USB Balloon Tip after deploying SkyLake systems with ThinInstaller

by rechols


As part of our daily routine on the Lenovo Commercial Deployment Readiness Team we monitor the Enterprise Client Management Forum for questions and issues raised by our enterprise customers. In researching and offering solutions to the issues posted there, we sometimes need to turn a solution that happened over the course of many back and forth posts into something more comprehensive.

Recently one of our customers posted an issue with our ThinkPad systems that have the optional Huawei WWAN cards in them.

The issue only shows up if you are utilizing ThinInstaller to deploy the drivers for your systems or you are deploying the Intel USB Extensible Host Adapter driver as an application in your task sequence.

The result of deploying with one of the above methods is a balloon tip warning that "This device can perform faster" as in the screen shot below.


Of course I didn't know immediately that this was something that;
  1. Only happens on machines with Intel Sky Lake chipset (Intel 100 Series).
  2. Only happens when the Huawei Mobile Connect modem is present.
  3. Only shows the balloon tip when the iUSB3Mon.exe is running resident in memory.
  4. Only happens when the USB Monitoring option is installed. And it is only installed when the Intel setup routine is run - if installed via INF from our SCCM Pack, the problem does not occur.
So, fortunately we have multiple Sky Lake systems in our lab and after doing multiple ThinInstaller deployments with various models I was able to verify that the above 3 variables had to be present for the balloon tip warning to appear.

So the first thing I did was use a USB benchmark tool to make sure that the USB bus was indeed performing at a reasonable USB 3 level. And on all systems I did get expected levels for read and write throughput.

Now that I was comfortable in believing the balloon tip was more of an annoyance than an actual warning of a performance issue that needed to be fixed, I turned my focus to locating the registry entry that was loading the monitoring utility.

So after doing some research at Intel's website and a registry search, I found the key. It is located at;

HKLM\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run 

under a subkey named "USBMON".

I found that if in my task sequence in MDT (should work for SCCM also) I add a "Run Command Line" step in the "State Restore" section, I could remove the registry entry and no longer have the balloon tip warning appear on a machine. This would definitely save tech support a lot of time and help to make sure that users would not be receiving constant false alarms regarding the performance of their brand new machine.

The actual command you want to use;

cmd /c reg delete HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run /v USB3MON /f

I simply named the task sequence step "Delete USB Monitor".

That solved the issue.

Now, of course I had to research if this was an issue being experienced by other systems that utilize Sky Lake + Huawei combinations and I did find a German Microsoft Solution Provider (Semantic.gs) that has compiled information regarding the Huawei modem and they have data that points to this being an issue with the SunPlusIT Integrated camera and the Huawei Mobile Connect modem being on the same USB Bus. The ThinkPad systems that I have in the lab which exhibit this issue do indeed have that combination of devices hanging off the USB bus.  I have also verified that the Sky Lake systems we have that have the Sierra Wireless WWAN option do not have the issue described in this post.



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