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Best order of installation


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Hey forum. Wondering which is the best order to install drivers from the device manufacturer for a PC I'll be setting up. It's a 2018 HP Zbook 15v.

The five I'm concerned about doing in the correct order are: a BIOS update (which has a  microcode and security components as well as general fixes, so definitely wants doing), Intel MEI Driver, Intel ME firmware, Intel Chipset Installation and Utility Driver, Intel Serial I0 Driver.

The rest is run of the mill stuff: audio driver, graphics driver, thunderbolt controller driver, synaptics fingerprint driver, IR camera update, WLAN and gigabit ethernet drivers, bluetooth, HP wireless button driver, card reader driver, and Intel Rapid Storage Technology driver.

Been a while since I set one up, esp one already 2yrs old! Thanks.

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The BIOS can be done at pretty much any point since that's a component that functions pre-boot before the OS and other drivers are loaded.  The main thing is you don't want the system to crash or lose power during a BIOS update, because that could leave the motherboard dead and in need of being reprogrammed by the manufacturer or a certified HP tech who has the appropriate device to connect to and write directly to the motherboard's built in memory.  I'm not trying to scare you at all, and I'm sure it will go fine; I just want to make you aware that updating the BIOS does carry some risks that you should know going in.

I generally start with the chipset drivers, though in reality, they're usually the least essential (checking Intel's documentation, those drivers don't really 'do' anything other than identifying the chipset by name rather than the generic info shown by default in Windows/Device Manager in most cases), but because most of the other components connect to the chipset, I start with those first (the chipset is what the CPU uses to connect to the rest of the system through the motherboard via interfaces like PCIe and USB).  Intel's installer does have a .NET requirement as I recall, so depending on what OS version you're running and how out of date it is, you might need to install a .NET update before proceeding, but it will let you know and won't cause any problems if you try to run it without the needed .NET; it will just show an error and you'll need to install the needed .NET to get it to install.

I'd likely do the IME drivers next just because, much like with BIOS updates, securing the IME is of paramount importance (IME is the black box chip within the CPU that runs its own min-OS/kernel and allows full remote access to the system and most of the core components connected to it; it's actually a horrible device that I wish wasn't built into all modern CPUs).  It would also be a good idea to make sure that your IME isn't vulnerable to any of the major more recent security vulnerabilities documented on Intel's website:


Intel provides a detection tool for each of the above vulnerabilities which you can run to quickly check whether your chip is using a vulnerable firmware revision, and if it is, you can check HP's site for any patches they've released (though hopefully they'll be included in the BIOS update).  If not, there is a way to manually patch IME's firmware (I've had to do this on multiple systems I own due to the manufacturer never releasing any firmware updates for their systems), but it can be a bit daunting.  I can provide links to detailed info on how to do it as well as some guidance from my experience if needed, but hopefully it won't be necessary.

Where you might actually want to be careful is with audio, because all discrete graphics cards now include HD audio of their own (because HDMI carries audio as well as video), so you can actually run into problems with the onboard HD audio if you install those in the wrong order.  I usually go with the HD audio driver first, then the graphics driver at some point after, that way Windows already has the latest/correct driver for the onboard HD audio chipset and won't try to install the (often more generic and sometimes more outdated) HD audio driver component installed as part of the graphics driver package.

You should be good on pretty much everything else, though if you have a Samsung NVMe SSD, be sure to install the Intel RST drivers first, then install Samsung Magician/the Samsung NVMe drivers, otherwise you might end up with a drive that performs slower than it should.

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Thanks so much @exile360 That's a really comprehensive reply! I appreciate the effort and time that must have taken to post. :)

That's interesting about the order of audio and graphics drivers. I didn't know that. This one has both integrated Intel UHD graphics and discreet Nvidea Quadro graphics (it's basically a workstation). There's updates for both, from memory.

So if I understand you correctly I need to do anything related to the chipset first. There are actually a few in my list that relate to the chipsets I think - definitely the Intel Chipset Installation and Utility Driver, Intel Serial I0 Driver. Will I do those tow first (in the order typed) and then the MEI stuff? Would you recommend I do the Intel MEI Driver or the Intel ME firmware first?

Good to know I can do the BIOS at any stage, and yup! I'm very aware of the risk with BIOS updates- thankfully I've never been bitten yet with any BIOS updates going bad (at least not HP ones). Before doing so I unplug all peripherals and switch off all security software, and also run a SFC and DISM RestoreHealth first. My whole reason for posting this was because I'm sure I read somewhere that it's vital to get the MEI firmware and BIOS updates in the right order (this was back in 2017 when the first spectre/meltdown vulnerabilities came to light), as one might undo the changes of the other if done in the wrong order (from a spectre/meltdown point of view - not the other BIOS fixes). Of course I can't find that post or article for looking now! It's an 8th gen Intel chip, so will definitely need security updates.

I'm not sure what brand the SSD is. I've a sneaky feeling it's a Toshiba, or maybe a Seagate... I haven't got my hands on the machine yet. The product datasheet simply says: 1TB M.2 PCIe® NVMe™ TLC Solid State Drive.

I also forgot to ask, would I be best to do any Windows Updates before anything else?

Thanks again exile. :)

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Yes, the Intel Chipset Installation Utility driver is the main one I was talking about; the others likely don't need to be installed in any particular order, but I tend to start with Intel's chipset drivers first.  The other two (the Serial IO driver and the MEI driver) you can install at any time you wish and it should be fine.

Yes, those drivers for HD audio can be a bit quirky.  If you find that you do experience any audio issues after getting all your drivers installed, going back and uninstalling/reinstalling the Realtek HD audio drivers should fix it, but hopefully you won't run into any problems.

Sometimes you need to install some Windows Updates before installing certain drivers (such as the .NET issue I mentioned in my original post), but that's not typically the case, so you should be fine doing all your drivers first, then doing your Windows Updates.

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Oh, and as for your NVMe drive, if it has any drivers and doesn't just use the built in Windows drivers, that's the one where you'd want to install Intel's RST driver first, reboot, then install the NVMe driver; that should give you the appropriate driver setup and thus the fastest performance.

Edited by exile360
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Ok thanks @exile360 Just one final question remaining - am I best to do the Intel MEI Driver or the Intel ME firmware first? And definitely doesn't matter which order the BIOS is done in relation to MEI stuff? (OK that was two. :P)

Really appreciate your input. I'm setting this one up for someone else, so I want to be extra careful I avoid borkage.

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