2 Replies Latest reply on Apr 9, 2015 10:56 AM by apickle

    Intel's driver installers used to be useful.  Now they are deliberately handicapped.  I want to know why.

    apickle

      I am utterly furious at you, Intel.  You make great hardware that we enthusiasts gladly encourage our friends and our families to purchase, and then you treat us like we're a bunch of blithering idiots.  I'm sure the fight against ARM will go well while you deliberately eliminate one of your best competitive advantages:  Regular software updates.

       

      After about the sixth time trying to install a driver and being told "Your system does not meet the minimum requirements for this software," or, more infuriatingly, "The driver being installed is not validated for this computer.  Please obtain the appropriate driver from the computer manufacturer," I'm about to blow a gasket.  This is straight up unacceptable.  You know damn well that OEMs update their drivers when hell freezes over, Intel, that's the ENTIRE reason people come to your website for drivers.  If you're just going to shuck us over to Dell, HP, Toshiba, etc. to get our devices to work as advertised, then you might as well can your entire software development team and save the money -- because they're producing software that nobody can actually use.

       

      End users do not come to Intel.com to get drivers.  Hell, I've met self-described "computer people" who still trustingly go to their product support page on their OEM's website to download all the drivers for their computers.  That works for the most part, unless you have something like an Intel Wireless-AC 7260 wifi card, which just, you know, disconnects randomly.  In that case, users absolutely need to get driver revision 17.14 in order for their wifi card to behave and operate in a usable manner expected by any basic wireless card (certainly one bearing the name "Intel" on it).  Or, for example, if users want their Intel Wireless Display technology to work, they'll need a minimum graphics driver of 15.36.x.x (Dell only supplies some prehistoric 10.x driver that was probably written before the Chicxulub impactor killed the dinosaurs).


      Yeah, yeah, yeah.  You're going to tell me to go to Dell, or HP, and get on them about updating the drivers, but honestly, it isn't their responsibility.  You're not giving them the internal diagrams of your processors and graphics chips and network controllers, because those are trade secrets.  Ergo, they come to you to get drivers for their machines, and then they supply them to users.  Only, they're pushing out new "refreshes" every six months to a year, which means a "new" model ends up being supported for six months if you're lucky -- after that, OEM's completely ignore it.  It might as well have not EVER existed, because that's how they'll treat it.  You know this.  You know this and you have the power to give users a better user experience by NOT including an arbitrary software flag in your installers that checks the BIOS for whether or not the computer was built by an OEM (which, in 99.9% of cases, it will have been).


      It's your job to update the drivers.  And you do!  That's one of the things I love about you, Intel, is that you ARE on top of supporting your customers, you support them for far, far, FAR longer than other companies do.  That's commendable, and rather than backpedaling on it, you should at least CONTINUE offering that.  You made $12 billion (with a B) last year.  That's PROFITS, that's after you've paid your employees, paid your electric bills, paid your fab water bills, paid your rent, had skanky office parties, and whatever else it is that you do that you consider a "business" expense -- you walked away from 2014 with $12 billion in profit.


      There is no reason for you to have these arbitrary limitations on your driver installers.  Screw OEMs.  They suck at updating drivers, and you know it.  We shouldn't have to depend on them, because at the end of the day, they're not the ones DESIGNING the hardware.  They're just sticking it all together.  YOU'RE designing the hardware, so YOU design the software to get it to work.  If I wanted a machine that was time limited and had obsolescence built-in, I wouldn't have bought a PC -- I would've bought an ARM tablet.  But I didn't, Intel.  I bought an x86 tablet in a world that's wetting itself over the thinner, lighter, sexier ARM tablets.  Sure would be a shame for me, and others like me, to change our tune on this because you left us high and dry.

        • 1. Re: Intel's driver installers used to be useful.  Now they are deliberately handicapped.  I want to know why.
          joe_intel

          Thank you for sharing your detailed input on this topic.

           

          We are always trying to improve your experience when using our drivers and software.

           

          Nevertheless, OEMs sometimes need to create customized drivers for Intel components and, in such cases, Intel generic drivers may not work with such computer models due to customization from the manufacturer. In some scenarios the generic Intel drivers can be installed through alternative installation methods as described in the article below.

           

          Graphics Drivers — Computer Manufacturer Graphics Driver Detected

          • 2. Re: Intel's driver installers used to be useful.  Now they are deliberately handicapped.  I want to know why.
            apickle

            Look, it's just that... after dealing with these arbitrary software switches while trying to get my Venue 11 Pro (7130? 7139?  Dunno, Dell is really helpful to consumers who'd like to know what the difference is or how to tell which is which) working as advertised, I was pretty frustrated... but I could deal with it, because as obnoxious as it is to have to do the manual install method, I'm a geek, I know how to do it, so I can and will.

             

            But then I was at work, trying to update the graphics drivers on a Dell Latitude E6320... and I was getting an error message.  Why?  Don't know.  It definitely has a Core i5 2540M, and definitely has Intel HD Graphics 3000, and definitely runs Windows 7 64-bit... but for some reason that driver installer for that graphics chip and that OS on your website just doesn't work.  It simply refuses to install.  What would I do if I were just some regular user who was trying to update my graphics driver to use some piece of software on my machine?  Throw it out the window, buy a new one?  You used to have drivers that just worked!  You used to have drivers that installed whether they detected an OEM string or not!  What happened to those days?

             

            I get the OEM customization argument - except... no, never mind, I really can't.  I have repaired thousands of computers in my time.  It's what I do.  Do you know how many times I have EVER reverted to using the OEM's driver because it offered "customizations?"  Exactly ONE time:  I used Dell's driver for audio on their Latitude E6440's, because using the one from Realtek's website makes funky things happen when you plop the computer into Dell's E-Port docks.  Besides that?  I have used the original source drivers (i.e. straight from Intel, Realtek, AMD, nvidia, etc.) every other time where possible, because OEM "customizations" are at best useless gimmicks, and oftentimes cause far more problems than they're worth.  I have FIXED problems that people were experiencing BECAUSE of these languishing out-of-date OEM drivers.

             

            By and large, my customers don't care about "HP Audio by Dre" or whatever the latest fad is -- they want the speakers on their laptop to play sound.  They want their desktop to do the things they expect it to do when they click buttons on screen and use software.  They want it t to avoid crashing and blowing up a Word document that they spent hours working on.  You know what makes computers do that?  Updated, stable, standard drivers.  OEM drivers are usually tragically out of date (Dell's driver for the Intel HD 3000 on the Latitude E6320 is dated 5 August 2011 - that's straight shameful), and as such are missing both stability AND security fixes that end-users would benefit from... and by having this OEM check on your drivers, it's just an extra step that makes it more difficult for both experienced AND inexperienced users.

             

            You guys are erring on the wrong side here.  For the most part, a user won't care (or probably even notice) any OEM customizations that have disappeared, but they won't whine when their computer DOESN'T crash, which it is less likely to do using your two month old drivers versus using their OEM's four year old drivers.  Could you at least have a manual override?  Like, have the software prompt the user to get the OEM software unless I start the installer with a config switch?