latest game optimizations, feature updates and fixes," Intel said

"Well, as of this release, Intel graphics DCH drivers are now unlocked to upgrade freely between computer manufacturer (OEM) drivers and the Intel generic graphics drivers on Download Center. 

"Simply use the exe and enjoy the update on your 6th Generation Intel Processor platform or higher, and don't worry about your OEM customizations, they remain intact with each upgrade and the OEMs can maintain customizations separately via Microsoft Windows Update. Intel drivers and the Support Assistant will also be unlocked starting April 28, 2020."

The exe is called 'Graphics Driver Smart Installer Enhancement', which allows users to upgrade from OEM DCH drivers to its "newer" generic DCH drivers. Intel also notes this will overwrite a computer manufacturer's customized driver and warns that corporate customers should always stick with OEM drivers.  

"OEM customizations are preserved during this upgrade process, in accordance with Microsoft DCH driver design principles (refer to Microsoft documentation, 'Extension INF Publishing Whitepaper' to learn more). The installer will continue to restrict OEM non-DCH to Intel generic non-DCH upgrades as well as OEM non-DCH to Intel generic DCH driver upgrades. End users will continue to be referred to OEM websites," Intel notes.

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"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's intention is 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.

"Any graphics issues found using Intel generic graphics drivers should be reported directly to Intel. Corporate customers should always use OEM drivers and report all issues through the vendor they purchased the platforms and support through."