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Problematic SP3 Drivers Identified

Over the past two weeks, I’ve been engaged in a part-time exercise to rebuild my Surface Pro 3 from a clean re-install of Windows 8.1 Update 1. This has proved to be an interesting exercise for many different reasons, not least of which has been an ongoing trial-and-error effort to determine which of the latest device drivers that are currently available actually work on the platform, and which do not. I have come to the end of this particular trail, and now wish to report on my findings.

After one-at-a-time attempts to match all drivers to the DriverAgent analysis, I determine that 4 drivers must be “held back” to maintain stable, proper operation.

The other three drivers that do not appear in the preceding screen cap, in addition to the Intel HD 5000 graphics driver shown therein (running version, but for which a newer version is available), are as follows:

Driver Name                                 Working                Latest Version
1. Realtek High Definition Audio       
2. Realtek USB 3.0 Card Reader    6.3.9600.31207       6.3.9600.31208
3. Android Composite ADB             6.3.9600.17041

For each of these four drivers, installing the latest version causes the system to misbehave, by which I mean either an inability to shut down properly (usually because of the Pages_Locked_in_Memory error I reported on in earlier blog posts on this topic) or because the “updated” device fails to work properly or at all. Apparently there is some method to Microsoft’s madness in limiting drivers to those it has tested and vetted rather than the “latest and greatest” available, as programs like DriverAgent seek to identify and recommend. I just wish MS would keep a list of this stuff on its Surface Pro 3 pages so that finding out which ones work (and which ones don’t) could proceed from knowledge and insight, rather than the trial-and-error I had to conduct for myself (and which others in the same boat must presumably conduct for themselves as well).