AMD is working to fix a Radeon driver bug that can break Windows
Following a series of reports from users that the latest Radeon drivers have been causing serious issues with Windows, AMD has now confirmed that there is a problem and is working on a fix.
There have been complaints about the Adrenalin 23.2.2 drivers since they were released a few weeks ago, with users finding themselves plagued with boot issues and corrupt Windows installations. The issues stem from the way Windows interacts with the drivers, and AMD has offered up a workaround until a proper fix is available.
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While there are various reports from disgruntled users on Reddit and AMD's support forums, it is fair to say that the problems -- while fairly catastrophic for those affected -- are relatively rare. Brad Chacos, executive editor of PCWorld, was among those unfortunate enough to hit upon the issue after installing a new Radeon RX 7900 XT.
Explaining the disaster, Chacos writes:
I opened up Chrome, navigated to AMD's website, and downloaded the WQHL-certified Adrenalin 23.2.2 drivers that the site recommended for a 7900 XT. Then I installed the driver, checking the box to perform a "factory reset" clean installation rather than an upgrade-in-place. It turns out that checking that box, done in conjunction with a silent Windows update occurring in the background without my knowledge, probably led to my rig's downfall.
Everything went well -- until the software said I needed to reboot my PC to finish the driver installation. After restarting, my system hit the MSI BIOS splash page like normal, but the second it tried loading Windows it immediately suffered a Blue Screen of Death, flashing [an] "Inaccessible Boot Device" error code [...]. Ugh. The system then started an endless cycle of BSOD > reboot > BSOD > reboot without kicking off automatic repair attempts or presenting me the usual Windows troubleshooting options.
After complaining on Twitter, Chacos then entered into communication with AMD engineers who were able to determine what was going on and provide a workaround. The company also provided the following statement:
We have reproduced an issue that can occur in an extremely small number of instances if a PC update occurs during the installation of AMD Software: Adrenalin Edition, and we are actively investigating. We recommend users ensure all system updates are applied or paused before installing the driver, and that the "Factory Reset" option is unchecked during the AMD driver installation process. We are committed to resolve issues as quickly as possible and strongly encourage users to submit issues with AMD Software: Adrenalin Edition via the Bug Report Tool.
If you have been hit by the buggy drivers, it is well-worth taking a look at Brad Chacos' article over on PCWorld where he not only details his experience, but shares a solution described as an "exotic fix".