Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sony RX100M2 / RX100 II WiFi "Send To Computer" Troubleshooting

This may help if you are attempting to send images to your computer from the Sony DSC-RX100M2 over a WiFi connection, but it is not working.

This deals with troubleshooting the connection from the camera to the computer once the actual WiFi connection is working.  There are numerous guides available to help getting the WiFi access point bit of it set up, so that part isn't covered here.  There may also be troubles getting this to work on a Mac, but I prefer to have some illusion of ownership for the things I've bought, so I don't purchase Apple products any more, and Mac issues aren't covered here either.

As with many consumer electronics products, the connection from Sony's camera to a Windows computer seems to rely on a "plain vanilla" Windows install, with a simple, single WiFi access point, and "plain vanilla" default network settings.  If you have more than one WiFi router, have installed a 3rd party (non Windows/Microsoft) firewall product like Norton or Comodo, or have shut down any of the numerous and vulnerable Windows network services, Sony's arrogant assumptions are probably not valid, and their WiFi function probably fails for one reason or another.

There is a step by step guide for setting up the WiFi connection between the camera and a computer on the PlayMemories Home support site here: http://support.d-imaging.sony.co.jp/www/disoft/int/playmemories-home/operation/import/wi-fi-dslr.html  However, that guide assumes everything in the network and Windows system is set up in simplest possible, all-default settings, "pristine lab" configuration.  Based on the number of posts I found where someone is having issues getting a WiFi connection to work from a Sony device, I'll make my own assumption and say that Sony's software generally doesn't detect or report issues with anything that is set up in a non-standard way.  It just quietly and frustratingly fails to work.

To be clear, this guide covers some troubleshooting to get the "Send to Computer" feature working on the Sony RX100M2 (sometimes called the "RX100 II" or the "RX100 Mark II").  On the camera, in playback mode, when you choose the menu option labeled "Send to Computer", the camera is supposed to connect to the WiFi access point, find a designated computer, and then transfer the media files from the camera to the computer.  If anything doesn't "just work", the instructions include no useful details regarding how to troubleshoot or fix the things that might be causing trouble.  I hope to have most of those issues documented here.  If anyone has sorted out other issues, please add a comment and share what you know.

PlayMemories Home

To start, you must have Sony's "PlayMemories Home" software installed on the Windows computer.  The installer should have been included on a CD packaged with the camera, but (at least as of 8/11/2013) it can be downloaded from Sony's PlayMemories support web site at: http://support.d-imaging.sony.co.jp/www/disoft/int/playmemories-home/  If that link no longer works, try a web search for "Sony PlayMemories Home Download"

  • PMBDeviceInfoProvider.exe - a Windows "NT" service named PMBDeviceInfoProvider gets installed and started when PlayMemories Home is installed.  If that service is not running, it may have been set to "manual" start or it may be failing to start for some reason.  Check in the "Services" control panel and troubleshoot using general techniques for Windows services (e.g. check event log, run the executable from a command prompt and look for errors, etc.)
  • PMBVolumeWatcher.exe - This background process gets set up to start automatically in a registry key HKLM\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run (at least that's where it is on a 64bit version of Windows 7).  If it isn't running (maybe because it was too annoying and had to be disabled using msconfig), then nothing will happen on the WiFi "send to computer," even if the RX100M2 connects to WiFi, finds the "target" computer, and is properly recognized as a DSC-RX100M2 device (shown in the Windows Device Manager under "Portable Devices"... more info on that later). 

Setting up the Camera for WiFi connection to a Specific Computer - USB Cable Required

This deserves a mini-rant since it completely ignores advanced users.  I'm sure the reason they chose to force you to connect the camera to a specific computer, with PlayMemories Home installed, is to dumb it down for people who aren't quite sure what the difference is between a computer and a piece of wood, but for most people who would bother to use the WiFi feature, they've taken far too much control over the settings of this feature, and hidden it all inside the PC software.  For instance, it is impossible to switch from one computer to another using the camera menus.  Ironically, the only way to configure the "wireless" connection is to plug in a wire.  LAME Sony!!!!  Ok, mini-rant done.

