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Thread: Do I need the Intel Management Engine drivers, from ASRock?




  1. #1
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    Question Do I need the Intel Management Engine drivers, from ASRock?

    When reading about IME (Intel Management Engine), it seems to be mentioned mostly when discussing AMT (Active Management Technology) features, which i've read needs vPro supported.
    The computer has an i5-4670K CPU, the intel product page says there is no vPro support in this CPU.
    The computer will not be on a business network (like i've read about in AMT articles)

    Apart from AMT, or other vPro features, what else do the ME Drivers from ASRock do?

    For this situation, is there any reason to install the Intel Management Engine drivers on the DVD that came with the motherboard (Z97 extreme4) ?

    Is there any harm or security risk in not installing the drivers?

    Many thanks for your help

  2. #2
    SandsOfTime is offline Member
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    Default Re: Do I need the Intel Management Engine drivers, from ASRock?

    ME drivers do a lot more then just AMT/vPro today, did you see this thread: http://forums.tweaktown.com/gigabyte...-firmware.html

    There is no risk if you don't install the drivers, but some things may not work as expected.

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    Default Re: Do I need the Intel Management Engine drivers, from ASRock?

    Also interesting would be to know whether it is strongly recomended to install the particular version from the boards support page or the (newer) generic version from Intel. The newest BIOS's changelog states Management Engine Firmware was updated, nor the driver on the supportpage.

  4. #4
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    parsec is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Do I need the Intel Management Engine drivers, from ASRock?

    The IME software initially (several years ago) was mostly for AMT and vPro, but it has evolved into more than that. Documentation of all its functions is not available to the general public AFAIK, I've searched for information on it many times and never found anything. So beyond AMT and things useful in the professional IT environment, I doubt I can tell you much more than you already know.

    The IME firmware, which is part of a board's BIOS/UEFI file, is important but separate from the IME software. IME firmware allows you to OC your CPU.

    If you don't install the IME software, you'll see a problem entry in Device Manager with the description, "PCI Simple Communications Controller".

    Any over clocking programs that are available in Windows most likely will not work unless the IME software is installed. It acts as the interface between a Windows program and the IME firmware.

    If you don't install it, and you get errors or issues that are related to the mother board, try installing the IME software as a fix.

    I'm not aware of any downside to installing it, besides using about 10MB of space.

    Edit: Hybrid Vigor, ever since Intel stopped making desktop PC mother boards (8 series chipset were the last boards), they have stopped posting IME software on their download servers, including the generic version. The latest versions available are only for the Intel NUC PC, and their 8 series chipset boards.

    Selecting IME software from the Chipset Software category brings you to a dead end. All the versions of IME Intel has available now are listed in the link below, AFAIK:

    https://downloadcenter.intel.com/Sea...ngine+software
    Last edited by parsec; 08-30-2014 at 01:11 PM.

  5. #5
    CaneMan is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Do I need the Intel Management Engine drivers, from ASRock?

    Quote Originally Posted by parsec View Post
    The IME software initially (several years ago) was mostly for AMT and vPro, but it has evolved into more than that. Documentation of all its functions is not available to the general public AFAIK, I've searched for information on it many times and never found anything. So beyond AMT and things useful in the professional IT environment, I doubt I can tell you much more than you already know.

    The IME firmware, which is part of a board's BIOS/UEFI file, is important but separate from the IME software. IME firmware allows you to OC your CPU.

    If you don't install the IME software, you'll see a problem entry in Device Manager with the description, "PCI Simple Communications Controller".

    Any over clocking programs that are available in Windows most likely will not work unless the IME software is installed. It acts as the interface between a Windows program and the IME firmware.

    If you don't install it, and you get errors or issues that are related to the mother board, try installing the IME software as a fix.

    I'm not aware of any downside to installing it, besides using about 10MB of space.

    Edit: Hybrid Vigor, ever since Intel stopped making desktop PC mother boards (8 series chipset were the last boards), they have stopped posting IME software on their download servers, including the generic version. The latest versions available are only for the Intel NUC PC, and their 8 series chipset boards.


    Selecting IME software from the Chipset Software category brings you to a dead end. All the versions of IME Intel has available now are listed in the link below, AFAIK:

    https://downloadcenter.intel.com/Sea...ngine+software

    Hi Parsec,
    I take it this will no longer work as well?
    Attached Images Attached Images Do I need the Intel Management Engine drivers, from ASRock?-ime-update-01-jpg 
    Last edited by CaneMan; 08-31-2014 at 04:17 PM.

  6. #6
    parsec's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do I need the Intel Management Engine drivers, from ASRock?

    CaneMan, I'm glad you reminded me about that goofy IME Firmware Recovery Agent process.

    That's a good question, I don't know if no longer works. Frankly I have never seen it work once on any of my PCs. I always get the message you posted above.

    Why the firmware recovery agent is needed in the first place, I don't know. That is, if we can trust the use of "firmware" in the name, to mean it only deals with IME firmware. The IME Firmware Recovery Agent software is installed by the IME software installation program.

    You may not know that Intel still provides the IME software to mother board manufactures, I recently installed version 10.0.0.1024 on my ASRock Z87 EX 6 board. That version is listed on the ASRock Z97 EX 6 download page. So the way to get the latest version (if you care) is to check the download pages of the latest ASRock boards, or the ASRock latest download lists (see upper left side of the page): Download Files form ASRock Inc.

    While the IME software is not likely to be a high priority item on your update to the latest drivers list , I noticed that ASRock had newer versions of the IRST AHCI/RAID driver available than Intel had via their Download Center. That is no longer the case, Intel now has those version available, just something to keep in mind.

