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filmscanners: NikonScan 3.1 does not work under W2K (report on tests)


I am sure you are aware that people have reported NikonScan 3.1 is
unable to scan - especially batching multiple scans - without crashing.


With rare exceptions, NikonScan 3.1 crashes for Windows 2000 users.

My testing and feedback from other users has confirmed
that NikonScan 3.1 does not operate correctly under Windows 2000.
This software should never have been released in its current buggy state.

Please feel free to distribute this report to Nikon Japan, Europe
and USA technical support, and also to people who have performed
reviews of Nikon scanners.  Perhaps we can finally get Nikon to
get serious about fixing their software.


Some weeks ago I asked for feedback on running NikonScan 3.1
under Windows 2000.  Many people responded, and quite a few
were kind enough to provide additional feedback when I requested,
including Joe Blaze, Paul Graham, Bob Kehl, Tom Scales,
Charles Volkland and many others. Thank you.

A couple of people reported that NikonScan 3.1 never failed
for them.  There was no particular commonality on those systems that
worked - one was a fast AMD single CPU, and two others were slower
dual CPU Intel chips.  About the only interesting thing was that
two of the working systems did not use the Nikon supplied Firewire card.

Everyone else (about 80% of responses) reported that NikonScan 3.1
failed constantly for them under Windows 2000, for single or dual CPU
machines.  Most people reported having swapped to other products such
as VueScan (which incidentally is rock solid from what I have seen),
or if they really *had* to use NikonScan, ran it from within PhotoShop,
scanning a single photo at a time.  Because Photoshop restarts the
scanner software each time, this reduced the crashes to "only" 1 out 10
scans or so.

Ways to reduce NikonScan 3.1 crashes:

-       Use something else. If you are serious about bulk scanning,
        then basically NikonScan 3.1 is a waste of time unless you are
        one of those very rare & lucky people to have it run without crashing.
        VueScan and Silverfast are two alternative scanning products.

-       If you can, run Windows 98 on the scanner PC instead
        of W2K.  NikonScan seems more stable under W98.

-       Run a slower PC.  It is more stable on PCs less than 350Mhz or so.

-       Set the Temp drive *and* the scanner output location to a network
        drive. This will reduce NikonScan crashes by about 50%.  So if you
        are lucky, you might get 6 scans instead of 3 before it crashes.

-       On dual CPU machines, lock NikonScan to run in UniProcessor mode.
        This will reduce crashes somewhat.

Testing performed:

Given Nikon has been aware of these crash problems since NikonScan 3.0
and has not fixed them, I wanted to see if the problem could be pinned
down and perhaps a work around could be found.

My testing basically showed that for all configurations I could try,
NikonScan 3.1 is unstable.  I did manage to get it to batch scan 6 slides
just once without crashing. Big deal :-(

-       Coolscan 4000ED, using the Nikon supplied Firewire controller.

-       Three different Windows 2000 machines.  Each machine had 1GB RAM,
        IDE drives, and dual CPUs.  However, each machine had a different
        motherboard, and different CPUs. I tried ASUS, Intel and Tyan
        motherboards, and Intel P3, P4 and AMD Athlon MP CPUs. Each
        ran different nVidia cards (2's and 3's). I also tested
        against a 4th machine that had been heavily used for processing
        jobs that ran into CPU-weeks, and was known to be very stable.
        Machines were 733Mhz, 933Mhz and 1.2Ghz.
        Significantly, each machine had very different motherboards
        and add-on cards from different manufacturers.

-       Each machine was clean loaded within Windows 2000 Server.
        The latest motherboard/IDE/etc drivers were updated, then SP2,
        then the latest security patches.

-       Only Photoshop 6, and NikonScan was installed on each machine.
        No printers were installed (earlier versions of NikonScan
        had problems with different printers installed).

Testing was to simply run NikonScan stand alone, turn on ICE but
not GEM/ROC, and try and scan a 6 photo positive strip out to
TIFF files.

Before giving up in disgust, I tried various other combinations:

-       Forcing NikonScan to run on one CPU
        Result: Crashed less often (every instead of 3 slides)

-       Temp and output directories network not local:
        Result: Crashed a bit less often

-       Forcing scanner driver interrupts to a single CPU:
        Result: No difference, still crashes

-       Running Windows 2000 as a UniProcessor build (so only one CPU):
        Result: No difference, still crashes

-       Trying different NikonScan options (no rotate, no ICE, etc)
        Result: No difference, still crashes

I don't think there is much point in any more testing.  NikonScan 3.1
is broken, at least for me and most other people using Windows 2000,
and enough time has been wasted on it.

Please note that some people *have* reported that NikonScan runs
robustly for them (generally W98 users and some rare W2K users).
So NikonScan just might run for you.  If it does, the rest of
us would sure like to know what you did to make it run. Note 
it will generally complete scanning for a single slide, especially
if used inside Photoshop - scanning multiple photos is where the
trouble starts.

Once again, I encourage distribution of this information to
Nikon people to try and get this software sorted out.

Apologies to the list for the length of this email.




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