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Possible Causes And An Old Trick

Bug Or Feature? AMD's Catalyst Doesn't Recognize NB Driver
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Possible Causes

After several experiments and brute force uninstallations (with Cleaner and manual removal of registry entries), we came to the conclusion that AMD's own Catalyst setup drivers and the drivers obtained through Windows installation and/or Windows Update want nothing to do with each other. Although manual installation and removal of the driver through Device Manager works, the Catalyst installer remains oblivious, offering to re-install all currently-installed drivers that are not AMD-exclusive (meaning the drivers already supplied by Microsoft).

At the same time, the opposite scenario is impossible, as these drivers are not recognized by the installer or uninstaller. AMD alone can answer to what extent this is either a security mechanism or the installer failing to identify drivers.

Assessment

We would like to once more point out that this issue does not cause any real problems with the computer. The issue is merely a bother, causing unnecessary confusion for the folks who like to keep track of driver versions to ensure they're running the latest and greatest. But it's also obvious from our searches that this situation has existed for a long time, and that there has simply been no explanation or solution from AMD.

An Old Trick: A Simple, But Effective Procedure

The Catalyst installer starts by extracting the actual installation files to a directory. This is where the trick comes into play.

We navigate to the installation directory and then into the subdirectory called "Config." Here we find the file "InstallManager.cfg." We open this file with a suitable text editor, such as Notepad. This is what the file contains:

Note the last line ‘WorkaroundInstall’. By default, this is set to "false." We enable the option by setting the value to "true" and then save the file.

Now we start the setup from the directory by running Setup.exe. Note the installation options we are greeted with:

Some things changed that help to avoid confusion by AMD’s Catalyst: only exclusive driver packages remain after executing Catalyst setup with the workaround install option.

Additional Benefits

This trick also helps when the Catalyst installer, for some reason, refuses to install the driver, despite the hardware being plugged in and an older driver working perfectly. Next time you are facing an unfathomable installation problem, remember that modifying the installation configuration often works wonders. We were able to successfully use it when the current Catalyst 10.5 refused to install on systems that had previously had version 10.2 or 10.3 installed.

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Top Comments
  • 26 Hide
    AMW1011 , July 23, 2010 7:22 AM
    THESE are the type of articles that made Tom's awesome years ago, hopefully you guys will keep them coming.

    Thanks, very interesting.
  • 13 Hide
    The Greater Good , July 23, 2010 8:30 AM
    The "Bug or feature" only works with Apple.

    ...just sayin...
  • 11 Hide
    youssef 2010 , July 23, 2010 11:46 AM
    A very useful article.I never knew this feature existed because I never ran into any problems whatsoever with AMD's drivers.Now,

    @lradunovic77:you might want to try the driver release that fried the GPUs from Nvidia or the flagship GTX295 that overheatead and didn't run some games on high resolution due to limited frame buffer(which it was designed to do).I think ATI might have some driver problems but, they never released a driver that fried GPUs(at least none that I know of).Just think of their 4670 and shut up.

    @superflux: just please read the drivers release notes to know if your laptop brand is supported or not,as I ran into the same trouble with my laptop when I couldn't update my drivers and finally found out that the only drivers that will work are the ones supplied by the manufacturer of the laptop.
    Sorry for the long comment.:) 
Other Comments
  • 8 Hide
    icepick314 , July 23, 2010 6:44 AM
    I would like to hear what AMD says about their Catalyst installer "bug"...
  • 26 Hide
    AMW1011 , July 23, 2010 7:22 AM
    THESE are the type of articles that made Tom's awesome years ago, hopefully you guys will keep them coming.

