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Posted on August 6th, 2012 by Darien Graham-Smith

Getting older drivers to work in Windows 8

NoDriver

Windows 8 has hit RTM status, and if you’re anything like me you’ll be making plans now to set it up as your main desktop OS. (I still don’t like the interface formerly known as Metro, but all the other good stuff in there has, on balance, won me over.)

In most cases this shouldn’t be too much of an upheaval, because Windows 8 works just fine with device drivers originally designed for Windows 7. But I’ve had a surprising degree of trouble getting one of my older devices – an Edirol UA-4FX USB audio interface – to work.

No driver found

At first, I wasn’t sure what I’d done wrong. The Edirol Windows 7 driver installer package ran happily, but when I plugged in the device, Windows 8 insisted it couldn’t find a driver (as pictured above). Manually searching, and pointing Windows to the appropriate directory, didn’t help.

A quick look inside the driver’s INF file revealed the problem. Ordinarily, if an INF file doesn’t contain installation information specifically for Windows 8, the operating system will simply use the directions for Windows 7 instead. In this case, however, I was surprised to see that the INF file explicitly indicated that that no driver should be installed for Windows 8. Here are the relevant sections of the file (NTamd64.6.1 and NTamd64.6.2 being the internal names of the 64-bit editions of Windows 7 and 8 respectively):

Not6.2

Well, you might think, there’s doubtless a reason for that. Sometimes things break between different versions of an operating system, and you don’t want people installing drivers that don’t work.

But the strange thing is that this driver was published way back in 2009 – so there’s no way it could had ever been tested under Windows 8. I can only assume that the developers decided to prevent it from being installed on future versions of the OS just to rule out any possibility of future problems.

Tweaking the INF file

Such caution may be good engineering practice, but I was frustrated. I felt sure the driver ought to work in the new OS – if I could only find a way to install it. Happily, removing the prohibition on installing under Windows 8 wasn’t difficult. A few keystrokes in Notepad, to switch around the references to NTamd64.6.1 and NTamd64.6.2, was enough to persuade Windows 8 to find and start installing the driver when I plugged in my UA-4FX

The driver had been digitally signed to guarantee its integrity

Immediately, though, a new problem arose: the driver was now rejected owing to a “hashing error”. This indicated that the driver had been digitally signed to guarantee its integrity – meaning it would refuse to install if the INF file (or any other part) had been tampered with. A nice catch-22 situation for me.

I briefly wondered if there might be an easy way of forging a new signature, but of course the whole point of signatures is that there isn’t. Then a simple workaround occurred to me: I went back into the INF file and removed the reference in the header to the CAT file containing the driver’s cryptographic details. Now the driver wasn’t signed at all.

Installing unsigned drivers

Problem solved? Not quite. The driver installation procedure no longer complained about hashing problems: but it did abort the operation as soon as it spotted that the driver was unsigned. Ah yes: as a new security measure in Windows 8, unsigned drivers are automatically blocked.

Happily, there’s a way round this problem too. If you go to the Advanced Startup app in Windows 8, you can choose to reboot the computer with Advanced Startup options enabled. You’ll then be given the opportunity to boot into various troubleshooting modes, including Safe Mode, Debugging Mode and the snappily-named “Disable Driver Signature Enforcement” mode.

AdvancedStart

When I booted up in this mode I was at last able to install my tweaked Edirol UA-4FX driver – which, to my great relief, turned out to work perfectly. I was then able to reboot back into the regular, safer, signature-enforcing mode, and enjoy both driver security and sound.

Working

Of course, there’s no guarantee that all drivers will be so amenable to tweaking, or that they’ll work flawlessly under Windows 8. But hopefully something from this experience may prove useful to you.

At any rate, it’s somehow reassuring to find that even in Microsoft’s latest operating system – which was supposed to be all about slick touch controls and graphical user experiences – it’s still possible for us tinkerers, when we run into a technical problem, to get stuck in and fix it ourselves.


Postscript: an easier solution

Later a possible easier workaround occurred to me. Windows 8 is compatible with drivers written for Vista, as well as for Windows 7: so, as an experiment, I tried downloading and installing the 64-bit Vista driver for my Edirol device. This older INF file (dated 2007) didn’t include any special restrictions for Windows 8, and because no editing was required, there was no need to remove the digital signature and boot into a special mode to get it working. Of course, a five-year-old driver may not support all the features and full performance of a more up-to-date version, but it’s a useful confirmation that if you need to get an older device working, Vista drivers could do the trick.

