How To: Install "legacy" Intel HD Graphics drivers on Windows 8

Early adopters of Windows 8 will find the new operating system to be like Windows 7, but optimized and faster. In theory, any hardware device that worked on Windows 7, and even Windows Vista, should continue to work on Windows 8.

For any hardware device that does not properly install on Windows 8, conventional geek wisdom dictates to attempt running the installer with the Compatibility Mode tab set to "Windows 7." Unfortunately, not all drivers will install this way. Example: Intel's drivers for integrated HD Graphics.

Users of computers with second- and third-generation Core processors are, for now, the only users Intel are supporting with an actively developed driver for Windows 8. Those users can find beta drivers here.

Unfortunately that essentially excludes any user who purchased a computer (most likely a laptop) prior to 2011. In particular, the users of first-gen Core CPUs (graphics codenamed "Arrandale" and "Clarkdale") such as yours truly. Intel has made available drivers for users of computers with the first-gen HD Graphics and the GMA 4500 via Windows Update, but let's face it: graphics drivers supplied via Windows Update aren't the best. You'd definitely want to get an updated set straight from the manufacturer.

Will Intel provide drivers on their site for these "legacy" (ugh) folks after Windows 8 hits retail shelves? According to posts repeated by Intel representatives, nope:

Drivers for legacy platforms including first generation Intel Core processors (formerly codenamed Arrandale and Clarkdale) with Intel HD Graphics and the Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 4500 Series (formerly codenamed Cantiga/Eaglelake) will support legacy Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) 1.1 and will be included with future versions of Windows 8 Consumer Preview OS (In-box drivers) and available on Microsoft’s Windows Update. Drivers for these platforms will not be available on intel.com

It's understandable given the hardware involved that they will not support WDDM 1.2. That's fine. What isn't fine is relegating these chips to legacy status after just 2.5 years - much shorter than AMD or Nvidia. Case in point: Nvidia is now moving the Geforce 6-series to legacy support after an impressive 9 years of support.

But fortunately, there is a solution! Intel is updating drivers for Arrandale/Clarkdale users on Windows Vista and 7, and so with some manipulation users can get those to install on Windows 8. Here's how.

PLEASE NOTE: Do these steps at your own risk. In the event Intel does release non-legacy drivers in the future, please disregard this guide and download those drivers instead.

Step 1: Obtain the drivers in a ZIP archive. Example link is here.

Step 2: Extract the drivers to a folder and open up its contents. Navigate to the Graphics folder and open the .inf file located here. For 64-bit platforms the file is called igdlh64.inf.

Step 3: Search for the culprit in the .inf file. It should look like this:

Intel graphics INF file

Copy everything under [IntelGfx.NTamd64.6.0] (or equivalent for 32-bit) and paste it under [IntelGfx.NTamd64.6.2]. Let's make the "no install on Win8" text a lie. Save the file.

Step 4: Even after doing so, the drivers will not install. In a change from Windows 7, Windows 8 will by default refuse to install unsigned drivers, or drivers whose .inf files were modified. Getting the drivers to install will require enabling Test Mode. To do so, open an elevated Command Prompt and run the following commands to disable Test Mode (tip from here):

bcdedit -set loadoptions DISABLE_INTEGRITY_CHECKS
bcdedit -set TESTSIGNING ON

Step 5: Reboot and install the drivers. When you're done, disable Test Mode by executing the following commands:

bcdedit -set loadoptions ENABLE_INTEGRITY_CHECKS
bcdedit -set TESTSIGNING OFF

Step 6: Run a Windows Experience Index test and see the difference! Compare the score difference between the in-box Intel drivers, and those copied from Windows 7. In addition, you're able to access the Intel graphics control panel, in case you need to adjust colour/brightness settings. More importantly, you may run OpenGL applications, which the in-box Intel drivers do not support (thanks to the comments below for pointing this out).

