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SDR Driver Installation

Pete Batard edited this page · 2 revisions

A lot of people seem to have trouble with the SDR# driver installation using Zadig.

This page attempts to provide some tips that may help you fix your issues. But before we begin, I'd like to point out a few important general items.


Zadig and SDR# are separate entities!

First of all, you should understand that Zadig was not developed specifically for SDR#. It was developed, as part of the libwdi project, to ease the installation of USB drivers for USB device that a libusb-based application may want to access.

SDR# just happen to be one of the many libusb-based applications that Zadig can help with, and the RTL TV/Radio dongle, which is the most common target being used with SDR# is also just one of the many USB devices that Zadig can install a driver for. But at the core, Zadig is a very generic driver installation application that just happens to be useful for the SDR# project.

Thus, you must understand that:

  • The developer(s) of Zadig/libwdi are not associated with the SDR# ones, and neither project has much knowledge of what the other does.
  • The developer(s) of Zadig/libwdi also have limited knowledge when it comes to radio technologies (as well as little interest in those, due to time constraint).
What this all means is that, we will always treat SDR# driver installation issues as generic USB driver installation problems and once the driver has been successfully installed, we don't really care how you are planning to use it. All that matters to us is whether the SDR# application can communicate with the USB device - that's it.

The RTL device is weird

Well, that's not exactly true by Windows standards, but if you don't know anything about how Windows can handles USB devices and drivers, it will probably look that way to you because:

  • As far as Windows is concerned, an RTL device can be seen as THREE completely separate USB devices:
    That's because the RTL chip acts as a composite device, with 2 separate interfaces, and Windows breaks down a composite device into as many devices as there are interfaces plus a "Composite Parent", which acts as an USB hub, onto which each "interface-device" would be plugged.
    Thus, in the case of the RTL Dongle, you may have a driver for the composite-parent (hub part) and 2 more drivers (which can and usually are completely different) for the children devices/interfaces. Or, you can have a single driver in place of the composite parent that will make the device look as a single entity.
  • Depending on whether you are connected to the internet, and the version of Windows you are using, the default Realtek driver, which does not work with SDR#, might get installed automatically.
What this means is that, depending of what happened when you first plug your device, you may find that your RTL device is shown in device manager as: [image1.png] or [image2.png] or even [image3.png]


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