SmartMedia Card readers for W7/W10 - two options

  1. Posts : 373
    Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit

    SmartMedia Card readers for W7/W10 - two options

    My vintage guitar gear records tracks to SmartMedia cards (also used in cameras back in the day). I have been searching for 2 days to find a reader that will work with W7. Most of them are for W98/2000. I ended up finding two options and thought I'd share for anyone else looking for a SmartMedia reader:

    Option 1 is on Amazon and is (imo) overpriced at $29.99. INDEM All-in-One reader/writer which reads a variety of cards, including SmartMedia, and writes to cards as well. Compatible with W7/W10 and uses USB 2.0/1.1. Has a high rating overall but within the reviews there were some complaints it's made poorly with internal plastic 'guides' askew (for slipping cards in).
    Reads a handful of card types
    USB 2.0 transfer speeds (but also list USB 1.1 so maybe newer cards are read at 2.0 speeds and older SmartMedia cards are read at 1.1 speeds, I don't know)
    Writes to cards as well as reads them
    If'y durability
    high price

    Option 2 is made by PCcables, online since 1996, a reputable company that makes cables and various products. Their reader only reads SmartMedia cards and CompactFlash cards, and is USB 1.1. Cost is about $18 with shipping. They claim to have tested with VISTA (compatible with W7 too), and W10.
    Simple design that seems more durable and likely to last and perform reliably over time
    Cheaper almost by half
    USB 1.1 transfer speeds
    Only reads, does not write
    Limited to SmartMedia and CompactFlash cards.

    If you only need to read SmartMedia cards and that's it, then the second choice is probably going to serve you better, as the only advantage of Option 1 in that case, is USB 2.0 speeds. (But that reader might also use USB 1.1 for older cards like SmartMedia, IDK.)

    If you'd like a reader with more card formats, OR if you need to also write to your SmartMedia cards, then Option #1 appears to be the only choice for a SmartMedia reader/writer that is compatible with W7/W10.

    If anyone knows of another SmartMedia reader that is currently available and known to be compatible with W7/W10, please give a shout out.
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  2. Posts : 6,086
    Windows 7 Ultimate x64

    = dork mode on =

    Don't be discouraged about previous versions of Windows. You could always try and use something called a virtual machine in absence of real physical hardware to run Windows 2000, XP or even 98se on your computer in a virtual environment. I once had 10 instances of XP running at the same time. I use and prefer VMware Workstation Player. Version 15 is the highest version that'll run in Windows 7. You'll have to do some reading on some things, but overall it really isn't that hard to use. Though, I've been using it for around 15 years now. LOL You'll also want to make sure virtualization options are turned on in your computer's BIOS/UEFI. There's also Virtualbox, but its always gave me issues. I also think VMware Workstation Player has better USB emulation. SO if that card reader is USB, then it'll ID in Windows XP or what ever in VMware.

    For server stuff there's Docker and Kubernetes. I believe Linode has instant Docker deployment

    = dork mode off=

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    Here's a snap of the 10 instances of XP. LOL 2 c01de26c5fdbdaabade17906253d0a03 — Postimages
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  3. Posts : 373
    Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit
    Thread Starter

    Thanks for the suggestion F22. My first OS was WFW 3.11... then sallied on forth with time through the rest of them. (XP is a fond favorite, then 7.) But my days of running multiple OS systems are behind me, though a good suggestion, esp if W7 weren't an option. As it is I ordered the $29 INDEM couple days back. If it falls apart will get the PCcables reader. Either way, should be fine with W7.
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  4. Posts : 6,086
    Windows 7 Ultimate x64

    You know something, after looking up the first item you mention, I realize now you shouldn't have to worry about OS compatibility. This is mostly a marketing thing for consumers who don't understand technology. These devices, whether the 5.25" bay desktop type or USB thumb drive type like this [url=[/url] should ALL be compatible with Windows 7. And probably XP as well. Reason why is that Windows automatically installs the driver and these things are nothing but a USB reader using the USB bus. Now of course your mileage is going to vary with Linux, BSD, macOS, Windows 98se, etc. For those you might need a third-party driver or some exotic driver found at Github or something. Maybe not so much for certain types of macOS, but the others, yes.

