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JPoll10
Novice
928 Views

Maintaining teams and VLANs through WIndows 10 major updates

I’m writing as one who has gone through multiple biannual interactions between Windows 10 major updates and Intel PROSet networking services. Many of our Win 10 workstations use Intel NICs primarily for their teaming and VLAN capabilities. I’ll share the sequence we’ve found to work consistently. Also, there are suggestions for Intel to improve their customer experience.

 

We find the option that is both easiest and works consistently is to first install Intel’s new PROSet software then upgrade Windows. Doing these in the reverse order works, but all too often results in hours of frustration trying to reenable teams and VLANs. Your existing networking configuration can be saved and then restored after the upgrade. The sequence we use is as follows:

 

  • When Intel finally releases a PROSet version to support a Windows update, download and extract the software but do not install it.
  • Open an administrator PowerShell prompt.
  • Intel does not sign any of their PowerShell snippets, so you need to disable the default PS restrictions:
    • Set-ExecutionPolicy Bypass
    • Depending on your PowerShell settings, the above command may throw an error. Specifically, if the PS execution policy is defined at the user level, it must be reset there as well:
      • Set-ExecutionPolicy Bypass -Scope CurrentUser
  • Now we’re ready to enable Intel’s PS snippets:
    • Import-Module -Name "C:\Program Files\Intel\Wired Networking\IntelNetCmdlets\IntelNetCmdlets"
  • Go into the APPS\WMI subdirectory of the folder you extracted the PROSet update in.
  • Save your existing VLAN and Team configuration by running this PowerShell command:
    • .\SaveRestore -Action save
    • This creates the files Saved_Config.txt and Saved_StaticIP.txt. Note that the SaveRestore command errors if Saved_*.txt already exists. In theory you can specify the config file name with the -ConfigPath directive but restores have not always worked.
  • Open Device Manager and disable first all teams and VLANs then the associated Intel adapters. Next, uninstall the adapters. This step at first appears silly, but over half the time when it is omitted, further installations fail.
  • Uninstall the existing PROSet software.
  • Do a hard shutdown then restart. A warm reboot does not work consistently.
  • Check that the Intel NIC adapters are enabled in Device Manager (usually they auto-enable).
  • Install the new PROSet software from APPS\PROSETDX\Winx64 (assuming Win 10 x64).
  • Open an admin PowerShell prompt and cd into the APPS/WMI folder of the PROSet extract path again.
  • Restore the saved ANS configuration using:
    • Import-Module -Name "C:\Program Files\Intel\Wired Networking\IntelNetCmdlets\IntelNetCmdlets"
    •  .\SaveRestore -Action restore
  • You should have all settings working at this point. Now we need to save the configuration once again; PROSet tends to alter things with upgrades. From within PowerShell first delete the existing config files than do a save.:
    • del Saved_*.txt
    • .\SaveRestore -Action save
  • You’re finally ready to upgrade Windows. Go ahead, we’ll wait…
  • After the upgrade process completes, your teams and VLANs will be AWOL. Open our admin PowerShell, cd into APPS/WMI, and run:
    • .\SaveRestore -Action restore
  • Everything should be functional once again. All that is left is to set the PS execution policy back to a sensible security level; e.g. one of:
    • Set-ExecutionPolicy Restricted (Default for workstation Win 10, prevents all scripts from running)
    • Set-ExecutionPolicy AllSigned (Only run snippets with valid digital signatures).

 

If the above sequence appears overly complicated, it is. Intel can improve customer experience in several ways. I see both short and long term approaches that Intel can pursue. I’m ranking them based on the amount of engineering work and testing involved. The goal is to prevent the current situation where Intel customers are forced to choose between keeping current with Windows 10 and using the full features of Intel adapters. Full support for the 1809 update (Fall 2018) did not arrive until over a month after the 1903 update became available. VLANs and Teams under Windows 10 are key selling points of Intel Ethernet adapters; please support them.

 

Immediate term: Digitally sign all PowerShell snippets used by PROSet. In this age of security threats, it is simply insane to force customers to set their systems to allow execution of potentially malicious code, particularly when Intel’s PowerShell code requires running with admin privileges. Signing all code is trivial to implement, can be performed as part of the automated build process, and insures that end customers are running unaltered code.

 

Short term: Intel’s Ethernet Team developers should utilize both Microsoft’s Slow Ring and Fast Ring Windows 10 releases. The Slow Ring (as of 1903) gives a six month ahead preview of 2H Windows upgrades. Any breaking changes can be addressed before general release. The Fast Ring preview provides a full year’s lead time of breaking changes. At the least, the Fast Ring can be used as a gross reality check of what will affect Intel’s software stack.

 

Longer term: From a customer perspective, the PROSet software’s VLAN and Teaming support appears fragile. Intel should do a root cause analysis of why each major Windows upgrade breaks ANS features. Ideally the software could be made more robust and eliminate the configuration issues. As an alternative, an automated ability to restore previously working configurations would be appreciated. A full uninstall/reinstall of PROSet and the adapter drivers should not be required.

 

0 Kudos
3 Replies
Michael_L_Intel2
Moderator
490 Views

Hello JPoll10,

 

Thank you for posting in Intel Ethernet Communities. 

 

Thank for sharing a very useful information and valuable inputs, I will forward your concern to the proper department who can further evaluate all of this.

 

If you have questions, please let us know.

 

Best regards,

Michael L.

Intel Customer Support Technicians

A Contingent Worker at Intel

Michael_L_Intel2
Moderator
490 Views

Hello JPoll10,

 

I just want to inform you that we appreciate your input and this has been shared with our Network team including validation and development. Thank you!

 

If you have questions, please let us know.

 

Best regards,

Michael L.

Intel Customer Support Technicians

A Contingent Worker at Intel

TBThreatSTOP
Novice
414 Views

Here we are a year later, and this problem still exists. We had it with the update to Build 2004 until 25.1.1 was released, and now 25.2 doesn't work with the fall preview.
For Intel to not properly support Windows releases is madness.

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