Q: Windows 8.1 forces wrong driver on Radeon HD 5650 disabling screen brightness controls. Fatal system crash on driver rollback

I have a HP Envy 14 Beats edition laptop with a ATI Radeon HD 5650 discrete graphics card, which has done everything I required from it for a few years now. Upon recommendation of many I upgraded to Windows 8 and it was a mixed bag of tricks, I liked a lot of the visuals and some functionality while the rest was just frustrating (made the OS feel more like a toy), however it did do everything I needed it to and I was fine with it.

A few driver updates later though I found my screen brightness controls fail to function (laptop hotkeys or manually in power settings), and after some fiddling around I found that the controls stopped working after Catalyst Driver 13.1 (that is 13.1 was the latest driver I could find where everything works fine). Again being Windows 8 this was fine because I could install that driver and not have to bother with it again.

However, now with the Windows 8.1 update, the system forces Catalyst Driver 13.9 which is not compatible with my system. I know its the latest driver for my configured card, but even AMD states on the websites that newer doesn't mean its fully functional for your specific system.

Again this would not be an issue if Windows would let me install the older driver, but everytime that I do the system automatically updates the driver to the latest. And rolling back the driver just causes the system to crash. That's right, I have seen the blue screen of death on Windows 8 more times now than I have ever seen it on any of my other machines I have owned, including XP.

I have even gone as far as to disable automatic updating, but to no effect. I'm sure if I keep tinkering around with the registries and such I might be able to come up with a fix/hack but I don't have time and I need this issue resolved soon. I work a bit with photo editing and so on but staring at a screen on full bright and really strenuous on the eyes and its starting to become almost painful even just to finish writing this help request.

So my questions are;

1.  Is there a way to force Windows 8.1 to use a specific driver and stick to only that without updating every single time? (for clarification reverting to the old driver restores all brightness functionality)

2. Failing which, downgrade back to Windows 8 so I don't have to deal with this at all?

Thanks in advance for whoever might have any suggestions!


I have similar problem on my PC, which has an Intel core but an Nvidia Geforce graphics card.  With Win 8 I re-downloaded the Geforce driver and in process somehow forced the system to prefer the Nvidia driver over the Intel graphics driver (which fails to use the full range of the graphics card).  But upon upgrade to Win 8.1 it again made the Intel driver the main driver and slaved the Nvidia driver.  Do not have solution yet.  But it is a problem with both Win 8 and Win 8.1.

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Some additional information I thought I would add since I seem to be drawing a blank.

My specific issues are with Radeon Display driver, the display driver I would like to have is 9.12.0

Manually installing this driver causes the system to crash.

I can log in on safe mode uninstall display card and delete all drivers and then log back in in normal mode to install Catalyst Driver 13.1 which has the display driver 9.12 (I can't do this in Safe Mode because windows now does not allow installation packages to run in safe mode)

I have to do this while not connected to the internet. Once installed Catalyst 13.1 functions perfectly and the display driver 9.12 allows all aspects of the display card and windows to function properly. But the second I connect to the internet the display driver gets updated to (latest driver) and I immediately lose all brightness control/functionality. This problem becomes particularly unbearable when I restart or resume from sleep because then the screen brightness is stuck on full bright. If you don't understand how painful this is try staring at a car headlight in the middle of the night, same effect.

And again, rolling back driver causes system to crash.

Following is a graph showing how unreliable my computer has become since upgrading to 8.1

Those red crosses are fatal crashes i.e. blue screen of death.

Is there a way to downgrade back to windows 8 without losing all my programs, data and settings?

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After much finagling I have got the pattern down. Even with a fresh install of Windows, installing Catalyst Driver 13.1 is only temporary because Windows automatically updates this driver to Catalyst 13.9 and my brightness woes ensue.

Rolling back this driver to previous version is not an option because this will always cause a fatal system crash and will not be able to restart system till you delete all display drivers in safe mode and start again.

But once you've install Catalyst 13.1, Windows updates it back to 13.9 creating a vicious cycle.

So the only fix I can come up with is to disable automatic driver update in advanced system settings. I don't like doing that, but its either that or start wearing Sunglasses while using my laptop for the just about 2 hours of battery life I have available because the screen is on maximum brightness.

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I'm having the same problem. I can't even find the right 9.12 drivers. According to Microsoft's own website, Our laptops should be updated to 9.12 since we have the Mobile versions of the Radeon 500 series. However, it looks like they are being updated to the Desktop version 13.251 now.

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Hi Bhiranya,


Normally driver updates are offered as optional updates. You can ignore the updates that you do not want to install. Refer to the following steps.


      Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.
(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)

      Tap or click Update and recovery and then tap or click Windows Update.

      Tap or click View details, and tap or click Check for updates. (If you don't see View details, there aren't any optional updates available.)


      Under Optional, uncheck the updates from Radeon.


Hope this helps and do let us know if you need any assistance.

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Thanks Babu for your response and sorry I couldn't reply sooner as I have been away.

As for your solution it does not solve the issue. This only affects the Catalyst driver which is an optional update but has noting to do with the actual display driver which is updated through the device manager. Unchecking or hiding catalyst driver from windows update has no affect what so ever because it is the system (or device manager) that automatically searches windows update for the best available driver and automatically installs that.

Usually this is a great feature because your are ensuring that you are using the latest certified drivers to perform well with your operating system, except in our case as CG_DisplayName points out, the wrong driver is being installed. It keeps installing the desktop driver and not the mobility driver 9.12.

And so the only option is to disable automatic driver update in advanced system settings and manually update drivers for devices you think might need updating.

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Thank you for the update.

I understand that you disabled the automatic driver update that happens through device manager to avoid the driver conflicts.

However, I would suggest you to keep an eye on your computer manufacturer website, install the updated drivers when ever they are available.

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Just tried their latest recommended driver after an auto detect hardware and upgraded to catalyst 14.4 and still the same issues.

Seems like the added benefits from the updated drivers are the full utilization of eyefinity or hydra vision as it seems to be called now. But since I don't plan on using more than 2 screens at a time in the near future I suppose I can live with the old driver.

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Views: 3,694 Last updated: May 28, 2018 Applies to: