It was a convoluted, ridiculously long process during which I had not one, but TWO blue screens on the computer. But I did it! It is sad (and frustrating) that it was such an ordeal, and crazy that I am so happy about accomplishing it that I will blog about it. But it works and I can continue to use the machine and software I've already invested in and hold off purchasing a standalone embroidery machine. Yes, there could be benefits to having a second machine to do embroidery, and it would be nice at times to have a 5x7 field, but there are drawbacks too. The biggest reason for not buying a second machine is that I don't need more stuff. Plus I don't have the room for it.
So for anyone who comes here in search of a solution, I will tell you what I did (and this will also document it for me in case I have to do it again.)
First, VIP Customizer will not run on a Windows 7 64-bit machine. I know I said I got it to work, but it's because I'm running it in XP mode. See, Microsoft realizes that although most software will run fine in Windows 7, some does not, so they have (thankfully) provided a way to run XP in a virtual mode and let you keep using your (old) software.
- Make sure you're running Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate. You cannot run XP Mode in Home Premium. Sorry.
- Go here and follow the directions to download and install XP Mode
- Now normally you'd be able to open VIP from your Windows 7 desktop but, there's this little purple thingy in the way. Yes, the dreaded dongle. The dongle is not recognized on 64-bit machines, so I found I have to run VIP from within XP Mode.
- Within XP Mode you just have to make sure you "attach" the USB token before you start the program. It's a drop down menu at the top of the XP Mode window. So that's all fine and dandy. I can run VIP and even navigate to the drives living in Windows 7 world where I stored all my embroidery designs. But the designs are no good if I can't get them to the machine.
- I can't remember which upgrade it was, 98-XP or XP-Vista, where the cable that came with my Pfaff quit working. Or maybe it was the hardware that excluded serial connectors. Anyway, the solution is the Keyspan USA 19H adapter. It's the only one that works to convert the Pfaff cable to USB. And you probably need another little adapter for the pin-pin connection between the Keyspan and the Pfaff cable.
- The next hurdle is drivers. I went here to download the drivers. I downloaded the W7 drivers just fine and W7 recognized the Keyspan cable but it didn't do me any good because the VIP software is running in XP world and it couldn't see the cable. I downloaded the XP drivers and the machine blue-screened. Not good. The cable came with a disc containing a Keyspan Serial Adapter Assistant program and drivers. However, when I plugged in the cable from within XP Mode and let the device wizards do their thing to search for drivers, it ultimately didn't work. There was a message that there was a problem and the USB cable could not be "attached" like the purple dongle could. So the solution was to download the XP drivers from the tripplite.com site but save them to a folder instead of just choosing run. Then, unplug the cable and from within XP Mode, go to the folder and click it and expand it and run the install.
- So now the cable was finally recognized (attached) and I could go embroider, right? No. Wrong COM port. The cable installs on COM3 and it needs to be either COM1 or COM2 for the VIP software. From within the Keyspan Serial Adapter Assistant program, go to Port Mapping and change it to COM1 or COM2. It said COM2 was already in use but it let me pick that one anyway. All is good now, right? No.
- Still couldn't communicate. Back to the Keyspan Serial Adapter Assistant program to see what I can change. I changed the Endpoints from "Compatible (Interrupt)" to "High Performance (Bulk)" and that worked. I have no idea why, I don't know what the two choices even mean, all I know is that I jumped for joy and let out a whoop when I saw this: