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12267 Discussions

Questions regarding Intel Management Engine and Device Manager

Name1
Novice
795 Views

Hello.

 

I have some questions regarding intel management engine.  I recently got a new computer.  I was going through the process of updating my computer hardware with up-to-date drivers.  One of the drivers I downloaded was the Intel Management Engine drivers.  I obtained the up-to-date drivers from the ASUS website.  After downloading the drivers, I opened MEUpdateTool.exe to update the drivers, which did not work.  I recieved an error, and later learned that I must update the chipset first.  I did not try to update the drivers again after I recieved the error because I learned it wasn't completely necessary for the average user to do and is more aimed towards enterprise environments.  After recieving the error, I opened the device manager and found "Intel Management Engine Interface" under "System Devices".  I hit "Uninstall" and I restarted my computer and I recieved the drivers that windows automatically installs for Intel Management Engine Interface.  I re-opened my device manager and check again under system devices, except this time, instead of being called "Intel Management Engine Interface", it was listed as "Intel Management Engine Interface #1".  My questions begin here.  1)  Why did the name change from "Intel Management Engine Interface" to "Intel Management Engine Interface #1" under device manager.  2)  Does this change effect the performance of intel management engine at all? 3) Does disabling "Intel Management Engine Interface #1" under device manager do anything?  Do I need it running?  I have a ASUS Z590-E STRIX Motherboard, and an 11900K Processor.  Also, I would appreciate any information that is not covered by these question if the person answering deems it important / useful / interesting in regards to intel management engine, but I'm mostly interested in the 3 questions listed.  Thank you.

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5 Replies
n_scott_pearson
Super User Retired Employee
761 Views

The Intel Management Engine Interface (MEI) is a hardware device that supports firmware subsystems running on the Intel ME communicating with software entities running on the main processor (and vice versa). Disabling it prevents this communications. For most people, this is perfectly fine; it really depends upon whether you are using any of the ME subsystems. For example, the ME supports DRM verification for DVD and BD content playback. If you've disabled the MEI, you can't play this content. If you don't have any BD/DVD drive and aren't accessing content that also supports DRM content protection, then you don't care if this communication is working. That's just one example, of course; there are other subsystems that could come into play.

The MEI driver didn't add the "#1" to the name, Windows did. Windows, for some reason, thinks that it is a difference interface - I think because a different version of the driver was loaded. Regardless, it is just a name change and does not affect performance or capability - well, unless you are disabling it (which I don't recommend).

As a rule, immediately after installing Windows 10 onto a PC, I manually install the Chipset Device Software package and then the Intel Management Engine Software package. I do not wait for (nor trust) Windows Update to do the right thing (so often it doesn't).

Hope this helps,

...S

Name1
Novice
755 Views

I'm glad I don't have to worry about the name being changed, and I'll take your advice and I won't disable the Intel Management Engine Interface.  Just to be clear, when I download the Chipset Update from ASUS, it installs Intel Management Engine Components.  So you're saying I should download Intel Management Components, then update the IMEI drivers, even though I'm not in a business environment and just a home user?  I don't know why, but people were telling me I didn't have to worry about it if I was just a home user.  After I update the IMEI drivers do I still need to keep Intel Management Components installed?  I really appreciate the reply. Thank you!

n_scott_pearson
Super User Retired Employee
748 Views

Yea, too many people associate the ME with vPro in general and Active Management Technology (AMT) in particular. In fact, the ME supports capabilities in every usage model, not just the machines in managed business environments. As I said, if you are dealing with DRM, you need the ME. If you want to use Windows Bitlocker and you do not have a hardware TPM in your system design, the ME provides a TPM capability (it's called Platform Trust Technology). That's just two of many subsystems that the ME hosts in non-managed environments. Don't forget that the ME is supporting the root of trust for the systems firmware, ensuring that the system can get into the O/S environment in a fully-secured fashion.

It is unclear what version of the Intel Management Engine Components package you are talking about. There is the full-blown package that supports the managed environments and there is the much slimmer package that is needed in most other environments. The subsystems I mentioned above are almost completely embedded within Windows and really only the MEI driver is necessary to support them. Is ASUS providing the appropriate package for your board or are they providing the bigger package that is necessary for the managed environments? For example, if I compare the MEI driver package provided for the NUC 11 Pro Kit NUC11TNHv7 (which supports vPro and AMT) with the MEI driver packages provided for the NUC 11 Performance kit NUC11PAKi7 or the NUC 11 Enthusiast Kit NUC11PHKi7C (which do not support Intel vPro or AMT), you can see that there is a significant difference in the size of the packages (over 100MB larger). It may be moot, however; the installer may be smart enough to install only what is necessary regardless.

...S

Name1
Novice
738 Views

The Intel Management Engine Components that ASUS offers is from this link ROG STRIX Z590-E GAMING WIFI (asus.com)

 

It's under "Chipset".  It's a 657.47MB Zipped file.  I'm not sure if that downloads the slimmer package or the larger one, though.  Any ideas?  Thanks again.

n_scott_pearson
Super User Retired Employee
720 Views

That's a huge package  - and you are right; it is the ME stuff. It does not seem to contain the Chipset Device Software package, however; it is only ME.

...S

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