Drmn' Trance Vibrator workaround for Vista x64 / Windows 7 / other 64-bit Microsoft OSes


In theory, the Trance Vibrator (Drmn Trance Vibe and the Rez Trance Vibrator) is compatible with any USB host. Historically, support for PCs has been provided using a universal open-source driver called libusb. However, some unfortunate decisions by Microsoft make it impossible to use this universal driver on 64-bit versions of its newer Operating Systems, such as Windows Vista x64 and Windows 7. Microsoft now advocates an alternate, driverless method of supporting hardware on these OSes (known as WinUSB), but it is up to each individual software vendor to provide this support, and it requires every software author to do a potentially time-consuming re-write of the software. Not all authors (including myself!) have updated their Trance Vibrator software and examples to use this new method.

In these OSes, attempting to install the universal libusb-win32 driver will produce an error which may be similar to the following:

"Windows cannot load the device driver for this hardware. The driver may be corrupted or missing. (Code 39)"


Despite this message, there is nothing wrong with the driver. If the software you are using is not yet updated for Vista x64, there is a way to force Windows to accept the existing driver. This will (until Microsoft change things again!) allow you to continue using libusb-based software in the latest Microsoft OS versions:


If you press the F8 key right as Windows is beginning to boot, you should get a black screen marked 'Advanced Boot Options'. Select the last option - "Disable Driver Signature Enforcement" - and press enter. This should allow the driver to operate until the next time you reboot. Unfortunately, you have to repeat this step every time you start the computer in order to use the Trance Vibrator with the universal driver.


NOTE: You may temporarily lose the ability to play back certain types of DRM-encumbered content (e.g. Blu-Ray discs) while this setting is active. You can return to normal operation by restarting the computer.


Hardware developers have been coerced for years to pay for digital signatures and testing for their drivers via dire "Driver signature" warnings that will appear for their customers during hardware install, but until the latest flavors, it has been optional.

Unfortunately, Microsoft are now requiring developers pay large fees (starting at approximately USD$500/year) for the privilege of writing drivers for their new OSes, and will refuse to load/recognize the driver if its author has not paid up. This is not an option for small projects like Drmn' Trance Vibrator (the annual driver fee alone is more than the yearly sales of the device). Although Microsoft claims that this requirement, known as Digital Signature Enforcement, is to "improve security" (e.g. stop eeevil hackers from writing malicious drivers), the real truth is that this has been forced upon MS and hardware developers by Hollywood in exchange for the ability to offer support for "premium content" (think: Blu-Ray, etc.) in their OS. As part of the deal, Microsoft is required to include Draconian technical measures such as Digital Signature Enforcement to eliminate the possibility of phony device drivers being used to intercept decrypted movie/etc. streams for copying purposes. In short: This enforcement measure has nothing to do with the user's safety and everything to do with guarding access to the Vista Protected Media Path. If you're in for a read, have a look at Alex Ionescu's description of the DRM issue (beginning 3rd paragraph), and this page of another free open-source project hampered by driver signature enforcement for some other possible workarounds.

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