Vista Mouse Blues

mousestopTwo days ago I posted New Mouse in the House! about my new Kensington SlimBlade Presenter Mouse. I mentioned how the mouse installed flawlessly on my newest Tablet PC<tease>more on it soon</tease>. What’s relevant now is its OS is XP Tablet PC edition.

Today when I left the house I unplugged the USB dongle, packed it inside the mouse, and easily slipped the mouse in my gadget bag. This was the very convenience reported by James Kendrick that persuaded me to buy this gadget in the first place. Arriving at work, I plugged in the USB dongle in my Fujitsu P1620 (whose OS is Vista). The system recognized when I plugged in the dongle and tried to install drivers. I then got an error message that the install has failed, stating: "The driver installation file for this device is missing a necessary entry. This may be because the INF was written for Win 95 or later."

I tried rebooting and different USB ports for the dongle. I also found on Kensington’s website a support page listing Kensington SlimBlade Driver v 1.1 with Vista as a supported OS. While this driver is only supposed to enable advanced trackball functionality (see my prior post), I tried it anyway. No dice.

I called Kensington tech support. I spoke with someone from a foreign land (about the only way I get to travel these days). Nice chap, but it became obvious he was reading a script and therefore wasn’t listening to a word I told him. After about 15 minutes, I asked to be transferred to the U.S. I was, and spoke to a somewhat more knowledgeable chap. He recommended that I replace the input.inf file in C:\WINDOWS\INF with the one on my Vista CD. I also asked him if there was a newer driver than version 1.1. He said no, and that in any event, Vista should natively support the mouse, the driver just added trackwheel functionality.

I then did what I should have done in the first place; a Google search. I learned that, as in many things Vista, my misery had mucho company. Indeed, PC Magazine had reported on it on April 16 in Microsoft Vista Update Causes USB Problems. I also found a number of possible solutions; this seems to be the best thread.

I tried to uninstall the offending Windows Update, KB938371. However, right-clicking it did not show an uninstall option. Naturally.

Finally, in Device Manager, where my mouse was shown under the Mice category as "unknown device", I didn’t just delete the entry and try again. Instead, when I right-clicked it and chose uninstall, in the resulting dialog, I also checked "delete the drive software for this device." I rebooted, and magically the mouse started working. Therefore, I didn’t even need to go further in the solution suggested in the last post in this thread.

Not leaving well enough alone, I returned to the Kensington support page. Lo and behold, in the intervening hour, there now was Kensington SlimBlade Driver v 1.3, dated June 2 (yesterday). I installed it, and my mouse still works!

Not sure what the moral of this story is, but hopefully you should find this interesting, and maybe even useful.

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