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  • Patch Lady – how do you handle drivers?

    Posted on Susan Bradley Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody blog Patch Lady – how do you handle drivers?

    This topic contains 28 replies, has 15 voices, and was last updated by  chaloots 1 week, 5 days ago.

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    • #2008796 Reply

      Susan Bradley
      AskWoody MVP

      I spotted this post the other day.  And the big big takeaway of the article is that a key issue with feature updates is driver updates. As we’ve discu
      [See the full post at: Patch Lady – how do you handle drivers?]

      Susan Bradley Patch Lady

      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2008854 Reply

      Mele20
      AskWoody Lounger

      I’m confused. Firmware and drivers are two different animals yet you seem to be mixing them up in your post. Also, what is a “vendor firmware updating tool”? I’ve never heard of such a thing before although I know about vendor tools that scan your computer to see if various drivers need updating. (IMO those should always be ignored and one should go directly to the software vendor(s) for any driver updates. One should NEVER allow Microsoft to botch a driver update via Windows Updates! Plus, never, ever do bios updates unless done by the vendor’s representative who takes full responsibility for the possible bricking of your computer. I am speaking, of course, as an individual user not as an IT person managing a number of seats that need firmware or driver updating and it is not clear if your post is aimed only at small business IT folks or at ordinary computer users or both.

      So, I am puzzled by your comment about needing to be “proactive about finding updates” for …drivers or firmware….you are not clear which you are talking about, but if you mean drivers I am not at all proactive in finding updates for drivers whether it is on my Windows 10 Pro machine or my superior Windows 8.0 Pro machine. Plus, how can you update drivers that will only work with a newer version of Windows 10 Pro than the one you have BEFORE you get the newer version of windows 10 installed?

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2008861 Reply

        PKCano
        Da Boss

        Link fixed. 🙂

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2008872 Reply

        dmt_3904
        AskWoody Plus

        I had some of the same questions, thanks for asking.  But one of your comments has me confused “Plus, never, ever do bios updates unless done by the vendor’s representative who takes full responsibility for the possible bricking of your computer.”

        I am individual user too.  I have to update my BIOS soon.  Who is the vendor’s representative??? I don’t have anyone but me.  I have a Dell and will get the update from their website.

        • #2008878 Reply

          Seff
          AskWoody Plus

          When you say that you have to update your BIOS soon, the obvious question is – why?

          • #2008902 Reply

            dmt_3904
            AskWoody Plus

            Because there is an ‘urgent’ update on Dell update page for my machine.  Plus  I am on Windows 1803 and one of the suggestions I saw said to ensure your drivers & BIOS are updated to help prevent any potential issues.  I’d rather not update the BIOS, (I agree, if it ain’t broke…..) but I think/feel it would be advisable given my need to update Windows soon.  And then I hope I can leave it alone!!!  Go make better use of the time & energy I’ve been wasting on all this!!  There will be instances where I have to update – security issues probably being the most critical, but I agree that most of the time, the updates are not anything I want, need or care about and it can cause more harm than good, for me average, non-tecchie user.

            2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2008921 Reply

          rc primak
          AskWoody_MVP

          Firmware and BIOS get commingled most of the time. They are not the same, but the procedures and caveats are similar.

          As an individual, I use the BIOS Update section of my BIOS setup, and ONLY when the vendor (in my case, Intel — in Susan’s Microsoft Surface case, Microsoft is the source) lists it as urgent in their listings for Drivers and Updates at the vendor’s own web site.  Just because a BIOS Update is available does not necessarily mean it needs to be applied, as long as the Feature Update works without it. Many vendors state for a BIOS (firmware) update whether it is a compatibility update or a security update or just some other reason, or no functional reason at all, and which exact models the firmware or BIOS updates apply to.

          In the case of the Microsoft Surface, firmware updates should be automatic, though I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to check with Microsoft’s web site for the Surface to make sure.

          This is one item the Update Assistant does not always notify us about.

          Drivers are a whole other kettle of fish. I never update a driver unless something isn’t working. After any Feature Update and the Microsoft Update round afterward, I go to my vendor (in my case Intel) and check to make sure the vendor-specific drivers are in place. If not, I restore them using the vendor’s update tool. Another source for driver restoration after a feature update is your pre-update Driver Store, located:

          C:\Windows\System32\DriverStore

          Woody has also posted here the DISM way to back up this driver store and instructions for how to use the backup to restore drivers.

          The Update Assistant will sometimes inform you if drivers may need to be updated before a feature update is attempted.

          On a Surface, the feature update should produce compatible drivers without any post-update messing around. But not necessarily the firmware update you may need.

          Truth be known, for most of us BIOS or firmware updates should be rare events, not to be considered a routine part of a feature update process.

          Maybe I’m lucky, but I have not in memory had a manufacturer firmware update brick a device. I do tend to stick with Intel-based devices or proven Android devices. Chromebook is also very reliable in this respect. I don’t do Apple, so others would have to fill in details on that side of the discussion.

          (This advice only applies to Windows 10.)

           

          -- rc primak

      • #2011746 Reply

        Susan Bradley
        AskWoody MVP

        On both my Lenovo and my HP’s at the office there is a utility tool that alerts me to drivers and firmware updates.  Both video card drivers and firmware/bios updates are needed for successful updating in the Windows 10 era.

        Susan Bradley Patch Lady

        • #2013706 Reply

          chaloots
          AskWoody Plus

          Call this a case of “different strokes”, or more to the point, “YMMV” after repeated attempts to utilize HP’s Support Assistant in order to do a proper BIOS upgrade.

          While expanding the HP Support Assistant Action Log I spotted numerous, as in sometimes three a day, entries of System BIOS (N21) having been installed. All of these listed include white “!” in red circle. I personally have invoked the upgrade process a couple of times but saw no indication that the attempted install had failed.

          My question was whether these multiple installation listings with what appears to be an alert or warning icon for each one were worthy of further concern. How could I confirm that System BIOS is truly current and installed properly using HP Support Assistant?
          A query on HP’s support forum revealed this:
          HP Support Assistant is having trouble installing this fussy and sensitive update.
          If you want / need to update the BIOS on your computer, please install the BIOS manually, that is, do not use the HP Support Assistant to install this fussy and sensitive update.

          I also learned that despite having Intel HD 530 Graphics, updating it from Intel produced monitor issues. According to Intel:
          A customized computer manufacturer driver is installed on your computer. The Intel Driver & Support Assistant is not able to update the driver. Installing a generic Intel driver instead of the customized computer manufacturer driver may cause technical issues. Contact Hewlett-Packard (HP) for the latest driver for your computer.

          The manual update initiated by me was removed, the issues experienced were resolved and I discovered that this particular file was best handled by HP.

          Please don’t mistake this as a chastisement on your historically splendid Windows OS recommendations, Susan. If not for anything else it further proves that since it’s Windows we’re talking about, and soooo many individual combinations of OS build/installed software environment, there is no “One Size Fits All”

          The duration of a minute depends on which side of the bathroom door you're on.

    • #2008877 Reply

      Seff
      AskWoody Plus

      As a home user with two unconnected desktop PCs, my policy on firmware and driver updates remains as it has always been.

      I don’t touch firmware updates because they carry an enormous risk of bricking the machine and rarely if ever offer any significant benefit whilst often being impossible to undo if things go wrong. Any supposed security benefit from such updates cannot usually be quantified in any meaningful way and is not in my view worth the performance threat – as we saw with some such updates a while ago which slowed machines down considerably. I’ve not seen any indication that those who failed to install those updates have suffered any issues as a result.

      As for driver updates, I stick to the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” rule. Although I’m a gamer, I don’t play the type of game where a benchmark improvement of 0.0001% cannot be missed out on, so with graphics and sound drivers etc I stick to the ones that are running everything smoothly and don’t go looking for trouble! I’m convinced that one of the reasons why my games run so well compared to a lot of complainers on forums is because they’re installing unproven beta drivers every few weeks while I’m sticking with the ones from several years ago that have never given me any problems. Very occasionally I’ve had reason to update a graphics driver but I don’t recall ever having updated a sound or mouse driver, for example.