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Posted in: Windows 8

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29 Responses to “ Getting older drivers to work in Windows 8 ”

  1. Jeff Says:
    August 6th, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    As an older driver I would like to say that I’m quite content with my Volvo V70 and have no intention of going to work in this new fangled Windows 8 thingy.

     
  2. mr_chips Says:
    August 6th, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    good one Jeff ;)

    I had to create a 64-bit driver for my scanner when I switched to Vista x64 a few years back and still use the same driver on windows 7 x64.

    If you try to find a canon Lide 50 driver for x64 windows you are out of luck. I bodged one from canon’s Lide 80 driver package, replacing the hardware ID and device settings accordingly for my Lide 50. To this day it works flawlessly.

     
  3. mr_chips Says:
    August 6th, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    sorry that should be Lide 70 not 80

     
  4. ICT Tower Says:
    August 9th, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    @mr_chips
    I had almost the exact problem except I couldn’t get a Windows 7 driver for my Canon LiDE 80, not even the Vista version would work!

    Since I only had the Home Premium version, I couldn’t even run XP Mode either :-(

    In the end, I gave up and bought a new LiDE 200, a nice scanner but without the negative scanning attachment :-/

    Canon seem to be pretty bad at this.

     
  5. Katsu999 Says:
    August 10th, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    The problem is actually with Windows – it keeps breaking the Driver requirements at every new version. The Drivers worked fine before didn’t they? And the OS isn’t so radically different, is it? (Notwithstanding any 32/64-bit difference, obviously!) Atrocious behaviour for a modern OS!

     
  6. mr_chips Says:
    August 13th, 2012 at 7:24 am

    You have to wonder though where the blame lies because it isn’t entirely MS. The other reason behind this where peripheral manufacturers are concerned is purely fiscal. While they can develop a new driver set for their current product line up it is at their own discretion as to how far back with legacy devices they go. So it makes sense for them to restrict it to some extent. They are out there to make money after all, not spend it on supporting old kit. Obviously it will leave a bad taste for some customers who will jump ship. Others will stick with an existing OS as long as they can or switch to opensource if they know how. The ones with deeper pockets will replace the equipment much to the delight of the manufacturer if they buy the same brand again.

     
  7. Katsu999 Says:
    August 16th, 2012 at 11:24 am

    ….i repeat – the fault is not with the Manufacturers. Why does MS break the driver model every time it releases a ‘new’ (sic) OS, forcing Manufacturers to write a whole new driver? I understand the 32/64-bit difference, but XP/Vista/Win7/Win8 being so completely different that a driver won’t work on another version? Utter rubbish! Why do people avoid calling out MS on this, and rehash the same “Oh well its so expensive to write drivers, the manufacturers cant be expected to support all OS versions” – avoiding any MS involvement at all. Sad. Stupid. Normal.

     
  8. Killian Says:
    October 27th, 2012 at 10:17 am

    @Katsu99
    “The problem is actually with Windows – it keeps breaking the Driver requirements at every new version.”
    No, it’s the driver. Windows 8 supports drivers from windows 7 (this happens frequently: 95-98 ME 2K-XP VISTA 7-8).

    “The Drivers worked fine before didn’t they?”
    Yes, any they still do. Just the driver specifically was designed to not work with higher versions of windows, manufacturers decision not Microsoft’s. All Microsoft do is provide the version number and the driver developer decides how to implement their code.

    “And the OS isn’t so radically different, is it? (Notwithstanding any 32/64-bit difference, obviously!)”
    Nope, and that’s why most well written win7 drivers work in win8.

    “Atrocious behaviour for a modern OS!”
    Can you name a previous Microsoft operating system that behaves better then?

    “Why do people avoid calling out MS on this, and rehash the same “Oh well its so expensive to write drivers, the manufacturers cant be expected to support all OS versions” – avoiding any MS involvement at all. Sad. Stupid. Normal.”
    That’s because everyone apart from you understands that it’s not Microsofts problem, they provide a service, a platform. If you want to use that platform you’ll need to get with the times.

    I mean.. XP drivers? What decade old piece of hardware are you using?
    Maybe you should just dualboot to DOS when you need your dot matrix? :D

     
  9. Kristoffer Birkenes Says:
    October 27th, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    Lifesaver! Never though of running Vista drivers, but that worked like a charm on my Edirol FA-66 (Firewire-device). Big thanks!

