DisplayLink Windows 7 Compatibility Issues with Basic Mode and Chrome

Two important Windows 7 compatibility notices, for users of DisplayLink devices:

1) A Windows update deployed by Microsoft on 2/27/2013 is leaving Windows systems in Basic mode, which then causes problems with older DisplayLink drivers prior to 6.3 M1, including the very common 5.6 M1 version. The particular update causing the breakage appears to be a Microsoft change to DirectX. When first released on the 27th, Microsoft had it as a “recommended” update so it was pushed out widely. Microsoft has now switched it to be an “optional” update. You can read discussion of the affects of the update here.

This problem is Windows 7 specific.

There are a couple options for solutions:
1) Install the latest DisplayLink drivers (currently 7.1 M1). You can download the latest DisplayLink drivers here.
2) Uninstalling the offending update individually. Here’s how.
3) Doing a system restore to 2/26/2013 or prior will solve the issue.

A separate problem, but one that appeared around the same time, is Google Chrome tabs hanging on load.

On Feb 22nd, Google Chrome updated to version 25.0.1364.97m. This version conflicts with any installed DisplayLink version 7.x drivers and higher, on Windows Vista and up. Google is working to fix this in a Chrome update, but until then you can work around the issue by passing the –disable-gpu flag to chrome. To do this, type “chrome” in the Windows start search box, but don’t hit enter. Then right click on “Google Chrome” and select properties. Enter the –disable-gpu parameter as the last part of the “Target” string (note that’s two dashes before the word disable!). Here’s what it looks like:

chrome-disable-gpu

Please let us know if any problems persist after these new Microsoft and Google updates. Feel free to comment below. We’ll help however we can. Thanks!

14 thoughts on “DisplayLink Windows 7 Compatibility Issues with Basic Mode and Chrome”

  1. My 1-VGA + 3 Plugable-USB monitor computer system was effected by the Microsoft Updates problem of 2/27/2013 – i.e.;

    1. Cursor couldn’t activate argument boxes on internet sites
    2. Delay in cursor activity
    3. Task Bar turned light blue – Basic?
    4. Clicking on one monitor effected another monitor.
    5. Screen rolls up and down out of control.

    I tried all the suggested cures – aero, drivers etc. which didn’t work and the computer got weirder as I proceeded.

    Finally, it was cured with a System Restore previous to the Windows Update of 2/27. I didn’t notice the Chrome problem.

    Thank you for the information on your website. I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed your system until I didn’t have it. It was Almost like living a Country & Western Song – Brutal!

    Thanks – Ed

  2. Very similar problems to Ed Rodrigues (above). Task bar blue. Clicks in pluggable-supported third monitor produces a result in another monitor. Entire screen sometimes turns black. Tried recommended fixes and none has worked. May try a restore to 2?26/2013

    1. Hi Peter – thanks for posting. A restore to 2/26/2013 (before the Microsoft-deployed Windows Updates on 2/27) has fixed the issue consistently. A few users have also uninstalled individual updates to get back to that point.

    1. Hi Grady – it sounds like the –reduce-gpu-sandbox option might not be making it through. Can you check the screenshot to make sure your settings look the same. Note that the –reduce-gpu-sandbox option must start with two dashes before the word reduce (that’s hard to see). And that you must open Chrome from that location that you hit properties on. If you also have Chrome in your taskbar, you’ll want to delete that and re-pin Chrome from the main location that you updated. Does that all make sense? Let us know if it doesn’t lead to tabs loading … Thanks!

      1. Just a quick note that Google has fixed this issue already in the coming version of Chrome. It broke on the Feb 22nd Chrome update, but should be fixed by the next one after. Let us know if you see this has deployed. Thanks!

    1. Thanks Dustin – Performance is more consistent (and often better with USB graphics) without calling DirectX for everything – so we’ve updated the post to recommend –disable-gpu, rather than –reduce-gpu-sandbox. Thanks!

  3. Might be best to updated your command line in case someone was to cut and paste, as it’s currently #8211;disable-gpu flag. Looks like an en dash and not a standard hypen/minus sign.

  4. Disabling the gpu worked for me. As someone mentioned, you have to launch from where you made the modification. I had it pinned, so I made the modification there, as well. At least I can actually load pages now.

  5. Thanks to a considerate contributor at Tom’s Hardware forum, I was exposed to the root of this problem. User “razethewolf” pointed out that this issue was caused via a conflict between Google’s recent release of Chrome 25.0.1364.94m (released on February 21st), and a DisplayLink driver v7.0 – 7.1M1 (according to DisplayLink), in which I currently have installed within my system. After researching this matter further, I came to discover that this issue was primarily caused from a Windows 7 update (KB 2670838), which was pushed out on February 27th as a critical update, then later downgraded to a recommended update due to a large amount of feedback from users experiencing a range of problems. This update was supposed to improve features associated with DirectX performance and the following components.

