Why it matters: For years, users have been forced to rely on OEM-supplied Intel graphics drivers to make sure their hardware works as intended. In case of updates, however, it's either a long wait until the PC/laptop manufacturer approves the new version or -- as is more common -- decides not to bother and drops supporting older machines altogether. It is a tough line to walk between the two, which Intel is now eliminating with its new 'Unlocked Driver' meant for users on the company's 6th-gen processor platform or higher.
Intel iGPUs aren't the last word in graphical horsepower, but for many users, they're a perfectly acceptable and affordable option for carrying out daily computing tasks and doing a bit of casual gaming.
Like dedicated GPUs, Intel also pushes out regular graphic driver updates with fixes, optimizations, and support for new games and applications. OEMs, however, employ driver locking to prevent users from installing these generic drivers until they've baked in their own customizations and validated the software, followed by its distribution on their official support pages.
Now though, Intel has come up with a new version of its Windows 10 GPU driver that's fully unlocked and enables users to upgrade freely between OEM drivers and its vanilla offering. As can be noted in the description for the latest Intel HD Graphics Driver, users can simply download the executable and update their system without affecting OEM customizations, as long as they're using a 6th-gen CPU or later.
Intel says that OEMs can now maintain and push their tweaks separately via Windows Update and that its Drivers and Support Assistant tool will also be updated to reflect these changes. It is, however, still cautioning users that its generic drivers are meant to "temporarily test new features, game enhancements, or check if an issue is resolved" and advises to reinstall the OEM driver until the latter validates and comes up with its own version.