Wednesday, February 21, 2007

UPDATED - HOW TO: Install Mustek A3 USB Scanner in Microsoft Windows Vista (Unofficial Workaround)

Disclaimer: This blog entry is an unofficial tech-support and is not guaranteed to work for all users. Novice computer users should not attempt it without a computer geek's supervision!

Now that Microsoft’s Windows Vista operating system has been commercially available for a few weeks, and everyday PC users have started making the upgrade “leap of faith,” I’ve received a considerable number of e-mails from individuals who own one of Mustek's ScanExpress A3 USB scanners. According to one reader, my blog is one of the only websites offering support and/or advice on this topic. That said, I felt this warranted an update regarding “how to install” Mustek’s popular (but unfortunately, no longer officially supported) large format scanning device.

First, the good news ... Many of the individuals that I’ve heard from have had great success installing their Mustek ScanExpress A3 USB scanner by following the steps I previously posted here.

The bad news?

Those steps were sufficient for installing the scanner via Vista Release Candidate 1 (RC1), a public pre-release (beta) copy of the Microsoft operating system, but some of the newly activated security features in the commercial version – more specifically, User Account Control (UAC) – are giving users a few extra, but passable, hurdles.


Ideally, your computer should have a fresh installation of Microsoft’s Windows Vista (any edition). You do not need to activate for the scanner to install properly. That said, you should try installing it prior to any other additional drivers and software like American Online (AOL) – one gentleman reported having issues with AOL automatically closing whenever he started it, however, he did not have this issue after re-installing Vista and installing his scanner first.


At the time of this posting, they are still available here ...


The Updated Windows Vista / Mustek A3 USB Unofficial Workaround ...


(1) Run the REGISTRY EDITOR. Click the Vista Orb (formerly, the “Start” button) in the bottom left corner of your taskbar. You should see a text box immediately above it that reads “Start Search.” Type the application name “regedit.exe” in this box and you should see a link appear (see following picture) for you to click.

(2) Open HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion

(3) Rename the key "ProductName" from "Windows Vista (TM) **" to "Microsoft Windows 2000". Please note that the ** will depend on your version of Vista. For example, Home Premium ...

(4) Install the Mustek A3 USB driver for Windows 2K/XP. Do this by RIGHT-CLICKING on the EXE file and selecting “Run as administrator.”

(5) When installation has completed, undo the registry changes.

(6) It wouldn’t hurt to re-boot your computer here, just to make sure there are no issues thus far.

(7) Power the scanner and connect USB cable. Windows Vista will proceed with detecting and installing the scanner.

Note: When I first installed Vista, I mistakenly attached the scanner’s USB cable before installing the drivers because my scanner was plugged in from my previous operating system. This caused an error that said:

C:/Windows/Twain_32/L3u16/ColorB.dat was not found.

To correct this problem, all that I had to do was unplug the USB cable, reboot the machine, and plug the cable into a different USB port. This caused Vista to re-install the scanner like a new device and everything seemed to work fine.

In my case, the scanner has been flawlessly working for 3 weeks straight in Adobe Photoshop CS2. If you own a Mustek A3 USB ScanExpress and have upgraded to Microsoft’s Windows Vista, please feel free to share your own success or horror stories below.

Stay TOONed!

- Mike Cope


  1. Anonymous1:36 p.m.


    Looks like you've become the web expert on installing the Mustek A3 under Vista - it certainly worked for me. Many thanks.


  2. Thank you! I would have never been able to get the A3 working without you wonderful help!

    I, too, had the COLORB.DAT problem, but it was solved by running Photoshop as Administrator.

  3. Glad to hear the workaround worked for both of you. Congratulations and enjoy using your Mustek A3 USB scanners with Windows Vista!

  4. wow, thanks so much! just got my A3 USB, and was devastated when I couldn't get it to work on my Vista machine. Mustek support was so frustrating, I was about to give up. thanks!

  5. Anonymous4:52 p.m.

    Thanks, the scanner works with Photoshop but not with Acrobat professional. Acrobat professional makes much smaller pdf files so I hope anyone can help.


  6. Thanks for your comments, Bryon and Léon.

    Regarding Adobe Acrobat ... Unfortunately, the version I own (Professional 8) also crashes when I try to scan. The only workaround for this is to scan documents in an alternate program (ex. Adobe Photoshop) and then import those scans into Acrobat Pro. This still provides you with the advantage of producing PDF documents with smaller file sizes.

    Hopefully some of these issues will be resolved in future Adobe software updates or Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) since Mustek is no longer supporting their A3 USB Scanner.

  7. You're a real life saver. I'm the idiot who bought the Mustek brand new a week after getting a new Vista machine. It never occured to me that I was going to have a major problem.

    The workaround gave me a sucessful install, but when trying to scan through Photoshop I get this error: "C:\windows\Twain_32\L3U16\ColorB.dat was not found."

    I can still scan through the "Direct Scan" utility, but it really limits my options. Better than nothing though. It would be great if someone can figure out this PS Twain issue.

  8. Hi Mike,

    Thanks so much for the workaround. I got the scanner working. The only problems I've had are:

    1. AOL does not like it when the scanner is installed this way. It repeatedly goes on and off when I first boot up. It basically connects, then disappears, then restarts, connects and disappears. After doing this about 10 - 12 times it's finally able to right itself and work fine. Really weird!

    2. My iPhoto Plus software can't recognize the scanner, so I have to use it through a direct scan and then import it into iPhoto Plus. The iPhoto Plus I have is about 5 years old which may account for some of the problem (although it worked with Windows XP).

    But at least I'm able to get it working which is a life-saver! It's crazy that Mustek doesn't have a patch or something to help users figure it out! Your site was a great, great help! Thank you so much. You're doing a great service for those of us who use 11 X 17 scanners!

  9. Ger-man6:10 p.m.

    Want to thank you too.
    Just wanted to sell the scanner. Now i can at least scan with my mustek bearpaw / be@rpaw 1200 direct scan button. Photoshop CS2 also crashes. If someone has a workaround?!
    You should be topranked at google. Your sollution may work with a lot of other scanners. Millions of people are helpless out there.

  10. Anonymous11:18 a.m.


    The procedure does allow me to install the software from the CD disk.

    1) Auto install does not work, I have to do manual install
    2) a few install errors along the way (I just click ok)
    3) No problem detecting the scanner
    4) No problem scanner images
    5) one problem pop up. a WATCH.exe somehow was loaded into the start-up program list and it kicks in every time you power up the system
    6) this cause some of the original programs from HP to experience some problem.
    7) try to delete the WATCH, not yet successful
    8) I change the name of the program file and the name of the program... still does not help
    9) is there a way to delete program from the start-up list?

    thank you


  11. Thanks to Chuck, David, Ger-Man, and Robin for your comments.

    About some of your questions ...

    The ColorB.dat error seems to be common. I know that I originally received this error when I accidentally connected the USB cable PRIOR to installing the driver. Another solution reported is running Photoshop as 'Administrator'.

    The 'Watch.exe' program is that little scanner icon that appears in your taskbar. I disabled this (I'm pretty sure) by deleting the Startup link by doing the following ...

    Click Windows Orb (Start button) -> All Programs -> Startup ...

    Then RIGHT-CLICK and select DELETE.

    Hope that helps and thanks again to everyone for their comments and e-mails.

  12. Anonymous4:03 p.m.

    I did the work around. My new Vista Home Basic machine now recognizes I have a scanner. However, I only get an error message "The scanner is not connected. Please check the cable." I am still not able to scan.

  13. If you get the error device is not connected start the Mustek scanning program, making sure it is set to Windows XP compatible mode .

    I use a Mustek 1200 UB so this file is

    C:\Program Files\Mustek 1200 UB PLUS\Panel\panel.exe

    Right click on it select properties and change compatibility mode to Windows XP then use the program to scan.

  14. Anonymous6:54 p.m.


    Did somebody, maybe, get success w/XP x64?

  15. Anonymous1:19 a.m.

    Thank you for generously sharing this information. I have finally been able to upgrade to Vista; only the scanner issue had been holding me back.
    Jim Brook.

  16. Anonymous2:00 a.m.

    thanks for the help. i just bought the mustek and tried it on vista. the autorun didn't work. i knew there were going to be compatability issues but i knew there were a few tricks around this. you site and information was very helpful. thank you.

  17. Anonymous3:28 p.m.

    Thank you so much! I got a Bearpaw 1200 that is now working flawlessly under Vista thanks to your workaround! It's working from "The GIMP" as well as with the direct scan buttons.

  18. Be advised...I've tried your older and updated installation procedures and it leaves my Vista Ultimate either totally screwed or VERY buggy. I used my own as a guinea pig and I had it working for a day. I did the same procedure that worked on mine to another Vista Ultimate in the office and it didn't work.
    All in all, Mustek is to blame and their service is AWFUL at best. I've emailed them every month since January and never get so much as an email saying they received my email.
    I just wanted to reiterate your disclaimer and say that these methods are NOT fool-proof and very well could cause a great deal of work to get your system back to square one again.
    Thanks just the same for the great tips...they're almost perfect. ;-)

  19. Anonymous7:19 a.m.

    THANK YOU SO MUCH for the workaround!

