Archive for January, 2008

Don’t install that driver!

Sunday, January 20th, 2008


My daughter got a real simple kid’s digital camera for Christmas this year. She loved it and immediately filled it up with pictures.

So then I had to transfer the pictures off so she could fill it up again.

I plugged it in to my laptop with the supplied USB cable (I’m asking myself why it’s a proprietary plug requiring a special cable rather than a standard connector…)

Well, Windows didn’t recognize it, so I go for the driver CD that came with it (I can already hear you say, “don’t do it!”)

Driver starts to install… Blue Screen.

Of course, nobody likes to get a blue screen, but come on, this is a usb digital camera. What kind of special driver is required to cause a blue screen??

So I reboot the thing, hoping to try the install again. Unfortunately, I didn’t get very far.

When I rebooted:

- My DVD drive didn’t work
- My Webcam didn’t work
- My sound card didn’t work
- My modem didn’t work

In Device Manager it was a sea of yellow exclamation marks.

Now, I’m worried. What in the world did this stupid camera driver do to my machine?!? Worst of all, this is my work laptop, and I’ll be really embarrassed telling IT this story.

I’m looking at this camera and I get no hints. It’s some sort of Toys R Us generic brand that has no website, no support page, no method of getting help at all.

Then I noticed that one of the exclamation points was a thing called the “Plug and Play Enumerator.” I figured that maybe I’ll start with this device, seems harmless enough.

Normally, when you uninstall a device and reboot, the device tries to come back and offers you a chance to reinstall it. So I uninstalled that device and rebooted.

However, it never came back. This was troubling, but I didn’t think much about it. So I tried uninstalling the rest of the yellow exclamation points, one at a time. There goes my dvd drive, my webcam, my sound card, etc.

But they never came back after reboot. I thought that it must have something to do with that PnP device. So I went surfing. I found a site that explains how to reinstall this device (hmm, must have happened to other people). So I follow these really hacky instructions, and voila, all the devices came back.

I still have a rogue unknown device in Device Manager, and I suspect it’s that half-installed digital camera. But am I going to try reinstalling that CD? No chance.