Posted by: barugon | 8 March 2009

Constantly resetting Linksys WRT54G router

WHEN THE LINKSYS SOLUTION FAILS: a step-by-step fix for the persistent problem of frequently resetting a Linksys 54G router.

Over the last few months my Linksys WRT54G router has been giving me trouble – namely, on a consistent but seemingly random basis, the router will no longer serve Internet data requests, while continuing to function normally as a local network router. In essence, none of the machines on my local network, whether using a wired or wireless connection could access the Internet, yet I could see and access all of my networked machines locally – both weird and annoying!

To make matters worse, if you go through the standard ‘troubleshooting’ technique of unplugging the power supply to the router, waiting a few seconds, and then plugging it back in… the problem remains unchanged. Ah yes, but are you using the latest firmware one might ask? As a matter of fact I am. The router in question is a Linksys WRT54G ver.4 router, with the latest firmware, Ver.4.21.1, dated 17 October 2005 (not exactly fresh).

Currently, the only way of ‘resolving’ the problem (though only temporarily), is to login to the router, access the Administration tab, and reset the device to Factory Defaults. Though as stated before, the problem simply comes back after a random period of time and usage. A more permanent solution was needed…

The next step of course was to search Google for other people that were having the same problem, and to see if they had come across any fixes or nuggets of information that might be useful. I did find quite a few people who were confronted with the same problem, all users of a variant of the WRT54G router, yet no one seemed to have a clue as to what was going on, or how to fix it. In fact, on the support forum at Linksys under the heading ‘WRT54G Need to Reset Regularly‘, the discussion (with no Linksys moderation assistance of course) quickly devolved into theories that the device was susceptible to bad electrical lines and needed to be isolated using a surge protector.

I’ve had quite a bit of experience working with and supporting computer equipment and peripherals, and that answer of needing a surge protector to reduce electrical line noise seemed pretty lame to me. In my case, I have a APC UPS and other APC power strips which protects all of my devices… there had to be another answer. My conclusion lead me to believe that it was an issue with the router’s firmware, which is software used by hardware, in this case, the router.

But what can you do if, like me, you’re already using the latest version of the Linksys firmware? Well, I hit the Internet again and found an open-source project called DD-WRT, which has been making firmware replacements for Linksys and other consumer and commercial routers. In my case it has worked beautifully, completed removed the issue of regularly resetting the router, and offers significantly more functionality – I highly recommend it.

The following is step-by-step instructions for replacing the standard Linksys firmware with the DD-WRT firmware on a Linksys WRT54G series router:

 

THE SOLUTION:

Step 1: We need to determine which Linksys router you are using, and if it is compatible with the DD-WRT firmware. First, to check whether or not you’re using a Linksys WRT54G router, you’re device should look very similar to the photo below.

Link sys WRT54G router

 

Step 2: Next, we need to determine which particular model you have, as Linksys has produced many many versions, most of which work with DD-WRT, though there are a few exceptions (we’ll get to that in a minute). Follow the directions in the graphic below, you can click on the picture to view it at full-size. Essentially though, you want to turn the router upside-down, and note the model number and version displayed in the box highlighted below.

Determine the model and revision number of your Linksys router

Now that you’ve had a chance to note the model and revision number, match it up with the list below of DD-WRT supported devices. If you’re WRT54G router isn’t on the list, or there is a note that the device is not supported, you can go to http://www.dd-wrt.com/dd-wrtv3/dd-wrt/hardware.html for a more complete and informative list,  enter WRT54G in the router database, then press enter. Essentially though, if your router isn’t on the list, you’re out pretty much out of luck – sorry😦

Below is the current list of DD-WRT firmware  compatible Linksys WRT54G routers (supported unless otherwise noted):

