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Microsoft Has Broken Millions Of Webcams With Windows 10 Anniversary Update (thurrott.com) 220

The Anniversary Update which Microsoft rolled out to Windows 10 users earlier this month has broken millions of webcams, the company said on Friday. The problem is that after installing the update, the company added, Windows no longer allows USB webcams to use MJPEG or H264 encoding processes, and only supports YUY2 encoding. Microsoft says it introduced the changes to prevent an issue that was resulting in duplication of encoding the stream (poor performance). If you're facing the issue, there's a workaround (via Thurrott.com): Rafael has figured out a workaround that should hopefully stop the freezing issue; if you are comfortable tweaking the registry, make this change. HKLM\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Microsoft\Windows Media Foundation\Platform, add DWORD "EnableFrameServerMode" and set to 0
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Microsoft Has Broken Millions Of Webcams With Windows 10 Anniversary Update

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  • by HumanWiki ( 4493803 ) on Friday August 19, 2016 @04:57PM (#52735011)

    Headaches.

    • by JoeMerchant ( 803320 ) on Friday August 19, 2016 @05:08PM (#52735077)

      My wife's new notebook lost Miracast capability with the 8/12/16 Windows Security update. Miracast worked fine out of the box for several months, suddenly stopped for no apparent reason, checked update logs, 8/12/16 was the latest, unapplied it, Miracast is back. Windows 10 Home - no (easy) options to suppress automatic updates. Hurray for progress. They killed the Atom based Netbook / Nettop generation of PCs with updates to XP, too.

      • by PRMan ( 959735 )
        My Atom-based netbook still works on Windows 10.
      • by tsqr ( 808554 ) on Friday August 19, 2016 @05:45PM (#52735251)

        Windows 10 Home - no (easy) options to suppress automatic updates.

        I haven't seen an update since I disabled the "Windows Update" service and set its "Action on failure" property to "No action". (note: not sure of the exact wording regarding action on failure, but you'll see it if you go to Computer Management, select Services, scroll down to Windows Update, right-click and select Properties; I believe it's in the right-most tab.)

      • by Pax681 ( 1002592 )

        . Windows 10 Home - no (easy) options to suppress automatic updates. Hrray for progress. They killed the Atom based Netbook / Nettop generation of PCs with updates to XP, too.

        MS have a tool for that bud you can download from the ms linky.. just run it to show/hide updates

        To temporarily prevent the driver from being reinstalled until a new driver fix is available, a troubleshooter is available that provides a user interface to hide and show Windows updates and drivers for Windows 10.

        Microsoft windows update show hide utility [microsoft.com]

      • They killed the Atom based Netbook / Nettop generation of PCs with updates to XP, too.

        That was their standard embrace, extend, extinguish strategy. The first netbooks came with Linux running a GUI which let you browse the web, access your email, play movies, and play music. They sold better than expected so presented a possible threat to Windows' quasi-monopoly of the PC platform. So Microsoft created a cut-down version of Windows (7 Starter edition) which would run on netbooks. That got people to stop

        • Nope, sorry, but bullshit. those wonderful Linux netbooks? Yeah they saw 400% hbigher returns than the ones with Windows [laptopmag.com] so the second MSFT gave companies a decent price on XP and later Win 7? They quit selling the ones with the OS that was costing them money, simple as that.

          As for why netbooks died out? The companies decided they wanted more profit so they made them bigger, added more bells and whistles, and priced themselves out of the market, simple as that. When netbooks were $179-$299? I couldn't keep

        • The other way that Microsoft helped kill off the netbook was to make Windows 7 Starter very cheap, but in order to qualify the Netbook must not exceed certain specifications (otherwise, it was then considered a laptop by Microsoft and would require a more expensive Windows 7 Home license). That's why the Netbooks all had very similar specifications no matter who made them, and also why it seemed like they were stuck in a time warp where the hardware didn't seem to change at all for several years.

          Of course,

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 19, 2016 @05:26PM (#52735163)

      They fixed a performance issue by taking away a feature that millions of people use.

      If I did that at my job, I'd probably be fired.

    • I think Obi-Wan even spoke of this: "I felt a great disturbance in the [Windows], as if millions of [webcams] suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened."