      An additional reason for rejecting new drivers would be where they introduce a new feature that I don’t want or need but which increases the chances of something going wrong, not least given the abysmal level of pre-release testing these days. I just want the basics to work. I apply the same approach to things like washing machines where I avoid the ones with all the complicated extra features and buttons that light up like an airplane cockpit display! Keep it simple and the chances are it will prove to be more reliable.

      If, however, there were ever compelling reasons to install a particular driver update then I would do so through the manufacturer’s website and not through Windows Updates. A machine would probably have to stop working for me to consider a firmware update in which case I’d drop it into my local repair shop and get them to deal with it, probably having some sort of component upgrade done at the same time.

      Obviously my perspective will differ from that of many others, and I don’t have the sort of responsibilities that a company IT manager would have. It’s in the light of this sort of approach, of course, that I find the whole “need” to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10 so frustrating – a classic case of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”!

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      • #2008914 Reply

        anonymous

        How old are Your PCs and are they OEM or home built? That’s because most newer PC Motherboards for the home system builder market offer dual BIOS options and the system able to fall back to the working BIOS is a BIOS update fails and renders the system unable to post from the other BIOS. There are even Motherboards that come with BIOS flash back ability built into the MB and that MB able to update it’s BIOS from a flash drive, with no CPU in the MB’s socket.

        Laptops are the devices that are always in mortal danger of becoming glorified doorstops if the BIOS update fails and requiring a trip to the OEM’s repair shop/repair contractor to get the BIOS re-flashed. With all the current Meltdown/Spectre/Other hardware vulnerabilities still needing patching for Intel(Mostly)/AMD(Very Little)/Other CPU designers laptops are in definite need of some dual BIOS Options.

        There are OS methods for shiming in the necessary CPU microcode fixes via the OS for Linux and Windows, with Windows 10 making that process easier than on previous MS OSs. But really what’s the issue with Laptop OEMs not offering Dual BIOS laptop options for folks that can not afford to be without a working laptop, folks would gladly pay for that if offered.

         

    • #2008879 Reply

      Canadian Tech
      AskWoody_MVP

      This advice flies in the face of decades of experience. Precisely the opposite of the advice I give.

      Microsoft Update is the worst possible source for Windows Updates, followed closely behind by the myriads of “driver update” web sites.

      My advice which I have give time and again and I believe this is the same advice offered by numerous tech advisers:

      NEVER update drivers unless you have a specific driver that is causing a problem. Then, update that driver and no others. Your only source of drivers is the OEM of the equipment. Further, the same advice applies to firmware.

      The key is this kind of updating should be based on problem solving.

      CT

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      • #2008904 Reply

        dmt_3904
        AskWoody Plus

        Agree with your advice.  Some updates say they are for security reasons – wouldn’t that be a reason, in addition to if a driver is causing a problem?

        • #2008919 Reply

          Seff
          AskWoody Plus

          I wonder in those cases just how significant the security issue really is, and how often that is given as the motivation so as to push the user into installing the update for some other purpose – such as telemetry?

          Forgive my cynicism, which has been on an upward curve these past few years!

        • #2008930 Reply

          rc primak
          AskWoody_MVP

          The endless string of Meltdown-Spectre firmware updates illustrates how a “security issue” can be vastly overblown. The price we pay can be a slowdown of the device, problems with functionality, and other issues, with little real security benefit.

          As for an excuse for inserting telemetry, neither drivers nor firmware updates are common sources for telemetry. However, some “driver” updates are really driver-related software updates which can and do insert telemetry in addition to any drivers included. Microsoft Updates is no better and no worse than many vendors in this regard, including Intel.

          I agree with the idea that with drivers and firmware “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. And if Microsoft does “fix” my drivers, I know where and how to get the original drivers back. I check and do this after any Feature Update. I run the Intel Drivers and Support Assistant every month after normal updating. I restore manufacturer drivers as necessary, which is pretty often. As for firmware or BIOS updates, those are much less common. But I do keep up to date, even for Meltdown-Spectre. Just as long as no performance issues are reported.

          Surface owners would do best to let Microsoft run any driver and firmware updates they have available. This is a fully-Microsoft ecosystem, so you take what MS gives you. One more reason I don’t buy from Microsoft. The main reason is that their products do not deliver optimum bang for my bucks.

