04-24-2010 05:18 AM - edited 04-24-2010 05:59 AM
Dear Logitech users,
For those not interested in the conclusions I have made, please skip the following paragraph and read the FIX section of my post.
I have had my Z Cinema speaker set for around 2 years. At first, I was using them with a Windows Vista 64bit Ultimate based system via USB link for more than a year. Everything worked fine, then went for a Windows 7 64bit Ultimate CLEAN installation, the speakers still worked fine via the USB link. After a few months of use I started to experience the crashes commonly described by users at various sites and forums. The crashes at first were rare, but the frequency quickly rose to a point when I couldn't listen more than one song without to have to reboot my computer. There were several possible fixes proposed by other users, but neither of them kept all the functionality of the speaker set, and in my case neither using the default Windows 7 driver and NO Z Cinema software installed, nor restarting Audiosrv and the related services, nor clean installations of Windows 7 and Windows Vista fixed the issue.
That's why I have come to the conclusion, that this is a hardware problem with the communication and/or control logic of the set. That I dare to promote as the truth for several obvious reasons - 1st the speakers did work fine both with Vista and 7, and since nothing in the hardware of the PC changed, nor in the Z Cinema software, the OS is not responsible for the crash, 2nd Logitech's support is aware of the issue massively spread among the users of the Z Cinema, but still Logitec does NOT provide any updates on the software, furthermore they claim that the product has ended its life. That is maybe because they know that no matter what improvement they do in the Z Cinema software, they will not be able to fix the hardware component failed in the sets, thus no support is proved, nor new versions of the software. 3rd after my fix is applied to the system, it's clearly "hearable" that there is something wrong with the USB logic in the speaker set, either with the I/O buffers, or with the DSP processor. Furthermore no matter if the computer is feeding music or not, from time to time the computer is detecting that the speaker set is unplugged (even though that physically the connection is still on) and quickly detected as plugged in again.
***************** FIX Section ******************
Please be advised if you follow this procedures you do it on your OWN risk, and the author (me) is not responsible for the consequences.
Supposedly you have installed Z Cinema software already.
First you have to obtain the file usbaudio.sys from a Windows XP installation disk, the file is supposed to be found on the CD in the directory I386. Next you have to take ownership of the usbaudio.sys in the directory C:\Windows\System32\drivers , you can do that manually, or use the GrandFullAdminControl context menu fix, that can be found googling. After you do these two steps, you have to replace the usbaudio.sys file in the C:\Windows\System32\drivers and in two file repository folders. You can find those folders by simple search via F3 button in the Windows directory. If you experience problems replacing the file, you probably have to take ownership of the whole "drivers" directory. The last step is to reboot, and using the F8 key disable the driver enforcement function of Windows 7.
Now you should have fully working Z Cinema speakers, connected via USB cable and fully functional remote control.
Side effects of that intervention are: instead of crashing while playing sound, your speakers will just stop playing the sound for about a second, and then continue, in extensive playback, after several speaker stop/starts your Z Cinema software will stop controlling the speaker set, so you just have to right click on it and exit, then turn it on again via the Z Cinema shortcut. Rarely, but possible you will have to unplug and plug again your set manually to allow Windows to use them again.
and hopefully Logitechs support will live up to our expectations someday...
04-29-2010 01:01 PM
How do you write to the drivers folder? I'm using windows 7 and I can't modify the folder. Can you explain the last steps? " two file repository folders" and the F8 part.
05-06-2010 08:34 AM
Well to write to drivers folder (or any system folder) in Windows 7 you have to take full control over it either using the complicated tabs and menus in the folder properties window, or you can download this http://www.mediafire.com/?mznijqn2znj reg file, add it to you registry and you'll get a "Grant Full Admin Control" option in the right mouse button context menu. Once you grand yourself control over it you can do whatever you wish with the files in it.
The two file repository folders have different names on every machine, because they are created automatically on different occasions from the system restore service. That's why if you want to find the rest usbaudio.sys files you have to use the search of windows explorer, the simplest way is to navigate to your Windows folder and pres F3 key of the keyboard, then type in the search field usbaudio.sys and hit enter. After a while you'll see the files, replace all of them with the one you got from Windows XP installation CD.
The last step is to reboot your machine and right before the windows starts to boot again (you know before the windows colorful logo shows) keep hitting the F8 key of the keyboard. If you hit it on time you will be presented the Windows 7 boot menu, choose Disable driver enforcement option, and hit enter. You have to do that every time you reboot your machine, otherwise your speakers just won't work.
I hope I was able to explain it better, and help you.
06-12-2010 01:06 PM
Update on the topic - for those that hitting F8 is a pain, you can sign the xp usbaudio.sys with Driver Signature Enforcement Overrider 1.3b found at http://www.ngohq.com/home.php?page=dseo . Just follow the instructions and you'll be OK.