Beware of the Ideacom driver update

I was a little surprised this morning to see Windows Vista offer me this optional driver update via Windows Update:


I don’t have a touch screen on this particular machine, so I was immediately suspicious. Sure enough, a bit of searching turns up plenty of reports (like this one at DSL Reports) from people who installed the driver without thinking, to then discover that their existing PS/2 mouse or notebook touchpad stopped functioning. The phantom update appears to be afflicting both XP and Vista systems.

If you install this inadvertently and find yourself with a nonfunctional mouse, the obvious solution is to use System Restore to roll back to the point before the driver was installed. However, at least one report I read online says this option doesn’t work. I haven’t tested so can’t say for sure whether this is true. Another option, which reportedly does work on Vista, is the Roll Back Driver option. From Device Manager, select the defective device (probably under the Human Interface Devices category), right-click and choose Properties, click the Driver tab, and then click Roll Back Driver.

As an alternative, you can uninstall the driver from Device Manager. If you have a USB mouse, plug it in and use it to navigate through Device Manager. If you don’t have a USB mouse to use, you’ll have to do all this with the keyboard, as follows:

  1. Press the Windows logo key to open the Start menu and then type device.
  2. Use the Down arrow key if necessary to select Device Manager from the search results list and press Enter.
  3. If you see a UAC prompt, press the Left arrow key to move the focus to the Continue button, and then press Enter.
  4. Press Tab to move the focus into the device list. Use the Down arrow key to move to the Human Interface Devices category, press the Right arrow key to expand that category, and then use the Down arrow key to select the IdeaCom device.
  5. Press Enter to open the shortcut menu for this device (or use Shift+F10, is the universal keyboard shortcut that simulates a right-click, and then use the arrow keys to select Properties from the menu and press Enter).
  6. From the Device dialog box, press Ctrl+Tab to move through the tabs until the Driver tab is visible.
  7. Note that the R is underlined on the Roll Back Driver button text, indicating that it is an accelerator key. Press Alt+R to begin the driver rollback.

If you actually have an IdeaCom touch screen, of course, this advice doesn’t apply.

24 thoughts on “Beware of the Ideacom driver update

  1. Except this isn’t beta software. This is an officially released update for Windows Vista, distributed over Windows Update by Microsoft.

  2. Yeah, I saw the same update offered to me this morning and was equally suspicious, couldn’t see any good reason why I’d want it. Same results, a quick Google search convinced me that I didn’t want to have anything to do with it 😉

  3. Thanks, Ed. I think I might have a machine that was affected by this. Will let you know if it was this or a defective PS2 port like we first thought.

  4. I was just refurbishing a computer for my company and this happened. The update looked odd, but I installed it anyway.

  5. Thanks Ed. Your back-out method worked very well. One computer I sorted with a System restore. The other I had to roll-back as above and then install my trackpad drivers again.

    Very annoying. But it will teach me not to install random updates without checking!

  6. Should Microsoft have actually verified this “update” before they put their seal of approval on it? Seems like they are getting more and more about money everyday instead of worrying about quality. It a shame we now have to double check Microsoft’s work now as they apparently don’t know what they’re doing now.

    1. The most likely explanation is that the Plug and Play ID for this update was borked somehow so that it detected all PS/2 devices. The driver itself was tested against the equipment it was intended for and certainly passed. This happens about once a year and is a pain when it does. Last time I recall this happening was an audio driver that caused working audio subsystems to fail.

  7. Hi Ed

    Thanks for the heads up on this one. Most people wouldn’t give it a second glance, I prefer the cautious route.

  8. This will be resolved by 1/15. Of the millions of drivers published via Windows Update, yes one occasionally is filtered incorrectly. Once caught, it is corrected as soon as possible.

    1. Thanks for the comment, anonymous. And just to confirm for others’ benefit, this comment is indeed from someone who works at Microsoft. Sucks when this happens but it fortunately is quite rare.

  9. Alternatively, plug in a USB mouse, open device manager, find the section labelled “HID/Human Interface”, find the one that says “IdeaCom”, double-click it, go to the uninstall tab, uninstall it and check the “delete software” box. Switch off machine, unplug usb mouse, switch on again.

  10. Yesterday, i did windows update along with this Ideacom driver update, and after that my mouse got disabled in my Dell Inspiron 1420. Then I opened the C:\Windows\inf directory and moved the latest “oemxx.inf” file, for me it was “oem63.inf” file (Look at the “Created” date- it should be the same as the Windows Update session that installed it.) to some temp folder and then delete the driver and reinstall the mouse driver. After doing it and restarted my system, the mouse started working.

  11. Nothing happens. Like virtually all drivers delivered via Windows Update (with the rare exception of those that fix a critical issue such as blue-screen crashes), this is an Optional Update. The only way to receive it is to check Windows Update and specifically choose to download and install it. If you use Automatic Updates only, you will never see this.

  12. NOTE:

    If, like me, you use a keyboard without a Windows key, you can press Ctrl+Esc to bring up the Start menu on a Windows system. (Haven’t installed the 7 beta yet, so I only know it works on Vista back through Win95.)

    Anybody know where one might find a truly ergonomic keyboard with the Windows keys? This is the type I mean:

    — Tim

  13. I had the same problem – the ps/2 mouse stopped working. I used system restore (back 4 days & before the installation of the Ideacom Driver) and the restore worked.

  14. thank you so much! I read this after I installed the update on my laptop – I didn’t re-boot until trying to load drivers for a new bit of hardware and the problem hit me. Luckily google reader is good with keyboard shortcuts and I could fin your post quickly to roll back the driver!

    thanks again.

  15. I inadvertently installed the IdeaCom driver and have gone through the device driver removal steps. Everything is fine when I bootup, but shortly after bootup, The IdeaCom Touch Screen driver automatically installs again. Where can I go to get it out of my Vista system?

    1. Barry, you have several options. The two I recommend are as follows:

      Use System Restore to go back to before the first time the incorrect driver was installed.
      Use the Uninstall option from Device Manager (and be sure to check the Remove Files option).

      Let me know if either one works.

  16. Ed,
    I modified idcphid.sys to idcphidMODIFIED.sys, and the problem seems to have gone away. I rebooted a couple of times to make sure.

    I did not do a restore.


  17. Microsoft is just copying Apple again.

    Of course, this time it’s “fortunate” instead of “sneaky”.

  18. Tim, your hatred blinds you.

    Let’s review:

    Apple snuck the drivers in with an iTunes update, with no disclosure or consent. The Ideacom driver was offered as an optional update that users must explicitly choose to install.

    Apple’s driver caused a blue-screen crash. Ideacom’s driver caused a PS/2 pointing device to stop working.

    Apple wrote the crappy driver they installed. Microsoft didn’t write the driver that was delivered through Windows Update.

    So tell me again how Microsoft is copying Apple?

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