          -- rc primak

      • #2008922 Reply

        rc primak
        AskWoody_MVP

        Susan is talking primarily about the Microsoft Surface. These devices do get their drivers and firmware updates from Microsoft Update.

        -- rc primak

      • #2011747 Reply

        Susan Bradley
        AskWoody MVP

        I don’t use Microsoft update to update drivers.  I use the vendor tool.

        In the Windows 10 patching era you have to put away those years and think new ways.  I know it’s hard, but I can point to so many issues where the root cause is not updating the hardware stuff.

        Susan Bradley Patch Lady

    • #2008889 Reply

      jabeattyauditor
      AskWoody Lounger

      1980’s thinking sees firmware and drivers as “black box” technology.

      If you understand that it’s all software, with the same propensity for bugs and vulnerabilities as any other package, you realize that it’s worthy of patching as well. (You update your firewall firmware for the same reasons, don’t you?)

      If you believe good habits and an antivirus package will protect you against all outside interference, and you don’t ever patch anything, well… bless your heart.

      Btw, CT – why do you bother patching Windows 7 up to the level that you do? Why not just have a “completely clean” SP1 install and leave it there? If the “don’t touch it” strategy is the best, why not save as much time as possible?

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2009122 Reply

        AlexEiffel
        AskWoody_MVP

        I share the opinion.

        Although we can debate the real world threat one faces for each vulnerability, it might be simpler to just patch, although it might not be practical for most normal users and neither a reasonable expectation to have them check for updates to all their internal components themselves manually.

        With some latest threats targeting video card drivers and gaming software, it becomes difficult to sustain the idea that you can avoid threats by being careful while browsing the web and having an antivirus. You might be lucky. Or not. You might not find it worthwhile to reduce your risk. You might be infected without knowing it, like so many people I encounter that are sure they are not infected.

        For BIOS, you can sometimes find release notes about what the update does and only update when mandatory. It often is not necessary because they only add support for newer CPUs or other similar improvements. A good hygiene would have you periodically verify what is available and evaluate if an update is warranted. It would be better to use a manufacturer provided software to automatically be informed in case of updates to avoid delaying an important patch, but those software are not always great.

        As for Spectre, there is something that bothers me with the comment that keeps coming back that it is overblown and there is no attack. Maybe I am wrong, but from what I understand of Spectre, it is a clever technical way to have access to all your RAM. You go to an infected website, some javascript magic deduct the content of your RAM using the delay it takes to respond based on predictive CPU instructions having put the content in cache if present or not, thus the difference in timing. How long it takes to read a lot or all RAM, some say it might not be that long. Maybe you will notice it slows down your system while it reads part of your RAM during your visit to a certain website, maybe you won’t realize this is what is happening.

        It is such a good idea, silent, perfect for spying with a lower risk of being detected. So, I think it is very possible some bad actors use that on selected targets and they keep it to themselves. As I said previously, once the cat was out of the bag, they would find new versions of this clever idea and other vulnerabilities of the same type would keep popping, which is what happened. Some people might have found new similar vulnerabilities without telling anyone. It might also be harder to detect such an attack than other more intrusive methods.

        What they do with the information, we don’t know. They don’t infect you, they just read your RAM. You like that idea? Are you targeted in a large scale attack right now? Probably not, because it would make too much noise. Maybe you are comfortable with that and that is enough for you and you might not suffer any negative consequence from this. But if a large scale attack ever surface, maybe you will have time to do something at the moment to patch, maybe your RAM will already have been read. I prefer to patch because I carry too much sensitive information in my RAM.

        I can’t blame the user, though. Security is not high enough on hardware manufacturers and Microsoft list of priorities. Updates are too dangerous and difficult to understand, manufacturers stop supporting their CPU while Windows continue to run on them and nobody tells you you don’t get protection if you don’t follow tech news closely enough and at a high technical level, software keeps changing and introducing new vulnerabilities… we have a very long way to go in the industry and unfortunately, we go the opposite way in the new ever changing world that is a philosophy at odds with stronger security that needs stability.

