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My PC started freezing up a few times a day. Not finding any smoking gun in Event Viewer, I looked for recent updates to rollback, and I found https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/support/articles/000095780/memory-and-storage.html good reason to suspect that Intel Optane Pinning Shell Extensions may be the culprit, as it was one of several Dell & Intel driver & component updates that had run a day before the freeze-ups started. (In case it matters, the update was to version 18.7.1.1003)

I uninstalled it from Device Manager > Software Components, restarted the computer, also checking the box to uninstall the associated driver. After a while the computer froze again. I checked Device Manager and found that Pinning Extensions was back! Now at a previous version, 18.1.2.1034.

I tried uninstalling both of the Optane items, that and Intel Optane Memory and Storage Management Components, waited a while without restarting, and found that both of them reinstall themselves in Device Manager after several minutes.

There never were Optane anything in Control Panel's list of installed apps, but in Windows Settings > Apps, I did find Intel Optane Memory and Storage Management. I uninstalled that, then retried uninstalling the Optane components from Device Manager. Optane doesn't reappear in Settings > Apps, but again after a few minutes Pinning Extensions reappears in Device Manager.

So: Does anyone know what's automatically re-installing this Intel Optane thing? And how to uninstall it permanently? I'm pretty certain that I don't need it.

My PC details:

  • Dell XPS 8940
  • Windows 11 Home 23H2, 22631.3296
  • 11th Gen Intel Core i7-11700 @ 2.50 GHz
  • 40.0 GB RAM
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  • Have you removed the Dell software? Are the drivers being installed through Windows Update? Edit your question to include this vital information
    – Ramhound
    Commented Mar 18 at 14:45
  • In Device Manager > Software components > Intel Pinning Shell Extensions, when doing Uninstall Device, have you checked "Delete the driver software for this device"?
    – harrymc
    Commented Mar 18 at 14:47
  • Yes I said that I did check that delete driver box. Commented Mar 18 at 17:28
  • I found one thing that seems to work so far to keep the Pinning Shell Extensions from reinstalling itself, though it doesn't answer why/how it was doing so in the first place. In Device Manager I switch the view to "Devices by driver", then I click that driver to uninstall it. I get a different window & checkboxes. Luckily, the Pinning thing is the only "device" that uses that driver. I removed that, checking the box to also remove the device(s) that used it. It's been a few hours and it hasn't reinstalled itself yet. Commented Mar 18 at 17:29
  • Nope. It took longer than before, but the next day this Intel Optane Pinning Shell Extensions is back right where it was in Device Manager. So, directly removing the driver iastorpinningcomponent.inf in device manager didn't work either. Commented Mar 19 at 17:00

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