Windows driver woes trip AMD GPU owners, blind Arm-powered cameras
Rollbacks and workarounds abound
Microsoft is dealing with a couple of unrelated processor driver problems that are causing headaches for some Windows users.
Redmond's Windows Update tool is automatically replacing the existing AMD GPU drivers for Windows 10 and Windows 11 with older versions, causing compatibility problems between the newly installed driver and AMD Software already deployed in the devices.
AMD acknowledged the problem and outlined a solution.
Meanwhile, Microsoft issued a temporary fix for a situation where the integrated camera app on some mobile devices, such as Surface Pro X tablets, running on certain Arm-based processors stopped working. The workaround developed by the software maker gets the camera up and running again, though it isn't a complete fix.
A clash of software versions
In the last couple of weeks, some Windows users were greeted with a dialog box when trying to launch AMD software on mobile and all-in-one systems warning them of the automatic Microsoft Update move and the resulting compatibility problem. When users got out of the warning box, AMD Software wouldn't launch.
According to a notice from the chipmaker, the problem was caused when Microsoft Windows Update "installed a Universal Windows Platform (UWP) driver for your AMD Radeon Graphics problem which is not compatible with the current installed version of AMD Software. This driver may have been provided to Microsoft by the manufacturer of your Mobile/All in One (AIO) system."
Installing the driver created a situation where there were two versions of AMD Software on the systems, and the warning box popped up when the system tried to launch the unsupported version of the software.
The AMD Software package includes support for games, various features, and tools for optimizing performance. UWP and customized mobile and AIO drivers are designed to provide compatibility with the systems.
AMD recommended users stop Windows Update from installing drivers on Radeon GPUs using system properties and pointed to a Microsoft article for steps to take. It added that depending on the Windows version being used, advanced methods can be found by searching the Microsoft Online Community. Users can then reinstall AMD Software with the latest available package.
Redditors acknowledged that reinstalling the drivers could take some time, but that the solution works.
"Roll back driver. Or reinstall the driver from AMDs website," one wrote. "I'm glad they're finally acknowledging that Windows automatically updates drivers when they're not supposed to. Before it would just do it and next thing you know your PC is unstable."
The Register has asked Microsoft for comment and will update if a response comes in.
Keeping an eye on the camera
The camera issue arose on Surface Pro X and other devices powered by Qualcomm's 8cx Gen 1 and Gen 2 chips and Microsoft's SQ1 and SQ2, all based on Arm's architecture. The problem surfaced May 23, when users reported to Microsoft and on Reddit that they were getting an "0xA00F4271<mediacapturefailedevent> (0x80004005)" error when trying to use the camera app.
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The problem didn't affect USB cameras or webcams, including those attached to affected Windows devices, according to Redmond.
However, as we noted, it did affect both front and back cameras and kept users from being able to properly run such tools as Windows Hello face recognition and Zoom.
Users spent a couple of days unsuccessfully trying their own workarounds before Microsoft issued what it called a "critical troubleshooter," which is applied automatically and can't be installed manually.
The vendor also listed steps enterprises and users can take to disable the affected feature of the camera driver and "to mitigate this issue on managed devices where troubleshooters are disabled by your organization or if you want the mitigation before the troubleshooter has run automatically."
The steps came with a warning to only apply the workaround on devices being affected by the issues because "serious problems" could rise up if the registry is incorrectly modified using the Registry Editor or another tool.
"Microsoft cannot guarantee that these problems can be solved. Modify the registry at your own risk," the company wrote.
The mitigation steps include selecting the Start button, typing "cmd" and then right clicking on Command Prompt and selecting "Run as administrator."
Admins then can copy and paste the command
reg add "HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Qualcomm\Camera" /v EnableQCOMFD /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f then press Enter.
The last step is restarting any camera-connected app.
It's not a perfect fix. It could disable some camera features or diminish the image quality, though the camera will function until the problem is resolved when the OEM releases an updated driver, which should restore full functionality.
Microsoft is working with the device manufacturers and driver makers to resolve the issue. ®