Updating your Microfilm Reader's computer to use Firewire

Minnesota Local History Blog.

Minnesota Local History Blog.

Advice and help with building history capacity.

The Minnesota Historical Society’s Local History Services helps Minnesotans preserve and share their history. This blog is a resource of best practices on the wide variety of museum, preservation, conservation, funding, and non-profit management topics. We’re here to help.

All MNHS Blogs

Subscribe by e-mail:

 Subscribe in a reader

Updating your Microfilm Reader's computer to use Firewire

By: Joe Hoover | Information Technology | Tech Tips | February 17, 2021

Note: this blog post is an adaption of the solution provided by SpotImaging

Microfilm reader/scanner manufacturers discontinued using Firewire back as late as 2013 going forward with USB ports instead. This has begun to leave users of these old Microfilm reader/scanner machines with obsolete machines that are less than 10 years old.
Unfortunately, microfilm reader manufactures have been less than responsive with a solution to update their machines with some sales teams instead recommending complete replacement with a new and expensive machine. 

While Microsoft has officially discontinued support for Firewire (IEEE1394) with the introduction of Windows 10 OS, there is a workaround. 
It involves installing the legacy FireWire drivers into the Windows 10 OS. 
The procedure and links to the legacy drivers are provided below for your convenience.

The Fix for Windows 8 and 8.1 and for Windows 10
In Windows 8 and 8.1, plus Windows 10, Microsoft left out the Legacy driver. Just go to this page on the Microsoft Support page and download the Legacy driver. Then follow the installing directions on that same support page.

If you are running Windows 10, you will need to use the Windows 8/8.1 Legacy driver. So follow the same steps as for Windows 8/8.1.

Then Reboot your computer.
You will now be able to import video via the FireWire port on your computer.
If you are still having a problem after you have switched the FireWire driver to Legacy, then the problem may be with the FireWire port.

The fix is simple:

  1. Install a FireWire card into one of the open slots in the computer
  2. Using the instructions above, set the drive to Legacy.
  3. Reboot the computer.
  4. Then connect the FireWire cable from the video camera, into the new FireWire port that you just added.

Note: If you’re having a problem getting the FireWire port working on a Dell XPS 8100 or on a Gateway computer with the drivers from above. Get the driver.

If you have a Dell or a Gateway computer and the above fix doesn't work for you, then you might want to try the above link.
This fixes the problem most of the time. FireWire cards are not expensive; they run from $10  and up, depending on any extra features the card may have.

NOTE: Sometimes when Microsoft has issued certain updates, it can cause Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 to switch back to use the original 1394 OHCI Compliant Host Controller driver. If you notice the FireWire device is transferring slowly or
not working, then just repeat the above steps and reinstall the Legacy driver.

Solution page to Win 8.1 & 10 OS support of Firewire cards:
3rd Party Work Procedure for Legacy FW Driver Install-WIN 10 OS