OK then: I have to thank one of our eagle-eyed readers. On April 29, I posted that you can now forcibly upgrade your Intel GPU drivers for 6th generation processors and newer. I also reported that such drivers wouldn’t over-write OEM customizations, either. As it turns out, I was ALMOST right. There is a catch: the ability to update DCH and keep OEM extensions applies only if the target PC is already running a DCH driver. Alas, for my Lenovo laptops, that is NOT the case. And now, I’m paying the price with errors showing up like the one in the lead-in graphic. It’s a generic “Hardware error” but the clue to graphics involvement appears in the Bucket ID where we see the string “dxgkrnl.” This is tied to the Microsoft DirectX driver which is, of course, essential for proper graphics operation.
OOPS! Try Again…
The Intel Download Center is pretty clear about this potential gotcha. Here’s a direct quote which I cheerfully confess, I glossed over (emphasis in red is mine):
WARNING: This will remove any OEM customizations. If the OEM does not have a DCH driver available, it’s likely no customizations will be reinstalled by Windows Update after you upgrade to this driver. If you experience any issues such as flickering, BSOD, TDR, etc, please reinstall the latest OEM driver.
And indeed, Lenovo’s drivers are not yet DCH based, though buyers have been asking for same since 2018, according to Q&A I’ve seen on their online tech forums. So, now I’m going to have to figure out how to roll back. I just tried the Lenovo Support page driver and got an “unsupported OS” error (possibly because that test machine is running Fast Ring Build 19619, getting ready to upgrade to 19624). I’m going to see if I can extract the necessary files from the .exe and do it manually. This could get interesting…
Turns out there’s an option in the .exe file’s installer to “Extract only.” I did this to a target directory and was able to point at the Graphics sub-folder within its file hierarchy after the extraction completed. This enabled me to use the “Have disk” option in Device Manager to forcibly (re)install the old OEM driver. Fixed!
The Moral of the Story Is
Don’t upgrade manually to the latest Intel GPU drivers unless you’re SURE that your vendor is already supplying DCH drivers. If the .exe file works, you’re OK; if not, don’t do it! I’ve learned my lesson. Hopefully, you too can learn from my mistake. But hey: that’s why I try this stuff out on test machines. If all else fails, I can always roll back to a pre-upgrade backup.
Can There Be a Happy Ending?
Sure enough the upgrade to 19624 hung again at 62% complete on the Fast Ring machine. That’s also what happened with 19619. However, this time I rolled back to the OEM driver before I tried a second upgrade. It did go through the download again, but this time it sat at 62% long enough for me to use UUPdump.ml to build an ISO to install from. So that’s why I did to upgrade to 19624, Nevertheless, I’m hopeful my driver difficulties are now fixed.
Going forward I hope the graphics related “Windows: Hardware error” items in Reliability Monitor (see below) will cease. We’ll see!
Both of the chargeable error reports (4/28 & 5/6) include graphics related stuff, after I force upgraded to a non-customized driver. Sigh.
[Click image for full-sized view.]
Author: Ed Tittel
Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran. He’s a Princeton and multiple University of Texas graduate who’s worked in IT since 1981 when he started his first programming job. Over the past three decades he’s also worked as a manager, technical evangelist, consultant, trainer, and an expert witness. See his professional bio for all the details.