      Obviously, he was speaking allegorically when he said those words, with the Force representing Windows and voices representing webcams. It makes sense if you think of it, with Gates and Balmer representing Palpatine and Vader having power over the dark side of the force (the new guy is Kylo-Re

    • by TroII ( 4484479 ) on Friday August 19, 2016 @07:37PM (#52735829)

      Linux: Free as in speech.
      BSD: Free as in beer.
      Windows 10: Free as in herpes.

    • Headaches.

      So far I have personally had two updates that killed audio drivers, two computers that had their ethernet drivers killed by updates - strangely enough three identical computers did not get killed by the same update. I've supported dozens of computers that had audio knocked out by updates.

      side note: the trick to getting the damn things back on line was bizzare to say the least, but I'll repeat it here in case it happens to someone else. First I took a USB-Ethernet adapter to try to get ethernet connectivi

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Thursday I did an emergency install of Ubuntu MATE 16.04 LTS on an old DELL laptop because Windows 10 suddenly couldn't manage to light up the built-in screen anymore.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 19, 2016 @04:58PM (#52735021)
    "Microsoft Has Broken Millions of Computers With Windows 10 Anniversary Update"...
    • by mysidia ( 191772 )

      Wait... at the same time as they refuse to remove b0rked PowerShell Aliases for 'Wget' and 'Curl' that mess up people who want to use those utilities, because that would be a "Breaking Change" ?

  • by CajunArson ( 465943 ) on Friday August 19, 2016 @04:59PM (#52735027) Journal

    H.264? There are evil patents associated with that right?

    This just sounds like Microsoft is trying to act like a positive in the freedom dimension Linux distro by refusing to support that evil patenty thing and by refusing to support webcams, which we all know could be used as NSA backdoors and are therefore evil.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 19, 2016 @04:59PM (#52735029)
    No, seriously, thanks, developers. For always being "evergreen," for deciding that end users should no longer have the right to accept or refuse individual "upgrades," and for always being agile.

    I mean, I get it. I get that you don't want to support more than one platform or configuration at any given moment in time. It's not fun having to regression test against a billion third-party devices, and it's not cool to QA things that work fine on your machine - and in a DevOps world, you don't have to - but please, find someone in your office with a little grey in his beard, and ask them, just once, about writing software with the user's needs in mind, not just your manager's desire to cut support costs.

    It wasn't that long ago that software that worked, continued to work until the end user broke it by changing something. Now the users aren't breaking things -- but you are. Why?

    Would it seriously be too much to ask if, in exchange for no longer being able to receive technical support (because technically, a working configuration that isn't "the newest version" is unsupported in this brave new world Nadella's created for us), users be permitted to not change already-working configurations?

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Friday August 19, 2016 @05:28PM (#52735185) Journal
      The nasty trick in this case is that they shouldn't have had to test against a zillion awful webcams to know that they had a problem.

      The USB Video Class Spec and Microsoft's own driver for it [microsoft.com] defines support for both uncompressed and compressed video output; and for programs to negotiate with a UVC device to change video parameters.

      The extra abstraction layer they added between the driver and the applications only supports one uncompressed format; and breaks if you try to negotiate for something different. That's not a weirdo edge case with somebody's ghastly rev. A product that never should have made it out the door; that's "break a substantial portion of a spec we used to support and hope everything turns out for the best". Not good.
      • by Khyber ( 864651 )

        Microsoft's own UVC driver doesn't work. All of my cameras ONLY work under 32-bit Windows.

    • No, seriously, thanks, developers. For always being "evergreen," for deciding that end users should no longer have the right to accept or refuse individual "upgrades," and for always being agile.

      developers aren't the one's that decide shit like this, this has "management" written all over it.

    • Not having customers is always the most convenient option. The snag is that it's the most expensive option also.

    • by Altrag ( 195300 )

      Now the users aren't breaking things -- but you are. Why?

      This kind of answers itself. The less the customer is able to configure themselves, the less they will be able to cock up their configurations.

      And its a lot easier to tell a user "this feature is no longer supported" than it is to try and figure out why having a joystick plugged in starts gives them error 0x37728cf3 in Word, but only when they try to insert a jpg image that's between 283 and 424 pixels wide, which of course doesn't occur on the support staff's own PC even with the exact same model of joyst

    • Would it seriously be too much to ask ... a working configuration that isn't "the newest version"..., users be permitted to not change already-working configurations?

      I just switched to the Long-Term Servicing Branch (LTSB) version of Windows 10 and so far I like it. No App Store, no Cortana, no force-installed new features.

