Thursday, August 14, 2008

595U Device Corruption Fix - Not for the Faint of Heart

As it seems to go with Sprint, I was having issues again, so I was again going to cancel my contract and get out of the broadband wifi deal and just get a freakin' iPhone 3G.

I had not used my Sierra Wireless 595U card in some time because I kept getting PPP error #678 saying that the remote computer didn't want to talk to me. When I talk to Sprint, after the same lame diagnostics (that I've always already done when I call), they generally tell me, "Well that's a PPP error, and that's from Microsoft, so check with them." Feh.

I had had this issue before. While working with the air card, I would get PPP errors more and more frequently until that's all I got. So I'd have to uninstall the software and the card, reinstall and it would work. That works for a few times, and then it just never works again. That, plus the fact that a rogue 595U device resided in my Device Manager that would not uninstall. The last time this happened, I had to wipe the system completely (per Sprint). I was in the mood to do so then, so I did and everything was hunky dory until it all happened again, and here we are.

So the above being the case, I had just stopped using the air card. I thought, "Why am I paying $60/month for something I'm not using?" Then it struck me - I've solved problems without (or rather despite) Sprint before, and this was another challenge.

Ok, so here's the long story made only slightly shorter:
  • I tried to go into the registry to delete the Sierra Wireless stuff manually. No go - a bunch of the registry keys are controlled by the System account and even though the Administrators group has "Ownership" of those keys, the rights are set to read only and the System account will not let you change the rights, even though you are the "Owner" (sounds like how HOA's work, but I digress)
  • None of that worked and it seemed like entries were everywhere. So, I decided to work smarter instead of harder. I downloaded Process Monitor and decided to watch for the actual registry key(s) that that the system attempts to access when I try to uninstall the uninstallable device. Turn out it was one key:
    (this was specific to my case - the key would be different on your machine. Oh, and I will digress a moment for a disclaimer: DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS UNLESS YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND/OR YOU ARE IN A POSITION TO COMPLETELY HORK YOUR SYSTEM AND NOT CARE (which was my case). I TAKE NOR SHARE ANY RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANYTHING YOU MIGHT DO TO YOUR SYSTEM BEFORE, DURING, OR AFTER YOU READ THIS POST. Thank you).
  • I still had the problem of that being one of the keys that I could not delete even as Administrator in regedit. Feh.
  • Then I found this thread (read the item second from the bottom) about using psexec to run regedit under the System account
  • I backed up my registry, typed in "psexec -s -i regedit" (from a command prompt opened as Administrator) and voila! I was able to delete that key!
  • I rebooted and magically, the rogue 595U device was no longer in my device manager. One monkey off my back for sure, but could I get the 595U actually to work again?
  • Well, I headed off to the Sprint download site, noticed that they had some new software on there (called Sprint SmartView). I installed it and *BAM* - shiznit was working again and I can again roam freely whilst enjoying wifi broadband access. Again despite Sprint! to justify getting the iPhone 3G anyway....
posted by Dennis at 8:14 AM (permalink) 0 comments