Windows 10 Destroys Conexant Audio in Lenovo Laptops

Well that just figures, 2 months before Windows 10 is no longer a “free” upgrade, and Microsoft chooses to bomb the audio in every Thinkpad running Conexant drivers. Which is just about every single thinkpad currently on the market. Just google “Thinkpad” and that will give you an idea of the numbers.

In the 10 typical fashion, drivers are installed automatically. And while I have been able to get around that for drivers such as Synaptic touchpad, by utilizing the “hide update” features, there is no such luck for audio drivers.

Windows 10 now installs their generic audioendpoint — and even for short-term purposes, the Conexant drivers will not reinstall after that. I have tried everything, from pointing the system to .inf files to completely reinstalling the operating system from the ground up with a fresh clean install.

There are 3 essential driver groups in any system:
1. Picture (Video drivers)
2. Network (Wireless/Lan drivers)
3. Sound (Audio drivers)

So in one fell swoop, Microsoft has ruined the sound for every Thinkpad utilizing Conexant sound boards — and that’s just about ALL of them. Without the correct sound for Conexant boards, there is a very noticeable “tinny” sound. High pitches suddenly become ultrasonic, and every bit of dialogue sounds as if it’s coming from the bottom of a very deep well.

Again, I have tried everything, and that includes turning OFF audio enhancements as well as tweaking them in so many ways I can’t begin to tell you how much time it takes to find a combination of settings that at least doesn’t RUPTURE THE USERS EARDRUMS as it does on default.

That’s right, Microsoft — afraid to tell you that you are looking at lawsuits for hearing damage caused by blocking the use of actual Conexant drivers for the Conexant hardware. And Thinkpad — probably couldn’t have picked a worse brand for doing this, a brand that is mostly used by business and people that are not afraid to use lawyers when and how they can…..

I wrote a letter to Conexant, basically screaming “Help!” but have not heard back from them. In refurbishing many Thinkpad laptops over the last two years or so, I have found that I MUST install the ACTUAL Conexant audio drivers, or the sound will be noticeably bad for even the average non-audiophile person. And it is unbearable for the audiophile. Completely destroys the ability for any computer to play video or music without having to shut it off to keep from hurting the ears.

Now, I know how you “boys” have trouble getting along. And I know, how Windows 10 seeks to install drivers itself now for the sake of function. But this is NOT the place to be penny pinchers! Good Grief, Microsoft! — pay the friggin’ “ransom” price to Conexant and get the correct drivers! I’m sure they demanded a terrible amount — but you are looking a ONE THIRD of the production value of a PC. So then are due one third of the budget for buying the rights to that driver software.

As it stands, I’m not happy with the drivers you have bought so far! You need to remove the person in charge of that department. They are leaning far too much on the side of CHEAP, and it really effects the ability to utilize and deploy Windows 10 on a widescale basis. You might CHANGE the numbers and date on ATI drivers for Windows 10, for instance. But I KNOW those drivers, and I can tell when it is an older model. I KNOW you are using a 5 year old driver and slapping a 2015 date on them.

And you just CAN’T replace the Conexant audio drivers with your generic ones and expect anything good to come out of it. I am very serious here. I approve of taking over the “driver nonsense” — that was a good move. But you NEED to budget to getting the rights to at least a few of these very necessary driver packages. If they won’t sell them to you at all, then OK, not a lot that you can do. But then DON’T destroy the efforts of system builders like myself, to install the Conexant drivers that are still available from the PC manufacturer. That is called being spiteful, or stupid. You are either being A-holes, or you’re being dumb.

And at this point, I know how smart you are. Whole thing has culminated in leaving me somewhat unhappy with Microsoft. Not enough to go to Apple, you’d have to drop a house on me for that. But get it together, or choose silence. Silence is better than BAD sound. And I am extremely serious here. Deliver good, or nothing at all. Those are the options.

The current situation is unacceptable. There are THREE things that have to work, before turning a computer system over to a new user: Video, Network, Sound. It is one third of the triangle that has to be present. Otherwise the investment is GONE, and we have what amounts to very large paperweights. As it stands, I expect to get phone calls from past customers, complaining about the sound in their systems. It will either be that, or they will just put up with it. They will think that it is the source, or that something has just gone wrong, and they will use the computer less and less as time goes on…they will cut down their use of youtube and netflix and every other site that depends heavily on audio. Which includes Skype and phone calls over LAN — the list of fallout goes on and on.

It’s not just me. You are looking at a hit to media itself. Get it together, Microsoft. This is not the time, nor the place–to be frugal. Don’t listen to the executive that uses a product for five minutes, and decides that generic Windows audio drivers work good enough and that nobody will know the difference. Those are the idiots you should NOT listen-to. And you need to pay attention and pay-off Conexant for the driver software that actually works.

I need a new laptop at some point this summer. And guess what feature is going to make the difference for what I buy? It will have to have a realtek audio board and NOT a Conexant. Conexant is getting hit by Microsoft, and you’re catching all of us consumers in the crossfire. Gee thanks.

The plus side to everything, is that laptop prices are starting to drop due to the looming end-date for free Windows 10 upgrades. But like I said, that doesn’t help me much if they are all bricked by Microsoft itself, and can only run silent movies as somewhat-decorative paperweights.



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