        • #2009198 Reply

          Ascaris
          AskWoody_MVP

          As for Spectre, there is something that bothers me with the comment that keeps coming back that it is overblown and there is no attack. Maybe I am wrong, but from what I understand of Spectre, it is a clever technical way to have access to all your RAM. You go to an infected website, some javascript magic deduct the content of your RAM using the delay it takes to respond based on predictive CPU instructions having put the content in cache if present or not, thus the difference in timing. How long it takes to read a lot or all RAM, some say it might not be that long.

          There are a lot of eyes out there that are looking for just this kind of thing, and all it would take would be for one individual to discover a Spectre attack in the wild for it to hit the world press.  It would provide an instant boost to fame and credibility for any given researcher who found it, and I’d have to think they know what to look for and how to find it.  Even with all the eyes out there looking for the elusive Spectre malware, the threat remains as elusive as Bigfoot. If and when an actual exploit is discovered, it will be dealt with… malware signatures will be created, mitigation strategies will be devised.  Until then, we’re trying to protect against a phantom.

          While it’s quite obviously possible that it is out there in the wild, trying to catch something randomly that may be of use in some random passerby’s RAM, the odds are that it isn’t. If the malware that can do this exists anywhere in the world, it’s almost certainly not being deployed to read bits of the RAM of random visitors to a site.  The more people that are exposed to the malware, the more likely detection becomes, so why waste such a valuable thing on random people?  The odds of getting anything worthwhile to the attacker (which would depend on what he is looking for) are not great, and with all of the hoopla over this, nearly everyone who just gets whatever patches Microsoft or Apple or Google throws out there is already patched, so it’s that much less likely that anyone would bother if the intended victims are random people.

          If there is a Spectre malware anywhere out there, it almost certainly belongs to someone waiting to use it for a truly special target… probably someone at a nation-state level.  To use it to try to entrap random people is high risk (of having the exploit discovered) with low potential value compared to more mundane, conventional malware techniques.

          We’re trying to defend ourselves from the rare to nonexistent but spectacular threat that has no known victims to date, while the known victims of more boring threats (the kind that don’t have logos!) continue to grow.  If you’re trying to use malware to make money or steal identities, there are far better choices that deliver a lot more bang for the buck. Good old phishing is still a much more productive way to get sensitive data… just ask for it, and a certain percentage of people will just hand it right over.

          As for my own approach to Spectre… things that incur little performance penalty would be left enabled, but the things that cause a noticeable hit to performance will probably remain off until the threat becomes less Bigfoot and more brown bear.

          I haven’t turned off multithreading on my one PC (my Dell G3) that has that feature, but I haven’t bothered to turn off most of the Spectre mitigations that came automatically with kernel and microcode updates, as the G3 is already my fastest PC overall, so it can absorb the damage without annoying me more effectively.  On my Acer Swift, which is actually not swift at all, I have several of the mitigations in the Linux kernel (some of which work in conjunction with microcode updates) turned off.

          As I see it, the odds of me encountering a working Spectre script out there are slim, but the odds of me having performance penalties are not.  Everything in life has some degree of risk, and if we were to be totally risk averse, it would be impossible to ever do anything.

          I have my own mitigation strategy that don’t involve slowing my PC down, though it’s not really about Spectre as much as scripts in general.  I use uMatrix to ensure I don’t run every script a web site throws at me, and the script hosts I do whitelist are the ones I think are relatively trustworthy, given the circumstances.  Google is not trustworthy in terms of keeping my private data private, but I don’t think they are a threat in terms of using Spectre.  I cannot guarantee that the scripts I greenlight will never contain a Javascript malware, but it improves the odds (which are already in my favor) quite a lot.

           

          Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.17.4).

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    • #2008933 Reply

      anonymous

      I updated my Intel(Ivy Bridge) laptop CPU’s integrated graphics drivers from the HP website and after the Update and unusual amount of windows event logs for igfxext.exe crashing multiple time per login session. So that’s just as bad as MS’s pushed out drivers and now I wish I had not updated the drivers for Intel’s integrated graphics. I’m going to re-image my laptop for Windows 8.1 Pro shortly anyways because that laptop shipped with a Windows 8 Pro license came factory downgraded to Windows 7 Pro from HP.

