Geek Trivia

All Windows Drivers Are Dated June 21, 2006 In Order To Avoid?

Driver Conflicts
Y2K Errors
32-Bit Date Errors
Overwritten Files
Which Band Derives Its Name From A Unit Of Measurement?

Answer: Driver Conflicts

If you look at the default drivers included with Windows, you’ll immediately notice something very odd. Every single one of them is dated June 21, 2006. It doesn’t matter if the driver is for a service or product that didn’t even exist in 2006, it doesn’t matter if you installed Windows yesterday, the drivers are always dated June 21, 2006.

While you could write that off as some bizarre Windows quirk, the driver backdating is actually a clever way of ensuring that you always have the most up-to-date drivers for your computer while minimizing the risk that Windows will select the wrong driver. When Windows attempts to automatically select a driver for you (something it has gotten significantly better at over the years), it follows a simple checklist. First it looks for a driver with a perfectly matching hardware ID, then if there are two or more perfect matches, it favors the newest one, then—if by some coincidence—there are two perfectly matched drivers with identical dates, it defers to the driver version number.

So why does it matter that the default Windows drivers are backdated over a decade into the past? It ensures that Windows will always prefer newer manufacturer-provided drivers by minimizing (and usually totally eliminating) the chance that Windows will pick its generic, built-in┬ádriver over the manufacturer’s driver.