Intel AMT - Wrong HECI driver installed

**Disclaimer:  This blog is very old and may not be relevant anymore.  It lives for historical purposes.  For up-to-date information about Intel vPro Technology, visit the Business Client Home Page.  (June 2013)

This is one of those things in life that you probably don't know what it is and why it is important until you need it. 

What does HECI and MEI stand for?

  • HECI:  Host Embedded Controller Interface
  • MEI:  Manageability Engine Interface

What is this driver used for?

"MEI" is simply the not-so-new (Intel AMT Release 3 and beyond)  name for "HECI" driver that is part of the factory-installed Windows Installation on any vPro capable system*.  What's nice about this is that when you get your system, you can be sure that it has "the" correct version of the driver.  Notice the emphasis on the word "the."  This driver is absolutely crucial for any software running on a vPro system that is trying to communicate, locally,  with the Manageability Engine (like Intel Active Management Technology, Intel Anti-Theft Technology.) Here is another blog written by Ajay Mungara taking this discussion into more depth.

What is the first thing most IT shops do when they get a new PC?

  • They wipe out the factory-installed OS and install their own OS build.

What happens to the MEI driver when the factory-installed OS is replaced?

  • It's GONE!  (Well, your guess is as good as mine as to why this driver sometimes goes MIA on so many PCs.)

The MEI driver is probably not there anymore and the user who knows enough to be dangerous, goes out to the Device Manager and notices a Yellow Bang (or maybe they get an alert that says there is an unhappy device on their computer.)  Anyway, we don't like Yellow Bangs, even if we have no idea what sort of device they are applicable to.

Microsoft get numerous calls regarding that Yellow Bang because it was ugly and Microsoft responded.  They created a "Dummy" MEI driver to be installed (it actually went out in window's updates so that everyone's Yellow Bangs would be abolished.)  So now everyone's Manageability Engine device is happy now that it has a driver associated with it.

And the effect was:

vPro users from around the world find that their software that wants to talk to their Manageability Engines is broken.  They run their software and get errors - something about a communication error with the MEI interface…  They go look at their Device Manager and see that there is an MEI driver installed, so what's the problem?  Here are some things you should know in order to get your universe back in order:

  • Check the version of the HECI/MEI driver.  It should not be  Valid HECI/MEI driver versions start with the release version of the Intel Active Management Technology that is applicable to the vPro system.  Valid version numbers start with 2 (circa 2004 platforms)  and go to 7 (for 2011 platforms.)
  • If your vPro system has the version of the HECI/MEI driver and it is a 2011 platform running Win7 64 bit, Microsoft now has a correct (default) version of the MEI driver.  Here is what you need to do to get it.
    • Uninstall the MEI driver package, so you have the yellow bang for both the MEI driver and SOL driver.
    • When the system has internet access, go into the Device Manager, then right click the MEI device (should be under “Other devices”, it will be the one that doesn’t show a COM port) and select “Update Driver Software”

In the following dialog box that pops up, select “Search Automatically for updated driver software”.  This will search Windows update for the MEI driver.

    • If you have a pre-2011 vPro system that needs the correct driver, you will need to visit your OEM's website and look for downloads for your specific make and model.  This is typically found under "support."
    • If you are getting errors and your system has a HECI driver version starting with - it's bad too.  We are only up to version 7 until 2012 platforms hit the market.  I'm not getting into the story behind this one, just uninstall it and go get the right driver!

*Intel® Core i5 and Intel® Core i7 platforms are current generation vPro Platforms

For more complete information about compiler optimizations, see our Optimization Notice.

1 comment

jacace's picture

but I am curious with regards to our vPro Community - has this affected you?
Yes, all the time. Everytime I migrate to a new machine (which usually comes with a OS version which I don't like) I have to visit the OEM's website.
Nice post :) Gael.

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