New patch KB 4057291 fixes last month’s buggy Radeon driver

If you use Win10 with an older Radeon HD 2000, 3000, or 4000 series video card, an update pushed late last month likely crippled your monitor. This new patch reverses the damage caused by the bad driver.

Windows logo overlaying hand with band-aid patch

I don’t know why Microsoft insists on pushing buggy driver patches out Windows Update, but we saw another one late last month. Folks running Windows 10 on PCs with older Radeon video cards who had Automatic Update enabled got trashed. They found that their monitors could no longer display resolutions higher than 1,280 x 1,024, and that multi-monitor hookups would only mirror each other.

The cause? A buggy driver identified by Windows Update as “Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. - Display - 7/25/2017 12:00:00 AM -” There’s a lengthy discussion about the driver transgressions on the Microsoft Answers forum, and another on the AMD forum.

Poster AonDuine on Bleepingcomputer has a full description:

I was using my computer with two monitors for a long time, 5+ years. Two days ago I turned on my computer and both monitors began displaying the same thing, not as 1 split desktop as they had been, and the resolution was down to 1024 x 768. I can increase the resolution to 1080x1024, but not any higher and both monitors will only mirror one another. I check dxdiag and it says that my graphics device is "Microsoft Basic Display Driver." I went to check the device manager to try messing with the drivers. Here it lists the display adapter as my ATI Radeon HD 4800 (old I know). Since then I have tried everything I could think of to try to fix it and to no avail. I figure a new graphics card would probably fix the problem, but I'd rather not have to spend the money.

Yesterday, Microsoft released a fix for the buggy driver that was pushed in late November. KB 4057291, dubbed Multi-monitor display and display resolution are not working for some AMD legacy cards, says:

Multi-monitor display and display resolution are not working for some AMD legacy cards (for example, Radeon HD 2000, HD3000, and HD4000 series) that mistakenly receive driver

Note the subtle use of the term “mistakenly.”

Martin Brinkmann on ghacks gives a few more details:

Only three display resolutions, 800x600, 1024x768 and 1280x1024 were available after the installation of the driver update regardless of the capabilities of the monitor in question.

AMD’s support page states, quite succinctly, that

AMD Radeon™ HD 4000 Series products and older are not certified to support Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) 1.2 or higher and therefore, do not have driver support for Windows® 10.

The following is a list of graphics products that do not support Windows® 10:

  •  ATI Radeon™ HD 4000 Series /ATI Mobility Radeon™ HD 4000 Series Graphics
  •  ATI Radeon™ HD 3000 Series /ATI Mobility Radeon™ HD 3000 Series Graphics
  • ATI Radeon™ HD 2000 Series /ATI Mobility Radeon™ HD 2000 Series Graphics

Windows® 10 will install the default Microsoft®​Basic Display Driver (MBDD) for these graphics adapters. MBDD provides basic display functionality (low resolutions and color) on a single monitor.

Except, somehow, Windows Update took it upon itself to remove the current, functioning, driver on Win10 1703 and 1709 machines, and replace it with MBDD. You have to wonder if other versions of Win10 were similarly clobbered. At any rate, this new KB 4057291 is only available for Win10 1703 and 1709.

Two morals to this story:

  • Don’t let Windows Update mess with your drivers. If you have a problem, go to the manufacturer’s web site, read the warnings, and manually install a new driver.
  • Fer Pete’s sake, turn off Automatic Update. You have to apply security patches sooner or later, but if you can follow the patching news, there’s no reason to put a big sign on your PC that says “Kick me.”

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