Windows Vista and Firewire: The Missing Drivers

Firewire was first introduced by Apple Computers Corporation back in the (very) late 90s. It was ahead of its time by leaps and bounds, with peak transfer rates of up to 400mbps, something literally unheard of and unimaginable in the world of serial & parallel ports and the occasional “fast” 11mbps USB 1.0 interface.

When Apple introduced it with its DV-camcorders and demanding portable media players with in-built support on Mac OS (before NeXtOS); Windows, Linux, and the rest of the gang were quick to catch on with pre-packaged Firewire driver support. But apparently not Vista.

Windows Vista now supports every single device on our test-bed PCs without absolute, dire need for 3rd party drivers; with the exception of our Creative Sound Cards and every single Firewire card/chipset we have! When it comes to the sound cards, that’s OK; because after all, the drivers are available, and all it takes is an internet connection to get it going.

But Firewire cards are different. Manufacturers make them compliant with the original standards, in a one-driver-fits-them-all kind of attitude. On Windows XP one of our cards showed up as a “Microsoft IEE1394 Controller” (we didn’t know Microsoft even made these cards!) and the other as an “NEC Firewire Controller.”

When Windows Vista builds first began to come out, there were no drivers. Half-way there (or quarter of the way – it depends on how many more builds we have to go) Microsoft added Firewire support. It was (probably) build 5231 when we could finally use our Firewire networking system, but to our great disappointment, one build later, Firewire support was gone.

RC1 is here and post-RC1 branches have appeared (Windows Longhorn Server builds), and yet Firewire support is a no-show. Has Microsoft decided to pull support for Apple’s proprietary Firewire standard from Windows? Is it an honest mistake? Or are we going to have to write these drivers ourselves and suffer?

37 thoughts on “Windows Vista and Firewire: The Missing Drivers

  1. Apple proprietary??? What exactly do you think the “IEEE” in IEEE1394 signifies? Apple aided greatly in developing firewire, but there’s nothing proprietary about it.

    -justinb

  2. Nonsense.

    It was developed as proprietary by Apple, but then at the last minute went Open.
    Thank you Apple.

  3. OK, RC2 still has zero (nil, nada, sifr, nothing) firewire support.

    What do we do!!!!!!!??????????
    I hope to god RTM isn’t like this!

  4. Strange, every Vista version I’ve installed (Beta 2 onward) has seen my SIIG PCI firewire card. Not only that, I use an external IDE HD enclosure that is connected via Firewire and it works just fine. This is a Firewrie 400 device. Did I just get lucky or is there a problem with the NeoSmart setup?! Me wonders, seems like firewire support would be a pretty stupid thing to drop!

  5. [quote comment=”6326″]Get a Mac?[/quote]
    And then when I put Vista on my Mac, what, it’ll magically start working?

  6. [quote comment=”6327″]Strange, every Vista version I’ve installed (Beta 2 onward) has seen my SIIG PCI firewire card. Not only that, I use an external IDE HD enclosure that is connected via Firewire and it works just fine. This is a Firewrie 400 device. Did I just get lucky or is there a problem with the NeoSmart setup?! Me wonders, seems like firewire support would be a pretty stupid thing to drop![/quote]

    I’m an indy video producer and I have 4 IEE1394 cards lying around: an NEC, a Pinnacle, a 150 USD Matrox, and a no-namer.

    None of them work on Vista.
    In XP 3 of the 4 were identified as “Microsoft IEE1394 Controller”

    Now none are. Great move MS.

  7. Firewire works fine in my Vaio S4 laptop with a TI IEEE1394 chipset in build 5744 of Vista, and did in 5600 also.

  8. Firewire works just fine for me.

    I am using RC2. I have a firewire drive and it works now, just as it always has.

    I have an ASUS A8N SLI Deluxe motherboard, I’m not at the computer so I can’t give the specific chipset to you guys, but it does work.

    “Dropping firewire support” (as slashdot puts it) is a little misleading.

