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Fujitsu Artificial Market Segmentation (or, how to make a Mac ScanSnap FI-5110EOXM work in Windows 8.1)

The Scanner

Years ago I was looking for a cheap ADF scanner so that I could pretend to transition to a paperless home office.  I settled on the FI-5110EOXM, which is a Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner branded for Mac usage only.  I was running Ubuntu at the time, so I went with this model instead of the more expensive FI-5110EOX.  That model appeared to be the exact same device, but it came with Windows drivers and cost much more.


The Problem

Years went by, and I eventually wanted to use my Mac scanner with a PC.  Looking into it, there is absolutely no supported way to make this work.  According to Fujitsu, if I wanted to scan on a PC then I’d need a Windows scanner instead of my Mac scanner.

Even more insultingly, the Windows version of the scanner did not actually support TWAIN, WIA, or ISIS (the two industry standard scanning protocols).  In order to do that, I’d actually need to buy their higher end models and spend hundreds of dollars just to be able to use third-party scanning software with the hardware I’ve purchased.

Of course, none of these scanners are supported under Windows 8…

The Solution

How many scanners does Fujitsu actually make, anyway?

Since I’m unwilling to buy another scanner when I’ve already bought a perfectly good one, I started thinking about what was really going on here.  I had a chunk of Fujitsu scanning hardware that supposedly cannot be used on a Windows machine or with standard protocols.  For just a few hundred more dollars all of those problems magically disappear…  So, either Fujitsu actually has an entirely different manufacturing process wherein they make standard scanners instead of crippled scanners or there’s some funny business going on here in the software…

Tech Details

My FI-5110EOXM has a hardware ID of VID_04C5&PID_10F2, and that hardware ID is not supported by anything other than the single Mac driver software.  However, I was betting that the underlying hardware actually could do a lot more than that.

So looking around a bit further, I came across the FI-5110C.  This is from the “Workgroup” line of scanners, which has a whole lot more features and actually supports TWAIN and ISIS standards.  The FI-5110C seems to have a suspiciously similar model number to my FI-5110EOXM, so let’s see how similar these are under the hood.

Model Number Reassignment

So now we have a concrete task set up:  I need to take my FI-5110EOXM scanner and convince my computer that it’s actually a FI-5110C.  This is actually pretty simple…

  1. Get the drivers for the FI-5110C from Fujitsu.  I’d recommend using the TWAIN driver.
  2. When you run the downloaded EXE, it will extract a bunch of stuff into a directory called Disk1
  3. Go into the Disk1/Sub folder, and run the setup.exe installer there.  This will mostly just copy a bunch of drivers all over the place.  The one we want gets put into C:\Windows\fjmini (note that I’m running Windows 8 x64, so you may find some differences here and there).
  4. The file we care about is “C:\Windows\fjmini\fi5110C-x64.inf”, which describes exactly how Windows can tell when it’s working with a FI-5110C (instead of, say, a FI-5110EOXM).
  5. We’re going to edit this file, so you may need to run Notepad as Administrator or otherwise change the the permissions.
  6. Look for the section that specifies the Hardware ID of the FI-5110C, which looks like this:
%USB\FUJITSU_fi-5110CdjU______0.DeviceDesc% = FI5110U.Scanner,USB\VID_04C5&PID_1097
  1. So now we change this ID so it matches our actual device:
%USB\FUJITSU_fi-5110CdjU______0.DeviceDesc% = FI5110U.Scanner,USB\VID_04C5&PID_10F2
  1. Done! (Note that the change was from 1097 to 10F2)
  2. Now, we just need to tell Windows to use this driver.
  3. Plug in the scanner, open up Device Manager, and find the Scanner (which should have the “malfunction” icon attached to it).
  4. Right click, select update driver, select browse for file.  You can now browse over to C:\Windows\fjmini and hit OK.
    1. Note, at this point you might get a fatal error stating that hash values don’t match.  Windows doesn’t like installing modified drivers, so you’ll have to disable those checks by following these instructions
  5. If all goes well, you’ll now see that you’ve successfully installed your “FI-5110cdj” scanner, which supports TWAIN and has all the features of a much more expensive model (and works under Windows 8.1)!

The Lesson?

Companies artificially cripple their products all the time in order to create a “low end, mid range, and high end” set of markets.  If companies would just charge according to how much it actually costs to make an item then maybe things would be much easier….

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