Experiment: Using a SoundBlaster Live! Drive II with an Audigy 2 ZS

System Requirements:

  • Windows 2000, XP, Vista
  • SoundBlaster Audigy 2 ZS
  • Live Drive II (Live!Drive 2)

The Problem:

I happened to have an Audigy 2 ZS with the Audigy Platinum Live Drive header, and a Live!Drive 2 from a SoundBlaster Live! Platinum.

The Question: could it work against the Audigy 2?

More Info:

Nope. Although the cable and connectors pin out (be it in reverse, requiring a 180 degree rotation of the Live Drive 2 bus cable) and the system starts, sound functions from the Audigy PCI card work correctly. The outputs on the Live Drive II emit a meaningless buzzing, and no interfaces on the Live Drive are able to function or are acknowledged by the Creative driver.

I tried, we failed.

Error: “Drivers have NOT been updated. Compatible hardware not found. <>” when installing Hauppauge WinTV NOVA-T-500

System Requirements:

  • Windows 2000, XP, Vista
  • Hauppauge WinTV NOVA-T-500

The Problem:

It is highly possible that this error can be seen on other Hauppauge cards aside from my experience with the NOVA-T-500.

I just took delivery of what has turned out to be a rather disastrous eBuyer order, one of the products was a WinTV NOVA-T-500. If you follow the quick start guide (or even if you don’t) you may wind up being presented with the following error message:

Drivers have NOT been updated. Compatible hardware not found. <<click to exit>>

This happens if you use the CD to install from, download the latest driver package or try to use Windows Update as a means to save you from yourself.

Installer Error Screen Shot

Quite simple, Windows cannot find any driver for the application.

More Info:

My instant feeling of dread that I knew precisely what was going on aside, let me walk you through the problem; but before I do, let me give you the bad new right now – unless you have clumsily managed to half insert the NOVA into the PCTV slot, you will be in need of an RMA number because your board will not work.

 

The NOVA

On inspection the NOVA-T-500 is actually quite clever, Hauppauge have elected to keep their dual-tuner configuration as simple as possible, by sticking to what they presumably know works. The NOVA-T-500 is in effect nothing more than a PCI USB 2.0 Controller card with two USB 2.0 DVB-T tuners and a USB IR adapter connected directly to the controllers internal bus. Creative!

The NOVA-T-500

As you can see this particular NOVA-T-500 has the following model information:

  • WinTV-NOVA-T-500
  • DVB-T
  • 99101 LF
  • Rev D8B5

I actually just wanted to spell that out because I do think that is is quite a novel approach to their card design.

 

Exploring the driver install failure

A trip to device manager reveals a rather disconcerting unidentified, un-startable hardware device is present within the system – and effectively tells that Windows has no idea what to do with it

Device Manager with the NOVA-T-500

Most modern controller devices, while in their uninstalled state will usually have some sort of identifying attribute, yet here all we receive from the NOVA-T-500 is “HOOK”.

Here is the problem. All modern devices, PCI, USB, AGP – you name it – have a Plug n’ Play identifier (PnPID) which informs the operating system over who (in hexadecimal terms) manufactured the device (the Vid) and which device in their product inventory was just connected to a respective system bus (the Pid).

The WiTV NOVA-T-500’s correct PnPID is:

USB\VID_2040&PID_9951 (I believe)

While the PnPID of the device I received was identifying itself as:

USB\Vid_10b8&Pid_0066

To check your PnPID, all you need to do is visit the Details tab for the device properties in the Windows Device Manager (you can also locate it in the registry if you know where to look).

Vid & Pid PnP information

This explains why Windows was unable to locate a driver, the PnPID in the device driver cannot be matched to the one being identified by the PCI device and as a consequence, the driver installation fails.

It is possible, from time to time, to rewrite the driver ID’s (it will break WHQL certification) so that you can force Windows to mount the driver and load the hardware, I have done this several times quite successfully in the past and naturally wondered if this was going to be possible this time around.

 

Why this is not (easily) fixable

I needed to know the correct PnPID for the NOVA-T-500 and after a lightning search on the web, decided to give Hauppauge UK’s support a call. Sadly this was too technical for them, and they wanted me to phone Hauppauge support in the USA in order to out line the problem to a developer rather than to technical support. I did explain the whole EEprom PnPID issue to them, but these are effectively sales guys who have to pass everything back to HQ in the states that doesn’t come up on the expert system/knowledge base.

While I was explaining the PnPID concept to Hauppauge support, I started playing around with the driver files, and in reading through happened to notice that one of them did indeed contain the Vid/Pid combination being broadcast by my device. With finding this, I now have confirmation of what I suspected was the problem. The EEprom was blank!