      I’d say that unless your laptop is a Gaming, or portable workstation, laptop then go with the most up to date drivers but for non gaming/non portable workstation Laptops it may be best to never update the graphics drivers unless something is broken and the only way to fix the issue is with a graphics driver update. My HP Probook’s Graphics drivers are HP/OEM customized and they are not the Intel generic graphics drivers and maybe that’s the issue but I have to get the graphics drivers from HP and not Intel.

      Microsoft’s update forcing of any device drivers needs to stop as that’s rather more complicated of an issue that’s best left in the OEMs, the hardware makers, and ultimately the end user’s hands, with the end user having the final say as to what drivers get installed.

    • #2009066 Reply

      Alex5723
      AskWoody Plus

      “vendor firmware updating tool”

      There are Firmware and drivers vendor updating tools. Lenovo has System Update, Lenovo Vantage tools…

    • #2009121 Reply

      Steve S.
      AskWoody Plus

      I was recently given a “broken” ASUS laptop by a neighbor. It had failed back in early 2017 so was Win 10 Home 1607  with all the original drivers and bios from 2015/2016.

      After replacing the keyboard (neighbor had obviously spilled a drink on it) it worked fine. I used Windows Update to install available 1607 Cumulative Updates (after hiding drivers, meltdown fixes and telemetry updates via wushowhide). I then used my 1809 iso for an offline upgrade.

      Post upgrade, winver still showed the build as 1607! Also, I experienced odd bugs and behaviors so I restored the Reflect image I’d made and started over.

      The second time, I went to the ASUS support site for the specific laptop model and downloaded all the current drivers for the laptop, including the latest BIOS and bios flashing software. Also, I used the Intel Drivers and Support Assistant which said I was fully patched.  Of course this utility does NOT cover chipsets and many other drivers [see: https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/support/articles/000032252/software/software-applications.html ].

      But, before any newer drivers, I used the ASUS bios flashing software to update the bios. ASUS has very good update software that made it painless. Other manufacturers, ymmv. I also had little to lose except the cost of the keyboard.

      I then compared the installed driver versions with those download from ASUS, those offered by Microsoft and those offered by Intel. In nearly every case I used the ones obtained from ASUS support.

      Bottom line, I then upgraded to 1903 with everything working just fine. Sometimes getting things current does work out for the best. 🙂

       

      Win7 Pro x64(Group B), Win10 Pro x64 1903, Win10 Home 1903, Linux Mint + a cat with 'tortitude'.

    • #2009147 Reply

      anonymous

      Driver updates (when something isn’t acting right) – Device Manager

      BIOS/Firmware updates – Vendor website.

    • #2009324 Reply

      Mele20
      AskWoody Lounger

      I am individual user too. I have to update my BIOS soon. Who is the vendor’s representative??? I don’t have anyone but me. I have a Dell and will get the update from their website.

      You are aware of Dell’s official position on updating bios (actually their legal “cover my butt position”)? I have had Dells only (XPS line) from my first computer with Windows 98. By “vendor representative” I meant Dell official support. (I always buy 5 years if offered but since Windows 8 Dell has only offered 4 years unless you are Enterprise). Currently I have both hardware and software support by Enterprise techs (even though I have Windows 10 Pro. It’s a free upgrade courtesy of the Dell salesperson I called when I was ready to purchase this machine).

      I was not aware of Dell’s official policy regarding BIOS updates and allowed Dell tech to do one BIOS date shortly after I got the computer and had a problem that necessitated that I call Dell Pro Support Plus and while helping with the problem I called about (hardware) the tech made me install (after I had uninstalled it when I got the machine) that awful junk program they have for keeping drivers, etc up to date (so I wasn’t affected when Dell had that major security breach with it). After installing and running it, the tech noticed I didn’t have the bios update and I reluctantly installed it as he directed while he was on the phone with me. Nothing went wrong but I got a substantially slowed system because the update was from intel (to mitigate basically non existent security threats) and I was a fool to allow it and subsequent bios updates are for the same thing. I spent a lot of money on this system yet my Dell XPS with Windows 8 Pro (not 8.1) is much faster and a far better machine in every way yet both have SSDs as the primary drive. The Windows 8 machine got no bios updates (that I recall and certainly no Intel ones as those are only for 8.1 not 8.0) and it still is running fine in a hostile environment (on the ocean with no airconditioning) beginning its eighth year now.

