OS Downgrade – And OEM Driver Packaging

- Posted in: Tech Talk
OS Downgrade – And OEM Driver Packaging

The majority of large Enterprises are still using Windows 7 versus Windows 8/8.1. The OEM built machines come with Windows 8/8.1 standard and the machines must be reimaged to the Standard Operating Environment (SOE) which includes the Windows 7 OS. The computer OEMs' provide corporate deployment "packages" and downgrade instructions on their websites to deliver the hardware drivers required by the system under a Windows 7 OS. This is all very run-of-the-mill, however, there are some traps to avoid. When using the driver deployment packages, the contents of the package should be carefully compared to the individual drivers available on the same download page/site.

Why you may ask? Because delays in recreating the deployment packages mean some package drivers are older than the individual driver updates that are posted. Also some, if not all, deployment packages do not include the BIOS update and this must be done separately. The most critical factors to USB 3.0 docking functionality are the drivers for Display adaptor, USB 3.0 Host Controller ( xHCI or eXtensible Host Controller) and BIOS. These are the ones most often found to be out of date, even with the latest computer model. Many chipset manufacturers are continually making driver improvements, especially in relation to USB 3.0, so delivering the most recent hardware driver and BIOS updates deliver a more robust and functional system to the end user thus reducing downtime and follow up remedial work. The recommendation from DocKtor Aus -

  1. Compare the package contents with the latest individual driver updates to identify later drivers.

  2. Check the README/Release Notes of the later drivers to determine the order of installation.

  3. Deliver the deployment package

  4. Deliver the individual updated drivers and the BIOS update in the OEM recommended order.

NB: Some computer models require the BIOS to be updated last and others recommend doing it first, so following the release notes is critical for optimum results.

I attended a users' new X1 Carbon that had been downgraded to Windows 7 Enterprise 64bit and the user believed the docking station was faulty. The user experienced lagging mouse, delayed keyboard keystrokes, dock not detected on resume from sleep and slow display redraw on the dock connected external monitor. The OEM driver package had been applied by the tech doing the downgrade, however, that only completed step 3 of the 4 recommended steps. Completion of the remaining recommended steps 1,2 and 4 resolved the issues. Computer: Lenovo X1 Carbon 20A7, Windows 7 Enterprise 64bit

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