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This works great in win8 thanks! I tried the same modifications for Windows Server 2012, but that does not work... any suggestions? Thanks

vinylrecord said,
This works great in win8 thanks! I tried the same modifications for Windows Server 2012, but that does not work... any suggestions? Thanks

Figured it out - the problem was driver signature enforcement. For some reason these 2 commands which work on Win8RP

bcdedit -set loadoptions DISABLE_INTEGRITY_CHECKS
bcdedit -set TESTSIGNING ON

were not enough to disable driver signatures on Win2012. The commands seem to be working in some form as a 'Test Mode' appears on the desktop with these 2 options ON, and dissappear when switched off.

Anyway it's pretty straight-forward, you just need to press F8 while booting into Win2012, select disable driver signature enforcement, and install the modified drivers. Tried Angry Birds (which requires acceleration) with a touch screen. Works perfectly!

To summarize, I can confirm this works for Windows Server 2012 as well.

I actually thought this would be a no gainer, as the Windows Drivers looked and felt ok. But have implemented this on my Thinkpad x201 and went from 4.2 to 4.6 on the Graphics.. YAY

I don't understand... what's wrong with the default drivers that Windows gives you and the updates for them through Windows Update?

.fahim said,
I don't understand... what's wrong with the default drivers that Windows gives you and the updates for them through Windows Update?

Because of opengl.

And Intel I am disappoint.

.fahim said,

Can someone give me a slightly more in-depth explanation?

Microsoft in box drivers doesn't provide opengl support so all of the applications and games such as Angry birds and photoshop cannot run properly, and it lacks the Intel control panel which is needed for some tweaks.

parengputik said,

Microsoft in box drivers doesn't provide opengl support so all of the applications and games such as Angry birds and photoshop cannot run properly, and it lacks the Intel control panel which is needed for some tweaks.

My experience with the Intel control panel is that it is awful and has a tendancy to crash (lots). Gaming and direct acceleration fair enough, but who would game on one of these GPUs anyway? Also what in Photoshop doesn't work properly? My experience is that Photoshop works just fine without Intel's own drivers installed.

So what they are really saying is that Intel.com is not going to host or provide the drivers, the only drivers are going to be distributed through Microsoft Update.

but let's face it: graphics drivers supplied via Windows Update aren't the best

With Nvidia and ATI there are circumstances for gamers that the MFR drivers are more feature complete than the Microsoft Update drivers, with PhyX and other features the Microsoft Update driver doesn't include.

However, for Intel graphics, what features are missing between the Intel and the Microsoft Update drivers? Especially if Intel is going to release their full driver for Microsoft to distribute?

I find it really strange that this is an issue for anyone, as the Microsoft Update drivers are as feature complete as the Intel.com drivers, and far more stable.


It isn't like the Intel drivers are not available, as even the GMA500 (945 Chipset) and other older GPUs are included and are WDM 1.0 or WDM 1.1 as the functionality of the GPU/Chipset are capable of providing.

(Notice the GMA500 are so CPU dependent that Microsoft can render IE10 and other Direct2D/GPU content using the DIrectX software render faster than the Intel GPU itself can, as it easier for the OS to fully manage it what 'pieces' are shifted to the GPU.)


As for WDM 1.2 and what legacy means, people are quite confused.

Windows 8 will accept and use WDM 1.0/1.1 drivers just fine, so Vista Era drivers will work on Windows 8, and generic WDDM drivers are provided for essentially all GPUs with generic VESA fallback at the worst, which is still better than 99% of the original shipping drivers of really old graphics cards. (Since Windows 8, like Windows 7 doesn't even need a GPU to run, in a headless configuration, GPU drivers are not the issue they were with Vista or previous generations.)

Windows 8 also has software rendering support for DirectX based frameworks and also does a non-GPU software DWM composer. So GPU drivers are far less of an issue for older GPU/Video cards than even Windows 7.

As for the WDM 1.2/1.1/1.0 issues...

The main difference between WDM 1.1 and 1.2 is inherent 3D support (as in glasses 3D content), new full DWM features which is why the Multi-Monitor support has more features.

