T-Mobile’s web’n’walk USB modem is more web’n’wobble

usb-manager1There’s something permanently exciting about smoothly contoured white plastic, especially when it promises you always-on connectivity. But my first hour or two with T-Mobile’s web’n’walk USB modem haven’t been a wholehearted success.

T-Mobile's web'n'walk USB modem is more web'n'wobble

For a start, it refused to install. Or rather, it installed the monitoring software as soon as I plugged the device into my USB port, but then steadfastly refused to actually work. In any way. The printed quick start guide is silent on any troubleshooting matters, and the glossy PDF gave me confident-sounding directions that pointed to settings I couldn’t access. Because, you see, the dongle didn’t work.

Eventually, I stumbled my way to T-Mobile’s support website where it gave the advice I needed – just in cryptic form that didn’t actually work. (See if you can spot the theme.) Because, it seems, T-Mobile expects you to be using Windows XP, and I use Windows Vista.

That meant, for some reason that Microsoft will no doubt blame T-Mobile for, and T-Mobile Microsoft, the rather important “modem” aspect of the USB modem refused to load. Unless you’ve removed the USB mass storage device from Device Manager… now why didn’t I think of that?

Here’s the quickest way to do what T-Mobile seems quite keen on you Vista users not knowing:

1. Type Device Manager in the Start menu
2. Click Continue at the annoying UAC prompt
3. Expand Universal Serial Bus controllers
4. Delete any USB mass storage device entries

Then the driver for the phone will magically work and you’ll be downloading data at miraculous rates. Or, as I did on the train tonight, anything from a few kilobits per second to something approaching 1,500Kb/sec.

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