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How I’m still using my 15 year old Focusrite Saffire audio card (firewire) with Windows 10

Each time there’s a Windows 10 update my 15 year old Saffire risks becoming obsolete.

The problem? My card uses FireWire; Windows 10 doesn’t support FireWire (IEEE 1394).

Here is what has been working for me so far. With the latest update, I thought my card was a goner. I figured out the fix for the latest windows 10 19041! I spent a few hours today to figure out a new last step involving using device manager installing a the driver 61883.

Steps

This is a mishmash of various FAQs I found online and my own annotations:

  • Probably safest to start: Uninstall saffire.exe
  • Install legacy 1394 driver from: https://www.microsoft.com/enus/download/details.aspx?id=44219 (This link may be expired. Find a reliable source.)
  • Disable driver signature enforcement
    1. Press Alt-I or search windows for advanced startup. Choose PC Settings (in the bottom): Advanced startup – Restart now.
    2. When the computer is rebooting at the blue screen where the startup settings appears, select the 7th bullet “Disable driver signature enforcement” (press 7). There might be an alternative to this by setting your computer in test mode, but advanced startup always works for me.
    3. After the computer has loaded windows, repeat the driver installation process. But this time the Windows Security dialog pops up with a “Windows can’t verify publisher of this driver software” warning. Choose Install the driver software anyway.
    4. Go to: C:\Program Files (x86)\1394 OHCI Compliant Host Controller (Legacy)\x64_driver
      1. Right click on Legacy1394.inf and choose install
      2. The driver is installed.
  • Now re-run saffire-2.71.exe installer downloaded from Focusrite. This time the installer will succeed to install the 2 focusrite saffire drivers (with “Windows can’t verify publisher of this driver software” warnings, just choose install anyway). The risk is low if you have downloaded the file from a reliable source (virus scan it just in case).
  • New step November 2020!
    1. This worked for DAW music, but did not give audio output for regular computer use: Go to device manager, you’ll see the drivers aren’t being used. Right click-> update driver, then choose from already installed, and choose 61883->Focusrite->Saffire. The trick here was that I didn’t install drivers for the WDM devices, as these seem to cause the unit to become unresponsive.
    2. [Update mid-November] This worked for DAW music and audio output for regular computer use (after trying the previous method): Go to device manager, you’ll see the drivers aren’t being used. Find the IEEE 1394. Right click-> update driver, then choose from already installed, and choose Sound, video and other controllers ->Focusrite->Saffire.
      1. Not sure if related, but while doing this, I had started a scan via Command Prompt (Admin), and typed: system32>SFC /scannow. It found corrupted files and repaired them.
  • Additional considerations if you have a blue screen of death BSOD on Windows:

Files

In case you can’t find them elsewhere, this is a .zip of the files that I’ve been using. It contains:

  • 1394_OHCI_LegacyDriver.msi
  • saffire-2.71.exe

Sources:

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