WDM 1.0 in Vista and 1.1 on Windows 7 is 'essentially' preemptive multi-tasking GPU threads and scheduling through the NT kernel.

WDM 1.2 is fully preemptive multi-tasking the GPU threads, and has new pass assisted drawing through the DWM, and less overhead for DirectX and OpenGL content.

On Windows 8 with WDM 1.2 the DWM (Composer) remains fully active even while playing games and full screen content, making the flip from gaming to the Start Screen/Desktop/Other Apps fluid and seamless and fluid.

So if your GPU is using the older WDM 1.1 or 1.0 drivers, it is going to run as fast and a bit faster than it does on your Vista/Windows 7 system. (Which is faster than XP in 99.9% of circumstances.)

The interesting part of Windows 8, is that gaming is faster with any of the WDM/WDDM drivers; however, with the newer WDM 1.2 drivers, if the GPU is capable, Windows 8 is not only faster, but is running the content while the DWM composer is active and hosting the game.

So the 10-30% faster gaming in Windows 8 with WDM 1.2 drivers is actually 30-50% faster than Windows 7 when you consider it is running the game, even in full screen, the same way Windows 7 runs the game inside a Window with the DWM (Composer) enabled.

With WDM 1.1/1.0 drivers, depending on how they are implemented by NVidia/Intel/AMD will work like they do on Windows 7, and turn off the DWM while the game is running full screen. This is just like people are used to with Windows 7, but will still be faster than Windows 7 due to less overhead and optimizations at the OS level handling of the GPU threads.


This is one topic where Windows 8 is impressive and not talked about. Especially where it opens up the GPU for developer for more direct access and less overhead, yet is handling more of the GPU scheduling and composition, even in high performance gaming.

Windows 8 has some impressive aspects to the new GPU drivers, but if you only have WDM 1.0 or 1.1 drivers, you won't lose any functionality you currently have and are gaining performance and other cool features of Windows 8.


---------------------
With all the talk of WDM 1.x drivers and legacy, remember that no other OS offers even the basic features of WDDM/WDM 1.x. Neither Linux or OS X has GPU scheduling/virtualization. Meaning on Windows, Applications/games and GP-GPU operations can't slow down the display/UI or other applications/games as the OS is handling the GPU threads. So don't let legacy bug you too much, could be worse, you could be using a Mac.

Appreciate the technical response, and do agree on a few points. I was a bit surprised myself at how fluid the UI remained even with all graphics drivers uninstalled. Also like how the DWM is now always on and with fluid switching between full screen applications and the desktop.

However, as it *currently* stands, the drivers offered at the moment on Windows Update are not better than those you can obtain via intel.com for Windows 7, in part since the Intel control panel is not offered - and in practice, I have noticed hitching in say Flash while on the drivers provided by WU.

As for your comment about WDDM 1.0/1.1 drivers being able to install on Windows 8, that is true and I have pointed out as such above. But the fact remains, Intel has explicitly chose to blacklist Windows 8 from its Vista/7 drivers, and has created a separate beta driver package for 2nd/3rd gen Core users. The blacklisting you cannot rectify using Compatibility Mode.

I also neglected to mention another point in the article: the WU drivers don't install the Turbo Boost driver, nor drivers for HDMI audio. The ones from intel.com do.

If the out-of-box drivers were sufficient I would not have bothered with finding this workaround. So for now, this will have to do. If Intel does put out decent support for us 1st gen and GMA4500 users then I'll eat my words. I won't be surprised if they leave it at this CP-less driver though.

Denis W said,
I also neglected to mention another point in the article: the WU drivers don't install the Turbo Boost driver, nor drivers for HDMI audio. The ones from intel.com do.

Nor do they support OpenGL at all, at least with the GMA4500 driver.

Intel do this on a lot of things.
IPW2200BG has no 64-bit windows drivers but the linux community got it working in 64-bit mode.
Same as the recent mountain lion mac update...

