Whoa! Strange (and I mean StR@NgE) contortions required to resolve Window device issue

Here’s a list of instructions that I had to follow on my Lenovo X200 Tablet, to remove an issue with the WAN miniport (#2 and #3) drivers on that machine, whose failure to load up and register properly also rendered Bluetooth inoperable on that machine when running Windows 8 (or 8.1, as you might expect; this material is fully documented in KB article 2871372):

kb2971372

Who came up with this mysterious fix, and how they did figure this out? Wowie-zowie!

  1. Open Device Manager.
  2. Right-click the WAN miniport (Network monitor) device, and then click Update Driver Software.
  3. Click Browse my computer for driver software.
  4. Click Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer.
  5. Clear the Show compatible hardware check box.
  6. In the column on the left side, select Microsoft, and in the column on the right side, select Microsoft KM-TEST Loopback Adapter.
  7. In the Update Driver Warning dialog box, click Yes to continue installing this driver.
  8. After the driver is installed, right-click the device, and then click Uninstall.
  9. After the device is uninstalled, right-click the computer name in Device Manager, and then click Scan for hardware changes.
  10. On the View menu, click Show hidden devices.

The WAN Miniport (Network monitor) device should now be started and no longer have a yellow exclamation mark next to it.

For reasons that go way beyond my ken but that I find egregiously irritating, this bit of mumbo-jumbo actually worked! To me, it seems almost like turning widdershins thrice, hopping on one foot, while making an incantation, to try to make something happen. Arthur C. Clarke said that “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” and I’m damned if I can really tell what’s up here, other than the bizarre reality that installing and then uninstalling a nugatory driver actually results in proper recognition of the underlying hardware, and automatic installation of the correct driver when the next hardware rescan occurs.

There is just a glimmer of a suggestion of what’s really going on here in the “Resolution” section of the related KB article. It says that MS Update 2822241 must be “integrated with” (which I believe means slipstreamed into) the installation image (WIM file, probably) used during setup of Windows 8 for target hardware to avoid these contortions. That tells me that the update rollup in that particular update file somehow fixes the issues discussed in 2871372, even though it’s not specifically called out in the “Issues that this update fixes” in its supporting documentation.

What galls me about this fix (which I’m very grateful to have found, and am now able to use Bluetooth devices on the X220 Tablet) is that it’s so very arcane and non-intuitive. I’m able to address most driver issues in Windows on my own, with a bit of elbow grease, and lots of odd and interesting techniques for extracting driver files from installers for software that won’t run on my systems. I’m OK with that, and have learned how to cope. But installing a loopback driver, and then removing it, to provoke a proper hardware scan for device recognition? The mind reels…

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