Windows Offers Driver Update from 1968

John Lister's picture

Microsoft has reassured Windows users that they don't have to worry about an update that appears to have been pending for more than 50 years. The confusing listing for Intel drivers is simply a workaround to make sure computers keep running.

The odd data appears in the "Optional Updates" section of the Windows Updates page in the Windows 10 and 11 Settings tool. These updates will only ever be installed when the user manually selects them, even if they have the automatic updates setting switched on.

In a drop down menu for driver updates, most users will see a variety of listings for companies including Intel, many of which will be from the mid-to-late 2010s. However, some users will see an "INTEL-System" update dated 7/18/1968.

Microsoft's Raymond Chen has posted a message to explain the quirk. It's all to do with the way computers have multiple sources for drivers. That's small pieces of software that help hardware components such as processors and external devices interact with an operating system such as Windows. (Source: microsoft.com)

Backdate Updates

Microsoft itself regularly issues and updates drivers for commonly used components such as Intel processors, the idea being to make sure Windows continues working even if the driver produced by the component manufacturer is missing or corrupted. (Source: windowslatest.com)

The problem is that Windows is set to always use the most recently updated driver for a particular component. If the dates match, Windows uses the one with latest file version number. That creates the risk that Microsoft releasing an update to its version of a driver would make it take priority over the manufacturer's own driver, which isn't the desired outcome.

To get round this, Microsoft labels all its Windows driver updates as being released on 21 June 2006, regardless of the actual date. The idea is that the Microsoft version of the driver will always be in place as a back-up but never used unless it's needed.

Intel Goes Back To Day One

Chen explains that Intel took the same approach to its own Chipset Device Software. In simple terms, that's a driver that makes sure the processor and Windows are using the same names to refer to the various hardware components in a computer.

Intel calls it a "a supporting utility that should not overwrite any other drivers" and notes that as long as it's in place, it doesn't need to be updated. To avoid any mistakes with Windows' "latest driver takes priority" rule, Intel labels the Chipset Device Software as having been released on 18 July 1968.

That date isn't random: it's the date Intel itself was founded.

What's Your Opinion?

Had you spotted this quirk? Is it confusing for users? Are you confident you have the right drivers in place?

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Comments

Chief's picture

Another piece of trivia.
Now we know the birthday of Intel 18 July 1968
Add that to the birthday of the IBM5150 1 Sep 1981

Everything exists for a reason.