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December 6, 2020

Intel Driver & Support Assistant Falters


As part of my routine PC maintenance, I check in with Intel’s fairly nifty web-based “Driver & Support Assistant” app once a week. This morning, when I went to run that utility on my production PC I got the “Oops!” message pretty much as soon as that tool fired off. What’s worse is it didn’t leave any useful error info behind, either in the Reliability Monitor or Event Viewer, either. Ultimately I was forced to uninstall, then re-install the app, after which things worked just fine. But I then had to kill the startup item and its scheduled task because the DSAService (which runs in the background after default D&SA installs on Windows 10) occasionally presents an AppCrash error on that PC. Sigh.

Uninstall Proves Interesting, Too

After I downloaded the latest D&SA installer (a file named Intel-Driver-and-Support-Assistant-Installer.exe prosaically enough), it was smart enough to recognize the present version needed uninstalling. But the installer didn’t seem to be up to the job. Despite reporting a successful uninstall, when I ran the program again, it once again asked to uninstall the previous version. Thus, I switched to Programs & Features in Control Panel, where I ran uninstall from there. That worked. My next install attempt resulted in a working version of the Intel D&SA. Amusingly enough, it found nothing in need of attention on my Asrock Extreme7+ Z170 motherboard and the rest of my production PC’s accoutrement.

Further Checks Turn Up No Problems

Because all of my current PCs are Intel-based, I’ve got this tool installed on most of them. A couple of spot-checks on my Lenovo laptops showed nothing out of the ordinary. As you can see from the next screencap, though, at least one of my Yoga X380 ThinkPads needs a new Bluetooth driver. But at least the Intel D&SA hiccup seems to have been limited to only a single PC. Wonder what caused it to fall over? I bet Intel knows, but they’re not saying anything I can find. But their tell-tale recommendation to download and reinstall “…need to reinstall?” in the lead-in graphic for this story tells me that this has happened to others, and may happen again in the future. Be warned instead, and be ready to re-install if this happens on one of your Intel PCs.

Intel D&SA was working fine on all three of the other machines I spot-checked just now. Some kind of random glitch, I’m guessing.
[Click image for full-sized view.]

And, as we all know, that’s how things sometimes go, here in Windows-World! Stay tuned: there’ll be more such glitches and gotchas to report. It’s the nature of this wondrous and sometimes fickle beast, after all.

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.

One Response “Intel Driver & Support Assistant Falters”

  1. LTL
    September 28, 2020 at 01:12

    I encountered several errors with Intel’s DSA in the past months. It tried to install the wrong graphics driver on one system, and kept installing the correct driver over and over again on another system (each time the system saying it had been installed and DSA saying it had not been installed).
    On a friend’s system, DSA kept pushing alerts about a driver that was already installed weeks/months before.

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