Wacom – Getting a piece of history working.
One of the things that I used to paint textures as well as art is a very ancient Wacom GD-0912-R pad that I have been using ever since I had a 486. It’s a great pad really! I paid about $400 back in the 90’s for it. 17 inches of space to draw on making coloring super easy! The problem was the Wacom GD series of pads was discontinued since the windows XP era. You can still find these pads on Ebay ranging anywhere from $30 to $50 depending on condition, and the peripherals for this pad seem to be a bit of a collectors item. Taking note that extra pens cost $75. (I kick myself to this day that I misplaced the box of extra plastic nubs for my pen). For those wondering, the only pens that are compatible with the GD series is GD and GS series pens/mice/airbrushes. None of the Bambo or Intuios series pens will work with the GD series.
When I initially upgraded to windows 7 I was stuck between a rock in a hard place. Almost having to setup ANOTHER PC just for the sake of drawing again in Photoshop. Thankfully my new PC still had classic DB9 Serial ports on the back so hooking it directly was not even an issue. The issue was the software and making it actually TALK to the operating system.
Reading through some forums it pointed me in the right direction as to how to go about it. Mostly about finding the WacomTablet_605-7 Driver, downloading it. and Installing it to my PC. Drivers for the GD Series can be selected by clicking in “Intuos” for the model type and “Windows XP” to get this exact driver .
If you don’t want to go to Wacoms site and download the driver from there.
A kind word of warning. You should always go to the manufacturers website to download the drivers first and foremost and you shouldn’t be downloading things off of a share site unless you trust the individual that is offering the files. And always have a virus checker of some sort installed such as Avast. Or AVG. As sometimes not even the person offering the files may know if it is infected or not.
Despite what the Microsoft Forums say, turning on Compatibility mode and running the program did not work for me at all. While it installed the ‘flicks’ utility that comes with the Wacom driver it did NOT install the drivers needed to drive my Wacom GD series tablet.
I am not one to throw away perfectly working tech! So here was my experience on how I got it working.
Installation of the Wacom pad:
Before you even get started your device manager should look something like the picture above. with the icon noted as “WACOM GD” with a driver not found. If you don’t even have this in your device manager, then there is something wrong with your connection settings (I.E. Wacom hooked up to COM3 instead of COM1, Serial chip set may be incompatible or in the absolute worst case scenario, due to the overall age of the Wacom pad, there could be a breach in your serial cable connection.)
Essentially, when windows boots up. it polls each serial port looking for devices and has done so since the windows 95 (and with some coaxing windows 3.1 ) such as serial based mice, UPS power supplies, and other hardware, your Wacom pad IS smart enough to let your operating system know it is there but not smart enough to automatically find the driver for you since Wacom did not feel like certifying a legacy driver with Microsoft’s update manager.
The very first thing you do of course is download the file off of the Wacom website. Remember to select the Intuos series and Windows XP. Choosing windows 7 is no good unless you have a USB edition which if you do have the USB edition your life got a lot easier and this whole topic is irrelevant to you. Do not click on the file! the only thing clicking on the file do at the very best will auto-extract the files to a temp folder and install the flick software. leaving you with a broken Wacom GD device in your device manager.
Instead, you will want to Extract the files in this .exe with a program like WinRAR to a folder (Picture above has me extracting the files to the root of my C: drive), this will not only allow you to setup your software in the compatibility mode you desire, but choose the driver files after it is done as in my case Windows 7 will try to look for the files and simply give up; Leaving only the Wacom GD device non-functional in the device manager.
From here, we will select the Compatibility tab and check the box “Run the program in compatibility mode for” and choose Windows 2000 from the drop-down menu. click OK on the bottom to close out of this window and then double-click to install.
Special notes: A lot of people have reported success with setting compatibility mode to Windows XP SP3 after first running Windows 2000 mode. Thanks for all of the feedback on this.
Get into your Device manager (Start, right-click computer, Manage, Device Manager, Etc) and then double-click on the Wacom GD Driver that has the yellow exclamation mark. Click on the Driver tab on the top and click the Update Driver button.
In the Wacom environment we are going to point to our install directory via /System32/64/Drivers and then click the “OK” Button.
Select the Wacom HID Device and click Next. It will then begin to install along with some possible other Wacom HID devices depending on how many options you have with your pad such as 3d-mouse or extra pens. I should note that there are some people that have had better luck installing the Wacom Virtual HID driver but after a majority of feedback i’ve gotten as well as testing this myself. the Wacom HID Device is the way to go.
You may receive an update driver warning. This is normal as we are forcing the driver into windows 7. Click Yes to continue.
If everything installed accordingly you should see the Wacom device drivers respectfully underneath the Human Interface Device tree within device manager. After the exclamations went away I tested out my Wacom with my pen and it registered perfectly. So thank you very much for reading through all of that. I hope this blog entry was at least visually pleasing versus going through the endless forums messages.
Special notes about the Adobe CS collection:
For some reason the 64 bit versions of Photoshop and Illustrator do not seem to acknowledge pressure sensitivity with this pad. I didn’t have this problem with CS5 but CS6 it is now getting angry with. 32-bit is operating just fine. You will notice the exclamation mark next to pen pressure where adobe states “control by pen pressure requires a pressure sensitive tablet.” Gimp and Paint Tool Sai work without issue because they are naturally 32 bit programs. If anyone knows a work-around for this issue I would be happy to hear it!
One less excuse to slack off and watch movies now. Now I can draw!