    It works for me!

    -Thanks

    Chris

  9. [quote comment=”6329″][quote comment=”6326″]Get a Mac?[/quote]
    And then when I put Vista on my Mac, what, it’ll magically start working?[/quote]

    Uhhh… Yes (Boot Camp).

  10. It could be that the author installed 64bit Vista when previous versions were 32bit. Some devices manufacturs haven’t produced 64bit drivers for thier devices and it isn’t uncommon to find driver support in the 32bit world but not the 64bit world.

  11. From an earlier story on this site:

    “Windows Vista Build 5728 only indicates one thing: there will be no RC2.”

    Thats up there with “HEY FIREWIRE DOESN’T WORK ON OUR SYSTEM WITH OUR CARDS, THAT OBVIOUSLY MEANS MICROSOFT DROPPED IT FROM THE OS!”

    Get a friggin clue, you idiots should be banned from blogging

  12. [quote comment=”6332″]The problem is that at some point along the way, these drivers worked for everyone. It might have been build 5270, not too sure….[/quote]

    Right, which is why the article says “HEY, THERE ARE NO DRIVERS IN VISTA!!! WTF???” – which is completely inaccurate. You’re correct, what you said /is/ the problem. But the article was far more ‘doomsday’.

  13. [quote comment=”6338″][quote comment=”6329″][quote comment=”6326″]Get a Mac?[/quote]
    And then when I put Vista on my Mac, what, it’ll magically start working?[/quote]

    Uhhh… Yes (Boot Camp).[/quote]

    If there is no Firewire support in Windows Vista, why would there be Firewire support in Windows Vista on a Mac?

  14. @gfier: Sure, Vista wll boot, but it doesn’t mean Vista will have Firewire.
    @Tim: No, I’m on x86 all the time.

  15. Chris K, get a clue.

    Build 5744 is not Release Candidate 2.
    It’s dubbed RC2, but it’s not another release candidate. Why don’t you brush up on your reading skills?

    Microsoft will ship the final prerelease version of Windows Vista on Friday and, unexpectedly, will name the new version Release Candidate 2 (RC2). (Microsoft had stated earlier that it wouldn’t ship an RC2 milestone release of Vista.) But don’t let the name fool you. RC2 is really just a standard interim build of Vista,

    And just for the record, Microsoft announced there would be no RC2 after we made the post above. So much for that.

  16. [quote post=”266″]gfeier on October 9, 2006 at 10:24 pm said:

    Macinshot on October 9, 2006 at 8:09 pm said:

    just a thought on October 9, 2006 at 7:40 pm said:

    Get a Mac?

    And then when I put Vista on my Mac, what, it?ll magically start working?

    Uhhh? Yes (Boot Camp).

    If there is no Firewire support in Windows Vista, why would there be Firewire support in Windows Vista on a Mac?[/quote]

    Why on earth would you run Vista if you have a Mac?

    Jeez!

  17. [quote post=”266″]Build 5744 is not Release Candidate 2.
    It?s dubbed RC2, but it?s not another release candidate. Why don?t you brush up on your reading skills?[/quote]

    Well depends how you cut the semantics doesn’t it – it may not have had the full RC fit and finish procedures, but i’m looking at the build on the desktop and it says “Windows Vista (TM) RC2”. I know the names there are not accurate but at least Microsoft thought it was enough of an RC to call it RC2 there…

    As for the Firewire, I too am unable to get anything working… :(

    No need to go running about like idiots though – this surely will be in the RTM.

  18. [quote post=”266″]And then when I put Vista on my Mac, what, it?ll magically start working?

    Uhhh? Yes (Boot Camp).

    If there is no Firewire support in Windows Vista, why would there be Firewire support in Windows Vista on a Mac? [/quote]

    The Boot Camp solution involves creating a CD of the required drivers for the Apple hardware. While these drivers are for XP at the moment, and I don’t know anything about whether XP drivers can be used under Vista, you can be sure that Boot Camp (which is currently in beta stage, remember), will support Vista when it’s released, and supports all the hardware in the machine (even the iSight in the MacBooks).

