• Sat
    Jan 10

    How to install unsigned 64bit drivers in Windows 7 (or: How I got my HP ScanJet 5p working)

    There will be people out there who won’t want me to tell you this. It somewhat goes against the point of the feature in place to prevent it. In my case though, I have a scanner and a scsi card which would not have worked without these steps.

    I wanted to share them with everyone for the next person out there which needs to do this.

    Let’s start with some background. On both Vista and Windows 7 64 bit editions (also Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2) any drivers which need to run in your kernel need to be signed (this is most drivers). If there is a .SYS file in the folder for instance, this will be the case. Besides the warning you get in device manager, how can you tell if they are signed or not? Is there a .CAT file in the folder? (If not, they are not signed.) Right-click on the .CAT file and select properties, then check for a “Digital Signatures” tab. Is there one? If so, and there is a signature present then your driver is signed. Selecting the signature and clicking “Details” from there can provide more information about who the driver is signed by. (One note to mention at this point though is that if the signer is not trusted by your computer, then the driver is still as if it isn’t signed. That is something which should and will always remain true. You can read below how to trust the signer.)

    In my case, until recently, I have been using all-in-one printers as my scanner. I had a HP inkjet all in one followed by a Kodak inkjet all in one. I honestly got completely sick of inkjet printers. When my Kodak printer would not scan or print in black just because a specific color was out of ink I was furious and so purchased a laser printer the next day. Given that I didn’t want to really leave either of the all-in-one’s connected to the pc still, I fished out my old HP ScanJet 5p from the garage. At that point I had forgotten how it connected to the PC. It uses SCSI to connect. Drats! Well I also fished out my old SCSI card (Tekram DC-395U). The first time I tried it in my pc, my network card stopped working! I was pissed, but just figured that is what happens when devices which don’t properly negotiate their IRQ talk with each other. After purchasing a second scsi card on ebay, only to find no 64 bit drivers for that one either… and also to find the same network card problem, I realized I had a problem.

    Solving the first problem turned out to not be hard. For whatever reason, in my Dell pc, if I install ANY pci card, then my realtek lan adapter stops working. The only workaround is to reboot in safe mode, uninstall the driver, then reboot normally and re-install the driver (followed by another reboot to “set” it).

    Solving the second problem (no 64 bit drivers) turned out harder. Let me first say that I HATE all the darn predatory websites out there preying on people that need drivers. You should be ashamed. Funny thing though is that I had NO luck at all finding 64 bit drivers for the Advansys ADC-1300 card (Jaz Jet) I got off ebay, but I did randomly find UNSIGNED 64 bit drivers for my Tekram DC-395U. Crap I thought. That’s no help. I can’t get the driver installed.

    Unwilling to give up, from work, I knew that we use test-signed drivers a LOT for testing new hardware. There are some tools we have to do that which I didn’t want to use at home (or share here), but I figured I could look up how it works. Well, it turns out that MS actually does what I feel is a great job at explaining exactly how to do it. (Even if it’s not easy.)

    Follow the link above for all the specific details, however, here is a general rundown of what to do:

    1. Open an elevated command prompt. Type “bcdedit /set testsigning on”. You will now need to reboot.
    2. Download the WDK and install it.
    3. Create a test certificate using MakeCert. (Note: Instead of Contoso, I just used my name: “CN=Your Name Here”)
    4. Navigate to <ddk_folder>\bin\selfsign and use inf2cat to make a NEW cat file for your driver (I tried signing an existing cat file at first, and signtool didn’t like that). (Note: You will probably need to fix up your .inf file based on the errors & warnings.)
    5. Navigate to <ddk_folder>\bin\<arch> (where <arch> is your architecture) and use signtool to sign the .CAT file you just created.
    6. Run certmgr.msc, first navigate to PrivateCertStore\Certificates then click the arrow next to “Trusted Root Certification Authorities” so that you can see “Certificates” below it. Hold down the CTRL button and drag the test cert from the PrivateCertStore to “Certificates” under “Trusted Root Certification Authorities”. (There should be a plus sign on the icon as you drag. Also you will be basically warned not to do that. Make sure you selected ONLY the test cert you created. Also Note: NEVER EVER do this with anything else unless you know what you are doing.)
    7. That’s it! Just install the driver from the location on your machine where you modified the .INF file and .CAT file.
    8. You WILL still get a warning that the driver is not signed. That is because there is no authenticode signature in place. (You WANT this to happen, since this is what allows others to not do this automatically without showing you a warning.) As long as you enabled test signing in step 1, have an actual signed driver in step 5, and trust the signature in step 6, then the driver should work properly.


    Earlier today, I had to repeat 4 and 5 for both the Tekram driver as well as a hacked up HP Scanjet 5p driver that I found (thanks random internet forum). After doing this, they both work great in windows 7. I was able to scan some pictures in today already.

    At this point I would LOVE to be able to share with everyone the lovely little zip file I created which has the two signed drivers in it and make it possible for people that stumble upon this site to make easy use from my work. However unfortunately drivers are something which fall under copyright protection, so I can’t post them. That is exactly the reason I went through such an effort in explaining the exact steps you need to take above to do this yourself if you need to.

    Also, please don’t shoot the messenger here as well, this really isn’t something all that secret or a hole in the design. As you can see above, all I did was link to existing MSDN articles. Its more a “feature” to be able to work around the security requirement. I generally don’t recommend doing this for many things. For instance, if you do this and you start getting blue-screens because the device has not gone through logo testing, well that’s your own darn fault. ;)


  • Tue
    Jan 10

    Sorry Bing

    I typically like promoting what the company I work for does. As a shareholder and employee, its obviously in my best interest. (why should I lie?)

    However, I must say the new Bing Windows Mobile app (no, I won’t even link to it) is terrible. I feel it ruins the brand and not only that but has actually completely removed any desire I had of having a windows mobile phone as well. So it has also ruined the Windows Mobile brand for me as well. Why you might ask? Well here is why…

    I have had a Smartphone since 2005. (One word, capital S, as in the trademark Microsoft Smartphone.) Honestly things haven’t changed much in windows mobile since then. However then more than now, the appeal of functions in a Smartphone were limited. I could check and send email, access stored contacts in my exchange account, access my calendar, sort of use IM, and then came along Live Search for Windows Mobile. I immediately installed it on my Smartphone and it just about doubled the reason to have a Smartphone with mapping support, location, directions, movie times, and even more. Not only that, but I thought it was pretty well written as well and easy to use.

    Even when I would travel to conferences and talk with others that had pocket pc phones or Smartphones, I would make sure that they had the app installed, and each time they would comment how much having that functionality changed the use of their phone! This was in 2006 at this point mind you, but that is still now 4 years ago. (Note: 4 years later, windows phone OS STILL does not have any of that functionality in it.) So what does this tell me? It tells me two things. 1. The brand value of windows on mobile phones is immensely helped by having features such as mapping, directions, movie times, gas prices, etc. Live Search initially brought these to the brand, so without these features it cuts the value almost in half. 2. Being such a valuable tool (and free) this also improves the brand value for Live Search as well. It probably didn’t matter that these features had nothing to do with search, however, it was a very positive addition to the platform so was helping the name. Many colleagues I talked to with windows mobile OS felt the same as well and often wondered why we didn’t try to make sure that this app (which has always been somewhat of a hidden download even for the last 4 years) wasn’t just about required on all windows mobile phones.

    Even after all this, they even improved upon it and in 2009 released a better version of the tool as well. Here is a review on CNET. Note that a few quotes from the article match my same sentiments:

    “Back when Windows Live originally released Windows Live Search for Mobile, I absolutely loved it. Windows Live Mobile Search is a killer app … This is an absolute must-download application if you have a Windows Mobile phone. Also, the best part...it's free!”

    Well fast forward 4 years later and Live Search is now Bing. (Nope, sorry, still wont link.) I wasn’t surprised to also see a new version of the mobile app released (though even though I am running the VERY latest public version of the mobile OS on my phone, it STILL doesn’t have the functionality built in). But I had only assumed that they would at the least only change the branding and at most fix more bugs / improve on functionality.

    … It’s Terrible.

    Sure, I can tell you for certain that it focuses probably 300% more on actually searching than the previous tool ever did, but the functionality is all gone. Gone are the huge buttons that allow me to find the local movie times, get local gas prices, check traffic, get the weather, and so on. What?? These were half the reasons I have a windows mobile phone in the first place. Really you went and removed these critical functions from the only place available on windows mobile phones? Was this to try and force people to go BUY apps in the marketplace? Forget it, I would sooner throw this phone off a bridge actually.

    Now, here are the new menu items in the updated app: Maps & Traffic (Though I claim I can’t actually use this to get the latest traffic easily for two reasons. 1. Gone are the large icons that were easy to press and now all they have are a list of text links with no pictures, so I can hardly click on it without getting out the stylus, and 2. The time it now takes to render the map images is about 3 times longer than the maps would load in the previous version (and you have to load the maps to see the traffic). That’s pretty terrible. The ability to get the weather, movie times, and gas prices are actually entirely removed and not replaced. What were they replaced with?? “Business Directory” (what?), “Top News” (Ok, probably something cool, but not at the expense of all else), and “Recent & Favorites” (Again, cool, but really at the expense of the others?). As I mentioned, there are no icons, all menu choices are links like you are looking at a web page. The whole app is designed to make you think you are at the Bing.com page and you are encouraged to just type or speak something you would like to find and the new decision engine would find it for you.

    Well, I tried speaking “Gas Prices,” which is exactly what the icon in the old software says. Utter failure. It asks me back in the results “Did you mean ‘Prices’ near Gas,KS?” Um, no, no, I didn’t. None of the other results are even related either, so that pretty much fails at that. So yeah, did you want to take the experience of the app on the phone to being more like what its like at the website? Well that’s pretty much what happened, but you see, the experience of the mobile app previously was improving the brand I feel (meaning it was WAY better than the site experience). Now bringing the crappy experience of a search engine to what WAS one of the central hubs on my mobile phone is basically both a total failure for both my phone as well as the Bing brand as well.

