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Vulnerable Windows Drivers Could Allow Device Takeover

In several earlier articles, we have mentioned that drivers are a critical component in any operating system. In Windows kernel-level device drivers are loaded to ensure hardware devices can communicate with the operating system. This high level of access by device drivers is secured by a number of safeguards.

Sucuring vulnerable Windows drivers

Device drivers need to be digitally signed before they are allowed to be installed (even though this can be disabled on some Windows versions). Drivers can also be tested by Microsoft to get the WHQL certification (Windows Hardware Quality Lab). An advantage of WHQL drivers is that they are available through the Windows Update service.

Since the Windows 11 update in 2022, the Hypervisor-Protected Code Integrity (HVCI) security feature prevents vulnerable drivers from being installed. It is important to realize that this is based on a list of known vulnerable Windows drivers. So, anything unknown will not be on the list and still get installed.

Recent Analysis Showed 34 Vulnerable Drivers

It is good to know that there are always people looking for vulnerabilities to help prevent abuse of these vulnerabilities. VMWare recently also released their findings on an automated approach to finding vulnerable Windows drivers using a reverse engineering approach. Details are in their blog post, but the results are quite daunting.

Finding that 34 Windows drivers have vulnerabilities is quite a large number. Most (30) are based on the Windows Driver Model (WDM), while some (4) are using the Windows Driver Framework (WDF). Since some of these drivers include firmware access, one can imagine the kind of access and system takeover that can happen with the exploits of these vulnerabilities.

Solutions to Fix Vulnerable Windows Drivers

Since most of these problems need to be fixed by correcting the flaws, or shortcomings, in the device driver software, vendors must update their drivers and release new versions.

This has happened in 2 of the mentioned cases (Phoenix Technologies fixed the TdkLib64.sys driver and AMD fixed the PDFWKRNL.sys driver).

But there are also suggestions that Microsoft could make changes in how drivers are checked and loaded. The vulnerability list (HVCI) does not seem to be sufficient. It is suggested that preventing signed drivers with a revoked certificate would already block a third of the 34 drivers.

From a user perspective, it is important to keep your drivers up-to-date. Apart from using Windows Update, we recommend you use a program like DriverFinder to check for updates regularly.

Microsoft Printer Support is Changing

In order to use a printer, like any device, in Windows, a printer driver is required. With Windows 10, Microsoft introduced a new concept for printer support using an integrated driver. This is called the Microsoft IPP Class driver, and it supports Mopria-compliant printers over a network (ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth) or USB connection.

Windows printer support

The idea is that printer manufacturers will no longer need to create, maintain, and provide their own printer drivers. Knowing Microsoft, there is always the possibility that an aspect of control on their end also plays a role.

All device experience customizations would need to be done through a print support app, which printer manufacturers should then develop instead of a driver. This is already the recommended way for Windows 11.

The motivation for this is stated as improved reliability and performance, which is never a bad thing, especially in the context of Microsoft Windows.

As a result of this change, or plan of changes, Microsoft will phase out their servicing of legacy Windows printer drivers (version 3 and version 4). Due to the nature of the impact, the changes will take place over a period of several years. Following the announcement this year, from 2025 onwards, no new printer drivers will be published to Windows Update. In 20260, printer driver update recommendations will start favoring the IPP driver, and in 2027 third-party printer driver updates will no longer be allowed.

Mopria

Even though printer manufacturers can submit drivers for certification through the Windows Hardware Compatibility Program, from 2025 onwards the drivers will not be available through Windows Update. In addition, the Mopria certification will be required. A direct benefit is that all printers will be supported on various devices.

One of the main questions resulting from this is whether existing or even new third-party printer drivers will still be allowed. And according to Microsoft, they will be. They must have realized that this is critical, as many people make use of printers for a long time.

Even if there is no direct printer support for a specific printer on a new Windows version, a virtual machine with an older version of Windows can offer a solution. But that is really a last resort since it is much simpler to use a (older) printer driver directly.

HP Printer Error 83C0000B

Hewlett-Packard has done it again. Agrevate users with firmware updates (this seems to be the cause) that result in printer problems. Error 83C0000B is shown with a blue screen on the printer.

Error 83C0000B

Like before, it appears that this is the result of a firmware update that includes dynamic security features. In the past, this has resulted in printers suddenly not working anymore if non-original ink or toner cartridges were used.

In the current case, it appears the error pertains to the OfficeJet 902x series printers. Resetting, disconnecting and reconnecting, unplugging, and plugging all seem to have no effect. As it would not be the case with a firmware issue.

Solving error 83C0000B

The only real solution would be an update from HP for the printer. That means you need to check the HP support website for a newer firmware version than the current version 002.2313A, dated May 16, 2023.

Visit the HP site for your printer model, for an OfficeJet Pro 9020 AiO for example. Then open the section with the firmware updates. Click Download to download the firmware installer file, and execute it after the download completes.

HP Error 83C0000B

Note: You may need to change the OS selection to show the firmware option in the list.

The installer will show the HP Printer Update window where you need to select your printer and click the Update button.

