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Thread: My Joystick Hates Me!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Posts
    342

    Angry My Joystick Hates Me!

    Last month I bought a Microsoft Sidewinder Precision 2 joystick (USB) and installed it (under Windows ME) using the enclosed Sidewinder Game Controller Software 4.0. This joystick worked perfectly. I only have two games on my computer (Microsoft Flight Simulator WW II Europe Series and Crazy Taxi) and the joystick worked fine with both. However, last week when I decided to play the Flight Simulator I noticed that it would not respond to the joystick. I unplugged the joystick and then plugged it back in and then the joystick worked fine again. Later on when I rebooted the computer, I noticed that again the joystick was not recognized. I again unplugged it and plugged it back in and the computer again recognized the joystick.

    The next day I booted the computer up and went to Start > Settings > Control Panel > Gaming Options and once again noted that my joystick was not recognized by the computer. I did the unplug, replug thing again but this time the computer did not recognize the joystick at all! I plugged in a Sidewinder Game Pad (USB) and the computer recognized it immediately. I removed the game pad and plugged in the joystick, but again no recognition. At this point I figured the joystick software was corrupted so I removed and reinstalled the software. It worked! The joystick was recognized and it worked fine again...until the next day.

    Next day the computer again did not recognize the joystick. I did the unplug and replug thing again and the computer recognized the joystick. Even after several reboots of the computer, the joystick still worked just fine. I though I had finally solved the problem. However, the next day I was back at square one. The computer once again did not recognize the joystick and the unplug replug thing didn't work and repeated remove and reinstalls of the software haven't worked either. Now the computer never recognizes the joystick! It seems to have progressively gone downhill.

    I have read every readme file and gone to every Microsoft troubleshooting site I can find without finding a solution. The joystick itself is good. I plugged it into another computer and it was recognized. I plugged a regular Sidewinder joystick into my computer and it was properly recognized and worked fine with both of my games (although no rudder control since it doesn't offer that feature). All six of my USB ports are good and I have not overloaded them and the other devices (2) work fine (Microsoft Intellimouse and Microtek Scanmaker 4900).

    I have tried the Add New Hardware option in the Control Panel and that didn't work either. When I check for "Problem Devices" under System Information I get the following:

    Device PNP Device ID Error Code

    ACPI IRQ Holder for PCI IRQ Steering ACPI\*PNP0C0F\00000005 22
    ACPI IRQ Holder for PCI IRQ Steering ACPI\*PNP0C0F\00000006 22
    ACPI IRQ Holder for PCI IRQ Steering ACPI\*PNP0C0F\00000007 22
    Unknown Device ROOT\MEDIA\0000 28


    Anyway, I just can't figure out why the joystick worked fine for awhile and then decided to disappear. The only significant change I have made to my system involves the Microsoft Windows Updates. On April 10, I installed the DirectX 9.0a End User Runtime and the 816093: Security Update Microsoft Virtual Machine (Microsoft VM). My problem arose shortly after these updates, however, I just thought it was a coincidence. However just to make sure, I did a system restore back to one of my April 9 check points and the problem still was not solved. Anyone have any ideas about how to solve my problem? I'm at my wits end!
    Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati (aka PV)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    The Mountain State
    Posts
    23,354
    1. I have found USB to be very buggy...on my old HP it was a very hit and miss item. It was so bad that I could not use a parallel device (printer) and USB device together. They were not sharing an IRQ, but printing would disable the scanner (same symptoms as you are having with the joystick).

    2. Check in safemode for ghost install of the joystick.
    AV, Anti-Trojan List;Browser and Email client List;Popup Killer List;Portable Apps
    “When men yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon.” - Thomas Paine
    Remember: Amateurs built the ark; professionals built the Titantic."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Posts
    342
    Thanks mjc! I took your advice and checked for a ghost install of the joystick in safe mode but didn't find a thing. I did a little more research today and I think I found the root of the problem.

    After checking Tom's Hardware Guide and a few other sources I have discovered that the drivers supplied with the Microsoft Sidewinder Precision 2 joystick are largely incompatible with Windows 98 and ME. I found a lot of people on various gaming forums that experienced the same problems with this device. As one person told me, "...as you uninstall and reinstall the software, Windows starts to slowly forget about the joystick until finally it won't see it at all. There is nothing you can do to make it "remember" again. Microsoft knows about the problem and refuses to fix it."

    So it appears that the Microsoft game programmers and the Microsoft Windows programmers are not on the same page. Even if I was able to fix the problem I am very sure it would once again rear its ugly head sometime in the future. Therefore, I have decided to cut my losses and get rid of this piece of junk. Tom's Hardware Guide highly recommended the Thrustmaster Top Gun Fox 2 Pro joystick. This device requires no additional drivers! It is truly plug n' play. I ordered one tonight.
    Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati (aka PV)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
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    NM USA
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    1,862
    Thanks, Flick! I well remember my husband taking some precious "off" time to fool with troubleshooting a stupid joystick..and pretty sure it's the one you're talking about. So, thanks for the post, and thanks for the recommendation on alternative.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    The Mountain State
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    23,354
    I refuse to believe that it is that simple!

    Why, that almost sounds like a BUG....but it can't be can it?

    It must be a feature!

