Yesterday, I started receiving reports of a recommended update that suddenly appeared in the Windows Update listing for some Windows 7 and 8.1 machines. (As “recommended,” it may appear in your Windows Update Optional list, or in your Important list.) There’s no KB number, which means you can’t uninstall it via the “Uninstall an update” dialog, and links from Windows Update turned up nonexistent pages.  

Running a search for “8/19/2016 10.1.2.80” through the results in 55 different downloads, all of which appear to be identical. They all have the same filename, and a random hex file comparison came up with no differences (). The description in the Update Catalog says it’s an “INTEL USB driver update released in August 2016,” and individual files are for a wide variety of processors and USB Enhanced Host Controller types.

The closest driver update I could find on the Intel site is the “” version 10.1.2.77, dated Aug. 29. The dates don’t line up, the version numbers don’t jibe (10.1.2.77 on the Intel site, 10.1.2.80 in Windows Update), and the size is wrong (the Intel download is 2.71 MB, where the Windows Update download is 67 KB).

AskWoody , referencing the Viper site, says:

, he describes how the patch appears to be destined for Broadwell and Haswell chips and for “some hardware components.” Tearing into an .inf file he found this description:

; ** Filename: AvotonUSB.inf **
; ** Abstract: Assigns the null driver to devices **
; ** for yellow-bang removal and **
; ** brands Intel(R) devices **

Born examined many of the files and concludes, “The .inf files for new CPU chip sets contains a list of device ids for drivers, needed to support the CPU chipset.” He concludes that the drivers — null drivers, which don’t do anything — are placeholders that define device IDs for various motherboard components, getting rid of the yellow “!” in Device Manager.

That seems innocuous enough, but it looks like the installer wipes out whatever device drivers may already exist. Born cites two examples:

, where the optional update replaced an already installed and needed SMBus driver — so the user was no more able to read its DIMM temperature, using Intel Desktop Utilities.

  • A 2nd incident has been reported as a user comment within my German blog post. The user reported, that his Wi-Fi adapter stalled after installing this optional update.
  • Bottom line: At best, installing this patch will remove some of the yellow bangs in Device Manager. At worst it’ll break an already-good driver.

    Avoid it.