Since I wrote part 2 of this set of articles, I have been using my PC in dual-boot mode, with most of my photographic, “digital darkroom” work being done in XP Pro 64. This was because of the time wasted trying to get Windows 7 to work the way I wanted to.

In between times I have tried out a couple of vga cards, and found a fix for the printer issue.

  1. HP Deskjet 720 printer issue.

An old printer, but I have a store of ink for it, and it works networked for my other PCs and my partners (XP). I thought there were no drivers for Win 7 , but HP updated these. Unfortunately, they may have worked for Win7 32-bit, but not 64-bit. Wasted a lot of time on that – could install it, the OS showed it was set up, but it kept failing just as I sent the print. Looked like a print spooler/driver issue.

Well I was not alone – many others complaining in various forums, but HP eventually got round to finding a fix. The annoying thing about this is that the answer may have been under my nose all along. It was found by re-using a driver file from Win server 2003, which as it happens is very equivalent to Win XP Pro 64.

Whatever, HP have now released 3 patch files, which can be downloaded from their site, in case you have also suffered this problem –

“There is an issue with the 64 bit Visa and Windows 7 drivers that causes the spooler to crash with the following Deskjet printers:

Deskjet 710

Deskjet 712

Deskjet 720

Deskjet 722

Deskjet 810

Deskjet 812

Deskjet 820

Deskjet 822

Deskjet 1000

The attached file contains a patch for this issue.  Apply the patch as follows: First make sure the driver for the printer is installed.   Log into the computer with an administrative account.  Download the patch by clicking on this link or on the paper clip at the end of this post.  Save the patch file to your computer, then unzip it.  Next copy the three DLL files to the following directory:

%windir%\system32\spool\drivers\x64\3

This can be done from a DOS prompt if DOS is opened with the “run as administrator” command, or from explorer with a copy and paste.  Depending on your UAC settings you may need to provide confirmation.  Also allow the current files to be overwritten if prompted.

This patch is not required and should not applied to a 32 bit version of Vista or Windows 7.”

Problem solved, and all is now working, but the last word on printers comes to you courtesy of The Oatmeal.

2. Matrox vga card.

I reported that Matrox were not writing drivers for Win7 for their older cards (despite a driver being available for XP 64 bit) – I received the following from a Matrox rep –

“The P650 series of cards have been announced as “End-of-life”. This means that we will not be building any more cards and will not be doing any development work on drivers etc.  Therefore, this card does not support Windows 7.”

So I cast about for a replacement. I thought to try ATI Radeon, as I had only ever tried Nvidia or Matrox, and had heard that ATI might have cards better suited  for dual monitors. 1st up was a 4670, which I found to be underpowered – less powerful than my back up 8600GT. I believe the colours were quite neutral tho, so I pressed on – trying a 4850, which never got out of the box when I found it didn’t have dual-DVI, and then a failed e-bay purchase, also of a 4850.

Took a breather, looked at the latest specs, and changed to looking at the latest line from ATI, the 5000-series. The 5750 looked to have low power requirements, fast memory, as well as cool running, and the 5000-series has been built with dual and triple monitors in mind. At the last moment I upgraded to a 5770, for a few pounds more, with a slightly meatier spec.

Photoshop now can use vga memory in support of it own needs, which could well help when editing large files –

“Photoshop CS4 leverages the graphics display card’s GPU, instead of the computer’s main processor (the CPU) to speed its screen redraw. For Photoshop to access the GPU, your display card must contain a GPU that supports OpenGL and has enough RAM to support Photoshop functions–at least 128 MB of RAM–and a display driver that supports OpenGL 2.0 and Shader Model 3.0”. – Adobe.

Only had this a few days but it’s working fine, and appears to be working as well if not better then the old Matrox card. Thanks to the time gap between the purchases, the new card has faster and more memory, as well as the appropriate OpenGL features. Win7 and colour management play well together as well.

I know I used to spend a bit of time organising my darkroom, and the PC has now taken it’s place, but perhaps I can concentrate on the photography now.

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