    Cheers, Chuck.

  19. I am running a firewire drive through my SB Audigy without issue. I have tested it in Beta2 and RC1

  20. i’m running 5744 for a few days now, multiple installs, and firewire works fine for me! i do have one unrecognized device that can’t find drivers, but I think its a marvell sata controller that i don’t use on the mb…

  21. Firewire networking doesn’t work for me under RC2. I have to use crosslink with only the quarter of firewire speed for copying :(. On the other hand, Vista allows a lot of things to copy… long file names, personal documents in documents and settings :D x

  22. I have the final release of vista and when i install the x86 version of ultimate firewire works absolutely fine, however with the x64 version firewire is not supported this would be due to the manufacturer not releasing a driver in the 64bit during production of vista and we just have to sit back and wait for them to make a driver, you all need to settle down and have patience. Microsoft wouldnt be so stupid to drop firewire in vista (then again we are talking about microsoft).  So before anyone else runs around saying microsoft DOES NOT support firewire check with the manufacturer that they actually have a driver out for your card if not then thats your problem.

  23. Jaymes: I advise you to look at the date of the posting, this article was written before Windows Vista was officially released, and since then Microsoft re-shipped the needed drivers. We probably should have run a follow-up story….

  24. Not only is vista broken in the FIREWIRE area it complains about the Lacie 1 terrabyte interface – does not support my firewire 6 port hub. Will not do daisy chained firewire drives, does not always mount drives in usb unless you power clear them for 2-3 seconds, misses the DMI HID driver (gee that was back in the SP1 XP days give me a break!!) and generally stinks as an operating system.

    The disk copy calculations are stupid and time consuming, the sercurity and aggravating dialog boxes are redundant and LAME when its your own system.

    Last it(VISTA) will NOT hibernate, sleep and recover, or take the low power standby mode. After messing with this all week I simply power off now! WHAT A CROCK.

    IN all don’t waste your money on VISTA its a sad sad operating system.

    Running P5WDH Deluxe 6600 processor Core 2 duo, Nvida 8800GTX, all new hardware & disks.

    I am leaving for Frys to get an OEM copy of Windows XP. Goodby Vista after 10 days in wista hell is this stuff.

    Maybe I will try it again in a year – on a 486 pentium 2 over in the corner.

    John Smith

    “Microsoft will soon be left hanging on the gallows of their own anxieties as other OS will fill in with stuff that works. ” jts feb 16, 2007

  25. Ummm, Firenet is not currently compatible with Vista.  But Unibrain is rewriting their drivers to be Vista compatible.  So yes soon we will be able to use FireNet to get out Firewire networking back.

    -Jim

  26. Vista 64-bit definitely has issues with firewire.  I had to move my Epson R2400 printer to USB off the firewire port it has worked so well on for ages because the printer reports itself as something weird to Vista when it is plugged on to the firewire cable.

  27. Yeah, it’s never been completely fixed. To us, it looks like at some point MS decided to re-add Firewire to Vista, so they just stuffed it on top, added a pretty Firewire icon and shipped it hoping no one would ever use it (at least until SP1 arrived).

  28. Its October 2007 and I still have not figured out how to make a legasey firewire card work, I must overcome.

  29. So does this mean that i can’t get firewire on my Windows Vista?
    I just got a new camera and i need Firewire for it. Is there another option??

  30. i have windows vista x64 bit, my motherboard has onboard firewire port,still it does not show under network adapters.however i can use firewire port to transfer videos from Camcaorders.the TCP/IP support seems to be discontinued for good, i even tried an external firewire card still to no avail.

    whne will microsft adddress this issue??

  31. I have a HP pavilion dv5 laptop running windows vista, it comes with a built in mini firewire port which when converted with a simple cable works fine with regular firewire

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *