Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Installing Drivers for RTL-SDR and HackRF on Windows 10

Since I have been using software defined radio (SDR) tools on Linux platform for a long time, it was a very new thing to me when I had to use some SDR tools on Windows. Anyway, the installation of the relevant drivers went smoothly and the devices were ready to use within a short while. In this post, I'm writing down the steps I followed to get my RTL-SDR dongle and HackRF device up and running on a Windows 10 machine. Here we go.

Instructions for RTL-SDR:

(1) Connected RTL-SDR dongle to the USB port and Windows automatically detected the device and installed some drivers. But, we need to manually install a special driver called ExtIO.

(2) Download the Zadig USB driver installer from here: http://zadig.akeo.ie/
No installation necessary. It can be run immediately.

(3) Run Zadig executable. With all the default settings, click "Install Driver" to install the WinUSB driver.

Zadig tool is used to install WinUSB driver


(4) Download and install HDSDR tool. Even though we install it, do not attempt to use RTL-SDR with HDSDR software yet.
http://hdsdr.de/download/HDSDR_install.exe

(5) Download the ExtIO driver DLL for RTL-SDR from here.
http://hdsdr.de/download/ExtIO/ExtIO_RTL2832.dll

(6) Copy the ExtIO driver DLL file to the installation directory of our HDSDR software which we installed a short while ago. In my system, this directory is,
C:\Program Files (x86)\HDSDR

(7) Now, start HDSDR. In my system, HDSDR automatically picked the RTL-SDR dongle as the input and sound card as the output and started picking signals. That means everything is working.

Instructions for HackRF:

(1) Connect the HackRF to the USB port and windows automatically detected it and installed some drivers.

(2) Download the Zadig USB driver installer from here: http://zadig.akeo.ie/
No installation necessary. It can be run immediately.

(3) Run Zadig executable. From the options menu, select "List All Devices". Then from the drop-down list, select "HackRF One".

(4) Since I have already installed the WINUSB driver for RTL-SDR, I don't have to do anything here. It shows that the driver is the latest already. In case you don't have that option, go ahead and click "Install Driver" to install the WinUSB driver.

(5) Download and install HDSDR tool. Even though we install it, do not attempt to use HackRF with HDSDR software yet.
http://hdsdr.de/download/HDSDR_install.exe

(6) Download the ExtIO driver DLL for HackRF from here.
https://github.com/jocover/ExtIO_HackRF/releases

(7) Copy the ExtIO driver DLL file to the installation directory of our HDSDR software which we have installed. In my system, this directory is,
C:\Program Files (x86)\HDSDR

(8) Now, start HDSDR. In my system, HDSDR automatically prompted asking to select which DLL to be used, either RTL-SDR or HackRF. Select the DLL file for HackRF and it starts picking signals. That means everything is working.


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