Windows 11 22H2 suffers nasty bug that crashes some PCs with Intel CPUs

Windows 11 22H2 is causing some trouble here and there, first of all for gamers with Nvidia graphics cards – though that issue now has a fix – and now we’re hearing of a nasty Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) crash which is plaguing some unfortunates.

A BSoD is a crash that completely tanks your PC, requiring a full restart, and the issue affects those with the Intel Smart Sound Technology (SST) audio driver. Specifically, it’s an incompatibility problem that the Windows 11 update has with certain Intel SST driver versions on 11th-gen processors (Rocket Lake, the generation before the current Alder Lake chips).

Not everyone will necessarily be affected, but some are, and as a result, Microsoft has actively blocked Windows 11 22H2 from those PCs (as well as upgrades to Windows 21H2, for those migrating from Windows 10).

In a recently updated support document spotted by Windows Latest (opens in new tab), Microsoft explains (opens in new tab): “The affected driver will be named Intel Smart Sound Technology (Intel SST) Audio Controller under System Devices in Device Manager and have the file name IntcAudioBus.sys and a file version of 10.29.0.5152 or 10.30.0.5152.

“Only devices with both an Intel 11th Gen Core processors and an Intel SST driver version of 10.29.0.5152 or 10.30.0.5152 are affected by this issue.”

Fortunately, there is a solution, and as you might guess, it involves upgrading the Intel SST driver in question. Microsoft advises to check with your device maker for the new driver, with it being necessary to update to version 10.30.00.5714 or 10.29.00.5714 (or better). Note that 10.30.x versions are not necessarily newer than 10.29, but it’s the last four digits you’re looking at to ascertain the release time, so whichever version is applicable to your needs must end in ‘5714’ (or later).

Once you have that correct driver in place, Windows 11 22H2 will then become available to install (though it may still take some time to actually be offered to the PC).

Analysis: Is a fix for Windows 11 itself coming? Not likely

It’s good to see a solution here, of course, even if it’s a bit of faffing to be messing with driver updates (and the slight complication of those odd different version numbers).

It isn’t clear if Microsoft will tweak the 22H2 update to resolve the compatibility problem on the OS side, but it doesn’t seem likely considering that the bug is now marked ‘mitigated’ in the support document. There’s that, and the fact that this gremlin in the works has been around since November 2021, so it’s not actually new – it has just reared its head again with 22H2.

Whatever you do, Microsoft makes it clear that you shouldn’t attempt to manually apply and force the 22H2 update onto your PC if the Intel SST driver isn’t updated, as then you may well end up facing those nasty random crashes in the form of BSoDs.

BSoDs are definitely more of a thing of the past – turn the clock back a decade or more, and they used to happen, well, not regularly, but often enough to be a pain – and now they’re pretty rare as a rule. Sometimes, though, bugs like this are still making their presence felt with Windows 11 and Windows 10 alike.

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