    AV, Anti-Trojan List;Browser and Email client List;Popup Killer List;Portable Apps
    “When men yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon.” - Thomas Paine
    Remember: Amateurs built the ark; professionals built the Titantic."

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Posts
    342
    You're right mjc! I must have overlooked something.

    I've owned this computer (HP Pavilion 9795c) for about three and a half years now and I use it every day. I've upgraded it a bunch of times (512 RDRAM, replaced the stock 60 GB hard with another "super fast" 60 GB drive, added another 80 GB hard drive and I've done some other improvements). My aim has always been to use top quality components. I have the top of the line Maxtor hard drives, a Sony 19" Trinitron monitor. I replaced the HP keyboard with a Microsoft keyboard and replaced the HP mouse with a Microsoft Optical Intellimouse. I avoid putting junk software in my computer. In short, I have always attempted to buy the best (at the lowest price of course) with the idea that my system would be fast, reliable and relatively trouble free. I am not really into computer games but I do enjoy the occasional diversion of pretending to be a WW II fighter pilot in my P-51D Mustang or driving like a maniac through the streets of San Francisco in "Crazy Taxi". I just figured that since Microsoft makes the Combat Flight Simulator that I play and since Microsoft also makes the OS that I run (ME) that Microsoft would also make the best joystick for flight simulation. I could kick myself for being so "smart"! I guess I should have looked before I leaped. Sorry I was too late in my discovery to help you kayofcircles but maybe this information will help someone else. And, as always, thanks again for your help mjc! After I get the new joystick and spend some time using it, I'll put up a review of my experience with the device.
    Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati (aka PV)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Posts
    342
    Well, I am going to eat some crow now. Pardon me if I burp. As usual, mjc was right on target! It was indeed a ghost problem. I feel so stupid! I got the new joystick, loaded the software (turns out it DOES require software) plugged it (joystick) into the USB and it was not recognized! I went back to basics and checked everything I knew to check in both regular and safe mode. All of a sudden I saw the problem. The darn SideWinder 2 joystick did indeed have the ghost problem as mjc had mentioned. I removed the ghost and now both joysticks work perfectly! Did I say I feel like an idiot? Ok, go ahead and kick me. I deserve it. So mjc, I am once again very grateful for your wonderful help! Oh yeah, the new joystick is great but I'm just too embarrassed right now to go into any details. I'll try to do better.
    Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati (aka PV)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
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    NM USA
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    Thanks, you read my mind. I was trying to figure out where to put a "Flick?..about that joystick?" thread to follow up for my beloved. You couldn't possibly make more boo boos here than me..really!..so do you like the new joystick better? And I will have my husband check the Safe mode thing, but we were waiting for your "review" on joystick because beloved has had problems installing the Sidewinder on several puters, and getting a dislike for it, you know?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Posts
    342
    Hi Kay! Thanks for the empathy. Ok, it's Showtime. I really like the Thrustmaster Fox 2 Pro joystick! However, let me give you the bad news first. Contrary to the review I saw at Tom's Hardware, this joystick does require its own software drivers. Based upon the review I read at Tom's, I thought this thing was plug 'n play, but it isn't. I thought it was going to be like my Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer (i.e. plug it in the USB and you're ready to go). The software that comes on the included CD installs easily and it's easy to customize the joystick buttons (if you desire to do so). Also, the joystick is recognized by both of my games! The second piece of bad news is that this joystick is no longer made or supported by its maker (Guillemot, Inc.) so don't expect any help if you experience any problems (and if you dislike France because of recent political events, then don't buy this stick!). Since this joystick is no longer in production, Amazon was selling them for $27 with free shipping. However, they sold out last time I checked.

    As for its physical characteristics, this stick has a much bigger base than the similar Microsoft version. It is very stable and doesn't slide around on a desktop or on my lap. When I use a joystick, I put a thin board ( 9"x12") on my lap and set the joystick on top. Also, the F2P can be plugged into either the sound card game port or a USB port. The controls on this stick are very nifty. I like the feel of the F2P much better. One example is the throttle control. On the Microsoft stick you have to control the throttle using your left thumb and index finger (for precise control). With the F2P your left thumb alone can slide the throttle forward and back as needed while your other fingers are free to control the other buttons (like firing missiles in Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator).

    The real advantage of the F2P for me is the feel and fire button placement on the stick. I am 6' 2" tall and weigh in at 190 lbs. My hands are not huge but they're not small either. On the Microsoft stick my hand seems to be too small. I have to "choke up" on the joystick handle to use the fire button and I often have to reposition my hand on the stick to find the right spot to perform a particular function. On the F2P, the stick fits my hand like a glove. It's as though the stick was designed especially for me. I guess what I'm trying to say is, the F2P is ergonomic. The other cool thing about this stick is the resistance dial. On the bottom of the unit there's a dial that allows you to increase or decrease the joystick tension level. The user can make it sloppy or tight depending on their preference level.

    On a scale from 1 to 10, I give it a 9 and I'd rate the Microsoft stick at 7. I use the F2P on a regular basis, however, I am a great believer in backups, so I have the Microsoft stick nearby in case I need it. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, the F2P looks too cool!
    Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati (aka PV)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
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    Thanks, Flick. I appreciate it, and have copied/pasted your "review" to print for my beloved.

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