Some users are still using infrared receivers (for Media Center remote control or syncing with sports- and scuba watches). After upgrading to Windows 10, infrared devices won’t work anymore – even USB IrDA devices.
IrDA is dead …
None of my PCs is supporting an onboard IrDA receiver – some of my devices are using a USB remote dongle for Windows Media Center remote control. Because I haven’t plans to upgrade these machines to Windows 10 I did not investigate the IrDA topic. Recently I stumbled about some German Microsoft Answers postings, where users shouting about non functional infrared devices in Windows 10.
Some user wrote: After Upgrading to Windows 10, a SigmaTel USB-IrDA Dongle refuse to work. An attempt to install older IrDA drivers failed, because Windows 10 blocks this install. Or the drivers drops (Code 31) in device manager. My first idea was, that the user need vendor specific drivers for his IrDA device. But it seems more complicated.
IrDA-Stack removed in Windows 10
Just by accident I found an explanation. A lot owners of Polar pulse trackers or other gadgets are using the IrDA interface for syncing. Then I stumbled upon a German MS Answers forum post from August 10 2015, where a missing IrDA functionality is confirmed. Also some German computer news sites mentioned that issue. Here is an explanation:
In the past, many vendors are using the IrDA stack, implemented in Windows. So USB infrared receivers don’t need their own drivers or IrDA stack. It simply works. Now Microsoft has removed the IrDA stack in Windows 10 RTM, so all USB infrared receivers/devices are bricked. Only, if a vender already has implemented its own IrDA stack and provides Windows 10 compatible software, the infrared receiver/devices may work.
Unfortunately that seem not bee the case. And more curious: It seems that Windows 10 Preview Builds still has a working IrDA stack. User CoolGear Caleb, who is working for Coolgear, has detailed the situation within a Microsoft Answers forum post.
I work for a company (Coolgear) that sells some of these IR adapters, and even some Polar compatible models.
We were taken completely by surprise by all of this. We had tested all of our IR adapters, even the older (and much better SigmaTel models), and they worked just fine with the Windows 10 pre-release editions and thought nothing further of it.
On launch day, none of them worked anymore. Come to find out, some time between the pre-release edition we tested with, and the final release, Microsoft removed *all* IRDA support from Windows. The entire IRDA stack is gone (imagine a computer coming without TCP/IP support!).
We’ve been in touch with MosChip/ASIX (the chip used in all of these adapters) and they have assured us that they will be working to provide us (and all of you!) with and updated driver & software, but can provide no ETA. Obviously they have to do a lot more work than simply fixing a few bugs an resubmitting for WHQL certification, so it may take quite a while.
Stay tuned to our website, we’ll have the the driver posted there as soon as it becomes available, and in theory it *should* work with any MCS7780 based IRDA adapters, as we do not make firmware or EPROM changes to our units.
For those with the older (and frankly superior) SigmaTel units, I’m afraid that company has been out of business for a long time, so a driver update for Windows 10 is unlikely :(
So users of devices using the MCS7780 chip from manufacturer ASIX/MosChip may hope for Windows 10 IrDA drivers. This may be the case for scuba watches – scubapro is working to provide a driver for Windows 10 (see). I guess, they are using the MCS7780 chip. Users of devices with SigmaTel hardware are out of luck. Vendor Polar has confirmed, that they won’t provide new drivers – Windows 7 is the last supported version, because SigmaTel is out of business.
So the solution or the fix is clear: Go back to Windows 7 (or previous Windows). My hope, that Microsoft will add IrDA support to future Windows 10 Build is below Zero.
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