Jun 012014

I just upgraded my laptop from Windows 7 to Windows 8, and in the process, I was required to uninstall DigitalPersona since it is not compatible with Windows 8. I expected to be able to download a newer version from Dell after the upgrade completed, but that’s not the case. You may be able to apply this update before upgrading, but I didn’t try beforehand.

  1. Visit My Dell Downloads and download DigitalPersona. You may need to register your laptop using Internet Explorer to get a list of software
  2. Install DigitalPersona and restart your computer
  3. Right-click on this link and select Save File As or Save Link As
  4. After you save the file, double-click it to add the changes to the registry. This creates a key that the DigitalPersona installer looks for. If it’s not found, it throws the Dell Personal not installed error
  5. Download either the 32-bit or 64-bit DigitalPersona v6.2.1.309 installer (originally from a forum post here)
  6. Restart your computer
  7. DigitalPersona should now be working. You may need to enroll your finger prints still

Additional information:
The DigitalPersona upgrade checks the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\DigitalPersona\Products\Personal\OEM for the value 020. If the key is missing, which was the case on my computer and apparently other peoples, the installer stops reporting a “Dell Personal is not installed. This package can only be installed as an upgrade.” error. The above instructions add that registry key so the installer will work. Additionally, you can use Orca to remove the Dell Personal check launch condition from the installer MSI.

Oct 192012

If you try putting an MSDN key into Anytime Upgrade, it will get started on the upgrade process then eventually fail telling you the key you entered cannot be used for Anytime Upgrade. The trick is to use some other key for the same version. This key, though, does not have to activate. I wanted to upgrade from Home to Professional. Luckily I had my Dell Laptop came with Windows 7 Professional.

  1. Run Anytime Upgrade with any key for the version you want to upgrade to (OEM keys work)
  2. After the computer restarts and updates, run slmgr.vbs /cpky to delete the product key
    slmgr.vbs is available on the internet, on Professional machines, and is probably located somewhere on the install medium
  3. Run slmgr.vbs /ipk XXXX-PRODUCT-KEY-HERE-XXXX
  4. Now slmgr.vbs /ato to activate it

** Each command may take a few minutes to finish even though it looks like it goes through instantly. A dialogue box will open with the results when the command has actually completed.

I highly recommend making a disk image before trying this process in case something breaks in the process. You can use Clonezilla, Acronis, Norton Ghost, among many other programs. There are plenty of guides online

Aug 232011

When printing from Internet Explorer the web page is printed as HTML code instead of as the rendered web page.

According to online forums and a few quick searches it looks like it is commonly caused by AOL or Windows Updates.

The HTM and HTML file associations have become incorrect and need to be fixed. In the registry under HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.htm the (Default) key should be set to htmlfile. In my case the .htm key didn’t exist and creating (by saving a web page as a .htm file, going to the file’s properties and changing the program to IE) and then setting it to htmlfile switched the problem from printing code to nothing. Under Internet Explorer Options menu on the Programs tab select the button to make Internet Explorer the Default browser. This should fix the problem and printing along with print view should show the rendered webpage instead of the raw code.

Jul 262009

After installing a fresh version of Windows 7, I went to update the drivers and check device manager. None of my drivers downloaded from the manufacturer’s site would install, just the included utilities. ATI CCC would launch, but the main window wouldn’t display. After a bit of Googling, I found out Windows 7 was installing it’s own drivers. I went to device manager and expanded Display Adapters and sure enough, both (2 video cards installed) had Microsoft in parenthesis after them. I hit uninstall and removed them, scanned for new hardware changes, and as soon as I did, Windows reinstalled them. I tryed uninstalling them and using the ATI installer, right before it completed, Windows put its own back in. I checked in Process Explorer to see id I could end Windows driver installer, and sure enough, it kept launching as soon as a driver was uninstalled. I made a simple batch file that continually ended drvinst.exe and that fixed held back Windows long enough to get the right drivers installed.

The Process:

Computer Management > Device Manager
Launch no_driver.bat
Uninstall Windows Drivers
Scan for changes
Right click the device that shows up without drivers (with /!\ on it)
Browse my computer
Point to the location of your driver (You’ll need to extract the Windows 7 drivers to a folder. ATI will extract all the files to C:\ATI and then start the installer [exit the installer if CCC and utilities are already installed)
Exit out of no_driver.bat
Windows will install the “real” drivers
Restart and everything should be working well.

How to Tell if it’s a Windows Driver:

Windows drivers normally have something in parenthesis after the name of the device. To double check, open properties and go to the Driver tab. Now can tell if it’s Windows when the “Driver Provider” is “Microsoft”

Why you don’t want Windows Drivers:

The drivers, being Windows own, don’t work with manufacturer’s utilities. This prevents modifications, and most importantly, features like Crossfire. Even ATI Tray Tools needs ATI’s real drivers.

Why Windows Installs its own Drivers:

Windows installs these for novices users that don’t understand how to install them manually. In addition they are most likely trying to prevent users from complaining about their old hardware not being supported.

What if Windows can’t find drivers, and there are Vista drivers I want to use?

Make sure you have the driver extracted in a folder (the INF, sys and cat file and others would indicate the folder with the driver). Download a tool called DSEO. This tool puts Windows into test mode (which was designed to test driver signing) allowing you to use unsigned drivers (ATITool or ATI Tray Tools) and drivers for Vista. Launch the tool and select the first option “Enable Test Mode.” Hit next until you reach the menu again. When you reboot, the watermark in the bottom right will be back, you can disable this now. If you have a driver you need to sign, you can use that option (such as ATITool and ATI Tray Tools). Exit when finished and restart. You can now use Vista drivers (although you can’t right click and select install). You’ll have to install them through device manager, meaning you may have to use the above procedure to remove Windows own drivers.

no_driver.bat contains:

echo off
taskkill /im drvinst.exe /f
goto loop