      Anyhow, Dell’s official position on bricking a machine from a BIOS update is available in the Dell forums. But it is not something told to buyers when they buy a Dell and should be. The main Dell forum mod (who has been there a LONG time) says to not update the BIOS unless you have Dell do it and you get the name of the tech and his/her badge number in writing beforehand. There are a number of threads in the Dell forums (especially in the XPS desktop forum) asking about why there are so many “urgent” Bios updates now and how risky are they. I remember when it was extremely rare to need to update a computer’s Bios ever during its life span and now, every time you turn around, it seems, there is another Bios update almost always from Intel.

      Each of us has to make our own decision regarding Intel based Bios updates. I lost speed with the one Bios update I allowed and I spent a LOT on my CPU and do not want further crippling. Further warning, do NOT update Bios because Dell Support Assist (if you didn’t get rid of that garbage) tells you that you should or because you went to your Dell support pages/drivers and are told there to install the newer “urgent” Bios. If you are still in warranty, you will be covered for ONE ONLY FOR THE LIFE OF THE COMPUTER replacement mobo but if you only got a standard one year warranty, and you are out of warranty, and you update the Bios because Dell’s support page for your computer said it was “urgent” or for whatever reason EXCEPT FOR A DELL TECH DIRECTING YOU TO UPDATE THE BIOS UNDER THEIR SUPERVISION and that breaks the motherboard’s CMOS you will have to pay for a new mobo and install it yourself. Even if a Dell tech instructs you and guides you in updating Bios, if you are out of warranty, you will be sent a replacement mobo but you are on your own to install it.

      IMO, even today, the ONLY reason to EVER upgrade a Bios is if the vendor tells you to do so because the new Bios fixes a serious bug.

      https://www.dell.com/community/Customer-Care-Wiki/Dell-Policy-BIOS-update-breaks-motherboard-CMOS/ta-p/6063959

      • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 1 day ago by  Mele20.
      • #2009449 Reply

        dmt_3904
        AskWoody Plus

        Thank you for your thoughtful response.  I am suspicious too and reluctant to update BIOS/drivers.  I didn’t know Dell’s support website was so bad!  And I vaguely remember a breach – I just can’t keep up – though I try!  I’ve updated my Dell pw.  Generally don’t update drivers/BIOS unless there is a problem & I don’t have a problem – just thought I ‘had’ do these updates in preparation for updates to Windows 1803.  Ugh.  I don’t know – one person says this, another says that; I was not going to update BIOS, then I was, but now I don’t know.  I do have my own knowledge & opinions, but I’m not that smart  : )

        Are these devices really making our lives better? I wish I could break my dependence bc it’s just getting to be too much, IMHO.   That is a philosophical/spiritual discussion best left for another forum – but one has to wonder.

        Mostly I’m not spending an inordinate amount of time on this stuff, but I have been lately with trying to get Windows updated*  I’m going to leave well enough alone for now and not update BIOS.  See how that goes. Sigh.

        *Without major problems

      • #2011113 Reply

        anonymous

        Dell’s firmware can be hit or miss, but their installer I’ve never had any issue with.  I’ve installed probably hundreds of Dell BIOS updates thanks to Throttlegate a few years ago.  BIOS installs generally aren’t that big of a deal as long as you aren’t doing third-party.  Most of the tools will also try to verify the BIOS install before confirming.

         

    • #2009512 Reply

      Alex5723
      AskWoody Plus

      I blocked Microsoft installing drivers (Windows 10) on Lenovo y530.
      I download and install manually from OEM sites.

    • #2012453 Reply

      EP
      AskWoody_MVP

      when it comes to device drivers, Windows 10 uses the “Device Driver Retrieval Client” module (not the WU client module) to silently download and install certain hardware driver updates without any user consent or user input.

      • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 2 days ago by  EP.
      2 users thanked author for this post.

    Please follow the -Lounge Rules- no personal attacks, no swearing, and politics/religion are relegated to the Rants forum.

    Reply To: Patch Lady – how do you handle drivers?

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