Flashing screens when using DisplayLink 7.9 M4 driver

UPDATE 4/19/2017 – The behavior described in this post was resolved by newer releases of the DisplayLink driver. If you are encountering any problems using the current version we recommend, please reach out to us directly at support@plugable.com along with one of our PlugDebug files and we will be happy to help. We are keeping the original content below for historical reference only.

As of an update last week, some users of DisplayLink-based USB adapters and docks on Windows are reporting repeated flashing or flickering of displays when USB-attached displays are plugged in. Rebooting does not help.

Background and Cause

The problem is triggered on a small percentage of systems that have an existing Windows display configuration (registry) issue. This issue triggers the new DisplayLink 7.9 M4 driver to assert (stop and restart). The 7.9 M4 driver was recently released as a Critical Windows Update, which means it it pushed to all systems with DisplayLink drivers. While Plugable currently recommends the 7.9 M3 version of the driver (which is not affected by the bug), on some systems the update will apply and Windows will not allow you to revert to the earlier version. This is especially true for Windows 10 systems as Microsoft does not allow you to rollback the driver version or block the update.

We are working both with DisplayLink and Microsoft to address the bug and if possible change the behavior of Windows Update to not force the installation of 7.9 M4, but in the meantime we have a workaround for the behavior.

Workaround

Deleting the Windows display configuration data at:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\GraphicsDrivers\Configuration
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\GraphicsDrivers\Connectivity

And then allowing it to rebuild the adapter / display database has successfully resolved the issue.

Workaround – Detailed Steps

1. Prior to proceeding, please create a new System Restore Point as a precaution
2. Disconnect the docking station from your system and remove the power cable so it turns off completely, or if using a USB adapter just disconnect it
3. Right-click on the Windows Start button and select ‘Run’ from the menu that appears. In the ‘Open’ section type ‘regedit’ without the quotes and click OK. If prompted by User Account Control if you wish to allow this action click ‘Yes’
4. From within the Registry Editor, navigate to this registry key folder -> HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\GraphicsDrivers\Configuration and right-click on the ‘Configuration’ folder and select ‘Delete’. When prompted click Yes for sure.

001 Delete Reg Key

5. Still from within the Registry Editor, navigate to this registry key folder -> HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\GraphicsDrivers\Connectivity and right-click on the ‘Connectivity’ folder and select ‘Delete’. When prompted click Yes for sure.

002 Delete Reg Key

6. Close the registry editor by clicking the ‘X’ in the upper right-hand corner
7. Reboot the system
8. Reconnect the power cable to the dock, and then reconnect the dock to your system with the USB cable. If using a USB adapter, just reconnect it.
9. Your displays should be recognized and should not be flashing, but you may have to reset your monitor configuration using the Display Setting application (right-click empty space on desktop and select ‘Display Settings’) as the arrangement may have changed from what it was originally.

Need help?

As we have developments for this issue we will update this post accordingly, and thank all of our customers for their patience. If you have any questions about this issue or think you may have been affected please reach out to us directly at support@plugable.com and we will be happy to help (please do not use the comments below to ask for one on one support)

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