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Tablet support for Drive Encryption 7.1.x
Technical Articles ID:   KB78049
Last Modified:  3/11/2019


McAfee Drive Encryption (DE) 7.1.x

Tablets with any supported Windows operating systems.

For details of DE 7.1.x supported environments, see KB79422.


This support statement is provided by the Product Management Team.

The aim of this article is to explain the McAfee position on tablet devices that present a touch or pen interface, specifically for DE managed by ePolicy Orchestrator. 

Tablets can be broken up into two main categories:
  • Tablets with a Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) boot process
  • Tablets with a Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) boot process
  • Older style tablet devices like Windows 7 and earlier, fall into the BIOS boot group.
  • Tablets like Windows 8 and later, generally fall into the second UEFI category.

McAfee has a different support stance for each category as outlined below.

Types of tablet devices
The term tablet can relate to a few different types of devices. This article covers the following devices when referencing to tablets:
  • A tablet device that has no physical keyboard and only responds to a touch or pen interface.
    This style of device relies on the integrated hardware technology for the touch/pen interface to drive the user interface.
  • A hybrid tablet device that has a physically attached keyboard.
    Laptop style devices with a swivel display that hides the keyboard and operates like a tablet, but they can be used as a typical laptop. This style of device can either use the mouse and keyboard, or the integrated hardware technology for the touch/pen interface to drive the user interface.
Symptoms of an incompatible device
The symptoms of an incompatible device in the preboot environment are similar, regardless of whether the device has a BIOS or UEFI boot process. These symptoms can be, but are not limited to, the list below:
  • Device does not respond to the touch or pen interface
  • Cursor does not follow the finger or pen
  • Calibration and Scaling issues:
    • The cursor might move and respond to touch, but not in the same location as was touched. It is offset vertically or horizontally.
    • Cursor can be moved off the screen.

Support on devices with a BIOS boot process
For tablet devices with a BIOS boot process, DE provides support for the touch interface hardware for that specific device. The reason is because the preboot environment needs to communicate directly with the hardware. The preboot environment is a proprietary operating system, so device drivers need to be built specifically for different hardware implementations.

Different devices can share underlying hardware, but there are potentially other items such as scaling and calibration that need to be adjusted on each device. The result is that McAfee needs to physically develop for, and test, each individual device.

For a list of these devices that are currently supported with DE, see KB79914.

NOTE: If your device is not listed, it is highly likely that the touch interface fails to function in the preboot environment.
Support on devices with a UEFI boot process
For tablet devices using UEFI, the OEM needs to provide support for the touch interface hardware for that specific device.
McAfee can claim a more generic support structure based on some minimum conditions for UEFI-based tablet devices. If these minimum conditions are met, the tablet device’s touch interface behaves as expected in the preboot environment. Because UEFI is a standard, McAfee depends on the OEMs to provide the required functionality in their UEFI implementation according to the UEFI 2.3.1 specification
The touch interface works correctly during preboot with DE on tablet devices that satisfy the following minimum conditions:
  • Minimum version of UEFI is 2.3.1
  • Tablet Device is Windows hardware certified:
    • Device has a Windows hologram
    • OEM can verify that their hardware is Windows certified.
  • One or two UEFI protocols are present and linked to hardware:
    • Simple Pointer Protocol:
      • Required primarily by a hybrid tablet device to respond to the mouse
      • Required by a tablet if a mouse is attached to the USB port (if present)
    • Absolute Pointer Protocol:
      • Required by both a tablet and hybrid tablet to respond to the touch interface
The Absolute Pointer Protocol, for the touch interface, is the most crucial for support with the preboot environment. If the device does not include this protocol, it is likely that the touch interface fails to function in the preboot environment.

The presence of one or both protocols is not sufficient; the protocol must also be linked to hardware. McAfee cannot provide UEFI protocols, or provide a solution if a protocol is missing. Customers must contact their OEM to request a UEFI update/upgrade to include this protocol, or verify the presence of the protocol before purchasing tablet devices.

If the minimum requirements are not met, it does not mean that DE does not work on the tablet device. What it does mean is:
  • One or more of the defined symptoms above are experienced.
  • Users can still authenticate, but they need to attach a keyboard or mouse and is an undesirable action with a tablet device. With a hybrid tablet device, the keyboard and mouse are already present.
  • Apart from not responding to the touch interface in preboot, the product behaves as normal.

Testing your UEFI-based device
McAfee has created a simple test tool that customers, partners, and OEMs can use to determine whether their UEFI-based tablet device responds to the touch interface in the preboot environment.

The objective of this UEFI-based Tablet Test Tool is to validate the following:
  • The Tablet supports the required UEFI-based protocols
  • The OEM correctly implements the UEFI-based protocols
To obtain the tool and for instructions on how to use it, see KB78050.

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