The perilous quandary of including external drivers on the Windows CD


(Technically, it's probably more a dilemma than a quandary, but I like the phrase perilous quandary.)

Driver coverage is always a sticking point for Windows deployments. If the Windows CD doesn't include a driver for your particular hardware, you're probably going to say, "Windows sucks. I installed the latest version on my machine and it didn't work with my video card/sound card/network card/whatever." The people who are responsible for deciding which drivers are included on the CD have to balance a lot of factors. How popular is the hardware? Will the hardware vendor allow Microsoft to include the driver on the Windows CD? Is the vendor willing to spend the additional effort to get the driver WHQL-certified?

Even after Windows ships, the struggle is not yet over. I was reminded of this when I learned of a hardware vendor whose driver on the Windows CD was discovered to contain a security flaw. The following is a completely fictionalized version of the conversation that took place with the vendor.

"Hey, it looks like there's a security flaw in the driver you gave us to include on the Windows CD. «details omitted» Can you take a look at it and tell us what you think?"

— Yes, it appears to be a flaw in the x.y version of the driver. It is fixed in the x.z version.

"Great, can you send us a copy so it can be made available on Windows Update?"

— No, we'd rather distribute the updated driver through our resellers.

"Our data (based on information anonymously and voluntarily provided by Windows users) shows that of all the Windows customers who have your hardware, only 5% of them are running version x.z or higher of your driver. The rest are still running version x.y or earlier. Please reconsider your decision."

— Thanks for the offer, but we would prefer to distribute the updated driver through our resellers.

Negotiations continued for three months before the vendor agreed to allow the updated driver to be distributed on Windows Update.

Comments (53)
  1. art says:

    This is when you notify the users that there is a security problem with driver x from company xyz, that they need to update it, but that company xyz refuses to allow microsoft to distribute it… and you provide the company web address and tech support phone number.

    [The information was collected anonymously; there is no way to identify or contact the affected users. And most users don’t go through the Windows Update application; they just let Windows download and install updates automatically, so there is nowhere to display the message. And even for the users which manage to see the message, most of them will ignore it because their computer still works, and taking no action is easier than taking action. -Raymond]
  2. ton says:

    And then despite these facts when some l33t hacker attacks the vulnerability to try to compromise Windows everyone blames Microsoft for it and not the stubborn vendor who used an ineffective software update mechanism.

  3. Then the company makes noise about how Microsoft is strong arming them. The story breaks on Slashdot and everyone makes a lot of noise there about how Microsoft is evil.

  4. Karellen says:

    "No, we’d rather distribute the updated driver through our resellers."

    Whuh …? Why would a hardware vendor screw over their customers like this?

    I can almost see the point of some vendors who screw their customers by refusing to port drivers for old hardware to new versions of Windows, as it’s more work for them which they won’t get any revenue from.

    But, if they’ve already written the code and updated the driver, which includes things like security fixes, why on earth would they not want to get that to as many of their customers in any way they possibly could?

  5. Brian says:

    "we’d rather distribute the updated driver through our resellers." implies to me the company makes a chipset rather than actual consumer hardware.  The problem with installing a driver from the chipset manufacturer is you don’t get all the "extras" that the consumer hardware manufacturer may have added.  For the majority of folks, this is fine since the extras normally just amount to crappy bloated front ends that crash a lot.

  6. Mark J says:

    Microsoft should include as a part of the agreement with the hardware vendor that if their driver is to be included on the Windows CD that Microsoft reserves the right to obtain updated drivers for distribution via Windows Update. That way there’s no questions asked and if the vendor doesn’t want to comply they can either refuse to have their drivers included on the Windows CD to begin with or if they choose noncompliance after signing the agreement on Microsoft can just pass the issue on to their legal department.

  7. k3wl says:

    "And then despite these facts when some l33t hacker attacks the vulnerability to try to compromise Windows everyone blames Microsoft for it and not the stubborn vendor who used an ineffective software update mechanism."

