Vista RTM – Driver Workarounds
As a beta tester of Vista, I’ve been hip-deep in the new operating system since it’s early releases. It’s been an interesting experience, but I can’t say that it’s been fun. Because of a crash of the RAID array on my previous XP installation, I decided to go with Vista as my one and only working environment on my primary desktop. That left me no fallback in dealing with the huge number of application incompatibility issues and various states of OS instability. Yeah, it was probably a stupid decision, but it seemed like the manly thing to do at the time.
Now that some of the versions have RTM’d for release with new systems, I’ve had the opportunity to play with a more stable and significantly faster version of the OS. It remains visually beautiful with some really cool new features and loads of new levels of protection. It’s gonna take the world a little while to catch up, though. Because of new security, any application that expected to have kernel access or accessed the file system in anything but the cleanest way will have problems running under Vista. This applies to a lot of applications, even some basic ones.
Device drivers are the biggest problem area. Microsoft claims that there are something like 19,000 drivers on the installation disk. But during my install of the RTM version, Vista couldn’t find drivers for my color printer nor either of my two scanners. If you have similar problems, I found a workaround to this particular problem that might help you out. It worked for two of my three failing devices.
Here’s the process:
- Download the latest version of the XP version of the driver for your hardware. Usually available in the downloads section of your hardware vendor’s web site.
- Run the installer application from your disk using the “Run as Administrator” command. This can be found by right-clicking the executable file for the installer and clicking on the command in the context menu (you will need administrative privileges on your user account to do this, I believe)
- This should install your driver, but may just unpack (uncompress) the files for your driver. Watch the install process and remember where the files were installed.
- If the installer just uncompressed the files, go to the directory where they were unpacked to (often a subdirectory located in the root directory of the C: drive) and run the actual installer with “Run as Administrator”
- After you have done all this, turn on your hardware. Vista should tell you that it’s trying to install the driver and, hopefully, will be successful. Hint: it may take more time than you expect – in minutes, that is.
- If that fails, find the directory where the driver was installed and right click on the .inf file for your device. Click on “install” in the context menu.
If one of those methods works, give your hardware a try. If not, you’re may be out of luck. Steps 1 & 2 installed one of my missing drivers and steps 1-4 got my other device to work.
I’m sure that this is not how Microsoft wants you to get these drivers up and running, but it seems to work. If you’re stuck and your device manufacturer seems to be waiting for the final release of Vista to deliver new drivers, you may want to give it a try.
No warranties or guarantees expressed, written or implied . . .