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Instructions For Installing Application And Driver Software

Troubleshoot USB Driver For RF Viewer on Windows PC

The instructions below describe in detail the steps necessary to properly install the application and driver software for RF Viewer. Since this procedure likely differs from what you may be familiar with compared to installing other products, it is important to follow the instructions. If you do not follow the instructions nothing bad happens — except when the application runs it will not recognize the wireless USB dongle. And even if that were to occur all is not lost — it’s just that we will then need to dig into Windows’ Device Manager to clean-up things a bit so we can repeat the driver installation from a fresh state.

Here are the installation steps:
NOTE: For Windows 10, please see additional instructions at the bottom of this page.

1. Attach the wireless USB dongle to your Windows machine. This step differs from other products where the software is installed first. For RF Viewer, the USB device is ATTACHED to the machine BEFORE running the software installation program.

2. Run the software installation program. Here are the links for Touchstone (Standard), Touchstone-Pro and Clear Waves:
Touchstone (Standard)
Touchstone-Pro
Clear Waves

3. When the installation is almost complete it displays a list of software drivers that will be installed. It is important that the one for RF Viewer be installed. It does not matter whether the drivers for RF Explorer or Signal Hound get installed — for now, you should leave those unchecked.
RF Viewer Setup -- Install Drivers

4. Since the software driver for RF Viewer was selected in the previous step, the setup program will prompt you to run the Zadig utility. The Zadig utility is used to install a ‘Bulk-In, Interface’ or ‘RTL2832U’ driver for the wireless USB dongle used by RF Viewer. Again, please make sure the wireless USB dongle is ATTACHED to your Windows machine BEFORE pressing the ‘Install’ button that launches the Zadig utility program.
RF Viewer Setup -- Run Zadig Utility

5. The Zadig utility will detect all the USB devices currently attached to your Windows machine. Select the Bulk-In, Interface (Interface 0) or RTL2832U device.
Zadig Utility -- Select Bulk-In, Interface device

6. Next, press the button to install the WinUSB (v6.1.7600.16385) driver for your Bulk-In, Interface or RTL2832U device. This could take a minute or two.
Zadig Utility -- Select Bulk-In, Interface device

7. When the installation completes and if it is successful, then Windows’ Device Manager will display a new ‘Bulk-In, Interface’ device under the category ‘Universal Serial Bus devices’, as shown below:
Device Manager -- Successful Install Bulk-In,Interface driver


8. Before launching the application for the first time, it might be a good idea to test whether the driver software was properly installed and is working. Here is a link to a page with instructions on testing / reinstalling the device driver. Scroll down to the article entitled: “Testing And Re-Installing the USB Driver For RF Viewer”


Update for Windows 10


The Zadig utility may detect the wireless USB dongle as an ‘RTL2838UHDIR’ device.

Zadig Utility -- Select RTL2838UHIDR device


When the installation completes and if it is successful, then Windows’ Device Manager will display a new ‘RTL2838UHDIR’ device under the category ‘Universal Serial Bus devices’, as shown below:

Device Manager -- Successful Install RTL2838UHDIR driver

Testing And Re-Installing the USB Driver For RF Viewer

When you purchase RF Viewer then the RTL-SDR software driver for the wireless USB dongle gets installed when you run the installation and setup program for Touchstone-Pro or Clear Waves. To verify the driver is properly installed we use a third-party tool from the folks at Osmocom called rtl_test.exe. The rtl_test.exe tool can be found in the installation folder under the rtl-sdr-release\x32 directory — for example, when Touchstone-Pro is installed then rtl_test.exe is located in the directory C:\Program Files (x86)\NutsAboutNets\TouchstonePro\rtl-sdr-release\x32. To use the rtl_test.exe tool you will need to open a Windows CMD window, navigate to the C:\Program Files (x86)\NutsAboutNets\TouchstonePro\rtl-sdr-release\x32 directory and type ‘rtl_test’ at the command prompt. When you run the rtl_test.exe program you will see one of 4 results:

RF Viewer-- Wireless USB Dongle, RF Spectrum Analyzer

In case [1], you will need to attach the wireless USB dongle to your PC machine. In case [2], everything is working fine. In cases [3], [4] it is necessary to reinstall the driver for the wireless USB dongle.

To reinstall the USB driver we will use a wonderful tool called Zadig, graciously provided by Pete Batard/Akeo and freely distributed. The Zadig tool comes in two flavors — Windows XP or Windows Vista and later. Download the appropriate version for your particular Windows operating system.


Here are the steps for reinstalling the USB driver:

1. Attach the wireless USB dongle to your Windows machine.

2. Launch Windows’ Device Manager and under the ‘View’ menu item select ‘Show Hidden Devices’.

3. Uninstall the ‘Bulk-In’ drivers under the categories ‘Other devices’ and ‘Universal Serial Bus devices’.
Device Manager -- Unininstall Bulk-In Drivers

4. Detach / reattach the device a few times to make sure that no drivers appear under the category ‘Universal Serial Bus devices’. With the device attached, Windows’ Device Manager should look like this:
Device Manager -- Uninstall Bulk-In, Interface driver

5. Launch the Zadig utility and then detach and reattach the wireless USB dongle. In the drop-drop list you should see ‘Bulk-In, Interface (Interface 0)’. Select the ‘Bulk-In, Interface (Interface 0)’ device and the ‘WinUSB’ driver. Then press the button to ‘Install Driver’.
Zadig -- USB Driver Installation

6. If the installation of the ‘Bulk-In, Interface’ driver succeeded, then you should see the new driver under the category ‘Universal Serial Bus device’.
Device Manager -- Bulk-In,Interface Driver Successfully Installed

7. After the driver has been reinstalled, then run the rtl_test.exe tool again — we are expecting to see result [2].

NOTE: It may be necessary to repeat steps 3-6 three times or even reboot your machine after uninstalling the Bulk-In driver. This is because Windows caches drivers and doesn’t necessarily uninstall them each time.

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