  • WRT54G v1.0
  • WRT54G v1.1
  • WRT54G v2.0
  • WRT54G v2.2
  • WRT54G v3.0
  • WRT54G v3.1
  • WRT54G v4.0
  • WRT54G v5.0
  • WRT54G v5.1
  • WRT54G v6.0
  • WRT54G v7.0 – not supported by DD-WRT
  • WRT54G v7.2 – can only use DD-WRT micro firmware, see below *
  • WRT54G v8.0 – can only use DD-WRT micro firmware, see below *
  • WRT54G v8.2
  • WRT54GL v1.0
  • WRT54GL v1.1 
  • WRT54GS v1.0
  • WRT54GS v1.1
  • WRT54GS v2.0
  • WRT54GS v2.1
  • WRT54GS v3.0
  • WRT54GS v4.0
  • WRT54GS v5.0
  • WRT54GS v5.1
  • WRT54GS v6.0
  • WRT54GS V7.0
  • WRT54GS V7.2 
  • WRTSL54GS v1.0 
  • WRT54G-TM v1.1 
  • WRT54GC vx.x – not supported by DD-WRT 
  • WRT54GX2 vx.x – not supported by DD-WRT 
  • WRT54GP2 vx.x – not supported by DD-WRT 
    – – –
  • * The v24-SP1 generic micro firmware can be downloaded from here (right-click and save to an appropriate location), the file is a binary (.bin), is 1.67MB in size, and has a release date of 27 July 2008. After downloading the file, follow Steps 3 to 11 below, substituting the micro for the mini firmware, but do NOT go on to Step 12 for the installation of the standard firmware (both the mini and standard DD-WRT firmware releases are too large for your particular router, which has a 2MB limitation).

Step 3: If your router is supported, then the next step is to decide if you really want to attempt to flash your device with a third-party firmware or not? I’m not suggesting that there is anything wrong with the DD-WRT firmware binaries, only that this is a dangerous operation. If you choose the wrong binary or if you have a bad flash, you can permanently ‘brick’ your router – rendering it inoperable. The next steps also require a bit of technical wherewithall, as a result, this process isn’t for everyone.

I would recommend that you go ahead with the DD-WRT firmware upgrade if you’re fairly comfortable with computers and technology, and if you’re experiencing such trouble with your Linksys router that this is really the last best option. Just to be clear, in the event that something does go wrong, there is a good chance that you can fix the problem, but be prepared to go to your local electronics retailer and purchase a new router in case all is lost.

Step 4: We need to make sure that your router is currently running the latest official firmware from Linksys. This may seem like an odd thing to do considering that we’re going to reflash the device anyway, but with a few of the WRT54G revisions, they balked when trying to upgrade to DD-WRT from an out of date Linksys firmware (especially for the WRT54G v.1.0 models).

Important side note #1: Based on experience, there are specific browser limitations when using the Linksys web interface, especially when making changes. For instance, my main browsers tend to be Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome, however I have had problems when trying to make changes in the router web interface when using Chrome. Therefore, I would recommend that you use Internet Explorer(at least for installing the DD-WRT firmware), then you can go back to whatever browser you prefer.

Important side note #2: When making changes to the router firmware, especially when flashing a new firmware, it is essential that you are on a computer which is directly attached to the router via an Ethernet cable, and NOT by wireless.

To get the latest firmware from Linksys, go to their WRT54G support homepage, and select your version number from the drop-down list. Check the firmware version number that appears on the download page for your router, and check that against what is listed on the top-right of router’s web interface. You can do that by typing 192.168.1.1 in your browser, if you haven’t changed the username and password (which you really should have), then the default username will be left blank, and the password will be ‘admin’.

Below is a screenshot of my router’s web interface, if you click on the picture it will open up to full-size, as you can see in the upper right-hand corner, it lists Firmware Version: v4.21.1 – which is current for the WRT54G v.4 router.

Linksys router web interface

If your router’s firmware is not current, install the latest firmware from Linksys using their instructions, once you have done that we can proceed to Step 5.

Step 5: Make a note of all preferences and settings in the Linksys web interface, as we’ll need those when we flash the new firmware. Next, we need to log in to the Linksys web interface (using IE as mentioned before),  click the ‘Administration’ tab…

Linksys administration tab

Click the Factory Defaults sub-tab, and select Yes for Restore Factory Defaults. Click Save Settings, at which point a warning will pop up, click ok.

Factory defaults sub-tab

The next screen will notify you that the changes to the settings have been successful (this is the page that cannot be displayed when using Chrome, making it impossible to successfully save changes with that browser).

Settings successful screen

Step 6: This is a very important step that will be repeated later on, but we need to also reset the router physically, using the reset button on the back of the device. This insures that the device has returned to a factory default setting. To do this we need to press and hold the reset button on the back of the router for 30 seconds with the device powered. This will clear the NVRAM, the configuration and reset the password to admin. Below is a diagram showing the rear of the router, and the location of the reset button. It is easiest to use a pen to hold the reset button, as it is not flush with the rear surface.

Rear of the WRT54G series routers

Step 7: After the router has been reset for 30 seconds using the reset button, you should be prompted with a Linksys login screen, remember the username and password have been reset to default (username: field left blank, and password: admin – as seen below.

Login screen after hard reset

Step 8: Next we’ll flash the firmware with the mini versionof the DD-WRT firmware. A couple of things to remember:

  1. First make sure that under no circumstances you turn off your computer, close the web browser, or turn off the router during the firmware upgrade process – this could result in a bad flash, and potentially ruin your router.
  2. Second, this step-by-step tutorial will be fairly static, meaning that it won’t be updated that often. As a result, the links to the DD-WRT binaries may change in the future, and they will certainly be updated in the future. Currently (08 March 2009), DD-WRT is using the v24-SP1 release… so in the future check that against the current release at the DD-WRT download page.

Assuming we’re logged in to the Linksys web interface, the next step is to download and flash the router with the mini version of the DD-WRT firmware. To download the mini generic version of DD-WRT v24-SP1, right click on this link, and save to an appropriate location. The file is a binary (.bin), is 2.8MB in size, and has a release date of 27 July 2008. Once you have downloaded the firmware, go to the Administration tab in the web interface, and click on the Firmware Upgrade sub-tab.

Linksys firmware upgrade page

Once there, click on the browse button and locate the mini firmware version you just downloaded.

 Browse for file dialogue

Click on the Upgrade button, the router will take a few minutes to upload the file, flash the firmware, and then restart the router.

Upgrading to DD-WRT firmware

An upgrade is successful screen will hopefully appear, click Continue to, umm, continue. I would also suggest waiting for about 30 seconds after the firmware upgrade has completed and you’ve clicked on the continue button… the router needs time to reset itself and become operational again.

Upgrade successful screen

Step 9:At this point the DD-WRT mini firmware has been successfully loaded and you should be prompted to login. The new firmware uses a new default username and password. The new username is root, the password again is admin.

Logging into DD-WRT for the first time

Once you’ve logged in, you will be presented with the new DD-WRT web interface , which in many ways replicates the layout and functionality of the Linksys web interface, but goes much farther in terms of customisation and access to hidden settings.

The DD-WRT web interface - tasty :-)

 

Step 10: At this point we need to repeat step 4, in terms of setting the factory defaults in the firmware, then doing a hard reset by using the reset button on the back.

Navigate to the Administration tab in the web interface. Once there you may also want to select enable for Boot Wait and then click Apply Settingsat the bottom of the screen. Boot Wait will be automatically enabled later on, so its up to you. Essentially, Boot Wait introduces a short delay while booting (about 5 seconds). During this delay you can initiate the download of a new firmware if the one in the flash rom is not working. Obviously this is only necessary if you can no longer reflash using the web interface because the installed firmware will not boot.

Enabling Boot Wait on the Administration page

 

Next, click the Factory Defaults sub-tab, and select Yes for Restore Factory Defaults. Click Save Settings, at which point a warning will pop up, click ok.

Factory defaults sub-tab

You will then be presented with a notification that says Processing, please wait – after it has completed processing, you will need to following the instructions for doing a hard reset but holding down the reset button the back of the router for 30 seconds.

Processing restoration of factory defaults

Step 11: After resetting the router after loading the mini firmware and clearing the NVRAM with the hard reset, the router wasn’t immediately accessible. It took about 30 seconds for it to become operational before I was able to access the web interface again. When you return you’ll find the DD-WRT router management screen, at this point you are required to change the default username and password before moving on. As note before, Boot Wait is enabled by default now.

Change username and password screen

Step 12:At this point we have our router running the mini version of the  DD-WRT firmware. As mentioned before, the main reason we did that is because some of the older WRT54G routers have difficulty in transferring immediately to the standard DD-WRT firmware. From what I gather is has something to do with the firmware file size, where the old Linksys firmware would reject new firmwares over 3.0MB.

We are now at another crossroads… you don’t have to go on and upgrade to the standard version of DD-WRT, but if you’re into the technical side of computers, you enjoy tweaking settings, and generally getting into trouble – then you’ll probably want to use the standard version. 

