Intel Introduces First Universal Windows Driver for Graphics

Intel has introduced today its Universal Windows Driver (UWD) for operating systems that are on Microsoft's Universal Windows Platform (UWP), such as Windows 10 and Windows Server 2019 or later. Distribution of the Universal Windows Driver, also known as Windows Modern Driver, is underway. 

UWD is designed to replace Intel's previous graphics drivers, which are now Legacy status. However, special care is required to ensure a proper installation. Intel warns users not to use the INF or Have-Disk method with the UWD because it bypasses the specially designed installer, which could lead to minor to major system instability. For now, Intel won't be providing a ZIP file for the UWD while users are transitioning to the new driver. 

Users who aren't fond of the UWD can revert back to the Legacy driver anytime. However, Intel doesn't recommend doing so since the procedure involves a complex process that may negatively impact the system's stability.

Intel Graphics Driver

The Intel Graphics Driver is the first driver to come in UWD format and brings several improvements to the table. The driver is only compatible with 64-bit versions of Windows 10 with the Fall Creators Update or newer and with Intel 6th generation (Skylake) and newer processors.

The latest UWD driver comes with launch support for Artifact and Farming Simulator 2019. Intel has also updated the Auto Game Tuning feature to support 12 new titles: Fallout 4, Far Cry 5, FIFA 18, Paladins, Path of Exile, Sims 4, SMITE, Borderlands 2, Euro Truck Simulator 2, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG), Rocket League and The Witcher 3.

The driver helps reduce memory consumption when using the OpenGL graphics API, improve battery life when using Display Refresh Rate Switching (DRRS) on supported monitors and improve stability for the Vulkan driver.

Lastly, the Intel Graphics Compiler has switched from the SPIR intermediate language over to the latest SPIR-V version that was introduced in March 2015.

Fixed lssues

The following issues have been fixed with the Intel Graphics Driver 

  • Minor graphics anomalies observed in NBA 2K19, FIFA 19 (DX12) and Assassin's Creed: Origins.
  • Intermittent crashes or hangs occurring in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, FIFA 19 (DX12) and World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth (DX12).
  • Windows Advanced Display Settings showing incorrect bit-depth on some primary monitor, which leads to inaccurate colors.
  • Custom resolution of 980x588 @ 60Hz not getting added in capable resolutions.
  • Three or more virtual displays not being supported in Extended Configuration (ED) mode.
  • Intermittent crashes or hangs occurring when using Miracast in extended mode on Intel Pentium Silver and Intel Celeron Processors.
  • Minor performance regression observed in 100.6373 in Battlefield IV and Dragon Age Inquisition.

Known lssues

The following issues are known to exist with the Intel Graphics Driver

  • Intermittent crashes or hangs may occur in Assassins Creed: Odyssey, Battlefield V, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and other games.
  • Minor graphics anomalies may be observed in Project Cars 2 (with anti-aliasing enabled) and other games.
  • The optimization checkbox for gaming tuning in the Graphics Control Panel does not refresh after restoring settings in some systems.
Zhiye Liu
RAM Reviewer and News Editor

Zhiye Liu is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Although he loves everything that’s hardware, he has a soft spot for CPUs, GPUs, and RAM.