Intel to remove old drivers and BIOS updates from its site by the end of the week
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Intel to remove old drivers and BIOS updates from its site by the end of the week

Intel logo

Picture: Artiom Vallat, Intel

By Friday, the top of the present week, Intel plans to take away previous drivers and BIOS updates from its official web site.

“This obtain, BIOS Replace [BLH6710H.86A] 0163, will not be accessible after November 22, 2019 and won’t be supported with any extra purposeful, safety, or different updates,” reads a message posted to the obtain web page of one of many impacted elements.

“Intel recommends that customers of BIOS Replace [BLH6710H.86A] 0163 uninstall and/or discontinue use as quickly as potential,” the message continues.

The downloads are drivers and BIOS updates for Intel desktop elements and motherboards the corporate launched within the 90s and early-to-mid 2000s.

Downloads for tons of of elements are believed to have been impacted, from motherboards to NIC playing cards and graphics playing cards.

A lot of the drivers are for Home windows variations like 98, ME, XP, and older Home windows Server editions — previous Home windows OS variations which have themselves reached end-of-life (EOL)

All elements and motherboards reached (EOL) years in the past, and Intel stopped delivering firmware updates consequently. Its web site was merely internet hosting the older recordsdata for comfort.

Customers who wanted the drivers to reinstall previous workstations had been utilizing Intel official website to get the newest variations of the drivers or BIOS updates.

Now, the recordsdata can be eliminated, in a transfer that has sparked anger with many system directors who’re nonetheless working legacy techniques utilizing older Intel gear.

One tweet completely describes the frustration and rage of most system directors when listening to of Intel’s plans.

“DEAR COMPANIES THAT MAKE HARDWARE: YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO HOST YOUR DRIVERS UNTIL THE SUN EXPLODES OR YOU GO OUT OF BUSINESS, NOT UNTIL YOU GET TIRED OF HOSTING 20 MEGABYTES,” mentioned a Twitter consumer in September when Intel first started exhibiting the EOL message on its Downloads Middle.

Intel logo

“I am unable to consider this. All these years I have been recommending Intel merchandise due to their long run help,” mentioned a consumer on a HackerNews dialogue. “I do know these boards are legacy, however does it actually price them that a lot to host the recordsdata for infrequent downloaders?”

The corporate’s transfer is a really controversial one. As the 2 customers cited above level out, most customers anticipate {that a} {hardware} vendor will host its drivers for eternity, regardless of the product itself reaching EOL and never being accessible commercially.

This enables customers who’ve misplaced previous set up media to get entry to a element’s driver or BIOS replace from an official location.

However the actuality is that issues do not all the time work like this. Whereas customers consider a vendor will make drivers accessible in perpetuity, contracts and phrases of service do not assure this, and there is not any obligation on the seller’s half to take action.

Intel is actually not the primary {hardware} vendor to purge drivers and BIOS updates from its web site for EOL merchandise. HP did one thing related in 2017.

Many customers consider firms purge previous firmware in an try to power prospects to purchase new gear as soon as they discover themselves in a state of affairs unable to put in and use older elements.

Nonetheless, not all {hardware} distributors take this strategy. For instance, each Dell and Lenovo are identified to supply customers with full entry to older drivers. Lenovo, particularly, has a bit on its web site particularly devoted entry to downloads for EOL merchandise.

Mirrors and malware warnings!

Within the meantime, there are particular issues that house owners of older Intel gear should do. The primary is to obtain the drivers and BIOS updates for his or her respective elements and motherboards from Intel’s official web site, whereas they’re nonetheless accessible.

Second, in the event that they’re studying this piece after the November 22 deadline, they’ll use a mirror of Intel’s FTP website, like this one or this one, to obtain the wanted recordsdata. Different group efforts are additionally underway.

Third, they need to keep away from downloading Intel drivers and BIOS updates from dodgy “downloads web sites.” As a number of customers commenting on a HackerNews dialogue identified, that is the best time and circumstance for malware authors to create web sites that supply firmware downloads laced with malware for older Intel gear.

Extra discussions on this matter can be found on this Vogons discussion board dialogue and this HackerNews remark thread.

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