     
  10. Shibby Says:
    October 28th, 2012 at 9:22 am

    an example file would’ve been nice, but still thanks for the helpful workaround ;)

     
  11. Dan Says:
    November 1st, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    @Katsu99
    Unless you’re speaking from deep technical knowledge of the operating systems in question there is no basis for saying that XP on are all basically the same. Why should Microsoft keep the driver model the same if they want to make improvements?

     
  12. Kurt Says:
    November 4th, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    One problem that I discovered was that the CD on my system was not acessible when in the Disable Driver Signing Enforcement mode. The only prioblem with that was that I had to reboot and copy files to the harddrive first. Is this standard behaviour?

     
  13. Ruben Says:
    November 14th, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    Thanks man, you really helped me out here!

     
  14. Paul Says:
    November 21st, 2012 at 2:59 am

    Darien, thanks for your help. I used your method to get Sonar LE (Cakewalk) on my new Windows 8 laptop to talk to my Roland RD-700GX keyboard.

     
  15. Nicolas Says:
    December 2nd, 2012 at 8:06 am

    Thanks a lot. I can use my edirol FA-66 with my W8. The driver to be used is the Vista 64!!

     
  16. Phil Says:
    December 9th, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    Thank you very, very much for this. I’ve got a UA-5 which Windows 8 said had no driver available (which the Upgrade Assistant didn’t tell me before installation!), but I just pointed Win8 at the Vista driver and it works a treat. Took 2 minutes, if that. Fantastic!!

     
  17. Anthony Says:
    February 11th, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    Thanks, the routine oulined above worked for an X-rite Optix DTP94 colorimeter. I modified the inf furnshed with the open-source Argyll drivers for screen color calibration, removing any reference to catalog files, rebooted in Advanced mode, and everything worked as promised.
    Now for my Nikon LS-50 film scanner…
    Cheers!

     
  18. meir Says:
    February 17th, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    I tried that advice for atheros AR287+AR7010.
    It worked!
    Thank you.

     
  19. Huntah Says:
    February 28th, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    Hi! I have a Sharp AR-5316. I downloaded the driver for XP/Vista/Win7 64, but there is no “NTamd64.6.x” in this INF file. Instead I have “NTx86″. But what logics should I follow if the manufacturer did not exclude win8, just forgot about it?

     
  20. Nick G Says:
    March 6th, 2013 at 4:36 am

    Hi Darien,

    Sortware Candy forwarded me a link and an extract to your fix for W8 drivers for the Epson 3200 Photo scanner, namely rebooting with Driver Signature Enforcement switched off.
    This combined with the fix to the .inf file has worked perfectly!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Cheers,

    Nick Williams

     
  21. Jophin Joy Says:
    April 1st, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    So we need to download the software driver and code it again???

     
  22. Ricky Walker Says:
    June 16th, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    Thanks a lot – helped me get my UA3FX working in win 8. (only extra step was that I had to run setup in win 7 compatibility mode)

     
  23. Max Says:
    July 16th, 2013 at 5:33 am

    Works for me for my laptop chipset (AMD RS690). 3D acceleration doesn’t work and I can’t get the system rating to run but other than that it works great.

    Going to uninstall and try the Vista driver and see if I can get my 3d back.

     
  24. JohnR Says:
    September 3rd, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    Works for my Canon Selphy 720 Photo Printer.

    Had to go to the US site to find the older drivers.

    Shame the manufacturers don’t advertise this as an option

     
  25. Mario Says:
    January 22nd, 2014 at 11:53 am

    Instaling the Vista Drivers (x64) for my Edirol UA-3FX on Windows 8 (64Bit) worked like a charm! GREAT!!

     
  26. Mitch Says:
    February 13th, 2014 at 11:49 pm

    Great article Darien! I’ve tried to convert an old driver I have for a Millennium 575 printer using the Millennium 700 Windows 7 64bit inf but I just can’t seem to get it right. There is no support from the company and I was hoping that you or someone viewing this post might be able to give me a hand.
    Thanks!

     
  27. Dominic Says:
    August 8th, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    Installing the Vista 64-bit driver on Windows 8.1 worked for my HP Scanjet 4500C. Thanks Darien, I don’t have to buy a new scanner!

     
  28. Emanuele Says:
    September 8th, 2014 at 11:31 am

    Hi there, and thanks for this trick!
    So, i want to try this for my epson perfection 3200 photo, can you show (or send to me) the modified INF file before and after modification?

    Thank You anyway,
    Emanuele.

     
  29. Emanuele Says:
    September 8th, 2014 at 11:56 am

    Tried myself, worked!
    Thank You Very Much!

     

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