; Uncomment these on production test systems to enable blank EEprom programming
;%BDA3700.DeviceDesc_cold2% = BDA3700.Device,USB\VID_10B8&PID_0066

For reference the “;” is a REM statement to comment out the information from being read by the Windows Driver loader, however the plain text comment for the section (found in hcw95all.inf, hcw95all_64.inf, hcw99bda.inf and hcw99bda_64.inf should you want to look) confirmed my suspicion. This Vid/Pid is used to program the EEprom of the device at manufacturing. My device had somehow skipped this part of its assembly, been boxed and found itself inside my computer – if it was going to happen, it was going to happen to me, of course it was!

The missing EEprom information explains why the device is identifying itself as “HOOK” to the system, with the EEprom in place, the PnPID tag would be decidedly different, without it we simply get engineering information.

This problem should be fixable by the end use so long as is a run-time reflash procedure and not a JTag style flash prcoess. If the process is JTag based then the card is not a write-off, it can simply be reflashed and sent back out again.

Either way, I have put in a support request to Hauppauge US with the information found in this article along with a request to be contacted by a developer/engineer and I shall see if they are willing to release the flash information so that I can fix it myself.

Hauppauge UK simply told me to RMA it and that they would look out for a bad batch.

 

Update – 15/01/2007

Hauppauge USA never got back to me, despite their promises to do so – shame on you Hauppauge. The replacement device from eBuyer arrived and works correctly, coming with the UK 4.0A release CD. Version 4.1 has been out for less than 24 hours at this point, so if you are a user, do go and update to the latest release.

Using a Creative Labs Sound Blaster Live! Platinum (CT4760) under Windows Vista

System Requirements:

  • Sound Blaster Live! Platinum
  • Windows Vista

The Problem:

This is Windows Vista we’re talking about… you had to ask?

More Information:

Put simply there are no native drivers for the original versions of the SB Live series with the Live! Drive 1.0 or 2.0. Microsoft stopped generating them with Windows Server 2003’s release, and in all but name so did Creative.

I can help you get sound, I cannot help you to get Surround Sound, the Game Port or to make use of your Live! Drive as the people at Creative once intended.

  1. Go to http://www.creative.com/ and then to Support
  2. Open the main downloads page
  3. In the Search by File Name or Model Number search for CT4760
  4. Download the 23.32 MB, 10 Mar 03 “Sound Blaster Live! – LiveDrvUni-Pack English”
  5. Double click the installer program, work through until it tells you it cannot find any qualifying products
  6. Hit Vista’s Device Manager
  7. Find the uninstalled Multimedia Audio Device, right click it and select Update Driver
  8. Specify your own file path for a driver
  9. Type or browse to the following, substituting %username% for the SAM name of your user account:
    C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Temp\CRF000\Audio\Drivers\WIN2K_XP\
  10. Vista will install the driver and you will now have sound & sound control through the audio mixer

What does not work

Yes, they did release XP drivers for it in 2001, 2002 and 2003, and the 2003 release is what we are using – but if you actually need to use the Live Drive or want any SPDIF/Optical output e.g. have a 5.1 surround sound system, forget it. The best you will ever do with these driver is Stereo.

  • Many of the Live Drive’s ports (Exactly the same as using these drivers with XP)
  • SPDIF/Optical decoding to AC3 (Stereo is fine [Exactly the same as using these drivers with XP])
  • Create Joystick/MIDI port on the back plate of the card (Vista will not accept the driver)
  • Speaker profiling other than Mono/Stereo (Exactly the same as using these drivers with XP)

So much for the 1999 promise of lifetime support through the “LiveWare” program. That lasted all of 2 years.

Installing Windows Media Player 9.0 Under Windows 98 First Edition

I have been using this one for forever and a day, yet I have never seen or heard od anyone else using it. I only thought of doucmenting it while I was completing the Windows Media Player 7.1 on Windows NT 4.0 article. This exemplifies the point of Microsoft introducing seemingly artificial limitations into its software.

Attempt to install Windows Media Player 9 under Windows 98 First Edition, and you will receive the following error message:

Windows Media 9 on 98 FE Error

The installer is actually looking for a SubVersion registry key (and a little more) under:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion

You could substitute this string with ” A ” if you wanted to, however there is an even easier way to bypass it, simply skip the installer inflators OS check.

Pull up the location of MPSetup.exe into a command window:

  1. Click Start, chose Run
  2. Type CMD and click OK
  3. CD into the location where WMP can be found:
    e.g. cd Desktop
  4. Type:
    mpsetup.exe /t:c:\wmp9\
  5. Inflate the files wherever you would like them (desktop isn’t a great idea because there are a lot of them)
  6. manually run:
    setup_wm.exe
  7. Enjoy

WMP9 Setup

WMP9 a la Winows 98 FE

Simple as that!