    Bugs and vulnerabilities will always exist. And the goal here isn’t to help the user find the right person to blame. That doesn’t do anything positive. Ofcource I don’t feel "sorry" for MS either. They are in an enviable market leader position and unlike fringe operating systems, any modern device will definitely ship with Windows drivers.

  8. Mark J (@12:46):

    The hardware vendors don’t particularly want us to ship the drivers with Windows at all.  The logic is that most Windows installs are either from OEMs or corporate deployments which would carry the drivers appropriately or in the statistically insignificant case of people purchasing the card directly, they have the drivers available with the retail purchase.

    They accede to allowing Windows to carry the drivers in-box more or less as a favor to Microsoft.  This isn’t 100% true but the scenario here is clean installation (not upgrade) of Windows from retail purchased media.

    Now that’s how all the systems in my span of control operate so I’m personally affected by this attitude/policy/dilemma but we, the entheusiast crowd are by fast the minority.

  9. CGomez says:

    Following the lead of not naming manufacturers, as much as I want to…

    Just yesterday I needed a driver update, as it was pointed out to specifically be the solution to a problem.  My drivers were OEM and from 2006, so I figured okay.

    Nothing via Windows Update.  Nothing from the manufacturer of the hardware.  Nope, they had agreed to distribute through the computer vendor.  And the vendor didn’t have a late enough release posted.

    I had to actually argue with them that there was a later release.  Finally, they put it on their web site.

    Wouldn’t Windows Update have been better?

  10. Evan says:

    @k3wl: "And the goal here isn’t to help the user find the right person to blame. That doesn’t do anything positive."

    Yes it does. Consumers should have information about company’s security records and such so that they can make intelligent purchasing decisions. Hiding this information does a disservice to the consumer. If I knew who this company is, I’d be less inclined to buy from them in the future, just so I can keep my computer more secure without constantly manually checking for driver updates.

    (At a broader level, what I’d do at first glance if I were MS would be to display a screen during/after installation saying "The following manufacturers refuse to allow us to distribute drivers with Windows", give a list, and then URLs to the manufacturer’s sites to where you can get a driver. (Perhaps have it dynamically retrieve the information from MS so that it’s up-to-date.) Then do what Mark J said.)

  11. Guest says:

    Could Microsoft at least cover most of the network cards? I recently had to reinstall Windows XP on my rather old PC and was surprised to find out that Windows didn’t have a driver for my Marvell Yukon network card (which comes with motherboard from popular manufacturer).

  12. Alexandre Grigoriev says:

    Michael Grier,

    And sometimes Microsoft refuses to in-box the driver, because of politics of some PMs. We’ve had that with Win7 in-box.

    And the vendors may not want to include an already outdated drivers on the CD, or give the source code to MS, which they have to do for inboxing.

    And sometimes Windows update installs a driver that makes a system unbootable (had that with audio driver once). Or installs completely wrong driver, as it was once for my IDE controller (VIA).

    It would be better in some cases if Windows Update just notified the user that there are updated drivers from the vendors, and updated apps (expecially in the case of popular document viewer).

  13. Andre says:

    But what about drivers which are already available from Windows Update? With Windows Vista I came across a few wireless networking devices which aren’t automatically installed, but which have drivers available through Windows Update… But to get to Windows Update I need to set up wireless networking :)

    And in this case these drivers weren’t added to WU afterwards – they were there from Vista Beta 1, and were not added to the Windows 7 DVD. Even though there is plenty of space left for more drivers in both drivers.

    I’d imagine that you’d want to get as much networking drivers as possible on the CD… Since from there many people would be able to connect to the Internet and, thus, Windows Update to get the remaining drivers… no?

  14. Yuhong Bao says:

    "I recently had to reinstall Windows XP on my rather old PC and was surprised to find out that Windows didn’t have a driver for my Marvell Yukon network card (which comes with motherboard from popular manufacturer)."

