The hunt for Smart Card drivers for Windows 7.

I just bought myself a Sunpak 72-in-1 card reader that includes a slot for inserting SIM cards from mobile phones. I’m planning on switching to a less expensive carrier, a move that requires the purchase of new SIM cards to work with the new service. Hence the purchase of the card reader for transferring my data to the new SIM card.

I plugged the new card reader into my Windows 7 desktop and everything on it works except for the SIM card. The instructions say to install the SIM card software from the manufacturer’s web site but their downloads page only has PDF files of the user manuals and nothing else.

So began a wild goose chase across the Internet to find the elusive drivers which I eventually found here, buried deep in the manufacturer’s web site. I ran the installer and when I plugged in the card reader afterwards, I got a notification from Windows 7 about some missing smart card drivers. You’d think they be already be included with the driver archive but they weren’t. So once again I got out on the Web to find them.

It seems ironic that the best way to address Windows’ complaint of the missing Smart Card drivers is not install any drivers at all. I came across this page with instructions on disabling the Smart Card Plug and Play services. After following these instructions and rebooting my computer, the problem was solved.

I still needed to locate some software in order to work with SIM cards. I downloaded a handful of programs and each of them failed to detect the SIM card that was already mounted in my card reader. The one program I found that does work is A GSM Sim Manager, which is free and very small but allowed me to finally load the contents of my SIM card for viewing and eventual exporting to the new card to be purchased.

And so ends my search for software drivers I never really needed in the first place.

Windows 7 gone wild.

After a year of smooth sailing with Windows 7, I have experienced a series of mysterious mishaps that left me scrambling to keep things under control. It all started last week when I clicked on my user icon to log on, the same one I’ve been using all along. Instead of my desktop appearing, Windows instead gave me a message about it preparing my desktop as if this was the first time I was logging on. After my desktop finally appeared, I got another message about my user profile not being able to load and that the default profile was loaded instead. I tried accessing the My Documents folder and found it empty. I later found that my data was still at the original location associated with my user profile, so I was still able to access my data. Somehow the profile configuration got messed up and I was using the default system profile instead of the one I’ve been using all along. After unsuccessfully researching the problem online, I decided to delete my user account and create a new one. I restored my data from a recent backup so I was back in business.

That is, I was in business until last night. When I got to the login screen after turning on my computer, I noticed that the user icon for my significant other was replaced with a blank icon that was simply labeled “Other User”. When I clicked on it, I was prompted for a password. Funny, I never set up any passwords when I created the user accounts, so why was I prompted for a password now?

Once again I took to the Internet to find out how to fix this problem. The fix sounded easy enough. Just launch your registry editor, go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList and delete the one profile entry that appears empty. But I didn’t see any empty profile entries there although I did see some extra entries in addition to the ones I created. I decided to delete these extra entries and then rebooted my system.

While that restored the user icons at the welcome screen, I was faced with a new problem. After logging on my profile, I saw this message in the lower right hand corner of my screen:

Windows 7
Build 7601
This copy of windows is not genuine

I had never seen this message before. I know I do have a genuine copy of Windows but I was left wondering what made Windows forget that. I tried going through the steps to reactivate Windows but I kept getting an “Access denied” error from running the slui.exe program. Nothing I found online offered any solution to this problem.

Then I realized I made a backup copy of the entries in the ProfileList branch of the registry before deleting I thought were unnecessary entries. That was the smartest thing I did all evening. Apparently one of those profiles was the one that assured Windows that it was genuine. I don’t know exactly which one it was but my deleting it was the cause of the problem.

So I restored the registry backup which brought back the blank “Other User” icon but it at least made the “Not Genuine” message go away. Once again I went into the registry and reviewed the ProfileList entries a second time and found an entry for which ProfileImagePath was blank. I deleted this entry, rebooted and got the user icons back in the Welcome screen. I no longer see that scary message about my copy of Windows not being genuine.

What a mess. I still don’t know what happened to cause it to start.

UPDATE:  After posting this entry, I closed my browser and once again saw the “Not Genuine” message on my desktop.  Once again I ran slui.exe but this time saw an option to activate Windows, which I selected. The activation was successful and the “Not Genuine” message disappeared. Is there no end to the madness?