What Is a WIA Scan Driver?

By Andrea Stein

A WIA scan driver allows scanners to work with various graphic softwares.
i strudel image by Yvonne Bogdanski from Fotolia.com

A PC user may use graphic image software, which may not be compatible, or able to be used with, his or her scanner device. A WIA (Windows Image Acquisition) scan driver can resolve this issue.


A WIA scan driver is a driver, or program that links a computer operating system to a peripheral device, manufactured by Microsoft. A WIA scan driver is an API, or application programming interface, that is designed to function with Microsoft Windows Me and later Windows operating systems and allows graphic software to directly communicate with such imaging hardware devices as scanners. Microsoft applications that utilize the WIA scan driver include Paint.NET and Photoshop.


WIA scan drivers contain a driver core component and UI (user interface) component. The driver core loads into the WIA service space and establishes a basic connection between the operating system and scanner. The UI loads into the application space of the driver, and allows the scanner's full applications to function via the operating system, as opposed to some other interface devices that allow only limited basic data transfers.

Fun Fact

Microsoft released the Microsoft Image Acquisition Imaging Tool in 2002, which allows WIA functions to be accessed via certain programming languages.