Driving an Old Canon Scanner using a VM

lide30I have an old Canon LIDE 30 scanner that I purchased sometime late in 2003. At that time, it was connected to a PC running Windows XP, and drivers worked just fine. However, after I got my new computer in early 2009, with Vista 64, there are no more drivers available. There is a funny way around this though, using a virtual machine.

What I ended up doing to keep using my scanner (whose hardware is still very much intact and solid) is fairly obvious: I installed my old Windows XP license on a VMWare virtual machine (I had the good luck to have a full license with physical media), and then install the Canon LIDE30 driver on that virtualized XP.

VMWare Player is sufficient to let me attach the physical scanner to the virtual machine’s USB interface, and drive it without the host Vista 64 machine being any the wiser. To get the scanned pictures out, I have to resort to drag-and-drop, as I have failed to get shared folders to work with Player for some unknown reason.

The end result can be pretty complex… To send some emails from my work computer including scans with this scanner, I had to:

  • Scan on the virtual XP machine
  • Drag-and-drop to the Pictures folder on my Vista 64 machine
  • Use file-sharing in Windows to move to my work laptop
  • Attach in Outlook

Workable. It is also a pretty good demo of the power afforded by modern consumer operating systems. Imagine trying to do that in 1995… would not have been quite as fun.

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