    XP was released back in 2001, and I doubt that network card existed back then.

  15. Ken Hagan says:

    "The hardware vendors don’t particularly want us to ship the drivers with Windows at all. […] we, the enthusiast crowd are by far the minority."

    True, but we are a vocal one. If a potential customer is wondering what brand to buy they might very well google for "<brand> sucks" and see what comes up. I know I’ve done this and I’ve suggested the technique to others. Any way I look at this one, I’m confronted with the question of "Why would you want to annoy any part of your existing customer base when it wouldn’t cost you anything to be helpful?".

  16. John Muller says:

    I’d really like to see more minimal standard interfaces, particularly for network adapters.

    Most video cards will work as ‘Standard VGA’ without a particular driver, which is enough to let you get a better driver.

    Network cards should have a common interface, even if it only works at 10Megabit, to allow you to download the better drivers from the network.

  17. k3wl says:

    "At a broader level, what I’d do at first glance if I were MS would be to display a screen during/after installation saying "The following manufacturers refuse to allow us to distribute drivers with Windows", give a list, and then URLs to the manufacturer’s sites to where you can get a driver. (Perhaps have it dynamically retrieve the information from MS so that it’s up-to-date"

    Um. WTF? Please tell me you’re kidding. Please.. You’re laughing off behind the screen aren’t you? Yes?!

  18. RobO says:

    "they might very well google for "<brand> sucks" "

    Yes, but practically "<any Brand> sucks" will turn up stories of bad customer experiences.

  19. Jim says:

    This is the unique feature of software. You do not see car producer sells three wheels car but for software producer they often sell the crap and then patch them. There is no customer advocacy person in the decision making anywhere. Sometimes MS is srewing the customer and sometimes others are doing that.

  20. someone else says:

    The question still remains: Why, god, why?? Is it really that much work to hand the drivers over? Has any vendor ever explained there actions?

  21. Evan says:

    "Um. WTF? Please tell me you’re kidding. Please.. You’re laughing off behind the screen aren’t you? Yes?!"

    Why?

    1) I think the requirement that if MS ships a driver on the Windows CD, future versions should be able to be shipped over Windows Update is a reasonable one.

    2) I think the requirement that MS try not to leave users in the dark about why their device isn’t working and providing as much help as is practical is a reasonable one.

    Seems to me like not providing drivers, but providing instructions on how to get them is a good compromise between these two conflicting goals.

    So no, I wasn’t being totally facetious or anything like that. I mean, I’m sure you’d have to tweak the wording and interface, but the general idea may not be so bad.

  22. Alun Jones says:

    I think what’s forgotten here is that as soon as the device has been bought, installed, and works once, that user is no longer a customer. The OEM is still a customer, the corporate environment is still a customer, but the end user is not going to send any more money to the hardware manufacturer. Why, then, would the hardware manufacturer spend money, time or effort to provide those freeloaders with a new driver that cost good money to develop? Goodwill? Goodwill doesn’t put diamonds on the Rolex.

  23. Igor Levicki says:

    >>Whuh …? Why would a hardware vendor screw over their customers like this?<<

    Because they can.

    I recently had a problem with ABC Bluetooth Mouse refusing to work on Vista SP1 either with Vista Bluetooth drivers or with OEM ones.

    Vista kindly suggested to get DEF drivers and even gave me a link which I followed only to learn that “download area is being reconstructed and will be available from April, 1st”.

    Notebook vendor GHI of course does not provide newer, working drivers either.

    I am at a loss who I should hate now:

    1. GHI

    2. ABC

    3. DEF

    I chose all three.

  24. Xepol says:

    Should have been a requirement to put the driver on the CD in the first place that updates be shipped via windows update.

    That’s pretty much a no brainer.  Of course, it can be easier to just get the drivers on the disk than to get an up front agreement to allow updates, which would have been the right thing to do.

