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Microsoft Expands Rebootless Display Driver Upgrade Patent

By - Source: USPTO | B 30 comments

Microsoft was just granted the rights to a more elaborate display driver update that does not require a computer system to reboot.

The approach covers three separate steps - first, to stop a display driver from running; second, to activate the Windows default VGA driver (Microsoft Basic Display Driver in Windows 8); and third to start up the new driver that is provided by an independent hardware vendor (IHV).

The patent is fairly new and dates back to an application filed in September 2011 and is apparently an updated version of a patent that was originally filed as an application in 2005 and granted in 2011. What makes the patent special is its scope that is not only limited to Windows in general, but to all "other well known computing systems, environments, and/or configurations that may be suitable for use with the invention." Te patent covers "automated teller machines, server computers, hand-held or laptop devices, multi-processor systems, microprocessor-based systems, programmable consumer electronics, network PCs, minicomputers, mainframe computers, and the like."

Depending on your your definition of "well-known", it refers to operating systems such as Linux and Mac OS, but iOS and Android may be especially affected by this update. One of the most notable additions in this updated patent is the consideration of cloud computing and mobile device environments. According to the just granted patent, the rebootless update now also includes "distributed computing environments where tasks are performed by remote processing devices that are linked through a communications network or other data transmission medium."


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  • 18 Hide
    alchemy69 , November 5, 2012 12:35 PM
    I still remember the good ole' days when you had to reboot just to change screen resolution.
  • 10 Hide
    Anonymous , November 5, 2012 12:36 PM
    Unlike Apple though, Microsoft would probably be happy to license the patent.
Other Comments
  • 7 Hide
    santiagoanders , November 5, 2012 12:23 PM
    I thought patents had to be non-obvious. Stupid patent office.
  • 9 Hide
    InvalidError , November 5, 2012 12:29 PM
    If Microsoft patented
    1- transfer control from old driver to generic driver
    2- uninstall old driver
    3- install new driver
    4- transfer control from generic driver to new driver

    This means someone else can still patent:
    1- install new driver in standby state
    2- transfer control from old driver to new driver
    3- remove old driver
  • 6 Hide
    vaughn2k , November 5, 2012 12:30 PM
    santiagoandersI thought patents had to be non-obvious. Stupid patent office.

    I've been writing patents, and you're right, now this is stupid...
  • 8 Hide
    Lord Captivus , November 5, 2012 12:31 PM
    This is breakthrough of biblical proportions!!
  • 0 Hide
    kartu , November 5, 2012 12:31 PM
    Can someone do something to the USPO please?
    But no violence please.
  • 2 Hide
    p05esto , November 5, 2012 12:33 PM
    Not sure about this patent, they must be missing something. I'm guessing it's the technology behind the scenes here that we're really talking about. It must be something no one else has thought of just yet.
  • 18 Hide
    alchemy69 , November 5, 2012 12:35 PM
    I still remember the good ole' days when you had to reboot just to change screen resolution.
  • 10 Hide
    Anonymous , November 5, 2012 12:36 PM
    Unlike Apple though, Microsoft would probably be happy to license the patent.
  • -1 Hide
    amdfangirl , November 5, 2012 12:38 PM
    One year from now headlines:

    "Microsoft patents rebootless reboot"
    Microsoft has patented a computer technology colloquially known as "just having a computer running". Effective immediately, all working computers will need to pay royalties to continue using the Microsoft patented "just having a computer running".
  • 1 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , November 5, 2012 1:00 PM
    nice bit of tech. eager to see this implemented in nvidia/amd drivers
  • 1 Hide
    InvalidError , November 5, 2012 1:27 PM
    alchemy69I still remember the good ole' days when you had to reboot just to change screen resolution.

    What OS would that be? Even Windows 3.0 could change resolutions without reloading. Switching color depth on the other hand had a tendency to mess things up and require a reboot to fix it. Since cards back then only had 1-4MB RAM, increasing resolution often came at the expense of color depth and the aforementioned glitches.
  • 0 Hide
    warmon6 , November 5, 2012 1:30 PM
    kartuCan someone do something to the USPO please?But no violence please.


    aww..... but that takes all the fun away!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJs_dnj6g_M
  • 3 Hide
    MrHanMan , November 5, 2012 1:38 PM
    I'm pretty sure the last time I upgraded my nvidia driver on Windows 7 x64 I didn't have to reboot. Are they just now receiving a patent for a technology they've already implemented? Or are they trying to extend their already existing patent to other OSes?
  • 1 Hide
    CaedenV , November 5, 2012 1:44 PM
    santiagoandersI thought patents had to be non-obvious. Stupid patent office.

    while the idea may be obvious, the implementation is not. If it was obvious we would have this kind of feature in systems already. Also, you cannot simply patent the idea to change GPU drivers on the fly, there is a specific model on how to do it which is patented. As noted by InvalidError there are potentially other ways of doing this which the patent would not cover.

    SDCardsUnlike Apple though, Microsoft would probably be happy to license the patent.

    This is exactly what I love about MS. They understand that they are not alone in the tech universe. they are a big business, and they have their hands in a lot of pots, but they are more than willing to lease out patents to others who are innovating. They even lease out to direct competitors such as some Linux distros (including Android). They learned their lesson back in the '90s that if they are going to stay on top, and remain their own company without ridiculous amounts of Gov't intrusion, then they have to play nice with others.
  • 3 Hide
    frombehind , November 5, 2012 1:56 PM
    let me know when they invent a way to patch the system kernel on the fly without a reboot... then i will be impressed :D 
  • 0 Hide
    twelch82 , November 5, 2012 2:38 PM
    Hasn't nVidia been doing this for years?
  • -1 Hide
    memadmax , November 5, 2012 3:17 PM
    I thought of this long ago along with the aforementioned rebootless kernal update, along with multi core/cpu processors like the pentium pro for example(my idea came to mind when the 286 was at it's prime and the 386 was just coming out, but mine was layering the cores like a cake)

    But unfortunately...
    I don't have a mountain of money and an army of lawyers so alot of my ideas just get forgotten or are invented by a company later on lol
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , November 5, 2012 4:26 PM
    Already done on GNU/Linux systems.

    You install the proprietary driver update in the GUI, then drop back to the built-in VGA driver (ie restart X), and you are using the new driver. This patent is complete bull, and the patent office should be punished.
  • 1 Hide
    Fokissed , November 5, 2012 4:27 PM
    memadmaxI thought of this long ago along with the aforementioned rebootless kernal update, along with multi core/cpu processors like the pentium pro for example(my idea came to mind when the 286 was at it's prime and the 386 was just coming out, but mine was layering the cores like a cake) But unfortunately... I don't have a mountain of money and an army of lawyers so alot of my ideas just get forgotten or are invented by a company later on lol

    Good thing the USPTO doesn't require either of those. Patent fees are next to nothing for small entities.
  • -1 Hide
    ex_bubblehead , November 5, 2012 4:36 PM
    NVidia drivers haven't required a reboot for quite a while now.
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