Intel confirms issues with Optane Memory and the Windows 10 May 2020 Update

Intel confirmed reports that Microsoft’s Windows 10 May 2020 Update is causing problems with certain types of Intel’s Optane memory. The company said Friday afternoon that it had issued a workaround for the problem.

According to a report by Windows Latest, certain users are reporting compatibility issues with Intel’s Optane Memory, specifically the inability to load the iaStorAfsServiceApi.dll that a user reported via Twitter. Microsoft Education confirmed that Intel Optane doesn’t seem to be compatible with the May 2020 Update in a followup tweet

On Friday, an Intel spokesman confirmed that Intel is aware of the issue, and is working with Microsoft on a fix. He told PCWorld that compatibility issues specifically apply to the Intel Optane Memory H10 and the original Optane Memory M10, which debuted in 2017. 

Intel designed Optane as sort of fast, persistent cache for spinning hard drives, which made a lot of sense when the solid-state Optane was attached to a relatively slow hard drive. The idea was that the PC would read the most frequently-accessed information from the Optane cache, speeding up overall performance. The Optane Memory H10 combines Optane with a separate SSD, joined at the hip as one coherent drive. Right now, it’s only being sold to PC OEMs to build into laptops.

Windows Latest noted that the installation process removes one Optane Memory pinning file from the device, yet still tries to run it. This results in compatibility errors and performance issues, the site said. Intel denied this. “There is no known functional or performance degradation for Intel® Optane Memory M10/H10 when updating the Windows 10 operating system (OS),” Intel said in a statement.

It also noted that the bug had been reported to Microsoft as part of the Windows Insider process, but somehow made it into the shipping build. It’s not clear whether the users who are reporting issues with the May 2020 Update and Optane Memory are forcing the update through the Media Creation tool, or are merely requesting the update through the normal Windows Update process. For now, the May 2020 Update is accessible only if a user specifically requests it via Windows Update.

Intel said on Friday that it’s working with Microsoft to prepare a response. “We are aware of this issue,” a spokesman said in an email. “We are talking with Microsoft right now, and will soon have a response, which will include a site where users can get assistance with this issue.”

Friday afternoon, Intel said that it had published a support document that details the steps users need to take in case they run into an issue with the affected Optane Memory. The steps involve repairing the Intel Optane Pinning Explorer Extensions and removing and removing the older extensions package.

Microsoft’s Windows 10 May 2020 Update, a modest evolutionary step in terms of scope and features, is currently being offered to Windows 10 users who request it. It’s being blocked, however, if users are affected by any of these issues on this support page. That page does not currently list any compatibility issues with Intel’s Optane Memory.

This story was updated at 2:55 PM on Friday afternoon to add an Intel support document that the company said fixes the issue.

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