    Thanks, very interesting.
  • 7 Hide
    tigsounds , July 23, 2010 7:25 AM
    So, I guess since I installed with the express method, I'll never know.
  • -4 Hide
    superflux , July 23, 2010 7:50 AM
    It still didn't work for me on my radeon 3200 laptop...
  • 9 Hide
    omoronovo , July 23, 2010 7:54 AM
    Am I the only one that took note of the fact that the driver version installed was "1.3.3.7"? Maybe Microsoft and ATI/AMD were trying to tell you not to bother :p 
  • 10 Hide
    dlpatague , July 23, 2010 7:59 AM
    Yes I love articles like this also. Very informative and helpful.
  • 13 Hide
    The Greater Good , July 23, 2010 8:30 AM
    The "Bug or feature" only works with Apple.

    ...just sayin...
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , July 23, 2010 8:57 AM
    This problem has certainly been around for years. I remember posting a question about it on the AMDGame forums.
  • 8 Hide
    Anonymous , July 23, 2010 9:19 AM
    How about just installing 10.6!
  • -3 Hide
    Ciuy , July 23, 2010 10:27 AM
    wtf, update? why they hide it? wtf ATI !!!!!!!
  • 7 Hide
    dimitrik , July 23, 2010 10:50 AM
    I have been fighting (and giving) with this since forever! Thanks for a very useful article!

    This is why I visit this site!
  • 11 Hide
    youssef 2010 , July 23, 2010 11:46 AM
    A very useful article.I never knew this feature existed because I never ran into any problems whatsoever with AMD's drivers.Now,

    @lradunovic77:you might want to try the driver release that fried the GPUs from Nvidia or the flagship GTX295 that overheatead and didn't run some games on high resolution due to limited frame buffer(which it was designed to do).I think ATI might have some driver problems but, they never released a driver that fried GPUs(at least none that I know of).Just think of their 4670 and shut up.

    @superflux: just please read the drivers release notes to know if your laptop brand is supported or not,as I ran into the same trouble with my laptop when I couldn't update my drivers and finally found out that the only drivers that will work are the ones supplied by the manufacturer of the laptop.
    Sorry for the long comment.:) 
  • 2 Hide
    youssef 2010 , July 23, 2010 11:49 AM
    icepick314I would like to hear what AMD says about their Catalyst installer "bug"...

    So would I
  • 0 Hide
    viewwin , July 23, 2010 12:14 PM
    I wish my hd 5770 would just play any game with windows 7 64bit. I get an ATI driver crash every time. Google turned up tons of people with the same problems.
  • 4 Hide
    Bolbi , July 23, 2010 12:25 PM
    I have encountered the North Bridge problem (says it installs correctly but then doesn't recognize that if you run the installer again) for as long as I can remember. I'll definitely try the workaround (and update) options when I upgrade to the 10.7's in a few days.
  • 10 Hide
    Rosanjin , July 23, 2010 12:37 PM
    Just a thought, but I'd like to make a suggestion to the folks that complain about ATI drivers. Thoroughly check your power supply. If the PSU is not supplying the juice required by the card(s), you're going to get repeated driver error messages. Make doubly sure the +12v rail isn't drooping. This is a fairly common issue that causes a lot of misplaced blame.

    Cheers, and happy computing. :) 
  • 1 Hide
    domenic , July 23, 2010 1:08 PM
    It don't think you can classify this as a bug because the default configuration has been set this way. it would be interesting know why.
  • 3 Hide
    mtd324 , July 23, 2010 1:52 PM
    lradunovic77@yousseff 2010 obviously you don't run crossfire or tri crossfire system, only 10.4 works ok with that setup, everything else is crap. Also case Nvidia has is the only example you could put out there. Wtf you are talking about, think of their 4670?CCC is a crap and other million people will tell you the same. ATI needs 4 months before they fix all issues with new released game. Crossfire scale is a joke compared to SLI. Latest 10.6 is horrible for BF BC2 in Crossfire setup. I can give you list and list of broken things with CCC, not to mention lack of good AA support. What a joke!


    ....BF:BC2@ runs perfect for me with latest drivers. 40-50fps @ 1600x900 Med-Hi details 4x AA. And I only have a 1GB HD4850 running on an i5-750.

    One of us is the exception to the rule here....
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