Synaptics WBDI – SGX (Fingerprint Reader)

Well, I’ve got a Lenovo Yoga 730-15IKB Laptop (ideapad) – Type 81CU on Windows 10 Version 2004 (OS Build 19041.530). The issue is, almost every time I install an update either for Windows 10, or sometimes even something from Lenovo, it breaks my fingerprint reader driver (the title of this post). I spent a little bit of time looking for fixes when it first broke, to no avail, and I’d read enough articles online to realize there was not an easy fix. So I resolved myself to a useless fingerprint reader … for a while.

Then one day, I had some extra time on my hands and was fed up with having paid for a fingerprint reader and not being able to use it. After some in-depth research and not believing that a cable inside my laptop needed to be re-seated (some articles specify that this is the problem), I ran across an article that told me to go to here and search for “USB\VID_06CB&PID_0081” and grab the latest driver from that Microsoft site and install it. Well, voila! It worked … for a while, until the next Windows update came along. Then I was back to square one, where nothing worked. Then, I got an idea.

I downloaded the latest/last 3 driver sets from that Microsoft catalog site and systematically installed each of them one at a time following the steps described below. Nothing worked right away, but then I discovered that those drivers are directly related to Intel’s “IntelĀ® SGX AESM” service (aesm_service.exe in Task Manager, Details view). Knowing that, these are the steps I take each time something breaks the driver:

  • Download the latest 3 drivers from the Microsoft catalog site linked above that are FOR YOUR SPECIFIC VERSION of Windows 10 if possible, or the closest match (e.g. if the most recent driver is for Windows 10 1809 and above, but the next most recent one is for Windows 10 1903 and above, and you are on Windows 2004 like me, you start with the latest 1903 and above version and find the next most recent one the same way)
  • Uncompress the .cab files for each of the three into their own separate folders
  • Fire up Device Manager (Windows key, then type “Device Manager”).
  • Locate “Biometric Devices” and click the arrow to the left of it to expand it
  • Alternate click (right-click for me) on “Synaptics WBDI – SGX” and click on “Update Driver”, then “Browse my computer for drivers”, then “Let me pick from a list…”, then the “Have Disk…” button, then the “Browse…” button and navigate to one of the folders (I always start with the most recent driver) where you uncompressed the .cab files and select the .inf file that is shown, and click the “Open” button and install it. Don’t reboot yet if it asks you to at any point.
  • Now, in Task Manager, Details view, find aesm_service.exe and alternate click on it and select “End task”
  • Wait for “aesm_service.exe” to reappear in Task Manager, it should. If it doesn’t after a minute to two, fire it up manually by hitting your Windows key and typing in “Services” and scrolling down to “IntelĀ® SGX AESM”, clicking on it and then press the Play button on it (or alternate click on it and select “Start”.
  • Now go back to Device Manager and alternate click on “Synaptics WBDI – SGX” and select “Disable device” and wait a few seconds until it refreshes and shows the little down-pointing arrow indicating it is disabled.
  • Now repeat the previous step, this time selecting “Enable device”
  • After waiting a few seconds for the refresh again, the driver should either reappear as normal/working, or it will reappear with the Yellow triangle-enclosed exclamation mark, indicating it is still not working.
  • If this is the case, repeat this process with the next driver that you downloaded.

At this point, usually on the second or third driver/attempt, I have found one that works! You can reboot your computer now if you so desire, it should keep working. Sometimes I have found that it is not working after a reboot, but if I disable the “Synaptics WBDI – SGX” in device manager and enable it, it then starts working again, or sometimes I have to disable it, kill the “aesm_service.exe” process in task manager and wait for it to restart itself again and then enable”Synaptics WBDI – SGX” again.

Just as an FYI, what is currently working for me is the “5.5.2735.1050” version of the driver (which is the second most recent version when sorting by “Last Updated” on the Microsoft catalog site). I know it’s a bit of a chore, but at least I’ve got my fingerprint reader back again and it seems to keep working until the next major update! Hope this is helpful to someone else.