  25. Karellen says:

    Ah, of course.

    Sorry, I keep thinking of "driver" as "~100K of code that *drives* the device", and not a "100Mb of crapware, less than 1% of which is actually a driver" driver.

  26. Jonathan Wilson says:

    With regards to this, often what you get is company X making chipsets and then a number of companies (possibly including company X) making hardware based on the chipsets. Often the hardware on different boards is the same or very close and the difference is what drivers and bundle ware each driver vendor ships.

    Notable example was one case where a particular audio chipset supports Dolby Digital Live but where one vendor had exclusive rights to use the DDL feature and you couldn’t get it on the other cards with this chipset.

    Wont name names but you can find it with google if you care :)

  27. Roger says:

    I just reinstalled XP last night and went through this pain.  I even slipstreamed SP3 and my video, sound and storage (AHCI) drivers.  Needless to say the one driver I forgot was network!

    Later on I found that someone actually did decide to produce archives of almost all device drivers out there, just ready for slipstreaming.  See http://driverpacks.net

  28. Brian says:

    Yuhong Bao: good catch, Marvel created the Yukon October 11, 2002 — 1 year after Windows XP shipped.

  29. Fowl says:

    Some new drivers are included in service pack slipstreams.

  30. Yuhong Bao says:

    BTW, if you thought this was painful, try installing the original NT 4 on a machine and then using it to download the latest service pack and the latest version of IE.

  31. This has always been a pet hate of mine as well, particularly when there’s a chip/product split. My mother’s old laptop had a rather flaky graphics driver installed – there was a new version available, but the chipset manufacturer insisted on customers getting it from resellers. Difficult – when the reseller in this case had gone bankrupt and no longer provided anything at all! They didn’t care: I wasn’t their customer, just someone who was stuck with one of their products. Needless to say, I try to avoid falling into that trap now – difficult, though, when both the major manufacturers do it.

    I like Evan’s plan – not just because it would push more manufacturers to help us by including drivers in WU and the Windows disks, but providing more information would be more helpful. I’d far rather have "Sorry, ExampleWare does not allow your EyeGouger 2 video card’s drivers to be included in Windows Update, please download them from example.com/eg2/drivers/" instead of "Unknown device, no drivers" and a guessing game.

    Manufacturers should also bear in mind that education customers all have to reinstall Windows (the Campus license gives us Windows upgrade rights, so we buy with Vista Home Basic or whatever is cheapest at the time, then install XP Pro or Vista Enterprise ourselves); failing to give us proper drivers is not helpful.

  32. Neil says:

    Would it be possible to blacklist version x.y of the driver, and the device manager would show the yellow warning symbol and give you a link to the report of the security issue?

  33. Mark Sowul says:

    Igor – check your facebook messages.

  34. Joseph Koss says:

    The product (windows) is all the better by including essential drivers..

    ..surely a dollar value can be negotiated for those drivers that are essential.

    The issue is clouded by the fact that the benefits are sometimes mutual.. but obviously not always mutual, and therein is the problem.

  35. Vyacheslav Lanovets says:

    Getting updated drivers for laptop produced > 1.5 years ago is the real pain. Once the model is sold-out vendors just stop supporting it.

    One should carefully select notebook vendor and even particular model. Model should be very popular but vendor’s product line should be very small (not 100+ completely different models at a time). That’s why I will never buy typical Acer notebook. I had lots of pain once with their 1694WLMi.

    Unfortunately, the only laptop vendor in the market that supports its products well is Apple.

  36. Anonymous Coward says:

    I think Microsoft should have simply deleted the driver on Patch Tuesday. If it is a video card driver, enable fallback CGA support. >:-)

    Seriously though, I think it was utterly irresponsible for Microsoft not to show a warning message to the user, because after all Windows Update can detect whether the buggy driver is active and it is perfectly capable of displaying all kinds of UI, so a simple message along the lines of ‘Driver X by manufacturer Y has been disabled because of security concerns, please obtain an updated version from the manufacturer’ is certainly possible.

