News, tips, advice, support for Windows, Office, PCs & more. Tech help. No bull. We're community supported by donations from our Plus Members, and proud of it
Home icon Home icon Home icon Email icon RSS icon
  • How to roll back a bad driver update

    Posted on December 30th, 2016 at 08:09 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I’m seeing complaints all over the web from people who installed a bad Windows driver update. Typically, they ran Windows Update earlier this month and checked the box next to an Optional update that looked like:

    INTEL – System – 1/4/2013 12:00:00 AM –

    Intel – System – 3/13/2016 12:00:00 AM –

    INTEL – System – 8/19/2016 12:00:00 AM –

    INTEL – System – 10/3/2016 12:00:00 AM –

    Realtek Semiconduct Corp. – USB – 5/17/2016 12:00:00 AM – 10.0.10586.31225

    and several others. Installing those driver updates (which look like patches without KB numbers) has been blamed for various ills (i.a., see this Reddit thread), including touchpad failures, USB port failures, reports of missing system files, blue screens… the usual halt and catch fire stuff.

    The usual admonition applies: Ain’t broke, don’t fix. If you discover that you have one of these updates installed, and you aren’t experiencing any odd problems, don’t touch anything.

    If something doesn’t work right…

    If you can’t get back into your computer, your best bet is to roll back to a restore point, if you have one. (There’s a good explanation by Walter Glenn at How-To Geek.)

    If you can get into your computer, and you suspect an Intel system driver is at fault, the safest approach is to download and run the Intel Driver Update Utility. As Intel says:

    Intel provides generic versions of drivers for general purposes. Your computer manufacturer may have altered the features, incorporated customizations, or made other changes to your driver. Intel recommends you contact your computer manufacturer for the latest system specific updates and technical support information.

    Of course, the drivers installed by Windows Update are generic versions, so you aren’t going to dig yourself into a deeper hole by running the Intel Driver Update Utility.

    If you suspect a driver other than the Intel system driver, your first course of attack should be rolling back the bad driver. Here’s how.

    Step 1. Get into Device Manager. There are quick ways to do that in each Windows version, but it’s simplest to just type Device Manager in the Start search (or Cortana) box.

    Step 2. Find the bad driver. If you’re trying to roll back the Realtek USB driver, look under Mice and other pointing devices, then Realtek PCIE Card Reader. Video drivers are under Display Adapters.

    Step 3. Roll back. Click the Driver tab then click the button marked Roll Back Driver. You’ll likely have to restart your machine.

    If that doesn’t fix the problem, follow the procedure again but in Step 3 click Update Driver and pray that Windows can find a driver for your computer that works.

    There are lots of third party tools that help you maintain drivers. I don’t use any of them, but if you have good experiences with one of them, feel free to post here.

    Some folks hide the offensive updates. I generally don’t recommend that you hide unwanted updates in Win7 and 8.1. Just ignore them.

    With Windows 10, the updating takes place automatically when you “check” for updates – so to be sure, run wushowhide to block any pernicious driver updates. If you’re on version 1607, the Anniversary Update, there’s a better way to block Driver updates, fully explained by Shawn Brink on TenForums (thanks, b).

    Then tattoo this inside your eyelids: DON’T install Optional Windows patches.

    If that helped, take a second to support AskWoody on Patreon