Let’s hope HP releases an update soon! You are not alone with this problem.

In any case, make sure to contact HP support, as they might be able to offer a solution or replacement. Their generic instuctions for a full power down and reset do not seem to help. But specific instuctions for your model to do a SemiFull reset, as they call it, might be helpful.

Going back to a previous firmware version

In theory, downgrading the firmware would be a viable option as well to solve error 83C0000B. It was a solution in the past when HP first started using dynamic security to ensure people used original cartridges and toners from HP (the first law suits are already being filed over this).

Using a USB stick, you can load older firmware (.ful2 extension) on the HP printer to install an older version. The process has a few challenges though. You need the exact match of firmware for your printer, and the steps need to be followed exactly to prevent problems during the downgrade process.

Related: How to solve HP printer installation errors.

Xbox Controller is not Working in Windows 11

The Xbox controller is a great controller to use with a Windows PC. Connecting it is generally an easy and almost automatic process. But if the Xbox controller is not working in Windows 11, you cannot use it in any games. This seems to happen in cases where a Windows device has been upgraded from Windows 10 to Windows 11, and it can have various causes.

Steps to fix Xbox controller problems in Windows 11

In order for the Xbox controller to work in Windows 11, a number of requirements need to be met. To fix issues, it is best to use the steps below in sequence to make sure everything is in place.

#1 Update Windows

Running Windows Update in Windows 11 will ensure that the patches are installed and nothing is pending that can cause problems. Running Windows Update might require restarting the PC as well.

Use the Settings window to Check for Updates (2) in the Windows Update (1) section.

Check for Updates in Windows 11

After running the normal updates, also use the option Advanced options to check for Optional Updates and install any pending items. Optional Updates often include driver updates, which may help fix the issue with the Xbox controller.

#2 Reinstall the device drivers

For any hardware device to function under Windows 11, a device driver is required. In the case of the Xbox controller, multiple drivers are actually required.

Even if no updated drivers are available, reinstalling device drivers can often fix issues. The drivers that are important for the Xbox controller are:

  • Chipset drivers – these make sure that the system, motherboard, and all onboard hardware is working. In most cases, this will be the Intel chipset drivers, but other chipset devices are also possible. Check the PC manufacturer for the right chipset driver installer.
  • Bluetooth drivers – these make sure that wireless Bluetooth communication can function. Before a Bluetooth device, like the Xbox controller, can connect to a Windows 11 PC, Bluetooth communication needs to be operational. In many cases, the Bluetooth drivers are part of the Wi-Fi driver installer (like with many Intel chipsets). But a separate Bluetooth driver can also be required, especially if a separate Bluetooth dongle (USB) is used (Realtek for example).
  • USB drivers – if a cabled connection is used between the Xbox controller and the Windows 11 PC, the USB controller drivers will be used. Check for USB Host Controllers in the Universal Serial Bus controller category of the Device manager.
  • Xbox controller driver – the Xbox controller driver ensures that Windows 11 can communicate with the controller and use all functions. Update the Xbox controller driver directly from the Device Manager.
    Update xbox controller driver

#3 Uninstall Xbox Controller

If updating or reinstalling the drivers does not work, it may be best to completely reinstall the Xbox controller device. To do this, use the Device Manager. Instead of using the Update driver option in the popup menu, select the Uninstall option.

After uninstalling the Microsoft Xbox Controller (or Microsoft Xbox One Controller), restart Windows 11 to reinstall the device. If necessary, use the Scan for hardware changes option in the Action menu of the Device Manager to forcefully check for devices and reinstall the Xbox controller driver.

Windows 11 Scan for hardware changes

#4 Reconnect the Xbox controller

In some cases, the connection between the Xbox controller and the Windows 11 device is lost. If the connection uses Bluetooth, the connection might need to be re-established. The easiest way to do this is to unpair the controller and then pair it again.

Tip: for USB connections, simply disconnect the USB cable, restart Windows, and connect the USB cable again.

Remove the Xbox controller from the Bluetooth devices using these steps.

  1. Click the Bluetooth icon on the Taskbar (1).
  2. In the popup menu, select the option Show Bluetooth Devices (2).
    Show Bluetooth devices in Windows 11
  3. This will open the Settings window showing the Bluetooth devices.
  4. Click the 3 horizontal dots next to the Xbox Controller and in the popup menu, select Remove device.
    Windows 11 Remove Bluetooth device
  5. Now restart the computer and use the Add device option in the Bluetooth & devices section of the Settings window to add the Xbox controller again.
  6. Select the Bluetooth option and wait for the pairing to happen again.
    Windows 11 Add Bluetooth device
    Note: press and hold the pair button on the Xbox controller for 3 seconds or until it starts flashing.
  7. Once the controller is paired again, check if the Xbox controller is working properly.

#5 Update Software

Depending on which games or gaming platform you use, the Xbox controller not working problem can be caused by software.

If you are using steam, for example, your Xbox controller would normally work properly if it is recognized by Windows 11. If Windows shows the controller, but it is not working in steam games, additional steps can help.