    BTW, I looked for the IME Firmware Recovery Agent software on this PC (ASRock Z87 EX 6, Win 8.1, IME 10.0.0.1024), and it was not installed. But I did find something called Intel Update Manager, that looks like this:

    Do I need the Intel Management Engine drivers, from ASRock?-intel-update-manager-png

    Does this look familiar?

    Are these two the same thing? I don't know. My guess is, yes.

    Intel has a program (annoyingly) called Intel Update Manager for Windows 8 available from the Download Center, but it has nothing to do with IME, the version numbers don't match, and that program would do nothing on my PC.

    I ran my Intel Update Manager, it completed fine but found nothing new.

    My opinion on your question is, since the IME firmware still exists on our Intel PCs, just because Intel does not directly provide the latest IME software anymore, why would they no longer support the IME firmware update, if that is so important?

    IME software just get more and more weird...

  7. #7
    CaneMan is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Do I need the Intel Management Engine drivers, from ASRock?

    Hi Parsec. Thanks for the info on the the ASRock Z97 IME software. Yes, version 10.XXX is not found on the Z87 Ex.6 download page but it is on the X97 Ex.6 page. Re the attached (Does this look familiar? ) that is the same one. Mine used complete the process, with nothing found, but recently stops as shown in my attachment.

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    Default Re: Do I need the Intel Management Engine drivers, from ASRock?

    Quote Originally Posted by SandsOfTime View Post
    ME drivers do a lot more then just AMT/vPro today, did you see this thread: http://forums.tweaktown.com/gigabyte...-firmware.html

    There is no risk if you don't install the drivers, but some things may not work as expected.
    Hello,

    I looked at the thread and the very first sentence says
    Do not confuse ME firmware and MEI driver, ME FW is part of the BIOS while MEI driver is installed on Windows and allows software to communicate with ME firmware in BIOS (as some overclocking and fan management software).
    The best explanation of ME I've found is linked in the above mentioned thread. In post #2 of Intel Management Engine: Drivers, Firmware and Tools, it says
    The main component of Management Engine interface, ME performs a number of tasks in conditions when the system is running or in sleep mode. It also supports several tasks during the boot process. This sub-system is required for proper functioning and maximum efficiency of the PC. The interface checks whether the system is working properly or not while communicating with the operating system of PC.

    First Intel came out with MEI, started out with older chipsets. MEI has evolved, now there is AMT, which is now part of the VPro system.

    AMT- ACTIVE MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY- Key AMT features include the ability to: remotely turn on, off, or power cycle the machine,, remotely mount an image to load on the machine,, remotely access hardware asset information,, provide serial-over-LAN (SoL) console redirection,, provide out-of-band alerts to administrators,, provide a secure TLS tunnel between the administrator and the vPro PC .

    VPro Tech- An added layer of security for businesses and intelligent systems,, Threat management, including protection from rootkits, viruses, and malware,, Identity and website access point protection,, Confidential personal and business data protection,, Remote and local monitoring, remediation, and repair of PCs and workstations.
    Even after reading that, I still don't know what ME does for me as a home user. I've read dozens of threads that go something like this:
    1. User: "I'm a home user. I have no need for remote access to my machine and will not overclock via software. Moreover, it scares me having a built-in backdoor as part of my machine. Can/how-can I turn ME off?"
    2. Reply: "You should NOT turn it off. ME does many great things. Read this link about ME's many useful features (link to press-release-type of language as above)"
    3. User: "Can you name one specific useful thing that I can't do or will not work, if I can manage to actually turn ME off?"
    4. Reply: "Well, er, no. But read the press release again!"

    I saw a very recent threads about reverse engineering ME:

    Secret of Intel Management Engine by Igor Skochinsky
    Secret of Intel Management Engine by Igor Skochinsky

    Intel AMT/ME Meet Intel's hardware backdoor
    http://www.uberwall.org/bin/download..._intel_amt.pdf

    It's only a matter of time till this built in backdoor is exploited, if not already.


    So I have to ask: Can anyone name one specific useful thing (for a non-overclocking non-remote-user) that I can't do or will not work, if I can manage to actually turn ME off (hopefully at the BIOS/UEFI level)?
    Last edited by SurferBoy; 09-09-2014 at 05:19 AM.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Do I need the Intel Management Engine drivers, from ASRock?

    I have disabled it myself.

    Like you have found out it doesnt seem to do anything for the home user after a little research.

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    Default Re: Do I need the Intel Management Engine drivers, from ASRock?

    Quote Originally Posted by trott3r View Post
    I have disabled it myself.

    Like you have found out it doesnt seem to do anything for the home user after a little research.
    Can you offer some details as to how you disabled it? And was it at the Windows level or at the BIOS/UEFI level?

    Here's what I did, with unexpected results:

    1. I have an ASRock H97 Pro4 v1.40 UEFI/BIOS. There is no UEFI options related to AMT that I can find.
    2. I hit Ctrl+P at cold boot to enter Intel Management Engine BIOS Extension v10.0.0.0004 / Intel ME v9.1.2.1010
    3. MEBx Login -> "admin" default password
    4. Changed the password (requires a capital letter, a number, and a non-alphanumeric)
    5. Intel Small Business Technology Configuration -> Manageability Feature Selection -> changed from Enabled to Disabled
    6. Exit and reboot (and confirmed the change stuck)
    7. Windows still shows in Device Manager an exclamation triangle for PCI Simple Communication Controller (VEN 8086, DEV 8CBA), which is associated with the Intel ME.

    I thought that disabling the ME in the BIOS as above would cut the beast off at the head and prevent Windows from seeing the ME device. Why is this not the case? Any help would be appreciated!
    Last edited by SurferBoy; 09-10-2014 at 06:40 AM.

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