We’re recommending that users with DisplayLink-based USB graphics devices hold off on upgrading to Windows 8 until DisplayLink, Microsoft, and Intel have a chance to do further driver updates. Here’s the background:
Because Windows (and Mac and Linux) don’t have built-in support for USB graphics, the drivers have to do a lot of work.
To add graphics outputs in a fully plug and play fashion, the drivers have complex dependencies on the operating system and the primary GPU drivers on the system. So updates to either the operating system’s graphics subsystem (e.g. a new Windows DirectX, Mac Quartz Extreme, or Linux kernel/Xorg version) or updates to the Intel, nVidia, AMD, or other graphics driver — can all potentially cause problems.
As Windows 8 is just releasing and component makers are releasing driver updates, there will be a lot of churn for a few weeks, at least.
Users with USB multiple monitor setups should be cautious about upgrading to Windows 8 until things settle down. And once you do make the leap, always aim to run the latest DisplayLink drivers.
We have reports of many systems working well. But we also have reports of problems that have just cropped up with the final Windows 8 release and updates this week:
- [updated 12/18/2012] Windows 8 replaces all 3rd party USB 3.0 host stacks with a Microsoft-provided USB stack. This is great in the long term, but the Microsoft stack may have different behavior or be stricter than USB 3.0 stacks on Windows 7. In particular the Win 8 stack flags an error in the hub descriptor of some USB 3.0 Universal Laptop Docking stations, which then causes a cascade of errors that (on Intel USB 3.0 host controllers) can leave the xhci root port with a code 43 error, disabling all USB 3.0 ports. The problem is solved with a dock firmware update (this one is only for the Plugable UD-3000. Plugable has now updated all units in stock at Amazon.com as of 12/19/2012). Other workarounds including connecting via USB 2.0 only, or replace Microsoft’s Windows 8 stack with Intel’s Windows 7 stack
- [update 11/26/2012] nVidia’s new Win8 graphics drivers may cause DisplayLink’s USB graphics driver to stop functioning or other problems. DisplayLink released a new update (7.0M3) in November that resolved most problems, but some smaller ones remain. Rollback to nVidia driver version 22.214.171.1246 (6/21/2012) solves the issue. If you get in this situation, here’s how to do a rollback. And then you have to stop Windows Update from offering the same update again. To do that, hit the Windows key (to bring up search), type “Windows Update”, expand the important updates, and right click on the one from nVidia and select “hide update”.
- [update 11/26/2012 solved by 7.0M3]
DisplayLink driver installs may only partially complete or may not fully uninstall, leaving the driver in a non-working state (USB monitors don’t work), even though no errors are reported. We recommend getting your Windows 8 machine to be Internet connected, and then allow Windows Update to automatically download and install the latest drivers. Installing DisplayLink drivers manually may conflict with a Windows Update install already happening in the background, and result in mis-installed drivers. See details on DisplayLink’s forum
- Silverlight video — used mostly by the Windows App Store videos applications– worked on Windows 7 but will not render in Windows 8 in the presence of DisplayLink’s drivers, because of tightened DRM policies. To workaround, we recommend using the web client versions of Netflix, Hulu, etc, as these don’t hit the same Digital Rights Management path.
We’ll be tracking all Windows 8 compatibility issues closely for our users of Plugable products. If you hit a problem or have a question, feel free to post at support.plugable.com, email us at email@example.com (including your Amazon order # if possible), or comment here.
To set expectations, it may take a few weeks to catch up to all new Windows 8 issues and find solutions, but we’ll be on top of it to make sure the transition ultimately goes as smoothly as possible. Every problem will either be solved or communicated so people know what to expect. Thanks for your help and patience until things settle down with all that’s new in Windows 8.