Registry Editor

Welcome to our Bug Motel. Bugs check in, but they don’t check out.

Much of the OS discussion tends to devolve into generalities, philosophical debates, and religious wars. We’re going to try something different: wherever possible, squash the bugs. Here’s a tip for Windows Vista that finally allowed many of my USB devices to work properly.

Many music devices, including simple audio interfaces and (in particular) USB MIDI keyboards, don’t require drivers. These are sometimes called class-compliant devices, as they’re covered by standardized classes that describe what they do. There actually are drivers for them, but they’re provided by the operating system. And that’s a good thing.

Unfortunately, many people have found that Windows Vista has problems finding the drivers for these devices. Here’s a fix that works for me (and, apparently many others):

1. You may want to back up your Registry file. Microsoft has detailed instructions (for XP, too).
2. Open the Registry Editor. Hit Start or click the Star orb and type regedit; you should automatically see regedit.exe highlighted. This requires administrator access, so you may have to dismiss a prompt if User Account Control is on.
3. Navigate through the folder tree to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > Software > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion.
4. In the right pane, you’ll see a series of entries. Double-click DevicePath.
5. For the “Value Data” field, enter “%SystemRoot%\System32″.

Found at: Microsoft Discussion Groups (superb, moderated discussion)

This ensures that Windows searches the proper directory. I have no idea why this entry is wrong, or if it’s wrong on all systems (though it seems fairly common). It appears to be an easy fix — so, erm, Microsoft, hotfix, please?

Let us know if this works for you, if you’ve been seeing this issue at all. I think Microsoft should go out of its way to seek feedback from musicians, because the honest truth is no one plugs more gadgetry into their computer than we do. We’re the ultimate hardware testers.

  • Kyran

    Vista does have some problems with autodetecting hardware.

    I have a wireless keyboard mouse combination and it refuses to load drivers for this on it's own. It'll search windows update untill year zero, then search it's own database for another while and then just refuse to work.

    But when I go to the device manager, select it and then manually force it to look for generic drivers, it'll gladly show a driver and install it.

    And this makes vista easier to work with for your average joe, how?

    As far as external music gear is concerned, I had some luck. My X-Station drivers seemed to work right off the bat.

  • http://createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Yeah, this sounds like a related problem. I think it's just bugs, honestly. In some cases, it may be something the device vendor can fix; in others it may fall to Microsoft. I'm hoping some of this stuff is rolled into SP1 — despite all the Hotfixes, it looks like some fixes won't be rolled out to Windows Update and will be in the service pack. But that's likely not to be everything. I think part of the problem is that the issues out there aren't even well-documented enough. Let's take your problem as an example — most of us, beginner or advanced, will search the Web or the manufacturers' site, and yet very often that documentation still isn't there. I'd rather have a documented workaround than no documentation at all.

  • Kyran

    You're very right there.

    I didn't search the internet for it, but I'm the kind of guy people call when their computer refuses to work.

    It's just that vista ships with drivers for that device, though not very specific ones. If it has drivers, it should load them without having to resort to manually assigning them in the device manager.

    What I find most irritating is that vista generally tries to be smarter than you: enabling all kinds of stuff automatic and the constant bugging for your approval. It is very hard to turn all that off (especially with the redesign of the control pannel, I can't find anything in there).

    I'm most defenitely looking forward to what they're going to do with SP1

  • Pier

    A coworker has Vista in his brand new 1800 dollars VAIO laptop.

    He called me because he needed some info from an e-mail and it took me like 10 minutes to power on the computer and open outlook… not kidding 10 minutes when you're waiting is a lot of time.

    I follow a rule: never update to a new OS until a year has passed (minimum)

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @Pier: that's really weird, as Vista for me boots a whole lot faster than XP. (Other complaints, but that's not one of them … and that seems consistent on other machines, too.)

  • http://www.ahdchild.com Ahd Child

    t's probably a bad idea to simply replace the info already in DevicePath. Instead of simply replacing the value with “%SystemRoot%System32" you should add “;%SystemRoot%System32" to the end of what's already there. DOn't forget the semi-colon

  • mario

    hi any chance to run behrinder on vista or shall i sell it i cant take it any more i give up :(

  • mario

    forgot about its working :) thanks guys

  • jklipa

    This is exactly the solution I was hoping to find… I recently bought a midi to USB cable which was advertised as a class-compliant device so I could capture piano music in Finale NotePad2008. The Vista PC says, "Driver cannot load" or something to that effect. The device manager shows VIEWCON with a yellow yield sign with a "!" on it. M-AUDIO.com has been trying to assist in helping resolve the problem but they have been stumped… I plan to try this solution and I pray that it works. I will let you know what happens.

    Thank you…!

  • San

    I have the window's vista home edition for my desktop pc. I have bought a M-Audio Keystation 49e midi controller. Window's Vista doesn't read it when I put the usb cable in the desktop. So I can't use my midi keyboard for my fruityloops, reason,etc music making programs. I even went to the M-Audio website to download the driver. But the same exact thing. My midi controller works fine with the old windows and even for the mac. But not for the Windows Vista Home Edition. Any help will be greatly appreciated. I just want to make digital music on windows vista with my midi controller… :(

  • Praze

    Just wanted to add the solution that worked for me:

    After installing Vista SP 1, my M-Audio Oxygen 8 stopped working. Got latest drivers from M-Audio web page — still not working.

    Then I went into the Device Manager, looked up the M-Audio USB Keystation, clicked properties –> Driver –> Update Drivers. Thought I had the latest and greatest, but Vista downloaded *something*, and then it worked fine again.

    Cheers.

  • Tim B

    I found that if all else fails instead of reloading your OS you can just back up your INF folder then delete the original and replace it with an INF folder from a different computer running the same OS. Then try reinstalling the device and it should install successfully.