      • I just switched to the Long-Term Servicing Branch (LTSB) version of Windows 10 and so far I like it. No App Store, no Cortana, no force-installed new features.

        Not fair. That's an Enterprise thing [wikipedia.org]. Regular folks don't have that option.

    • It's progressive. Why wait for the user to break something when the developers can do it themselves?
  • by ewhac ( 5844 ) on Friday August 19, 2016 @05:05PM (#52735055) Homepage Journal

    Microsoft says it introduced the changes to prevent an issue that was resulting in duplication of encoding the stream (poor performance).

    I see. Because squirting 720p or 1080p video as uncompressed YUYV over a USB2 link never results in performance problems...

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Real reason is that they want to reduce people from development and QA teams by removing features. Less people, better business performance and more bonuses to MBA team. Of course in long term there are less customers, but at that time the management team has already collected their bonuses and changed company to ruin.

  • by zenlessyank ( 748553 ) on Friday August 19, 2016 @05:06PM (#52735063)

    Fun for everyone!!! Well, except you.

    • Fun for everyone!!! Well, except you.

      Terrorists: "So don't discuss plans in front of open laptop with webcam. Thanks for the tip, Microsoft!"

  • My workaround (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    So I had plenty of issues after Anniversary edition update. Sound issues, choppy scrolling again in Chrome. Finicky touchpad with jitter and freeze. I finally decided it was time to try a Linux distro. Yes, I have had plenty of issues with Linux distro's in the past. But this time not a one, and besides that my scanner that didn't work in Windows 10 now works in Ubuntu. Sorry but I think having to endure more problems every six months or so on yet another Windows 10 roll out is just too much.

    • It used to be that I would have to keep a Windows partition to use some hardware devices. Today, there is very, very little that doesn't run in Linux, mostly without the need to look for a manufacturer's driver as is the case on Windows. Of course, there are exceptions[1] and YMMV, but by and large I do better with Linux these days than with Windows, in terms of hardware compatibility and ease of use. And although updates may at times create backward incompatibility (not often), I have a choice about when a

  • NSA (Score:4, Funny)

    by Macdude ( 23507 ) on Friday August 19, 2016 @05:19PM (#52735139)

    The real reason, it was interfering with the NSA backdoor that watches you sleep.

    • The real reason, it was interfering with the NSA backdoor that watches you sleep.

      What was that sleep pattern called that marks your terrorism probability percent jump to 100? REM? Yeah, that's it!

      I didn't just violate copyright, did I? Losing my Religion stuck in head now.. can't get.. it..out..

  • I rolled it back for multiple reasons. The webcam was completely unrelated. NordVPN client wouldn't connect, and HFS partition disappeared. I liked half of the new features, but the other half were broken things. I can't work with an update like that when I'm not at home for half a year. Luckily it rolled back easily.
    • I rolled it back for multiple reasons. The webcam was completely unrelated. NordVPN client wouldn't connect, and HFS partition disappeared. I liked half of the new features, but the other half were broken things. I can't work with an update like that when I'm not at home for half a year. Luckily it rolled back easily.

      Rolling Back Rollups... I declare this trademarked at the time of posting this comment! /snark

  • by queazocotal ( 915608 ) on Friday August 19, 2016 @05:48PM (#52735271)

    There was no performance issue - the problem was that multiple applications could not access the camera at once, and it was important to fix this.
    Quoting:
    " It was important for us to enable concurrent camera access, so Windows Hello, Microsoft Hololens and other products and features could reliably assume that the camera would be available at any given time, regardless of what other applications may be accessing it. "

    https://social.msdn.microsoft.... [microsoft.com]

    Which is of great comfort to the owners of medical imagers that are now junk unless someone catches and rolls back the anniversary edition. There is claimed to be a fix in the pipe.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Scutter ( 18425 )

      Which is of great comfort to the owners of medical imagers that are now junk unless someone catches and rolls back the anniversary edition. There is claimed to be a fix in the pipe.

      If you're running a medical imager and you're auto-installing patches willy-nilly without thoroughly testing them, then you're doing it wrong. I don't care what OS you're running, that's just negligent.

      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        I am not sure this feature "enforcing non-exclusive access to the camera" even makes ANY sense in any use case you can think of.

        Although it sounds like a great way to spy on people by misusing the camera hardware on the sly when the user thinks it's being used for something else.

        Still not sure why such access would require the sort of sabotage that Microsoft has imposed upon it's users.

