2010-10-24

IntelliMouse Explorer 1.0 in Windows 7

I have an old IntelliMouse Explorer. It's the original version, wired, but still works great. Alongside my Natural Keyboard Pro, it's an old, functional, comfortable piece of hardware that I refuse to get rid of. The replacements that have come along since often fall short in various ways. And, much like the Natural Keyboard Pro and other strong Microsoft hardware input devices from years gone by, Microsoft's software drivers have stopped supporting them.

There's no real reason for them not to work today. The keyboards haven't changed much, except to add or change the extra control keys sprinkled around the standard 121. Mice, even less so; they have the same X-Y directional input, five buttons, and a scroll wheel they've had for over a decade. But if you install the current version of IntelliType or IntelliPoint, they will refuse to detect your older keyboard and mouse; and even though the operating system will use them just fine for standard functions, all the fancy buttons and the ability to remap them (that used to work on older versions of the software) won't be available.

I came across this blog post on Blogfeld.com that describes in detail how to get a Natural Keyboard Pro to have full functionality in Vista and Windows 7. I followed these instructions earlier this month, and I can verify that they work flawlessly with the current version of IntelliType software (currently version 8). I thought maybe the same technique could be applied to get my old IntelliMouse Explorer to work with IntelliPoint 8 as well.

I won't post the details here — Blogfeld already does an excellent job at describing everything — I'll just indicate what I did to apply his technique to IntelliPoint.

I searched for an old version of IntelliPoint off of Microsoft's download site. You can still download IntelliPoint 5.2 from their site (link as of the time of this post is here, but you can search for "IntelliPoint 5" on download.microsoft.com to find it) and installed it on a Windows XP workstation in order to get the old files.

On the Windows 7 machine, I opened up the point64.inf file (IntelliPoint's version of IntelliType's type64.inf — and yes, I'm using 64-bit; the 32-bit version would naturally be point32.inf), and in the [MsMfg…] section, I added the following string to the block of IDs listed:

%HID\Vid_045E&Pid_001E.DeviceDesc%=HID_Filtr_Inst, HID\Vid_045E&Pid_001E

Further down in the [Strings] section, I added:

HID\VID_045E&PID_001E.DeviceDesc="Microsoft USB IntelliMouse Explorer (IntelliPoint)"

The next step was to modify the IPointDevices.xml file. This one required a little more thought, as IntelliPoint 5 did not have an IPointDevices.xml file to copy from. I noticed, however, that the IntelliMouse Explorer 3, which is supported in IntelliPoint 8, has the exact same configuration as the IntelliMouse Explorer 1. So, I found the <Device> section that describes the IntelliMouse 3, copied it, and pasted it to the end of IPointDevices.xml. I changed the <Name> node to read, simply, "IntelliMouse Explorer", changed the <OemAbbreviation> node to "IME", and changed the value under <HWID Type='PID'> to read "0x001E" (the last four characters of the USB ID, used in the point64.inf file above). I also had to change the ID in the <Device> node itself to something that was not used elsewhere in the file — '10' was good enough.

I followed the rest of the instructions from Blogfeld, and sure enough, it worked great. The configuration screen in IntelliPoint uses the images of the IntelliMouse Explorer 3, and it allows configuration of all five buttons and the scroll wheel, including per-application settings, like any other mouse it "officially" supports.

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