Assuming we’re logged in to the Linksys web interface with the new username and password, the next step is to download and flash the router with the standard generic version of the DD-WRT firmware. To download the standard version of DD-WRT v24-SP1, right click on this link, and save to an appropriate location. The file is a binary (.bin), is 3.6MB in size, and has a release date of 27 July 2008. Once you have downloaded the firmware, go to the Administration tab in the web interface, and click on the Firmware Upgrade sub-tab.

Upgrading to new DD-WRT firmware

Once there, click on the browse button and locate the standard firmware version you just downloaded. There is also an option next to the drop-down box that says After flashing, reset to – that can be left at the default, which is Don’t reset.

Browse for file dialogue

Click on the Upgrade button, the router will take a few minutes to upload the file, flash the firmware. It begins at 300 seconds, though it probably only took about 40 seconds.

Upgrading to new DD-WRT firmware

An upgrade successful screen will hopefully appear, the device will then restart itself. Again, I would suggest waiting for about 30 seconds after the firmware upgrade has completed… as the router needs time to reset itself and become operational again.

Upgrade successful screen

Step 13: We’re essentially done… all that is left to do is reset any optional settings, IP settings, DHCP settings, and time settings. The Wireless settings need to be reset as well, which is under the standard Wireless tab. In the DD-WRT web interface, any time a change is made, click Apply, or Save then Apply if you’re extra cautious.

All in all, the DD-WRT firmware is a bit more advanced than the standard Linksys firmware, but all of the same functionality is still there, and for the most part the graphical and logical layout is the same as well. If you have questions as to what specific setting means, or what they do, you can click on the Help link on the right hand side of the web interface.

 

A few additional resources you may find useful:

 

Hope that helped and がんばってね!

Barugon (^_^)

– – – – – –

Have you found the information or instructions on this site helpful? If you would like to donate to Barugon, please feel free to do so… though I’m always happy to help for free too (^_^)

LONG LOST DRIVERS: finding Windows XP and Ubuntu drivers for a PCI Soft Modem with the NetoDragon MDV92XP chipset.

This past weekend I rebuilt a computer for my grandfather because his laptop was slow (ungodly so to me, NetoDragonor a little poky to him). There are usually few problems with putting together a computer these days (except for all the OS and application updates that are needed… sigh). However, this time there were two issues that popped up, first I was installing Windows XP which I haven’t used for a few years now, and second, a modem was required. That’s a right a modem, not a DSL modem, but a regular 56k modem (my grandfather refuses to purchase any high speed access for various reasons).

Problem 1: This is sort of a side-note problem in this post, but I had an old Windows XP disc laying around, though it was an upgrade disc and I was going to do a clean install. That meant that I had to find a ‘qualifying’ Windows OS disc that could authenticate the ‘upgrade’ installation process. I suppose I could have downloaded a full copy of XP from the bittorrent cloud, but I still prefer the legitimate software – a lot less hassle in the end. But I had recently thrown out a number of old Windows CDs; WinNT 4.0, Win2k, even a Win98 CD. I did end up finding a Win98 ISO online and using that for authentication… though there are few out there these days, but then again, how many more times will I install XP from this old upgrade disc? Not too many. So that problem was solved:-)

Problem 2: The main reason for this post was of course to talk about the long lost drivers for the NetoDragon MDV92XP PCI modem (below). I can’t remember the last time that I installed a driver for a modem, and in fact this modem was purchased about 6 years ago (for my Windows XPgrandfather’s computer at that time as well). More problematic however was that over the last few years, NetoDragon has either gone out of business or has been purchased by another company (I’m sure I could find out, but frankly I don’t care). As a result, links on forums to netodragon.com no longer go anywhere, and the company that currently supports the NetoDragon chipsets, Pro-Nets Technology Corporation, does not provide any drivers or support for the MDV92XP chipset. In my searches I came across a lot of ‘software download’ sites that were essentially fake, but there was a server in Canada that was hosting an original set of XP drivers in an executable file – you can download the XP drivers from [here].

PCI Soft Modem with the NetoDragon MDV92XP chipset

PCI Soft Modem with the NetoDragon MDV92XP chipset

I have a copy of the file as well, so if at some point it becomes unavailable, I’ll go ahead and host it myself, either as an .exe or .zip file (let me know if you can’t access the file).

また会いましょう!

