Extending the Life of Old Devices in a Vista World

aikimarkGet vaccinated; Social distance; Wear a mask
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Problem: A friend gave me her old Canon Powershot (S45) camera.  She could no longer use it because Canon's camera drivers weren't Vista compliant.  Forget compliant...they just won't run!

"Not a problem," I thought, "since I have two WinXP systems."  However, I added a new laptop to the collection and it runs Vista.  Yuck.  I also ordered a copy of WinXP-Pro with the laptop just in case my 'Vista experience' was as bad as the horror stories.  Incompatible drivers, anyone?!?

I'll have to admit that I wasn't very pleased with my picture transfer and administration experience on WinXp.  It wasn't as simple and elegant as I've come to expect with Windows applications.  It was bad enough that I started looking around for some other applications that could do this function better and still talk to the Canon drivers.

The important thing to know about this camera is the memory.  It uses an older compact flash card format.  My friend gave me both of her cards (32MB and 128MB capacities) with the camera.  Now 128MB doesn't seem like a lot of capacity compared with the multi-gigabyte SD cards, but this is only a 4 megapixel camera so I've only had to use both cards on one occasion.

Solution: Bypass the camera drivers altogether.  Just read the card directly. Ta-daaa!

Searching for a Reader: I started my search at TigerDirect.  I love their prices, my positive past experiences, and am fortunate to live in a part of the country (Raleigh/Durham NC) with TWO TigerDirect retail stores -- no waiting and no shipping fees.  They carried plenty of card readers in their catalog and I'd seen them at the store.  I take a pleasant Sunday drive up to the store only to discover that they are sold out of the ideal card reader for me (right features and right price)...Bummer.

Somewhat dejected, I visit CraigsList when I get home.  I figured that I might find a used card reader.  Instead, I find two different card readers offered that are still in the box for less than half what I was going to pay at TigerDirect.  I settle on a Nyko card-reader/USB-hub combination.  On Tuesday I take another pleasant drive just eight miles south of home, hand $10 to the wife of the Nyko owner, and I'm on my way home to try it out.  

Uh-oh: What I didn't realize when I did my product research is that this unit was built for the Xbox360.  But, I'd already paid my money and had product in hand.  I'd have to pay the price for any errors or deficiencies in my due diligence.

Try it, you'll like it: One hope I had was that the device communicated through USB, so there *should* be some standardization at the hardware level.  I unplugged my existing USB hub and plugged in my new Nyko 'toy'.  It worked!  It immediately caused my oldest WinXP system to 'see' four new drives (one for each of the different card format bays).  I transfered the pictures, deleted them once I was sure they copied correctly, and was a very happy camper.  I'm so confident in this device that I've taken it own the road with my Vista laptop.

Lessons learned:
Lack of Vista drivers isn't always a show stopper.
CraigsList can be a good source of new electronic devices at very reasonable (cheap) prices.
Some Xbox360 devices can be used with your PC without complaint.
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aikimarkGet vaccinated; Social distance; Wear a mask
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Comments (1)

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Top Expert 2012

Commented:
>I've taken it own the road
This needs a little fixing.

I use CF cards in my Canon DSLR - there's nothing to be ashamed of!  I also use a dedicated USB CF card reader.  If it works and does the job, there's no need to replace it.

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