  • Restart Steam – Use the Windows 11 Task Manager to locate the Steam Client Service process. Right-click Steam Client Service (32-bit) (1) and in the popup menu, select End Task (2).
    Restart Steam on Windows 11
    If there are more Steam processes, use the same steps to terminate them.
    Next, restart Steam by selecting it from the Start menu.
    Steam App Windows 11
  • Run Steam games with Admin rights or in compatibility mode – In some cases, running the game with administrator-level access rights can help solve issues with steam games. Simply right-click the game in Steam and select Manage and then Browse local files.
    Now you can right-click the game’s EXE file and select Properties in the popup menu.
    Select the Compatibility tab and then use the Compatibility mode (1) option to run the game in a different Windows mode, or use the Run this program as an administrator (2) to give it extra execution privileges.
    Administrator Rights or Compatibility Mode
  • Update Steam – Make sure you have the latest version of Steam installed.
  • Reinstall Steam – The last option is to completely uninstall Steam and reinstall it. First, make sure your Xbox controller is working in Windows 11 before reinstalling the Steam software.

If you are using the Update the Xbox Accessories App in Windows 11, make sure to update that to the latest version. Simply get the latest version in the Microsoft App Store and install it.

Microsoft xbox accessoires app

Note: if the app is installed and an update is available, it will show an Update button to click.

#6 Update Firmware

Although firmware is also software, this is mentioned separately. The Xbox controller firmware, if outdated, can be a reason the Xbox controller does not work with Windows 11. Updating the Xbox controller firmware will ensure all known issues in the controller are resolved.

To update the firmware the controller needs to be recognized by Windows 11. So first use the steps above to make sure the device is recognized. Then simply follow the Microsoft instructions to update the Xbox controller software.

Note: in rare cases, a firmware downgrade is needed to fix issues with the Xbox controller. For this, an Xbox console is required.

I2C Device Drivers for Windows

I2C is a communication bus that allows devices to communicate with your PC, similar to a USB or Bluetooth connection. One of the practical applications of I2C devices in a Windows PC is for HID devices. HID is short for Human Interface Device. The most known standard is USB-HID, but Microsoft has also implemented I2C-HID. Both allow connecting devices like a mouse, keyboard, touchpad, and trackball, but also gaming devices, like a joystick. And you guessed it, I2C device drivers are needed for such devices to function in Windows.

Installing I2C Device Drivers

Installing I2C device drivers is the same as with any Windows device driver. Using the Device Manager, find the I2C device in the device tree and right-click it to update the driver from the popup menu.

Update I2C HID Device Driver

If the I2C device has a problem and is not functioning properly, the icon in the device manager will show the device with an exclamation mark.

I2C HID Device Code 10

In most cases, this type of error will be solved when the right driver is installed for the I2C HID device.

If the I2C HID device is not showing at all in the Windows device manager, that means Windows has not recognized it as such. The device will then be listed under the Other devices or Unknown devices category.

If Windows directly supports the device, letting Windows automatically locate the driver for the device will work. If a not supported device is found, an external device driver for the I2C device is required. Almost all keyboards and mice are supported directly by Windows. Third-party drivers are mostly required for touchpads, gaming devices, or other non-standard devices.

Finding I2C Device Drivers

The first step in finding a device driver for your I2C device is to look at the manufacturer’s support site. This can be the site for your PC manufacturer (e.g. Dell, HP, Gateway, etc.), but it can also be the site for the device manufacturer (e.g. Synaptics, Elan, Alps).

Start with the PC manufacturer, and look for the device type (input devices). Download the driver installer and execute it to install the I2C HID device driver on Windows.

If the PC manufacturer does not have the right driver, the next step is to try and find the manufacturer of the actual HID device and visit their support site. In the device properties, you can see the manufacturer in the device Details tab (In the screenshot below, “Microsoft” is listed as the manufacturer).

Device Manufacturer

If manually finding the driver for the I2C HID device proves impossible, consider using an automated solution like DriverFinder. The software scans your PCs for all hardware devices and locates the right device drivers for you.

Solving I2C-HID Device Problems

The steps above will help you find and install the right device driver, but not all problems with I2C devices are solved by installing the right driver. The most common error solved by installing the right device driver for an I2C device is the Code 10 error (This device cannot start). For other device errors, look at our article on device error codes.

Another potential problem is related to the power management of the I2C HID devices. Allowing Windows to control the power for a touchpad or trackpad has been a cause for problems in some cases. So, if your I2C HID device has recurring issues with not working properly, try the following.

  1. Open the Device Manager.
  2. Locate the I2C HID Device under Human Interface Devices.
  3. Right-click the device, and in the popup menu select Properties.
  4. Next, select the Power Management tab.
    I2C HID device power management
  5. Clear the checkbox named Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power.
  6. Click OK.
  7. Close the Device Manager.

This will disable the power management for the I2C device.

Only leave the option disabled if it actually solves the problem. In normal circumstances, all devices with power management options should be allowed to be disabled by Windows when it is switched to a power-saving mode.

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