    I certainly hope that Microsoft isn’t knowingly leaving such security vulnerabilities on my system and will act more responsibly in the future.

    [1. No Windows Update link to a download page: “We would rather distribute the driver through our resellers.” 3. Most users uses Automatic Update anyway, not Windows Update. So adding UI to Windows Update doesn’t help. 3. The driver in question leaves your machine effectively unusable if it’s disabled, and there’s no “generic version” to fall back on. I can see the Slashdot headline now: “Microsoft’s latest update turns X million computers into doorstops.” 4. Being mean and nasty to another company is not the way to foster a positive relationship. -Raymond]
  37. SuperKoko says:

    PS: Theoritically, 360x480x8 isn’t even a standard (it’s an undocumented feature of VGA cards that became a de-facto standard). So the latest REAL standard is 320x200x8.

  38. Grant says:

    To the people suggesting mandatory updates, could you please provide a practical solution to ensure complaince? Have Microsoft sue the vendors who don’t comply? Black-ball the offending vendor’s hardware? Anonymous CVS access?

    A company would probably just be able to pull a google and list the updated drivers as perpetual beta, and thus unsuitable for an official release.

  39. Sean Harlow says:

    I’m all for the hard-line approach.  Don’t include it unless you can get a guarantee that future versions will be available to Windows Update.  If the vendor won’t play ball and there is a security concern, make Defender pop an alert on it.

    Yes it will piss off some vendors, but tough for them. They’re the ones in the wrong and you’re the one doing things right. I mean we all know Slashdot has an anti-MS bias, but Slashdot users have also many times dealt with companies like Company 1 tying updates to the original CDs, both Company 2 and Company 3 not supporting notebook GPUs, and Company 4 having possibly the slowest FTP server on the face of the earth hosting their drivers. All of those are terribly, consumer-unfriendly moves. Microsoft is in a position to solve some of those problems.

    If a hardware vendor is on here and thinks I’m wrong about this and that they have any legitimate reason to limit access to drivers for hardware I already own, feel free to Google me or whois my URL and shoot me an e-mail. Until then, wherever reasonably possible I will avoid any vendors who do not make it easy for me to get drivers for full functionality of my devices.

  40. streuth says:

    It’s a lark isn’t it!

    From a user perspective, it’s great that MS try so hard to ship third party drivers.

    I mean, I have some "legacy" hardware, and the manufacturer doesn’t have the time or money to write a new driver for Vista.

    So when the driver becomes available through MS as a user, I say, "Yay, Microsoft have written a driver for my legacy hardware. It’s no longer a hunk of junk."

    There’s two things to note. One, is that perhaps the hardware manufacturer wanted to stimulate sales. Perhaps as a customer I’d be better off with a new hardware item to replace the hunk ‘o’ junk. Two, is that whent he driver appears via the MS route, as a user I say "Yay, Microsoft, my hero".

    It goes both ways, and the manufacturers know it. In fairness, you don’t hear Microsoft complaining about it, but maybe now Raymond’s post makes us all more aware.

    As a private developer, I know how much I depend on the MS API’s staying he same. They could pursue new and better ways to the future of software, and depending on what they did, my whole life investment might go >pop<.

    So far it’s been O.K., but as time goes on I get more and more wary. It’s different but similar. Who has the upper hand the hardware manufacturer or Microsoft?

    I’d say Microsoft.

    So if a hardware manufacturer has just had %80 of it’s products relegated to legacy, in one hit, can you blame them for being a bit miffed, especially when they can blame their "enforced" hardware upgrades on Microsoft.

    Everyone wants progress without pain. The trouble is that progress hurts. Sometimes it even kills….

  41. Drak says:

    Alun Jones: ‘I think what’s forgotten here is that as soon as the device has been bought, installed, and works once, that user is no longer a customer.’

    I have to disagree there. I’m what Michael Greer calls an enthousiast, and if I have trouble with Company X’s product, the next time I upgrade, I’ll get company Y’s product instead. So Company X will lose business from us end users if they have crap support.

  42. MC says:

    And this all leads to those websites that actually sell you other companies drivers.   Many times when I google for a driver it seems that I got those hits first,   so it seems some people must be paying them the money otherwise they wouldn’t bother.    The fact that these websites exist shows something is wrong…

  43. Karellen says:

    Alun : "as soon as the device has been bought, installed, and works once, that user is no longer a customer [and] is not going to send any more money to the hardware manufacturer. Why, then, would the hardware manufacturer spend money, time or effort to provide those freeloaders with a new driver that cost good money to develop?"

    You could say that about any security update/bug fix.

    Are you seriously suggesting that software vendors should refuse spend money, time and effort on security patches, because why should they provide "freeloading" users with a secure product that cost good money to develop?

    Wow.

    On the off chance that you aren’t being sarcastic/satirical (and the last sentence in your post gives me a glimmer of hope that you might and that IHBT) then I sincerely hope I never have to rely on any software (driver, commercial or otherwise) that you ever have a hand in developing. Could you post what company you work for below, so I can stay away from their products forever, please.

  44. Aaron G says:

    Microsoft needs to hire some of these commenters ASAP.  If not for their highly insightful analysis, Microsoft would never know how to solve problems such as this.

    On a more serious note, I have to admit, while the politics are crystal clear (hardware vendors want to force users to download the retail/OEM shovelware in order to get one piffling driver), I’m kind of baffled by the economics.  None of these companies actually make money from their horrible software add-ons; not even the OEMs as far as I know.  It costs them money to develop and maintain and there is no direct income nor ad revenue.  You’d think it would be less hassle to just stick to drivers and let Windows handle the deployment headaches.

    Obviously there are forces at work here that John Q. Public can’t hope to understand.  Either that or the manufacturers have the brains of trout.

  45. PDQ says:

    Some hardware manufacturers care so little, they shouldn’t even dream of WHQL certification.

    For example, take two printers: one is a well-known brand, the other a very-off-brand. Plug in one, install the driver. Plug in the other, the new one starts using the other’s driver.

    Find out the off-brand had decided to program with the same VID and PID. No <u>good</u> way for a user to install either driver without both printers trying to use the same one.

  46. someone lese says:

    “Find out the off-brand had decided to program with the same VID and PID. No <u>good</u> way for a user to install either driver without both printers trying to use the same one.”

    Wait. Off-Brand™ used a Vendor ID that was already taken by another party? I’d think the legal department of Well-Known Brand® would have a field day with that.

  47. Dog says:

    Surely Microsoft should at least provide working drivers for their own hardware on the DVD before worrying about 3rd-parties?

    [You’re saying that Windows should give the Microsoft Hardware division preferntial treatment? (The Hardware division should be allowed to put a hold on the Windows release date until they get all their drivers in order.) -Raymond]

    My experience was that my mouse (Microsoft Wireless Desktop 1000) did not work initially in Vista (worked during setup, not on first boot). I got an error that said the driver was for “Windows 95 or later”. (Monumentally stupid error message, Vista *is* later than W95, should say “an older version of Windows”.) even if no specific driver for this hardware had been shipped on the DVD, it would have worked with the standard HID driver.

    To recap, I count serveral things wrong with this situation:

    1) Shipping a non-functional driver on the DVD.

    2) For MS-branded hardware, you know, the OEM that MS has the best relations with, themselves.

    3) When the hardware would have worked with a standard driver, if no specific one had been provided.

    4) An absolutely ridiculous error message that seems *designed* to confuse.

    [Don’t make me bring back the Norman Diamond corner. -Raymond]
  48. DWalker says:

    It’s amazing to realize that XP was released back in (late) 2001.  I still think of XP as a modern, releatively new operating system.  I’m ready for Windows 7!

