Using a Broadband USB Wireless Card in Vista x64 (Without 64 bit drivers)

I recently got a 4GB upgrade for my Inspiron XPS M1710 laptop and decided to reformat it and install Vista 64 Ultimate. I am very happy, the OS feels a lot snappier than Vista 32. Most everything I use runs fine and faster. The only device for which I was unable to find drivers was for a Franklin Wireless CDU-550 USB card.

To get it to work under Vista 64, this is what I did:

  1. Set up a simple Virtual Machine using VMWare player and install Windows XP Pro SP2 on it with 256MB RAM (more than enough).
  2. Set the USB options of the VM so that it will get assigned a USB device whenever it has focus.
  3. Insert my Franklin USB card (while the VM has focus) and configure it under XP inside the VM using standard 32 bit drivers.
  4. Set the VM for host only networking.
  5. Enable and configure Internet Connection Sharing in the VM
  6. Set the VMWare virtual network adapter in the host machine to use DHCP.


Voila, now I have a working Internet connection from Vista x64 through the VM. At a cost of 256 MB RAM and a bit of a hassle when I use broadband. I cannot feel any difference in performance at all as the VM is mostly idling all the time and 256MB out of 4GB is not that big a deal.

Next up: Configuring Vista x64 on a 10GB RAM Mac Pro (Quad Core Dual Xenon) which should arrive within a month….

2 comentarios:

vinod unny dijo...

Do you see the full 4GB in your BIOS or does it use some bit for devices? I have 4GB as well but even in the BIOS it shows 4GB but usable only 3326 MB. I have Vista x64 Ultimate as well, and that too shows 3326 inside.

Bryon dijo...

Wow, what a beautiful, yet totally impractical hack! I found this while looking for USB wireless cards that support x64 Vista (really x64 Windows 2008). I think I'll look for a different solution but this really amused me.