Windows 7: Problems with Firewire Driver / Devices

Created on: May 5, 2013
Last updated: August 25, 2015

Windows 7's built-in FireWire (called IEEE 1394) drivers do not work properly with some Firewire devices. These devices will either fail to be recognized properly or lock up when initiating file transfers of any appreciable size. Luckily there is a relatively simple fix for this issue. Windows 7 includes the legacy drivers from Windows Vista, which seem to resolve this problem in our limited testing. You simply need to roll back the drivers on your 1394 host adapter by doing the following:


1. Open Device Manager and expand your IEEE 1394 Host Bus Controllers.

2. Right-click on your 1394 device, then choose "Update Driver Software".

3. In the new window, click on "Browse my computer for driver software", then choose "Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer".

4. Select the driver with the word "legacy" in brackets. 

This should resolve your Firewire device issues in Windows 7.


Another thing you can do to optimize the performance of your external hard drive over FireWire in Windows is to enable write caching. To do this, follow these steps:

1. Open "My Computer" or "Computer" from your "Start" menu or button.

2. Right-click the external hard drive from the list and select "Properties".

3. Click the "Hardware" tab.

4. Highlight the drive you're having problems with from the drive list and click on "Properties".

5. Click on the "Policies" tab.

6. You will see two buttons: "Optimize for quick removal" and "Optimize for performance".

7. If not selected, select "Optimize for performance" and click on "OK". If running Vista or Windows 7 also check "enable write caching on the disk".

8. Click on "OK" and exit.