Category Archives: USB2-HDMI-165

Windows 8 and DisplayLink (Deprecated)

The content of this post has been superseded. If you are having difficulties with DisplayLink in Windows 8 or 8.1, please install the latest DisplayLink drivers from here: http://displaylink.com/support/downloads.php. If you still are having problems, please contact us at http://plugable.com/support.

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 9.18.13.286 (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 support@plugable.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.

Windows 8 Consumer Preview Support

We’re as excited about the Windows 8 Consumer Preview release as we expect many of our customers are. And we’re here to help if you install Windows 8 Consumer Preview on computers where you’re using or plan to use any Plugable devices.

We’ve already begun installing Microsoft’s latest operating system on PCs in our lab for the fun of hands-on exploration and–more importantly–for testing the compatibility of Plugable products on this platform.

Here’s what we know already.

Graphics Adapters
All Plugable graphics adapters rely on DisplayLink drivers that are explicitly called out during Windows 8 Consumer Preview setup as incompatible with the new operating system. DisplayLink has made Beta drivers available for Windows 8 on its public forum.

1) You will need to uninstall your current DisplayLink drivers when prompted to do so by Windows 8 Consumer Preview setup.

2) Once Windows 8 Consumer Preview is installed, you can download and install the DisplayLink drivers from http://plugable.com/drivers/displaylink. Please read the release notes to be aware of any that may affect you.

We have used DisplayLink drivers successfully on a computer running Windows 8 Consumer Preview with a Plugable UGA-2k-A graphics adapter. With an extended desktop, the Windows 8 “Metro” interface showed on the primary desktop, and the extended desktop functioned like a Windows 7 extended desktop.

The ability to control whether in duplicate or extend mode was located on an option called “Devices” that can be invoked from the lower right corner in the “Metro” UI.

Network Adapters
Windows 8 Consumer Preview should find the compatible ASIX or Realtek drivers for all Plugable network adapters via Windows Update. The computer will need a network connection separate from the one made available by the Plugable adapter.

USB 3.0 Devices
Windows 8 has native support for USB 3.0 and should properly manage the host controllers in any Plugable USB 3.0 cards and hubs. No third party drivers should be required.

Windows Easy Transfer Cable
The Plugable Windows Easy Transfer cable works in Windows 8. We’ll devote a future post to the topic of what the user interface looks like in Windows 8.

We’ll also cover using the optional Bravura software (license comes with the Plugable cable) in that future post.

If You Need Support
We hope all Plugable products function to your satisfaction on Windows 8 Consumer Preview. But if you experience problems or previously unseen quirks, we encourage you to post your questions at http://support.plugable.com or write to us at support@plugable.com. We’re here to help and eager to hear about your experiences with Windows 8.

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Howto: DisplayLink USB Single Monitor on Linux

Unfortunately, Linux doesn’t support multiple graphics adapters the way Windows does, which means you can’t just plug in USB graphics adapters and expect them to extend your desktop (the good news is there is progress on this support).

What is possible, however, is running a single DisplayLink adapter, or several with a Xinerama or multiseat configuration — just as long as you don’t expect to use your main GPU at the same time.

The single-display case is relatively easy to set up, and we’ll cover that here.

First, make sure you’re running kernel version 2.6.35 or later (Ubuntu 10.10 or later). For older kernel versions, you’ll need to update udlfb and run a modified fbdev X server (not covered in this post). On these kernel versions, when you plug in your DisplayLink-based USB graphics device, you should get a green screen. This means that at the driver built into the Linux kernel is happy, healthy, and talking to the device.

Second, if you are running Unity Desktop in Ubuntu 11.04 or later, you’ll need to switch back to Classic Mode so you’re running straight X. Here’s how on Ubuntu:

Click on the power button in the upper right corner (mine looks like a light switch) and choose the last option, System Settings. Search for Login Screen, Double-click to display, Choose Unlock and enter your password, Select Ubuntu Classic as default session.

Third, if you’re running kernel versions between 2.6.35 to 3.1, enable the fb_defio option of udlfb. To do this, create or edit a file like
/etc/modprobe.d/50-displaylink.conf

and add the single line

options udlfb fb_defio=1

And reboot (or run “sudo depmod -a” and unplug/replug your adapter). This will turn on defio (page fault change detection) support. This option is already enabled by default in kernels 3.2+.

Lastly, create an X config file called 60-plugable.conf (or similar) with the following contents and place it in /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d (on recent distros; on older distros, make this your xorg.conf):


Section "Device" 
  Identifier "uga" 
  driver "fbdev" 
  Option "fbdev" "/dev/fb0" 
  Option "ShadowFB" "off"
EndSection 

Section "Monitor" 
  Identifier "monitor" 
EndSection 

Section "Screen" 
  Identifier "screen" 
  Device "uga" 
  Monitor "monitor" 
EndSection 

Section "ServerLayout" 
  Identifier "default" 
  Screen 0 "screen" 0 0 
EndSection

Note: if your main GPU creates a /dev/fb0 even when the USB display is not attached, then your USB display is probably getting assigned to /dev/fb1. In that case, change /dev/fb0 in the “Device” section above to /dev/fb1

Now, on reboot, you should (hopefully!) see your login come up on your DisplayLink USB attached display!

This kind of simple setup is useful for:

  • Testing or playing with your USB graphics adatper on Linux.
  • Embedded systems with USB but no GPU.
  • As a backup method when the main GPU or its driver isn’t available or working.
  • Systems where a USB graphics adapter enables higher modes (up to 2048×1152) than the main GPU screen.

Please comment if you have any trouble with this single display case. See our past posts for additional information about the DisplayLink Linux kernel driver and some more involved setups.

The instructed here work on all Plugable USB 2.0 graphics adapters and Plugable USB 2.0 docking stations and thin clients (and should also generally work on all DisplayLink based products).

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