Nuance Dragon – Dictaphone PowerMic II Suddenly Not Working in Windows 7

Introduction

I currently manage Dragon Medical 10 Network Edition in our VMWare View VDI for about 85 dictating physicians. In this deployment, we use a combination of the Dictaphone-branded and Nuance-branded PowerMic II devices. These have worked great from day one, and we haven’t had many issues aside from getting around the “Audio Levels Wizard” that pops up in certain situations.

Recently, we have been planning and testing an upgrade of the DMNE client to an updated service pack in preparation for the update to version 12. During the testing phase, however, we found that somewhere along the process, the PowerMic II devices began malfunctioning. The observed behavior was reproducible and seemed to affect a large majority of the devices that we have in the field, so a major issue to say the least.

After debugging and investigating the setupapi.dev.log on the machine, I was able to determine that there were changes to the native USB and USB Audio drivers on the system. In moving backwards, I found that some Microsoft Windows security updates have been released that update kernel drivers on the system in order to resolve a reported vulnerability. The negative result of these updates is that it essentially breaks a large majority of our current dictation microphones, the Dictaphone PowerMic II.

The Issue

The behavior of the issue is seen in two cases. Let’s consider the two following situations:

Situation 1

  1. PowerMic II devices are all pre-installed on the VDI base image
  2. A user plugs in a PowerMic II and the device is detected
  3. The device is unplugged and plugged back in, or a user roams
  4. The device may briefly be detected in Device Manager, but then disappears
    Or…
  5. The device may not be detected at all

Situation 2

  1. PowerMic II devices are not installed on the base image
  2. A user plugs in a PowerMic II, the device is detected and installed
  3. The device then immediately disappears from Device Manager after installing
    Or…
  4. After disconnecting and reconnecting the device or roaming, it disappears from the system

Resolution

The reason for this breaking is because of the following Microsoft security updates. Microsoft has released updated USB drivers which will cause the older PowerMic II devices to not work. These updates, and information about the patches, can be found in the following security bulletins:

  1. MS13-081
  2. MS13-101
  3. MS14-015

To avoid or fix this problem, either uninstall or hide the following updates from your Windows 7 client:

  1. KB2847311
  2. KB2855844
  3. KB2862330
  4. KB2862335
  5. KB2863725
  6. KB2864202
  7. KB2868038
  8. KB2884256
  9. KB2883150
  10. KB2876284
  11. KB2887069
  12. KB2930275

The affected drivers from these releases are found in the following locations:

USB Audio

%systemroot%\inf\wdma_usb.inf
%systemroot%\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository\wdma_usb.inf_x86_xxx_xxx

USB

%systemroot%\inf\input.inf
%systemroot%\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository\input.inf_x86_xxx_xxx

Summary

There may be additional changes in these patches, but it is a larger issue to decommission half of our devices at once with a single set of updates. Be sure to read through the security bulletins to decide what’s best for you.

Let me know if you have any questions or comments!

~ScriptdEEZ

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2 thoughts on “Nuance Dragon – Dictaphone PowerMic II Suddenly Not Working in Windows 7

  1. Are you willing to share some more details on how you were able to get the Powermic II and Dragon Medical Network Edition working in a VMWare View environment? Specifically through the VMWare View client from a laptop or desktop with USB redirection.

    • Hey Jon,

      I’d be happy to divulge any further information if I’m able.

      At the hospital, we didn’t approve the use of the Dragon mic through the software View Client on either laptops or desktops in order to mitigate the potential for actual or perceived performance issues. However, that didn’t mean it wasn’t possible.

      What issue are you experiencing exactly? What version of the Horizon View client are you using?

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