Windows 11 and 10 users have been hit by a bug that affects those with Intel GPUs and causes games (or any software using DirectX or Direct3D) to run into errors and crashes.
Neowin (opens in new tab) reports that Microsoft has now confirmed (opens in new tab) that the cumulative updates for November 2022 (KB5019980/KB5019961 for Windows 11, and KB5019959 for Windows 10) caused this issue. To be clear, this affects PCs running on integrated graphics from an Intel CPU - not anyone using one of Intel's dedicated Arc graphics cards.
So, if you’ve been encountering a DLL error (apphelp.dll to be precise) that has been messing with your PC, now you know the reason – but the important thing to note here is that the bug is only affecting older Intel graphics driver versions.
Microsoft tells us that the problem pertains to Intel driver versions 22.214.171.12463 up to 126.96.36.1990, and that: “This issue might happen intermittently and affects apps which use DirectX or Direct3D to render part or all of their content.”
The software giant promises us that it’s working on a solution right now, and we should get an update on when it’ll be inbound soon.
Analysis: Newer drivers, no problems
At least the bug is only ‘intermittent’ according to Microsoft, which means that it may not necessarily occur that much even if you are running one of the mentioned Intel graphics driver versions. Of course, those are older drivers, so you really should have updated to a newer incarnation by now anyway.
It’s important to keep drivers at least relatively up-to-date, because otherwise you may miss out on important security fixes. As time rolls on, vulnerabilities in software and drivers are inevitably found – and nefarious types may try to exploit them. So tech companies fix drivers and apps as they go along, which is why it’s always a good idea to run the very latest version.
GPU drivers can be a little bit of a different story in some respects, as for example, performance levels could potentially drop in your favorite PC games with any given new driver release (this shouldn’t happen, but it does occasionally, particularly with older graphics cards). So while gamers don’t always keep their driver on the latest version, as long as they’re running something pretty recent, they should be covered just fine.
In the case of this bug, we’re talking about Intel driver versions that are at least a year old (or much further back), and at that point, it’s definitely time that folks should be looking to move on to a newer driver. This just goes to show that old drivers aren’t just a security risk, but they are more likely to run into bugs, too.