How I’m still using my 12 year old Focusrite Saffire audio card (firewire) with Windows 10

Focusrite Saffire announcement 2005

Each time there’s a Windows 10 update my 12 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.
    3. Update Dec 2020: Installed a fresh Windows 10 pro and x570 motherboard. And.. spent a few hours trying to get the Vantec PCIE firewire card working. My windows wouldn’t boot. Tried playing with multiple bios settings, including 10-bit tag, assigning PCIE versions, CSM… no luck. Hunch that the legacy windows 10 2004 version was better, and that the AMD AGESA is to blame. Time to start audio card shopping 🙁 🙂 🙁 🙂
    4. Update January 2021: Bought a Motu M2. It’s amazing! (the M4 model would be closer to the Saffire i/o)

Additional things you could try

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:

10 comments

    1. Indeed!

      I built a new computer in December and the Saffire won’t work anymore with the new Windows version and bios restrictions (I tried a PCIE firewire adaptor). I ended up having to give up and bought a new card.

      I now have the Motu M2 and loving it! (Motu M4 would have more i/o like the Saffire) https://motu.com/en-us/products/m-series/m2/

      1. Hi there, this is the method I used to get my Focusrite Saffire to work on a previous Windows 10 computer but it is not working on my current Windows 10 pc. I get to the install driver anyway warning but the saffire won’t boot up on setup and it says it is not detected on the system. Any ideas??

        1. I have the saffire in the device list and when I try to update the driver it says windows found the driver but problem because “this device cannot start (code 10)

          1. If you have a new computer, it might be the motherboard or the Windows 10 version (2004 vs 201X) that you have that might be incompatible. 🙁 I haven’t encountered that error before. I’d try to find resources with firewire related to that error. Best of luck!

    1. Thanks for the share! I’ll add it to the list. Seems like a slightly different approach to temporarily disabling the signature enforcement.

    2. What version of windows 10 do you have?
      I don’t think your procedure works after the latest Windows 10 updates.

      1. I now have Windows 10 Pro v 20H2 (19042) with the Motu M2.

        The suggested fixes here stopped working for me when I changed to an X570 motherboard and moved away from Windows 10 v 2004 (19041); I think the digital signature bypass only worked with v 2004.

        From what I gather, the windows 10 updates have been tightening security, and rightfully so. I even tried using an external PCI firewire card and it didn’t work.

        So if you find or download the Windows 10 2004, the fixes might work. If it’s just a non-internet connected studio computer, might as well see if you can find earlier-patched versions.

        There’s no guarantees these steps work though since they keep patching the OS (which is good security wise), and other factors may add to the puzzle. Bets of luck!

        1. Thanks ideaHydra, I agree with you. My post was addressed to Rubèn.
          When I go to the ‘Select the device driver’ window I don’t see the Focusrite Manufacturer. Rubèn do you know why?

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