      • by mspohr ( 589790 )

        The reality is that most medical IT "experts" are clueless. I mean, why would they be running Windows in the first place?
        Of course they just auto-update everything... much easier than thinking and testing.

    • by Khyber ( 864651 )

      " the problem was that multiple applications could not access the camera at once"

      So, they want to implement a shitty version of ManyCam, SplitCamera, or X-Split?

    • by Trogre ( 513942 )

      Other products and features

      In other words, they wanted to make sure they could spy on you any time they wanted.

      Screw them. Linux / xfce FTW

    • Which is of great comfort to the owners of medical imagers

      If medical imagers were producing compressed video instead of displaying an uncompressed stream then they deserve their rightful place in the bin.

      • Medical imagers vary. Some rely on interpretation of fine details in images, and that one pixel matters.
        In this case, compressed images are a terrible idea.
        In other cases, you are taking high frame-rate video, and analysing gait, or how a ball is hit, or ...
        For this case, compressed video is just fine, but dropping from compressed to uncompressed, and getting 1/6th the frame-rate is utterly useless.

  • What is that you have there?
    It's my computer with windows 10 installed.
    So a expensive space heater? ... yes.

    • What is that you have there?
      It's my computer with windows 10 installed.
      So a expensive space heater? ... yes.

      Inefficient! At least have it doing some distributed processing or something to make it heat a square foot. /snark

  • ...so this is now how the individual Windows updates come out now? Public bulletins with users mentioning fast fixes... hmm.. there's another OS that did that in the past and MS said that it was a horrid OS with no concern for security or usability... Lin... Line.... L-something.

    Psh.

    • You're thinking of Linux... After seeing all of the broken updates, privacy issues, force-feeding Windows 10, whether you wanted it or not, I couldn't be happier I broke the "MS habit" back when I retired in 2010... Geez, I feel sorry for those who *MUST* use Windows, for whatever reason.... Soooo glad its not *me*.....

  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Friday August 19, 2016 @06:49PM (#52735627) Journal

    Older versions of Windows have a "Favorites" sub-menu on the left side of File Explorer. When I had to convert to Windows 10 at work, the "Favorites" links were automatically migrated into something called the "Quick Access" (QA) menu. So far so good: it converted old stuff into its new convention.

    However, "Favorites" used alias names, similar to naming a Windows Shortcut. But QA doesn't (at least not by default). Instead, QA uses the last actual folder name in the path as the displayed title.

    I thought QA simply rudely renamed my Favorites titles, so I right-clicked on them to "fix" the titles. Turns out I wasn't looking at an alias, but the live folder name.

    The result is I inadvertently renamed network folders used by hundreds of employees! Of course trouble-tickets started popping up like pop-corn. I put two and two together, and quickly renamed them back, and then went for a walk to dry off the sweat.

  • Hacker pervs and NSA hardest hit!

  • by mveloso ( 325617 ) on Friday August 19, 2016 @08:06PM (#52735909)

    The basic problem was that the developers at Microsoft don't understand who uses their OS and why. They had 5 use cases when they were developing their new feature, but forgot about the 50,000 use cases that already exist, unknown to the development staff.

    "We changed an API's behavior because of this new feature that nobody cares about, which broke almost every imaging device attached to the OS" reeks of poor engineering management.

    • As someone else pointed out it wasn't the use case it broke. It was an entire spec.

      Features are irrelevant if you can't maintain backwards compatibility with a spec that currently in use by the devices you're targeting.

    • by chihowa ( 366380 )

      It's the systemd model. The exchange between Linux and Windows goes both ways now! Progress!!

  • This new CEO of Microsoft better wise up pretty quick about how to run that company, because they way they have been handling their OS as of late is like begging people to sue them.
    • How many people sued Coca-Cola after they changed the formula to New Coke? How many people sued McDonalds for changing their french fries? How many people sued Wal-Mart for offering self checkout? I don't think that your scenario is likely.
  • by Trogre ( 513942 ) on Saturday August 20, 2016 @02:46AM (#52737019) Homepage

    And this is why cumulative, mandatory, updates are a BAD THING.

    It's like they're not even trying now to hide it anymore. They have pretty much openly declared themselves to be hostile to users with a lot of forced updates that benefit not the user but themselves. But MS fanboys will still lap it up and somehow say it's a good thing.

  • Think of all the people they're protecting from unauthorised web cam snooping!

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