A new driver with a status of "recommended" appeared in Microsoft Update for Windows 7/8/8.1 PCs, "INTEL – System – 8/19/2016 12:00:00 AM – 10.1.2.80," but the associated webpage explains nothing. The Microsoft Update Catalog entry suggests that the updates are USB related.
In fact, the updates are INF (chipset) packages v.10. And they break older PCs.
After Intel left the motherboard business, it tried to put the driver situation to bed. But then Windows 10 appeared, with users understandably miffed at Intel's washing its hands of the whole affair.
Chipset drivers were released by Intel that could not be used with older chipsets -- 8-series and older -- with the line being between v.9 and v.10. Other Intel drivers have a similar story.
Now Microsoft Update has triggered a mass update for reasons unknown, sending the Intel chipset drivers intended for newer systems to older ones.
This is reminiscent of Microsoft's previous venture into Intel drivers, where Microsoft released a graphics driver, 18.104.22.16859, ostensibly for Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge processors for Windows 10. There are plenty of examples where Windows 10 causes problems with Sandy Bridge (here are examples for Dell, Sony, Intel, Intel, Intel, and Intel).
Searching on microsoft.com revealed nothing about this driver. Softpedia reported that 22.214.171.12459 is intended only for Ivy Bridge processors which would be consistent with what Intel support has always stated for processors and graphics thereof, that drivers for Sandy Bridge will not be forthcoming. And if this driver really did eliminate the problems, why didn't Microsoft release it before its July 29 deadline of applying for the free upgrade?
I sent a query to Intel Media Relations which responded with an exact quote from engineering: "Intel did not release this driver. Intel issued a small update to the existing driver for Win7/8/8.1, but did not issue a driver for Windows 10."
So it was Microsoft that edited an existing 7/8/8.1 driver and gave it a version of 126.96.36.19959.
Microsoft Update can no longer be trusted for Intel drivers. Go to the Intel Downloads website and get them yourself. Only install Management Engine drivers if you are using Active Management Technology in an enterprise environment. All other vendor drivers should be obtained from the official website. Hide all spurious drivers appearing in Microsoft Update.
And start learning Linux.