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Thursday, 05 May 2011 13:14

Mac scanning problem solved

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A scanning software problem with Mac OS X may be caused by devices you're no longer using.


Several months ago, I found I could no longer scan via the network from my trusty Canon MP800R to my 24in iMac running Mac OS X 10.6. I don't scan very often, and I have a couple of other computers that were still working fine in this regard, so I didn't worry too much about it.

Then on Monday I finally got round to upgrading our iMac G5 from 10.4 to 10.5. (That took about six hours, incidentally, including the 10.5.8 update which I already had on a thumb drive and a bunch of others that came via Software Update). After installing the latest Canon drivers and related software, guess what? It wouldn't scan, and the symptoms were exactly the same as on my 24in iMac.

Much head-scratching followed, and a few choice words were uttered.

After trying a few things such as checking the firewall settings, I looked in the logs and found the user diagnostic reports included references to an Epson-related file in /Library/Image Capture/TWAIN Data Sources. I don't have an Epson, but it's quite possible that somewhere along the way I did use an Epson all-in-one with that machines while reviewing the device. And I'd certainly installed Epson and Brother software on the 24in iMac for the same reason, and both were mentioned in the logs.

Opening /Library/Image Capture/TWAIN Data Sources and deleting all the files relating to scanners other than the MP800R did the trick on both iMacs, restoring normal operations.

So what had happened? Please read on.



My suspicion is that some part of the upgrade or other reset the default TWAIN device to one of the other models (ie, an Epson) represented in that folder, and that the rest of the software for it had previously been removed, leading to an 'unexpected termination'.

It would probably have been better to move the files to another location (eg, in a folder in ~/Documents) in case they're ever needed. But I'd expect that (re-)installing the other devices' software would put everything back in the right place anyway, so I doubt any harm has been done.

I also suspect that the problem isn't specific to Canon's software. If you find yourself unable to scan or to set the TWAIN device to the scanner or all-in-one that you're actually using, try cleaning up the /Library/Image Capture/TWAIN Data Sources folder.

The real moral of the story is that if you're going to manually uninstall scanner drivers from a Mac, make sure you do the job thoroughly or it may turn around and bite you sometime down the track.


 


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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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