» Blog » Photography » Old Software Practices – Canon EOS Utility

With the new year comes updating all of the copyright information to 2012. One thing that I do is I have my “Owner” and “Copyright” information set on my Canon EOS 50D camera body. What this does for me is the camera will auto-insert this metadata into every photo that I capture. With needing to replace my broken laptop in the middle of 2011, my new laptop no longer has the EOS Utility software available. This should be a simple fix, right? Simply download the software from Canon’s web site and install it…

!!! WRONG !!!

For their EOS Utility software, Canon is still using the old practice of only offering “software updates” through their web site, not the full application. Except, the software from Canon’s web site is indeed the full application, it is only the installer that has this “update” requirement!

What is this update requirement anyways? It means that a previous version of the software must already be on the system in order to install the software downloaded from their web site. What happens if you lose your initial install CD? You’re screwed! On top of this, I have an older Canon Rebel XT body. The installation CD which shipped with the Rebel XT body pre-dates Windows Vista and 7, and the installer fails to work properly under these operating systems.

So if you have an older camera body with a computer using a new operating system, you cannot install the software at all? Well, its not quite this bad.

Luckily with the current versions of EOS Utility, it’ll simply detect the prior version of EOS Utility off of the CD in your CD/DVD/BD drive. This means that you do not need to actually install the previous version, instead you only need to have the disc handy to do the install. Again, what happens if you lose your initial install CD? You’re screwed!

After my laptop died last year, I had considered getting a netbook as an ultra-portable replacement for the laptop. I already do all of my work on a desktop computer, and basically only use the laptop as a simple web browser and image storage device while on the road. If I would have gone down this route, I would have had another issue. Netbooks do not have CD/DVD/BD drives at all, making it impossible to use the CD to install the EOS Utility. Only two real options are available in this case. The first would be to buy an external optical drive just to “verify” that I have a legitimate copy of the original EOS Utility disc in order to install the copy from Canon’s web site. The second option would be to use my desktop computer to create an ISO image of the original CD (possibly violating copyright laws in the process) just so I could use the software for my camera bodies.

After all of this, the next issue arises with this problem. After finally getting the EOS Utility install and configuring my Canon EOS 50D body, it is then time to move on to configuring the Rebel XT body.

Because this camera body was released before Windows Vista came out, there are no drivers for this body to work with Windows Vista or 7. Even after getting the EOS Utility functional on this laptop, working with the Rebel XT simply wasn’t an option at first.

From here, I turned to my usual solution when working with legacy hardware and software. I booted up Windows XP in VMWare Workstation and forwarded the Rebel XT’s USB connection to the guest operating system.

Here comes the next issue. With today’s wide-screen laptops, the most common screen resolution seems to be 1366×768. Because VMWare runs in a window on top of the desktop, the virtual machine’s screen resolution is slightly lower then this. For what ever reason, Canon’s EOS Utility requires a screen resolution of 1024×768 or greater. This is a very strange requirement for the application considering most of the windows within the application are very small utility windows. The main EOS Utility window is small enough to fit into the archaic screen resolution of 640×480, so why the specific requirements for something much larger?

All of these requirements are imposed only by the application installers, not the applications themselves. This was a huge problem in the early days of Windows 2000, because games would check to see if “Are on we Windows NT” rather than “Do we have DirectX support” (Note: Windows 2000 shipped with DirectX 7 and most games worked flawlessly after hacking the installer package to allow them to install)

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  • Tat

    well, even in 2013 the problem remains… I have a new Ultrabook with Windows 8 and no CD Drive, a copy of the CD on a USB Flash memory stick does not work as CD…