Capsule summary: Vista sucks dead warthogs. The remainder of this post is just me writing for catharsis. Feel free to ignore.
For some reason, Vista asked me for a keyboard driver, which was odd because…
- It was a bog standard, MS, wired keyboard
- I had changed no hardware on the system (including the keyboard) in weeks
Even stranger was that, after allowing it to go look for a driver on MS Update, it couldn’t find one. I mean, you’d think they would have the drivers for their own keyboards, if they were going to have anything.
“Oh well”, I think, “I’ll just go get the driver from the Microsoft download site”. But ten minutes, a few megabytes, and a reboot later, I’m staring at the same message. WTF? And now things were worse: Previously, I had been able to use the keyboard (even though it claimed to have no driver) in a generic way (i.e. standard keys worked, special keys didn’t), but now I couldn’t type on it at all. Once again, I tried all the standard hardware debugging steps, but no luck.
Now you’ll remember that this was all supposed to be in preparation for a night of Warhammer gaming, so the fact that it was now close to 20h00 and I still had no keyboard meant that I was starting to get stressed. Which probably explains why my next leap of er… intellect was that maybe it was actually the keyboard hardware itself that was failing. (Although I suppose that wasn’t a totally unreasonable assumption, since it was several years old, had had pepsi poured on it at least twice, and was missing a key or two).
Those of you who know me will be surprised to find out that I had no spare keyboards lying around. Which meant that I had to rush off to the local Staples to pick up a new one. The Microsoft Wireless Laser Desktop 7000 was on sale, and that’s what I ended up with.
Brought it home, installed the drivers — made only somewhat painful by not being able to use the keyboard — , plugged in all the bits, and… (you guessed it) no keyboard. This time, it was complaining that it couldn’t find a driver for the wireless dongle (neither from the just installed CD nor Windows Update). Very weird.
Going back to the MS download site (on my Mac, because the lack of a keyboard was starting to get to me) I found out that there were newer Intellitype drivers. I downloaded them, but then wasn’t able to connect to the Mac’s file share from the PC. That is, in Vista I could still type in the password using the Character Map applet and lots of clicking, but it wouldn’t connect anyway. Hm…
[It’s now 21h00, and I’m officially missing guild night. Time to get creative!]
Copy the Intellitype drivers onto a USB key, stick the key in the Vista machine and… it can’t find a driver for the USB key. WTF++?
So finally I start to clue in: It’s not the keyboard at fault, it’s that Vista can no longer find drivers for anything. Going back to the worlds greatest help desk (i.e. the web), I find that the query “Vista stops being able to find drivers” has many hits. Sifting through the chaff leads to several patterns for common ways to attempt to fix it, which I tried without success. In the end, a depressing number of people said “The only way I could fix it was to reinstall.”, so I joined the club and at 22h15 started the looooong task of reinstalling Vista.
Somewhere around 1h00 I had gotten far enough that most stuff (including the keyboard) was working again, which explains why Vista makes me tired. In any case, I’m now down to a single yellow “?” in the device list, for an “unknown device” with no driver. If I can figure out what it is, I should be done. I guess that’s tonight’s job.