Barugon (^_^)

– – – – – –

Have you found the information or instructions on this site helpful? If you would like to donate to Barugon, please feel free to do so… though I’m always happy to help for free too (^_^)


 

TIPS FOR INSTALLING AN MDV92XP-BASED MODEM IN UBUNTU

UbuntuI have seen a few others also using MDV92XP chipset based modems under Ubuntu, some having success, others great difficulty. Apparently there were some issues when using the Smartlink driver with this particular modem chipset – but those some largely relegated to older version of Ubuntu, such as Dapper 6.06. The methods outlined below are correct for Feisty 7.04, though I don’t see any major reasons for it not working under Gutsy, Hardy, or Intrepid – you’ll have to let me know how it goes.

Method A:

This method id the easiest method uses the latest packages from linmodems which are complete and contain all the files you may need.

1. Determine you kernel version by typing uname -r in a terminal
2. Go to http://phep2.technion.ac.il/linmodems/packages/smartlink/Ubuntu/ and download the latest package that has already been compiled for your kernel version (e.g. slamr-2.6.20-16-generic.tar.gz). This package contains all the files you will need for installing the driver.
3. Copy the slamr-2.6.20-16-generic.tar.gz to your Desktop and right click on it and select ‘Extract here’ and a folder wth a similar name will be created with the extracted files on your Desktop.
4. Now rename the folder to an easier name such as ‘slmodem’
5. Open a terminal and cd in to the slmodem folder
6. Type sudo ./setup and the install should start and complete successfully
7. Type sudo modprobe ungrab_winmodem no results given shows success
8. Type sudo modprobe slamr no results given shows success
9. Type sudo /etc/init.d/sl-modem-daemon restart to restart modem or just reboot
10. Type dmesg | grep slamr
11. Use Kppp to query the modem on /dev/modem, if this works you are there! If you are not using Kubuntu then just see if it works from Gnome-ppp (wvdial must first be set up)
12. Edit /etc/default/sl-modem-daemon to change the line SLMODEMD_COUNTRY=USA (or your country name). If you do a Query modem in Kppp you will see that your country has changed.

Method B:
This is the ideal way if you feel strongly about using linux ‘properly’ go to the linmodem sites shown above and download the latest packages.

1. Download http://linmodems.technion.ac.il/packages/smartlink/slmodem-2.9.11-20070505.tar.gz.
2. Download http://linmodems.technion.ac.il/packages/smartlink/ungrab-winmodem-20070505.tar.gz.
3. Download http://linmodems.technion.ac.il/packages/smartlink/Ubuntu/slamr-2.6.20-16-generic.tar.gz. That contains a working copy of the daemon. You can also try using Synaptic or adept to install sl-modem daemon and sl-modem-source as well as ungrab-winmodem (from the linmodem website) as a dependancy from the repositories.
4. Also download and install the ungrab-winmodem from the linmodem website. Install with, extract, make, sudo make install.
5. Download slmodem-2.9.11-20070505.tar.gz from the linmodem website. Install with extract, make, sudo make install.
6. Download and open slamr-2.6.20-16-generic.tar.gz. Extract and install the sl-modem-daemon xxx.deb file you find in there.
7. Now go to /etc/default/sl-modem-daemon, right click, Action, Edit as Root, find the line SLMODEMD_COUNTRY=USA (or your country name)
8. Go to the konsole: sudo modprobe slamr
9. sudo /etc/init.d/sl-modem-daemon restart
10. Go to Kppp and select /dev/modem and use the Query Modem to test you modem.
11. Setup Kppp and go on line! Note: If you are going to use Kppp it is advisable that you check that the line noauth is not commented out with a # in /etc/ppp/peers/kppp-options this may only be in older versions than Feisty.

To release a locked up Smartlink modem: sudo modprobe ungrab-winmodem, then sudo modprobe slamr, then restart the daemon with sudo /etc/init.d/sl-modem-daemon restart. This may help you from rebooting.

Footnote:
There are packages in the Ubuntu Feisty repository that can be tried, but they may be outdated in reference to the kernel version.

また会いましょう!

Barugon (^_^)

– – – – – –

Have you found the information or instructions on this site helpful? If you would like to donate to Barugon, please feel free to do so… though I’m always happy to help for free too (^_^)

WHEN THE MICROSOFT SOLUTION FAILS: a step-by-step fix for regaining access to missing DVD/CD drives.