    This one would most likely work as well.

    The above two companies of Vantec and Anker are pretty reliable in my opinion. I own Vantec and Anker products. Both companies had their power adapters for the products I own UL listed which is something most companies on Chinazon don't spend the money on or care about. UL is Underwriters Laboratories and its labeling pretty much states this product meets certain criteria for safety. Sometimes these cheap companies will fake the UL label so that's why UL made it holographic on some products like electrical cords for what it's worth. So, if you or someone else has a bad habit of buying cheap electrical cords at the 99 cent store, well, you may have a fire on your hands. I believe UL has a database search facility for products as well, but I'm not sure if that's free or not.

    What being UL listed means is that if a company is willing to pay the money and get the product tested for certain criteria, they now have the legal right to place that UL label on their product. It means to me it's a company that probably has a decent product and track record. Not only that, but for safety. You can read about UL here.

    ISO (ISO 9001) is another type of quality measurement standard for companies. If your company can meet ISO 9001 or other applicable ISO standards, then you're part of an elite group that says we the company meet these manufacturing standards and what not. Meeting ISO 9001, UL, et cetera criteria means more potential marketing capital in terms of growing clientele and consumers. At least that's how it should work. I honestly think Chinazon is making that idea null and void in my opinion. I can't find a direct answer as to whether Amazon requires ISO this or that certification. Don't really have to I guess. But since Amazon is everyone's go to merchant now-a-days, the coveted ISO certificate for manufacturers could be a thing of the past. Which means inferior crap products. Well, at least in terms of consumer goods. Medical, military, industrial, critical components, etc would be different. You can read more about ISO and its challenges with open source here.

    Now, in the future you need to find an old piece of computer hardware, first check the company's product page and see if they list their legacy products. Or you could use the wayback machine and search that company's product page (some research skills may be required). Now you head on over to eBay or other similar websites and find that product. Second hand stores are known to carry this stuff as well.

    Anyway, just some food for thought.
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  5. Posts : 373
    Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit
    Thread Starter

    F22 Simpilot said:
    You know something, after looking up the first item you mention, I realize now you shouldn't have to worry about OS compatibility. This is mostly a marketing thing for consumers who don't understand technology. These devices, whether the 5.25" bay desktop type or USB thumb drive type like this [url=[/url] should ALL be compatible with Windows 7. And probably XP as well. Reason why is that Windows automatically installs the driver and these things are nothing but a USB reader using the USB bus.
    Unfortunately USB devices often require their own proprietary drivers, depending on the device. SmartMedia cards (the context here) are legacy cards used during Win98 years, so the drivers built for the readers were coded with W98/2000 in mind. W7 came long after SmartMedia cards were already defunct technology and long after the drivers were written for legacy OSs. That said, the manufacturers of at least two original SmartMedia readers I saw, did eventually release W7 drivers for their devices, but I couldn't find those brands of readers for sale anywhere, and only one of the two still had links up to the W7 driver.

    Sellers of SmartMedia readers built for W98/W2000 on eBay note in italic writing, "This will ONLY work with Win98/2000!" which they would not say if they didn't know that for sure, as they would rather sell more units to W7/W10 users if it worked on those OSs.

    This one would most likely work as well.
    It does not appear to read SmartMedia cards.

    The above two companies of Vantec and Anker are pretty reliable in my opinion.
    I agree, I've had good luck with their stuff too.
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  6. Posts : 6,086
    Windows 7 Ultimate x64

    Okay, got it. Did some research. What I first did was just Google the following: "windows 7 drivers for smartmedia card." From there I was able to discern what products had drivers for Windows 7 and of course find those products either on eBay or Amazon. What I found was a SM card reader made by HID. It is the OMNIKEY 3021. At a current eBay auction here and on Amazon here. In Amzon I went to the Q & As and entered "windows 7 driver" and found out the drivers are here. Sort the list by product Omnikey | Omnikey 3021 USB | Windows 7 or your OS. Looks like they have a wealth of driver support. Their product is UL listed, assembled in Mexico, and manufacturer some other cool things.

    SmartMedia Card readers for W7/W10 - two options-rdhgree.jpg

    Couple things.

    Notice the feedback both on eBay and Amazon.

    People must recognize this company from their place of employment due to using HID products.

    It's UL listed so it makes sense government agencies and what not may use their products.

    SmartMedia Card readers for W7/W10 - two options-sxdfvgfsdr.jpg

    The company name HID is interesting because in computing the acronym HID stands for Human Interface Device.

    Further research of SmartMedia (SM) indicateds they were original called Solid State Floppy Disk Cards (SSFC). A type of replacement for 3.5" floppy disks. Also, it appears a FlashPath adapter can be used in a 3.5" floppy drive to read SmarMedia cards.

    From Wikipedia:

    Compatible with PCMCIA with an adapter
    Compatible with CompactFlash Type II with an adapter
    Compatible with 3.5" floppy drives using FlashPath adapter

    SmartMedia - Wikipedia

    Note: It says "10 years storage time without power" This is actually true of all flash media. That means SSDs, M.2 (NVMe), SD cards, etc suffer from bit rot over time without power. So note that if you or anyone uses flash media for long term backups or something.

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    Note 2: It says 8 bit I/O interface. 8 bits is actually a byte (1 byte). 4 bits is called a nibble (half a byte).

    1 KB (kilobyte) is 1,000 bytes or 8,000 bits...

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    Interesting reading: HID Global - Wikipedia

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    Wow! As a lock pick hobbyist, I find this interesting from their parent company. I had no idea!

    Assa Abloy has since made over 200 acquisitions including Yale lock, Chubb Locks, Medeco in the United States, Mul-T-Lock in Israel and Fichet-Bauche in France.[5] Its two largest shareholders are Latour and Melker Schörling AB.[6]
    Assa Abloy - Wikipedia
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  7. Posts : 373
    Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit
    Thread Starter

    That was a lot of research you did there. Unfortunately that device also does not read SmartMedia (SM) cards. SM cards are not the same as a smart card (SC), or a common access card (CAC) Those cards are generally used as chipped ID cards for swiping/entering secure premises.

    SM cards OTOH are data storage cards.

    That was interesting though about the 'bit rot' if not powered for a period of 10yrs... who woulda thunk it?

    IAC the IDEM SmartMedia reader is arriving today from Amazon. So there remains at least two choices for a SmartMedia reader for W7, better than no choices.
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  8. Posts : 6,086
    Windows 7 Ultimate x64

    Ah, yeah, it doesn't support SmartMedia. I did know the company was a smart card company, but that eBay listing is what threw me off.

    SmartMedia Card readers for W7/W10 - two options-edrgred.jpg
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  9. Posts : 373
    Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit
    Thread Starter

    That'll do it.

    The INDEM reader/writer came. FTR it works perfectly (so far) which is its best quality. W7 loaded the drivers without issue. But the unit build is especially cheap (and especially for what it costs, but even aside from that) and I will be sure to be careful with it as it doesn't appear it would withstand much rigor. Luckily since the SM card is for musical gear I don't have a reason to have to access the card all that regularly, unlike if I was using a camera where I might be needing to pass photos back and forth all the time. So hopefully it will last.
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  10. Posts : 6,086
    Windows 7 Ultimate x64

    The heck of it is, you could literally use a free electronics CAD program and design your own board and write the simple driver yourself. Or employ someone who knows how on some Fiverr-like website. Then there are (I kid you not) many companies in the land of silk and spice China that will manufacture (in bulk) your board.

    I have a YouTube video on my website of a guy that went to China and procured all the parts he needed to build his own smartphone. You can do that too and run it with the free and open source operating system Graphene OS or Lineageos or the many other free and open source Android-based operating systems out there today.

    Heck, since you have to buy the circuit boards in bulk, and if there's a good reasonable demand, make a profit on eBay or Etsy! Encase the board in a custom fiberglass box and stand out above the rest. LOL... (Just an example of one company that might be able to do that on a small level. There are also companies that have full fledged 3D printers...

    Anyway, just wanted to point out how in today's world even a general consumer has the ability to build things that those of the past would think was ever possible except owning a full scale factory. (And the backers to invest)...

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    = dork mode on =

    When you use the acronym "FTR", I'm assuming you used a chain of custody.

    = dork mode off =
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