  20. Hello from Japan!

    Thank you sooo much for your tip!
    I have struggled so long and I reached to your site recently.
    Your tip worked and now I can use the scanner!!

  21. Just found this link for the Bearpaw 1200CU Plus. It has twain drivers for Vista 32 and Vista 64 bit remarkably. This should also help those with the badged Packard Bell UB 1200. This link is

  22. Anonymous3:18 a.m.

    I love this board!!! XP 64 workaround would be nice too.

  23. I just bought a Mustek A3 and I can't scan pencil art in gray scale. It doesn't show up even when I adjust the levels. I have scanned the art in color and converted, but the scan is poor quality. Color scans are equally poor (they have some light red/pink in the white background).

    I selected "Superfine" and scan at 300DPI. My old scanner (a cheap Canon N670) worked perfectly. Does anyone know what I am doing wrong? Could it be a driver problem?

  24. Anything new about XP x64 workaround?
    Is it possible at all?
    Perhaps, brand new A3 scanner is expensive too much!!!

  25. I see there is a Vista driver on the Mustek site for the A3. I haven't tried it or anything, just pointing it out...

  26. Anonymous5:56 p.m.

    Have Vista ultimate - did this workaround twice - got scanner to work but in the process, it ruined my ability to open certain programs. Since I was unable to fix that problem, I had to re-install Windows Ultimate from mirror image - the second time....well, I am trying to figure out another way so I do not have to do a complete re-install again - BEWARE!

  27. Warning! There's now an official Vista driver on the Mustek web site (so probably no-one will read this!) but I found it seriously messed up "PC Suite" software that comes with Nokia Series 60 Smartphones. Uninstalling, or even going back to a restore point didn't help - I had to reinstall Vista! So be very careful about using V1.0 of the Vista driver for A3 USB scanners.

  28. I just bought the Mustek a3 and I am trying to scan comic pages in Cs3.It let's me preview the image but when I try to scan I get an error message.Is there something I can do? Or should I use another O.S?This is really frustrating.

  29. Hi Jasen,

    I'm running Adobe CS3 (on Vista Home Premium) and it crashes whenever I try to scan with my Mustek A3 USB.

    My scanner worked fine with Adobe CS2 on the same system, but something is different about CS3 that prevents it from working.

    The solution that I've found to work best is an old, old shareware version of PaintShopPro. I use this for my scanning, but do everything else in Photoshop.

    Thanks for your comment!

    - Mike

  30. THANK YOU! This workaround worked a treat for me: you just saved me a lot of money. At this point replacing this scanner is $imposibble$.

  31. Though the original post is about getting the Mustek A3 scanner to work with Vista (thanks, by the way), the problem with the "colorb.dat" file error message can also crop up in XP if you do not run with Administrative privileges.

    One solution to the problem is to run your graphic software (Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro in my case) as Administrator (right-click and use "Run As").

    However, a more permanent solution is to set permissions on the driver folder to allow regular users to access it.

    Instructions for XP (Vista may be different, I don't have it):

    1. Log in as Admininistrator (or open a Windows Explorer instance as Admin, but doing that is a whole different subject).

    2. Go to your Program Files directory and find the folder where your Mustek driver software was installed. (i.e. c:\Program Files\Scan Express A3 USB 1200 Pro)

    3. Right click on that folder and select properties.

    4. Click on the security tab.*
    Then select the Users and/or Power Users profiles and allow at least "Read & Execute" permissions for the folder. I did "Full Control" just to make it easy.

    *If step 4 doesn't make any sense, you probably have Simple Sharing on. Check out KB article Q307874:

    That should do the trick. Now you can run your graphics app. normally.

  32. Hi there...:)
    First of all thanks in advance for read it!
    I have the same problem with XP 64 with this scanner: it doesn't work!
    Does someone have the drivers or can suggest the right path of installation for this scanner?
    I desperately need it, I'm a freelance illustrator and I work with it.



  33. Anonymous1:23 p.m.

    I have Vista 32Bit,the Mustek 1200CU and the ColorB.dat problem.
    I have unplug USB and reboot the pc, but I have the same problem.
    Can you send me the ColorB.dat?

    Please help:)

  34. Anonymous2:03 p.m.

    This doesn't work for 64 bit.

  35. Anonymous8:58 a.m.

    I've got a BearPaw 1200 and bless you it really works :) Thank you.

    Jarek (Poland)

  36. I just got a Mustek scanner secondhand and, not knowing what I was doing, connected it before putting the disk with the driver in, only to see the first thing the disk said was "INSTALL DRIVER BEFORE CONNECTING!"

    Is there any way to make my computor...forget that it was, well, violated by the scanner before proper introductions were made?

