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Driver Difficulties Return in Win10 Build 20140

For the last three builds of Windows 10 (10159, 10162, and 10166) the OS was remarkably well-behaved in installing drivers for my newest PC (a less-than-one-year-old Dell Venue 11 Pro 7139 with an i5 4210Y CPU aka Haswell M, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, NXP, and so forth). Alas that record was shattered with the installation of the current release candidate build numbered 10240.

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I’m not sure troubleshooting drivers for half a day counts, but here’s a current Win10 slogan to ponder…

When I finally got around to checking the successful install on Monday of this week, I found a raft of device driver issues in the wake of that installation. Here’s a list:

1. The Dell 1537 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi driver for the wireless network interface failed to load (the device was apparently not recognized and showed up in Device Manager as Unknown Device)
2. The SATA AHCI driver loaded was two generations back from the current installed version
3. The O2Micro SD card reader driver was likewise older than it should have been
4. The SMBus driver for the Synaptics touchpad did not load (and also showed up as an unknown device)
5. The WPD FileSystem driver (which also showed up as an unknown device with hardware ID root/IWDbus) did not load
6. The Bluetooth Bus driver (unknown device with hardware ID root/BTath) also did not load
7. Two Dell pseudo-drivers with hardware IDs “*DellProf” and “*DDDriver” still show up as Unknown Devices and I haven’t taken the time to research how to repair them. I’m pretty sure one is associated with my Dell 2150cdn color printer, and the other with their Diagnostics software, but a quick search turned up no fixes, so I plan to wait for the official RTM to figure out how to resolve these items.

Needless to say, this came as a big, rude, and unpleasant surprise after all my good luck on the three previous installations. In fact, I’m still scratching my head as to why this would pop up unexpectedly after several successful experiences. But in putting my system back together I learned several useful things, too:

1. Intel, NVidia, and other device makers are starting to release drivers that specifically mention and target Windows 10 directly. In truth, I’ve had little problems with all of the Win10 builds getting Windows 8.1 drivers to work with Windows 10 so driver compatibility issues between these two OSes seem to be few and far between. Nevertheless, it’s cheering to see explicitly labeled Win10 drivers as the RTM date is nearly upon us.
2. I was able to go to the Dell Support site and get most of the drivers I needed for the VP11Pro with little muss or fuss.
3. After some Internet research, I learned that for the IWDbus driver, the easiest fix was simply to uninstall what Win10 install had left behind, then discover new hardware in Device Manager, and let Windows take care of the problem (worked like a charm, so I tried this with other Unknown Device items, with varying degrees of success).
4. I had to repair my Intel Rapid Storage Technology (RST) installation because the existing version carried over through the install didn’t work any more (I’m starting to learn it may be a good idea to uninstall this service before upgrading modern Windows OSes).

The bottom line is that it’s a good idea to get your drivers lined up and ready to reinstall on any newer systems that may include devices or need drivers that Windows 10 doesn’t recognize on its own. I use a tool called “DriverBackup! 2” that does a decent job of capturing all the drivers on any machine it targets and creating a backup set of same (some drivers, however, require installation programs and these may not always restore properly directly from the .inf, .cat, .dll and other files that the application captures on your behalf). You’ll probably want to take similar precautions if you’re going to be upgrading a machine from Windows 7 or 8.1 to Windows 10 soon, or converting a preview/release candidate version to the RTM version when it becomes available.

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