Thursday, November 8, 2012

Windows 8 Pain Point #1

Continued from Three great things about Windows 8 so far...

The hotkey driver was another matter.  For starters, there was no driver for it for the Windows 8 64-bit driver set listed on Sony's website!  For those that have ever loaded an OS from scratch, this will immediately bring to mind one of the greatest features hotkeys provide, adjusting the brightness without having to navigate through control menus.

So there I was, squinting at my screen, pondering my next step.  Since Win7 provided backwards compatibility for applications, I figured Win8 did as well, so I downloaded the Win7 version of the driver.  Running the install program failed with a prompt informing me the driver couldn't be loaded for this OS.  I then thought (hopefully) that maybe Sony rolled up the hotkey functionality in some of their bloatware, so I went back to the Win8 list of software and installed everything.  Shortly after doing so I started receiving this error:

If I clicked "OK" my laptop immediately went into hibernation mode.  To make matters worse the prompt had an "Always On Top" attribute which refreshed my mouse/keyboard focus onto the prompt every 5 seconds.  I have to say, that was extremely annoying (this means you Sony).  A Google search revealed the culprit to be a program called "ISBMgr.exe" in the C:\Windows directory which was also added to the Startup Programs List.  Struggling for mouse/keyboard focus, I managed to open Task Manager and kill the program and the prompt thankfully went away.  I also disabled it in the Startup Programs List to make sure I didn't re-encounter it.  Why the program thinks something's amiss is a mystery to me.

Now that I had my mouse/keyboard control again I continued my search for hotkey functionality.  Device Manager hinted that the functionality depended on a driver for hardware id "SNY5001" - also known as the SFEP: Sony Firmware Extension Parser.  I found numerous posts in support forums related to similar circumstances and followed the trail.  It led me to a download posting of the most recently available driver version.  The download, luckily, was not a packaged installer - just the .inf and cab files needed.  Once I downloaded it, right-clicked on the .inf, and installed it I COULD ONCE AGAIN CONTROL LIGHT ITSELF.  Or at least control the brightness through hotkeys again.

So to summarize, I lost hotkey functionality after the upgrade to Win8 and installing all available Sony software I started receiving nigh-unavoidable prompts regarding my laptop battery.  With these now resolved, I continued exploring what else Win8 had to offer.  Because the driver files were such a pain to locate, I'm posting them for download here so others can save time.  

Please NOTE: I am in no way liable for your use of the drivers referenced for download.  They are provided AS-IS without any guarantee or warranty and users download the file at their own risk.  The hash of the uploaded file is:  BD9B677BEE0DC81E0C6F2D79EA165328DF8EC2AE