Windows error code: “Windows cannot load the device driver for this hardware. The driver may be corrupted or missing. (Code 39)”

Windows VistaA few days ago I ran into an issue where my DVD drives no longer appeared in Windows and were not accessible either. What was strange was that I have two physical DVD drives (a DVD-RW and an Xbox HD DVD drive), as well as a virtual drive provided by Daemon Tools for loading ISOs – yet all three were highlighted with an exclamation mark and the same error code: Windows cannot load the device driver for this hardware. The driver may be corrupted or missing. (Code 39).

The symptoms one would experience are the following:

• You cannot access the CD drive or the DVD drive by using My Computer.
• One of the following error messages appears when you view the CD drive or the DVD drive in Device Manager:

Error message 1
The device is not working properly because Windows cannot load the drivers required for this device (Code 31).
Error message 2
A driver for this device was not required, and has been disabled (Code 32 or Code 31).
Error message 3
Your registry might be corrupted. (Code 19
• You receive an “error code 39” error message.
• A message that resembles the following appears in the notification area:
Windows successfully loaded the device driver for this hardware but cannot find the hardware device. (Code 41)

Like many my first instinct was to Google the error code, and it provided MANY links to individuals citing the issue, and others trying to provide answers; such as, buy a new DVD drive, restart your computer, uninstall iTunes, download new device drivers, etc.  (btw – none of these are correct answers to this particular issue)

However, many links also pointed to a few Knowledge Base articles at Microsoft, a number which are helpful, and a few that no longer exist (e.g. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/320553/).

I thought that I had found the answer with the discussion and tips suggested in http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314060 – which details solutions to the error codes previously mentioned, including Code 19, Code 31, Code 39, and Code 41. The article deals with entering the Registry in Windows, and deleting a few subkeys that point to “filters” relating to the DVD device drivers.

First of all, anytime you deal with the Registry you’re taking a risk… for all intents and purposes the Registry is the internal guts of the Windows installation, and if you make a mistake and delete or change the wrong key, Windows may not load upon restarting. In the forums discussing these issues, even at Microsoft’s own forum, a lot of users were saying, “what files do I need to delete?” or “how do I delete the registry?”. Apparently Microsoft’s Knowledge Base article wasn’t helpful enough to let users know that they need to delete a few subkeys relating to “upper” and “lower” filters in the Registry, and not the parent key or god-forbid the Registry itself.

The worst part is, this issue has apparently been present dating back to Windows 95, and has remained an issue through to Vista. From what I can tell, it appears as though this issue crops up from time to time, and may be associated with an installation or uninstallation that does not complete properly, which is also modifying Registry entries dealing with DVD/CD drives – such as Nero, iTunes, ImgBurn, MagicISO, AnyDVD, Roxio, etc.

In my case, I followed the Knowledge Base article (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314060) to the letter, fulfilling every step, yet it didn’t solve my problem – I still couldn’t see or access my DVD drives. From the forum feedback, it seemed that many people did find that solution to work… but a sizeable minority did not.

So I decided to keep digging and see what I could find. In the end I came across a Microsoft command-line programme called DevCon, where I was able to query the DVD drives and see what “filters” they were using, and which key it was pointing to in the Registry. It turned out that there were far more deletions that needed to be made (about 6-7 in all), than was suggested by the Microsoft article, but in the end I was able to figure it out, and I thought it would be nice to share the solution to help others stuck in the same situation.

 

THE SOLUTION:

Step 1: Before making any modifications to the registry, BACK IT UP! The process is fairly simple… all you need to do is create a restore point in Vista or XP. Details of how to perform this are located here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/322756/. You can also enter the registry by typing “regedt32” in the “Run…” link on the Start Menu, then once the Registry has opened go to File -> Export… -> choose a name for the file, and MAKE SURE to select “All” under “Export range”, then click “Save”. It will usually take a minute or two, but you now have a copy in case you need to reload the Registry because of mistakes or errors.

It is also highly recommended that you uninstall any programmes that use your DVD or CD drives for burning, ripping, etc. (e.g. iTunes, Nero, IMGburn…) – these can be reinstalled after you’re done removing the culprit Registry entries.

Step 2: Follow the Microsoft recommendation outlined in the KB article under “Method 2: Manually delete the Registry entries” – http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314060. If you’re really unsure of what you’re doing, follow “Method 1: Guided help to delete the Registry entries”. If following either method, make sure you select the correct key, in this case {4D36E965-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}. There are a number of keys surrounding that key which also have references to “filters”, and also have a similar key title, READ OUT ALL OF THE NUMBERS to make sure you’re on the right key – there is only one you should be deleting subkeys from at this stage. In essence, you’re looking for two subkeys which reference “UpperFilters” and “LowerFilters”, if both are present, delete both, if only one, that’s okay, just delete that one then.

Step 3: Now exit the Registry and restart your computer… if the drives reappear then you’re finished, well done.

If your DVD and CD drives are still not showing up in Windows, and the error code still appears in the Device Manager, then you’re experiencing the same problem I had, and that requires a few more steps…

Step 4: If deleting the “UpperFilters” and “LowerFilters” subkeys didn’t work, then we need to find out which filter the DVD drives are actually using. The Microsoft solution was in a sense, an educated guess. The first thing we need to do is download a programme from Microsoft called DevCon, which is a command-line utility.

From my experiences with technical support, command-line utilities scare a lot of people that don’t do serious Windows or Unix work, but they’re not that scary once you know what to do. First thing is download a command-line utility from Microsoft called DevCon – http://support.microsoft.com/kb/311272. Under the “MORE INFORMATION” section there is a link that says, “Download the DevCon package now”, do that. The page also says nothing about Vista compatibility, but I can assure you it is compatible with both 32 and 64-bit installations.

When you unzip the file, there are two folders, named i386, and ia64. In most cases you’ll want to use the i386 version, that is for standard Windows, however Vista x64 user should also use the i386 version, as the ia64 files are meant for Itanium processors only. I would suggest that you move the DevCon.exe programme to a simple directory, such as “C:\” or “C:\DevCon”, because you need to access this programme from the Command-line, and you don’t want to have to change a million directories using the “cd” command.

There is a set of instructions that deals with using DevCon for this issue – it’s detailed in http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929461, look under the “MORE INFORMATION” section. To run DevCon, you want to open the command prompt (type “CMD” in the “Run…” link on the Start Menu), then in the command prompt change directories to where you saved DevCon (typing “cd” for change directory”), and then once at the DevCon folder type “devcon stack gencdrom”. You’ll see a list of cryptic entries, one for each drive that mentions “filters” (see example below).

DevCon

[CLICK ON SCREENSHOT TO ENLARGE]

Now in the example above, I took this screenshot AFTER I had fixed the problem, presently everything is working and AnyDVD is shown as the filter. However, before it was showing “PxHlpa64”, which was referencing PxHlpa64.sys. This was the culprit in MY CASE, however, in your case it will likely be a different filter.

Sony BMG

SIDE NOTE: Sony DRM rootkit issue – if your ‘filter’ shows up as “$sys$crater“, “$sys$aries“, or “$sys$cor“, you probably have a Sony DRM rootkit corruption issue. There are TWO ways to remove the rootkit and restore access to your DVD/CD drives. The first and recommended way is to follow the link to the Sony DRM page, which has instructions and a removal programme that should work fine – which can be found here. At the bottom of the page you will see two links “The XCP software tool is available for download…”, one is to an executable file (recommended), or a Zip file, containing the removal software. Run the programme, restart your computer, and see if your DVD/CD drives have returned.

If not, there is a second and more difficult procedure that may work. The instructions can be found at PC Doctor [PDF link] – thanks to maxwellscott and preacherman1952 for pointing these issues out.

Essentially though, the corruption of Registry entries seems to be the problem (even with the Sony DRM issue), where at some point the DVD/CD driver filters were pointed to the wrong filter, that either no longer exists, or is simply inappropriate, and the DVD drives fail to initialise in Windows.

My solution was to search the Registry for all entries referencing “PxHlpa64” (REMEMBER – your filter will probably be different). That can be accomplished by opening the Registry (type “regedt32” in the “Run…” link on the Start Menu), then in the Registry go to Edit -> Find… -> then type “PxHlpa64” (or whatever your culprit filter is), and then go through each entry (about 6 or 7 in my case), and delete all “UpperFilters” and “LowerFilters” subkey entries that were showing up from that search.

Step 5: Exit the Registry and restart the computer. Assuming that you deleted all the bad entries, your DVD and CD drives (including virtual drives) should reappear and be fully functional. After that you can reinstall any programmes you uninstalled before this process, and you should be good to go!

Hope that helped and がんばってね!

Barugon (^_^)

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