  37. Hey there,

    I've got a Vista Ultimate os and couldn't get your method to work. The driver won't even install.

    Any suggestions?

  38. Anonymous1:10 p.m.

    I tried following all of your direction and I can not get this new HP Vista Home Premium laptop to run the program, when I try to load the drivers it tells me they are incompatible even though I did the registry switch!!!
    I have stressed myself to the max over this piece of crap, nothing works on it. If I ever see Bill Gates I am kicking him in the nutz!!!

  39. Hi- wanting to buy a Mustek ScanExpress A3 1200 Pro for my small business (cheapest A3 on the market)! I have a new laptop that runs Vista 64-bit. Can someone confirm that this workaround is successful with Vista 64 (and not just 32-bit)?

  40. Anonymous8:30 a.m.

    @ Mike Cope

    Thank you soooooooooooooooooooo much from GERMANY. My only fault was that i opened Photoshop not as an administrator. I correct an now I'm able to scan. Thanks to your tip an help.
    Once more: Thanks a million!!!

  41. Sadly this trick didn't work for me. I even went out of my way to find an older driver, but no dice.

    I just bought this thing and it worked just great, without needing any tricks .... until I shut down my computor. Now it gived me a message saying "The scanner is not connected. please check the cable."

    And this is the closest thing to an actual answer as I ever found. Sucks for me, I guess.

  42. Anonymous9:53 a.m.

    I got this to work for windows 7 - and my Packard Bell 1200. With product name changed in regedit. Then from device manager (unknown device) update driver from the internet - it works!!
    Thanks so much :o)

  43. GRRRREAT! Thanks a mil.
    Im just about to do a comic-style "thesis" for a graduation to get a BA. Without this "how to" I would have been s*rewed :)

    As a great fan of comics and drawing- The level of Your drawings is superfine. Many greets from Estonia!

  44. @Elo:

    I'd love to read a copy of your thesis when it's done. If you don't mind sharing it, please email it directly or send a URL.

    Best of luck!

  45. Ciao esperto :).
    Ho visto che hai risolto i problemi degli astanti e vorrei sapere se puoi aiutare anche me. Ho anch'io un Mustek Scanner A3 usb ma avendo il windows 8,ho avuto dei problemi nell'installazione dei drive...
    Non capisco perche' non funzioni!
    Puoi aiutarmi?Grazie!

  46. Anonymous6:21 p.m.

    Hi there,

    I think there is a very easy solution for it. I have Windows 7 64-bit and Mustek A3 USB scanner. Here is what I did and it worked for me.

    1. You need to download the very driver from Mustek
    Choose: Scanner/USB/A3 USB (for VISTA)
    2. Then download IrfanView


    4. Right click on downloaded Mustek software and change compatibility to Windows Vista. Mark RUN AS ADMINISTRATOR
    5. Plug in scanner and let Windows install driver

    6. Now install IrfanView (it's free). This will let you use the scanner and thank you can save it for working with other software, like PhotoShop.

    7. Once installed, go to:File>Select Scan/TWAIN source. Choose: ScanExpress A3 USB 46992.60117 (32-32).

    8. To scan document in IrfanView, go to: File>Acuuire/Batch Scanning and click OK.

    Now the ScanExpress software will be evoked and your scanner should start.

    I tried it few times and it worked for me.

  47. @GameScanner:

    Thank you VERY much for offering your solution for getting the old Mustek A3 USB scanner working in Windows 7 64-bit.

    *** I can verify that it indeed WORKS!!! ***

    I scanned a 1200dpi image successfully on my first try.

    This is truly wonderful, so again, thank you so much for sharing.

    - Mike Cope

    1. Anonymous4:16 p.m.


      I actually should thank Mustek for having this problem, as it directed me to your site. Now not only I was able to find an ez solution but discovered great cartoonist. Shot two birds with one stone. I'll write an illustrated step-by-step guide for it and will post it on my site, crediting you as well.

      PS - I don't own a Mac, but would love to have signed cartoon :P (Sorry, couldn't help it!).

      Best of luck to you... and yes, I've read About Me page. Cool things your doing for the community.


    Has anyone successfully installed the old Mustek A3 USB scanner with OS X 10.8 "Mountain Lion"? Please note that this scanner is NOT the Pro versions. Just plain old A3 USB from Mustek.

    First person to provide a solution that I confirm works wins a signed cartoon and eternal thanks!

    Good luck :)

  49. Hey everyone,
    I am looking for an id scanner, I found an identification scanner in this website but I need some tips before I am purchasing.. I'll appreciate your help!

  50. Thanks for the Tips! finally I can begin scanning original pages