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So, um, Microsoft ended Firewire support in Windows 10 without warning...?

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So, um, Microsoft ended Firewire support in Windows 10 without warning...?

Postby forumuser756964 » Fri Sep 25, 2020 11:15 am

Hi all.

I'm taking part in a thread on the Microsoft support page, and it crossed my mind that it's something the wider world, starting with Sound on Sound readers, should know about. It seems MS might have quietly ended Firewire support with the last three Windows 10 updates, although it's proving quite hard for us to get them to confirm or deny it. Here's the link to the thread:

https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/win ... 999&page=1

My own involvement began when my Allen & Heath Zed R16 suddenly started refusing to lock to any sample rate other than 96kHz after a Windows update. When I tried to change it to something else, the sample rate would cycle round all the other options, eventually settling back on 96. I can't work at 96kHz for client reasons, so I contacted A&H and they said it was a Microsoft move, they couldn't do anything about it, and they were locked in an argument with MS about it, as were RME, Universal Audio and a bunch of others. I had a look in the MS forums and there are indeed several threads about it. The gist seems to be, MS are no longer supporting Firewire and the latest updates will not work with our FW interfaces.

Anyway, I thought I'd bring it up here. Has anyone using Windows 10 with a Firewire device been experiencing any issues lately? It's possible that if, like mine, the issues manifest as the device just picking one single (wrong) sample rate and refusing to change it, a lot of users may simply not have noticed it happening. But *if* MS has indeed cut off FW support, that means thousands upon thousands of project studios (and video editing suites, photography studios, mixing studios, mastering studios, theatres, radio stations, podcasters...) are suddenly up the creek without a paddle. You'd think that something like this would at least merit an announcement from MS, a little advance warning, perhaps some help to transition to a different system. To my mind this is scuppering the livelihoods of a lot of professionals, including me, and I'd say compensation was in order, or at least an apology for turning my Zed R16 into a huge and expensive paperweight!

Perhaps SOS might do some investigation on our behalf? A lot of people are affected by this, and if it's true then the professional audio world ought to know about it...
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Re: So, um, Microsoft ended Firewire support in Windows 10 without warning...?

Postby desmond » Fri Sep 25, 2020 12:02 pm

Is it possible you are conflating "firewire support" with "the ability to use firewire devices"..?

I don't know the MS situation but, If MS are ending FW "support", that does not necessarily mean no one with FW devices on Windows will be able to use them any more, or that FW ports will be rendered non-functional.

Apple ended FW support a few years back now, and yet all laptops with FW ports can still use FW, and laptops with TB and USB-C can use FW over those ports too. It just means that FW is considered stable and no more work will be done to it, not that FW will be removed from the OS.

Basically "support" on this context means "we are no longer actively developing it", not that "FW devices will be no longer be usable on our OS".

At *some point*, I'm sure FW will be phased out of OS's completely, but that's likely to be a while.

*If* MS are indeed actually removing FW support from later OS updates, that is indeed a big problem for people with FW devices and they should stick with a working system and no longer update until those FW devices are eventually replaced. I find that strange, but FW never had good support on Windows *ever* (just like Thunderbolt) so it's always been a bit of a crapshoot for Windows users...
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Re: So, um, Microsoft ended Firewire support in Windows 10 without warning...?

Postby James Perrett » Fri Sep 25, 2020 12:09 pm

I haven't had much success with Firewire audio in Windows 10 (which is a chipset issue rather than Windows) but video works fine in version 1909 with the legacy Firewire driver.

For serious Firewire audio I still use Windows XP.
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Re: So, um, Microsoft ended Firewire support in Windows 10 without warning...?

Postby forumuser756964 » Fri Sep 25, 2020 12:17 pm

Thanks, Desmond - you're absolutely right, I was unclear in my phrasing.

Windows 10 has never officially *supported* Firewire, but until now Firewire devices have unofficially worked with Windows 10 anyway. For some, the built-in drivers in Win10 were enough. For others, the MS legacy firewire drivers were needed. We all had to be careful which Firewire adaptors we used. But there was always a way.

The difference is that now all those unofficial loops are closing. Neither the built-in drivers nor the legacy drivers appear to work any more, with the result that I have an expensive device less than four years old which has been rendered pretty much useless and worthless. The anguished threads on the RME, Presonus & Universal Audio forums indicate I am far from the only one.

