Windows 8.1 Preview – DisplayLink Drivers

Windows 8.1 offers some great improvements, and we’re already seeing users (particularly Surface Pro users) who are trying the preview.

The preview of Windows 8.1 just came out yesterday, and it’s important to note that it appears to break compatibility with some existing drivers. When you upgrade to 8.1, drivers are not migrated from 8.0, rather they appear to be re-enumerated and re-installed.

The most widespread change appears to be some new driver signing requirements which may cause 3rd party drivers to need an update. Also specific to USB graphics is Windows 8.1 introduces a new WDDM 1.3 graphics model, which requires some additional updates.

DisplayLink’s technology, which we use in our docks and adapters, is affected. If you upgrade to 8.1 without a driver upgrade, you’ll lose your extra screens.

Fortunately, DisplayLink appears to be doing a good job of staying ahead of all these changes (they’ve been working with earlier NDA builds, in partnership with Microsoft), and have released their preview driver with support for Windows 8.1 on the same day.


DisplayLink’s 7.4 preview driver with Windows 8.1 support is available here.

We installed Windows 8.1 when it came out yesterday, and the new DisplayLink driver, and while I’m sure there’s issues there somewhere, all of our quick tests showed good results in a production environment. If you do find any issues, let us know. Or post on DisplayLink’s forum (the link above) to get the feedback directly to them, or comment here.

So for anyone updating to Windows 8.1, please install the DisplayLink 7.4 Preview driver. You can even do this before the upgrade — the 7.4 preview works also on earlier versions of Windows, and when 8.1 does a re-enumeration it will find the driver if you’ve already converted over. A reboot may be required to get things to settle.

Hope that background helps. Thanks for going out of your way for Plugable products!

3 comments on “Windows 8.1 Preview – DisplayLink Drivers”

  1. Yann Duran

    I’m using a NBdock 1720C USB dock, which isn’t from Plugable (it’d be nice to be able to buy your products in Australia – hint, hint), but it uses DisplayLink technology. After installing the W8.1 Preview I ended up in a “Windows needs to restart” loop. I was getting annoyed that Windows needed to restart so many times, before I eventually realised what was actually happening. After installing the DisplayLink 7.4 preview driver, the restarts stopped & the dock is working fine now.

  2. Gregory Fequiere


    I just want to say THANK YOU. for your awesome blog post. I spent a good 3 hours searching as to why my two brand new 24” Asus monitors weren’t working my MS Surface Pro via my awesome Plugable 7 Port USB 3.0 “SuperSpeed” which I purchased from Amazon until I found your great post. You are a big savior. Just keep up with the good work guys. I truly appreciate it.


    • Bernie Thompson

      Thanks for the kind words, Gregory! Our goal is to keep our customers up to date with good information as new operating systems and devices come out. Thanks again!

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