    Thank goodness I have the Google windows mobile app on my phone. Honestly its primarily what I have running on my phone all the time now just from a functionality aspect. I used to think we really had them beat with our app, but we actually did something strange and replaced something that was actually better than their offering with something that is a complete regression and much worse. Very sad indeed.

    So again, I am Sorry Bing, but I think your decisions just solidified me using Google on my phone from now on and came close to me deciding not to get a windows mobile phone again since (as I mentioned) you can’t get this stuff elsewhere on windows. If there was only an app for that.


  • Sun
    Jan 10

    Mixed way to start the decade

    Ok, fine, I give in, I’ll call it the next decade. Even though, there was no year 0 in the current calendar we observe.

    I have spent the first 2 days of the year (and much of the last day of last year) sick and in bed. Still feeling pretty blah today, but hopefully this is the tail end. Not the best way to start the new year.

    On a lighter note. Before I started my holiday vacation, I had finished my 2009 slideshow. (As always, previous year’s are here.) In previous years, I have always used Windows Movie Maker. This, quite honestly, isn’t that great of software, but it let me do what I wanted. This year, Since I am running Windows 7, I started to try out Windows Live Movie Maker. However, this is truly awful and just not usable compared with even the previous versions. So I had to start looking for some other software to use.

    The very first software I tried was Adobe Premiere Elements. However, this didn’t last very long since the first problem was that this software would not load my photos (saying that they were too large). The second problem was that there was a tag added to the videos saying that the trial version was being used. This also wasn’t very helpful.

    Next, I also tried out Pinnacle VideoSpin. This isn’t terrible software, but it isn’t that great either. I was actually able to create a working version of the slideshow and post it using VideoSpin. However, this version didn’t have any video effects and was difficult to match the transitions to the music.

    However, a friend then suggested I try out Sony Vegas. I downloaded the trial for the cheaper Movie Studio HD. At first, it was not looking promising. The software would crash about every minute or so. However, functionally, this software did more than any of the last software ever did, so I stuck with it and realized if I resized my pictures the crashing went away. (For the resizing, I just use VBScripts with Adobe Photoshop.) After that, building the slideshow went quickly. There are a lot of great features in the software. The one I used the most though was the ability to use markers. These were snap points I could set in the video by pressing the m button as its playing. Then I can line up the transitions to those points and know that the transitions are aligned with the music. I plan on buying this software for future year’s use as well since I liked it so much.

    With that, here is a link to a 720p download of the movie. (I also have a link to a 1080p HD version as well if interested.)

    ... as well as a lower quality preview:

  • Mon
    Sep 09


    So I have had lots of posts I have been meaning to write here. However, for whatever reason, I just haven't.

    In the mean time, please direct your attention to some recent trips I have taken. These are only just a few of the nicely corrected, collated, and sorted versions of the 4600 or so pictures taken on the below 6 trips as well.

    Of course each of these has their own stories with them as well. Some longer than others. Not to mention a trip in there as well which has mostly family pictures, so I haven’t posted them online.

    Finally in addition to the boring static pictures above. I posted two MORE interactive pictures online as well. Links / previews below. The first has the boundary dam on the left and the Canadian border on the right. The second is a 360 degree shot of downtown Portland, ME.





  • Tue
    Jun 09

    Baker Lake

    Baker Lake 420

    So this past weekend, some friends and I took a road trip up to Baker Lake (north of Concrete). On the way we stopped off at the Lower Baker Dam. (pictured: below/left) We also stopped off at the PSE Visitor Center for all of the Baker Lake Hydroelectric Project, which is just south of the bridge on E. Main St. They had some cool dioramas there as well as someone to answer questions. (Though the incorrectly told us that no forest pass was needed where we were going when it was.) Our next destination was going to be the Upper Dam. Instead we went to the boat launch, but we got some amazing pictures there, so that worked out ok.

    Then we finally headed to the upper dam, but there was no parking (really… none, not even close) and zilch for a good viewing spot as well. Really it had NOTHING on either Diablo or Ross in terms of vantage points. We (er I) had also planned on some hiking along the east bank to get shots of the mountain with it’s reflection in the lake. (Since that seemed to be a popular photo meme.) However, we forgot to stop in Sedro Woolley at the ranger station there, so that meant no parking in the forest, and thus no hiking.

    However, all was not lost. With the extra time, we instead headed north still towards panorama point for some more pictures. Where along the way, we found “Boulder Creek.” (pictured: above) This was such an amazing spot, its hard to REALLY capture how majestic the mountain is there through the trees. I do like this picture though. It was probably one of my favorites from the trip.

    For those counting, that makes 5 dams now (I am counting Gorge Dam darn it) in the last month or so. I have been to Snoqualmie several times, which means that in terms of local hydro-electric projects that leaves Electron and Boundary. I think I have more time left this summer, however Boundary is quite the HAUL and is even further than Coulee (which I have done already actually, but would love to see again).

    With that I leave you with the video which enticed me to go to the Upper Baker Dam in the first place. Enjoy. :)


    Baker Lake 033


     (Interactive panoramas of the upper dam & Boulder Creek.)

    Baker Lake 221_stitch2