    • Direct2D
    • DirectWrite
    • Direct3D
    • Windows Imaging Component (WIC)
    • Windows Advanced Rasterization Platform (WARP)
    • Windows Animation Manager (WAM)
    • XPS Document API
    • H.264 Video Decoder
    • JPEG XR codec

    In addition, this update also has been known to break Aero transparency, cause blue-screen errors, crash PCs after a small period of time, and more. From what I gather (so far), the majority of the systems that have been experiencing these issues are operating on a Windows 7 Operating System. This issue definitely needs to be researched more, and resolved. However, there seems to be three different software distributors involved within this problem, and one of the three companies are going to have to figure out a way for these three technologies to ‘play nice’. Personally, I think that Microsoft and Google are the most equipped, staffed, and educated to handle this issue, however, I will gladly support whoever develops a permanent and stable solution for this problem first. Below you will find the solution that has worked for me, and other solutions, which may be able to assist others who are experiencing this very same issue.

    Solution #1 – Reduce GPU Sandbox

    1. Locate, or create a Google Chrome shortcut

    a. Generally you can locate a pre-existing shortcut under (Start) > All Programs > Google Chrome > Google Chrome.

    b. If not, go to where Google Chrome is installed within your computer (Generally under either: C:\Program Files (x86)\… or C:\Users\\….

    2. Once you have located (or created) your Google Chrome shortcut, “right-click” the icon, opening up Windows ‘context-menu’, and click on ‘Properties’.

    3. Find the “Target:” field, which should show the path of where your ‘chrome.exe’ executable resides.

    4. Add: –reduce-gpu-sandbox after chrome.exe. The field should look like this:
    “C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe” –reduce-gpu-sandbox

    a. If you get an error, stating that the shortcut is invalid, clear out the entire “Target:” field, and type in “chrome.exe –reduce-gpu-sandbox” without quotation marks. After this, Windows should prompt you for Administration rights, in which you should click continue.

    Note: This is the solution that worked for me, however, this is an inadequate solution, and a more permanent solution needs to be developed. Nevertheless, in the meantime, I am able to run Chrome, flash, and the most recent DirectX and DisplayLink drivers with no issues.

    Solution #2 – Uninstalling the offending Windows update

    1. Install the latest DisplayLink drivers (currently 7.1M1), if you have not already. They can be located at: http://displaylink.com/support/downloads.php

    2. Uninstall the offending Windows update by clicking (Start) > Control Panel > Programs and Features > “View installed updates” (which should be located within the upper right-hand corner of your window. Note: this is when viewing your ‘Control Panel’ in ‘non-category view’, or in either ‘Large icons’, or ‘Small icons’ view.

    3. When all of your Windows updates are listed, locate “Update for Microsoft Windows (KB2670838), right-click it and then click ‘uninstall’. When asked for Administration permission, grant it.

    Solution #3 – Disable GPU flag

    5. Locate, or create a Google Chrome shortcut

    a. Generally you can locate a pre-existing shortcut under (Start) > All Programs > Google Chrome > Google Chrome.

    b. If not, go to where Google Chrome is installed within your computer (Generally under either: C:\Program Files (x86)\… or C:\Users\\….

    6. Once you have located (or created) your Google Chrome shortcut, “right-click” the icon, opening up Windows ‘context-menu’, and click on ‘Properties’.

    7. Find the “Target:” field, which should show the path of where your ‘chrome.exe’ executable resides.

    8. Add: –disable-gpu after chrome.exe. The field should look like this:
    “C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe” –disable-gpu

    a. If you get an error, stating that the shortcut is invalid, clear out the entire “Target:” field, and type in “chrome.exe –reduce-gpu-sandbox” without quotation marks. After this, Windows should prompt you for Administration rights, in which you should click continue.

    I sincerely hope this helps, and, in addition, I sincerely hope that there is a fix for this issue relatively soon, due to the fact that there does seem to be a large host of individuals to whom are experiences various problems with this matter. Below you should be able to find the links in which I have used to find, identify, and resolve this matter.

    Resources

    N.A. (2013). Problems with DisplayLink software and Google Chrome. DisplayLink.
    Retrieved from: http://www.displaylink.com/support/ticket.php?id=339

    N.A. (2013). Display Link Drivers break Google Chrome. TECHdodo.
    Retrieved from: http://www.techdodo.com/?p=1096

    Thompson, B (2013). DisplayLink Windows 7 Compatibility Issues with Basic Mode and
    Chrome. pluggable. Retrieved from: http://tinyurl.com/d875orj

    N.A. (2013). A Platform update is available for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server
    2008 R2 SP1. Microsoft. Retrieved from: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2670838

    N.A. (2013) Chrome not working after Windows 7 updates. tom’s HARDWARE.
    Retrieved from: http://tinyurl.com/cg2y35x

  6. everytime you up-date my computer it takes forever to correct irt . I don’t need anymore updates. Thanks Mike DiMaggio

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