So I guess what I was trying to say in my post was, there has a significant downgrade in the way Windows is handling Firewire over the last few months, and it hasn't been publicised, but anyone using (or manufacturing, or selling) FW interfaces needs to be aware of it.
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Re: So, um, Microsoft ended Firewire support in Windows 10 without warning...?

Postby Moroccomoose » Fri Sep 25, 2020 12:22 pm

This is really interesting. I am using am M-Audio profire 2626 and have been for about 7 or 8 years or so.. It was old when I got it off ebay and firewire was already at best a contested format, if not already beaten by thunderbolt and usb. I am running through a Texas Instruments chipset PCIe firewire card. Both on this computer and previous computer, I was forever getting BSOD errors, either IRQ clash errors or WDF violation errors.

At the last major W10 update, around spring time, it didn't install properly, so ended up doing a complete clean windows install. At the same time, I turned off the MOBO audio chip in BIOS.

Ever since then, my Profire2626 has been rock solid.

Now I can't say it was because of the update or turning off the MOBO audio, or even a bit of both, I can only report what I found.

Fingers crossed that it will keep working, even without support, if that is the case.

As I said earlier, I will watch with intetest.

Stu.
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Re: So, um, Microsoft ended Firewire support in Windows 10 without warning...?

Postby James Perrett » Fri Sep 25, 2020 12:32 pm

The newer Firewire interfaces use the Dice chipset whereas the older Profire and the early Saffires used a different chipset whose name escapes me at the moment.

Edit: - Bridgeco was the name that I was thinking of.
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Re: So, um, Microsoft ended Firewire support in Windows 10 without warning...?

Postby desmond » Fri Sep 25, 2020 12:47 pm

forumuser756964 wrote:The difference is that now all those unofficial loops are closing. Neither the built-in drivers nor the legacy drivers appear to work any more, with the result that I have an expensive device less than four years old which has been rendered pretty much useless and worthless. The anguished threads on the RME, Presonus & Universal Audio forums indicate I am far from the only one.

Ah, I see - thanks for clarifying.

Windows users in the main have enjoyed fantastic compatibility for most of modern computing's life - us Mac users have endured rather more of this stuff as the many platform "transitions" that the Mac has undergone has left a lot of legacy hardware devices in it's wake, unfortunately...

It's never fun, for sure. :cry:
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Re: So, um, Microsoft ended Firewire support in Windows 10 without warning...?

Postby CS70 » Fri Sep 25, 2020 12:51 pm

forumuser756964 wrote:My own involvement began when my Allen & Heath Zed R16 suddenly started refusing to lock to any sample rate other than 96kHz after a Windows update.

Do you still see the device in Device Manager?
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Re: So, um, Microsoft ended Firewire support in Windows 10 without warning...?

Postby forumuser756964 » Fri Sep 25, 2020 1:27 pm

CS70 wrote:Do you still see the device in Device Manager?

Yes, and I can still select the drivers as input and output devices, and I can still access its settings panel in full.

Hell, I could still use the interface, if I were happy to have everything going in and out at 96kHz and not be able to change it. Unfortunately neither my clients nor my disk space could live with that...

The Zed was dependably solid with Windows 10 for nearly four years, by the way. I'm a professional music editor and the Zed was the centrepiece of my studio, in use 9-to-5, five days a week, without even the slightest hitch until the MS update upset the applecart a few months back. I've since changed to a USB interface.
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Re: So, um, Microsoft ended Firewire support in Windows 10 without warning...?

Postby resistorman » Sat Sep 26, 2020 12:00 am

I’m impressed you actually could run a studio with FireWire on Windows at all! At any rate, you should probably sell the Zed and get something else. Have a look at the Tascam model 24. I have the model 12 and love it.
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Re: So, um, Microsoft ended Firewire support in Windows 10 without warning...?

Postby BJG145 » Sat Sep 26, 2020 1:25 pm

...had endless crashes with Firewire under Windows 10. It's not fun.
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Re: So, um, Microsoft ended Firewire support in Windows 10 without warning...?

Postby IvanSC » Tue Sep 29, 2020 8:54 am

My firewire connection is still working fine on my Mac Mini Server running Mavericks but that was afaik the last Mac "update " that supported it.
Happily, my LiquidMix 32 is working fine on it & so far it is also working fine on my 64bit Win10 machine....
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