We actually already support ways that manufacturers can add custom pages to device property dialogs (many display vendors do this with the display cpl); many choose to do something else. It all comes down to what device manufacturers believe the user experience
should be like. The Windows ecosystem is wide and varied, so you're getting a lot of choices. And with choice, comes good and bad options.
As I mentioned to freney, we will offer ways that users can enumerate the drivers they have in the Driver Store. We didn't have time to implement a GUI interface to this (that would have been great), but we will be able to satisfy the needs of the IT crowd
with command-line and API interfaces.
From Device Manager (yeah, I know, blech) you can roll back to a previously installed driver from any device. And the Update Driver Software Wizard will let you manually select from a list of compatible drivers. I hope that most people won't have to do this,
since our inbox support is improved over XP and we're pushing hard to get partners to support their newer devices seamlessly via Windows Update.
Yes there will be easy ways to manage drivers in the Driver Store. We'll have a command-line utility that allows administrators to add, enumerate and delete drivers from the Driver Store. We've also plumbed the existing
SetupCopyOemInf and SetupUninstallOemInf APIs to add and delete drivers from the Driver Store, respectively. And we're adding a new API to enumerate the drivers in the store. You'll reference drivers in the store via the INFs
that we publish to %windir%\inf. That way we're safe to move the Driver Store location or even modify the storage format in future revisions.
Actually, I'm not part of the USB team. As a member of the Plug and Play team, I help build the infrastructure that manages device installation. The USB bus is just another device to us, and there is a whole team of smart folks that know all about those
Might I suggest that you speak with the folks who made the device? If nothing's wrong with your PC, then this is probably happening for a lot of other owners as well. They may have an answer.
I laugh because when I plugged in the XBOX360 controller for the first time, I wasn't sure what had happened. I went to the setupapi.log to confirm that we actually found something on Windows Update. I was happy to see someone finally using this feature. For
Vista we've made the experience even better for WU, and there are folks evangelizing the message to partners. And I'm pretty sure this internet thing is here to stay.
Yes, the shovelware problem is frustrating. Luckily for us, there is a way out. If I don't like the stuff that ships with a device, then I simply
return the device. Call me an optimistic capitalist...
Here's hoping for a cleaner ecosystem with Vista. Less crapware. More "it just works." Shiny glass for everyone.
No, we haven't found a solution for this. Raymond sums up some of the problems well in his blog. While there are better ways that Windows can address this stuff, we only have so much time to get Vista solid enough for people to stake their livelihoods on it.
Some of the features we're adding to Vista PnP will make this less of a problem.
For example, you'll never get prompted for source media during a reinstall or rollback any more, because we squirrel away all the required driver files in the Driver Store before we do an installation. This means that while your mouse may still reinstall when
you switch USB ports, Vista will have all the files it needs, guaranteed.
The performance of the reinstall will also be faster due to the Driver Store anti-tampering features. Because we "trust" the drivers in the store to be unmodified, we don't have to re-verify file signatures when we install. Instead, we do the signing checks
up-front when the drivers are imported into the store to make sure they haven't been corrupted or (eek) tampered. We were surprised by how much time the crypto calls were taking. Something like 70% of our install time if I recall correctly.
To the thread about external USB drives not working, I've seen some similar problems when USB-powered drives couldn't get enough juice to function properly. There isn't much Windows can do if the drive stops working. From Windows' perspective, the drive was
there one minute, gone the next. Whether it was due to lack of power or a wormhole opening up next to the PC is totally impossible for Windows to determine. The suggested solution of changing permissions on the enum keys in the registry and deleting them is
creepy. However, we have also seen a few badly behaved installers (I believe there was a Korean light-pen or something like that) that actually modify PnP's permissions on these critical keys and break device installs. In those cases, we'll follow up with
the vendors but we can't seal off these risks without breaking a lot of stuff. Back in the sunnier more optimistic days of early Longhorn planning we fantasized about doing stuff like this, but reality set in and time, unfortunately, continued to pass.