Which is why I'd never get an intel NIC or GPU again.

Actually the Windows Update drivers for windows 7 for MY Realtek integrated audio chip are far better than those WHQL WIndows 7 certified ones from the manufacturer. For instance i don't temporarily lose sound every couple of minutes. And i actually found other older hardware that worked better with WU Drivers including a wifi card and a fingerprint scanner.

Chances are, in that case, the manufacturer put out just one Windows 7 driver set upon the laptop's release. The ones via Windows Update would be from the device's manufacturer (not OEM), which would be newer drivers with bugs fixed.

OEMs are guilty of doing that. Especially Dell.

Its ridiculous that Intel is classing my laptop that i bought in late 2010 as "legacy". All tech sites should kick up a fuss and get intel to give us proper installers and new drivers specifically for windows 8. AMD and Nvidia support very old gpu's, there's no reason intel shouldn't be doing the same. It took them about 8 months to release a new stable driver on their website for win7 for 1st gen core processors. Not happy with intel and their gpu policy!

torrentthief said,
Its ridiculous that Intel is classing my laptop that i bought in late 2010 as "legacy". All tech sites should kick up a fuss and get intel to give us proper installers and new drivers specifically for windows 8. AMD and Nvidia support very old gpu's, there's no reason intel shouldn't be doing the same. It took them about 8 months to release a new stable driver on their website for win7 for 1st gen core processors. Not happy with intel and their gpu policy!

Correction, just realized what Neowin is talking about, and they don't seem to know what they are talking about...

Side Note, it isn't that they are calling your GPU old; however, due to the architecture it just doesn't support features needed for WDM 1.2, especially with regard to the scheduling and virtualization features needed for compliance.

Intel uses too much transitional Multimedia Extension concepts to support their GPUs, and are implementing only very basics as part of the GPU itself in dedicated hardware, like throwing a few shaders in, etc.

Even ATI GPUs in the 4xxx series from 2009/2010 are not going to get the WDM 1.2 drivers either.

See my post below for more Info on the differences that WDM 1.2 offer, as it isn't going impact your performance.

Edited by thenetavenger, Sep 1 2012, 9:29pm :

torrentthief said,
Its ridiculous that Intel is classing my laptop that i bought in late 2010 as "legacy".

That's what you get for buying a laptop! There aren't designed to last more than 3-4 years. If you had bought a desktop PC instead you could have installed a supported graphics card.

According to Wikipedia, Intel's Arrandale and Clarkdale processors were released on 7th January 2010. Intel's Sandy Bridge processors were released in January 2011. If you had waited a few more months, you would have been fine.

@thenetavenger: By 'proper drivers,' would they be the full driver set including the Intel graphics CP? I know Nvidia drivers offered via WU is the full Forceware set - but if that's the case, why not offer it on their own site?

@Ace: desktops aren't the most convenient machines for post-secondary work. In addition, the release of a chip doesn't correlate to immediate availability of said chip on the laptop you're looking at. For instance, my Alienware m11x got Arrandale chips almost half a year after its release (it initially had ULV Core 2 Duo chips upon the m11x's introduction in early 2010).

thenetavenger said,

Correction, just realized what Neowin is talking about, and they don't seem to know what they are talking about...

Side Note, it isn't that they are calling your GPU old; however, due to the architecture it just doesn't support features needed for WDM 1.2, especially with regard to the scheduling and virtualization features needed for compliance.

Intel uses too much transitional Multimedia Extension concepts to support their GPUs, and are implementing only very basics as part of the GPU itself in dedicated hardware, like throwing a few shaders in, etc.

Even ATI GPUs in the 4xxx series from 2009/2010 are not going to get the WDM 1.2 drivers either.

See my post below for more Info on the differences that WDM 1.2 offer, as it isn't going impact your performance.

I don't see how that's relevant? Given that WDDM 1.2 is backwards compatible with older versions of WDDM there's still no excuse to bin driver support IMO.