  49. Dog says:

    > You’re saying that Windows should give the Microsoft Hardware division preferntial [sic] treatment?

    That’s a decision for Microsoft, however, look at it this way; who is the use going to blame when their hardware doesn’t work? With third party devices, they may blame Microsoft, they may blame the vendor for not providing a driver to MS for the DVD, not having a driver ready for the OS release, etc. With Microsoft-branded hardware, they *will* blame MS. There is nobody else to blame, it is Microsoft’s fault.

    Secondly, having a non-working driver on the DVD is inexcusable. It shows that the driver was never tested. All drivers should be tested against the release build before they are finally approved for the DVD.

    The fact that Microsoft cannot even manage the hardware vendor/OS vendor relationship properly within themselves hardly inspires confidence that they can do it with 3rd-parties.

    [“That’s a decision for Microsoft”: Okay, so you make a suggestion, I point out a logical conclusion of your suggestion, and now you won’t stand behind it. You can’t have it both ways: Either the Windows division should treat other Microsoft divisions the same as non-Microsoft software/hardware vendors, or it should give them special treatment. Pick one. -Raymond]
  50. Dog says:

    "That’s a decision for Microsoft": Okay, so you make a suggestion, I point out a logical conclusion of your suggestion, and now you won’t stand behind it. You can’t have it both ways: Either the Windows division should treat other Microsoft divisions the same as non-Microsoft software/hardware vendors, or it should give them special treatment. Pick one. -Raymond

    Fine, my answer is "yes". From a user’s POV, if anything can be expected to work out-of-the-box in Windows, it’s recent MS-branded hardware. This means that their drivers should be well-tested, available on WU, certified, etc.

    However, this preferential treatment should not be to the exclusion of 3rd-parties. It should be possible for 3rd-parties who make high-volume hardware, agree to have their drivers on WU and the DVD, submit to certification, etc. to receive the same preferential treatment (and possibly a special logo for their packaging), even if no 3rd-parties ever actually do.

  51. spearace says:

    The problem I sometimes find is that network drivers are not included on the CD for what I would assume is a fairly standard card. I don’t mind if all the other drivers aren’t available from the start, as long as I can connect to the net and fetch them from Windows Update.

  52. Jadawin says:

    Actually, I almost never install hardware updates from Windows/MS Update; a few times of them making my system crash for whatever reason (over the past many years), and that’s enough to stay away from what has always appeared to me as "MS has generic drivers for the chips behind my hardware" in favour of "My hardware VAR’s drivers for my specific hardware build".

    Right now, WU wants me to update:

    LSI Corporation – Storage – Dell SAS 5/iR Adapter Controller

    LSI Corporation Storage software update released in June, 2008

    Yeah, cause I want the OEM update to something that Dell has possibly tinkered with, that stores all my data….

  53. Anonymous Coward says:

    Even the autoupdater has UI, Raymond. I know, because every time it finds an update it pops a balloon in my face saying something like ‘aren’t you happy you can still use your computer while updating?’ And half a minute later it shows a big dialog asking for a reboot. This may of course depend on your settings, but in principle the thing can show UI. Quod erat demonstrandum.

    Also, when programming an operating system, you should in principle be coding on behalf of the user, not some third party, especially if the third party is irresponsible. Having a healthy relationship with a company that leaves security holes on your customer’s computers is a contradiction in terms, and when the chips fall down and the balloon goes up it’s the manufacturer who is screwed, not Microsoft, at least if you inform your customers properly.

    They don’t have to like you, they’ll have to make sure their hardware works on Windows anyway to stay in business. Yes, /. will bitch about it, but no one cares, not even we really.

    I’ll grant you that if it was some specific motherboard driver (laptop possibly?) or something like that, you may simply not be able to disable it, but you still have the moral duty to inform the user.

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