So, in this step you...
  • Start PlayMemories Home on the computer
  • Plug in the camera using a USB cable
  • Turn the camera on (not sure why it couldn't just listen for a signal from the computer end)
  • Wait for PlayMemories Home to detect the camera
  • Select the camera in the "menu list" along the left side of the PlayMemories window, where it should appear in the "Cameras and media" section.
  • When the camera is selected, then the "WiFi Import Settings" icon shows up on the right side of the PlayMemories Home window.  Click that icon and follow the prompts.
  • Note: The same WiFi Import Settings dialog/wizard may show up when the camera is first plugged into the USB port.

MTP IP Device driver

Sony's WiFi connection apparently depends on loading the camera as an MTP (Microsofts "Media Transfer Protocol") device.  If the device driver fails to load when the camera connects via WiFi, it may help to uninstall the device and let the driver install again.  If this is part of the problem, Windows Device Manager may show a generic "MTP IP Device" instead of the actual camera model, "DSC-RX100M2".  To check and fix this, follow these steps:
  • Open "Device Manager" (Right Click "Computer", select "Properties", then click "Device Manager")
  • With the USB cable disconnected from the camera, attempt to connect the camera to the computer by selecting "Send to Computer" in the Menu.
  • Watch the Device Manager window for the "Portable Devices" section (alphabetically near "Other Devices" and "Ports")
  • If a generic "MTP IP Device" item shows up in either "Other Devices" or "Portable Devices", right click it and select "Uninstall"
  • Click the button on the camera to cancel the connection attempt
  • Attempt to connect the camera to the computer again.
  • If that was part of the problem, the camera should now show up in "Portable Devices" as "DSC-RX100M2"
Note: It isn't clear how the MTP framework gets initialized or installed in Windows 7, but some info on the web suggests that it is related to installing Windows Media Player v10 or v11 on older versions of Windows (e.g. XP).  If the "Windows Media Player" that is bundled with Windows 7 has never been started, it might be necessary to start it once and go through the initial setup dialogs before the MTP stuff will work for the Sony camera.  If anyone tries this and discovers that it actually makes a difference, please comment and confirm that for others.

Using a Firewall Product other than "Windows Firewall"

PlayMemories Home assumes all Windows users are using the built-into-Windows "Windows Firewall" so when it tries to set up the WiFi configuration for a camera, it tries to modify the "Windows Firewall" configuration.  If you're using some other firewall product like Norton or Comodo, PlayMemories Home won't configure it to allow the network traffic.  Another post on Sony's message forum suggested that the ports that needed to be opened were UDP 1900 and TCP 2869 but that information might not be entirely correct.  If I find a definitive answer, I'll update this, but for now, here's what I've found.
  • A quick easy test to see if a firewall is blocking something is to temporarily disable the firewall while you try it.  If things start working, then it might be worthwhile to check the firewall's logs (which may require turning on verbose logging) and find out what got blocked.
  • There is a Windows service named PMBDeviceInfoProvider that gets installed with PlayMemories Home but it doesn't seem to be the process that actually listens for the camera on the network.
  • There is a windows process named WUDFHost.exe that is somehow involved with the transfer of data from the camera to the computer.
  • Port 2869 is normally associated with the Internet Connection Sharing service according to this: http://www.speedguide.net/port.php?port=2869  Also, if the ICS service is started when there is nothing configured to use it, it just stops again immediately with the following message: "The Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) service on Local Computer started and then stopped.  Some services stop automatically if they are not in use by other services or programs."  So, it seems unlikely that the listener on port 2869 has anything to do with the Sony camera or PlayMemories Home.

More Resources and References


Other Posts About Similar Issues

11 comments:

Julien Le Jeune said...

Whirly,

Thanks so much for this article, I managed to get the wifi functionality to work, but it takes 2 whole minutes to transfer a single picture, is it normal?

Again, thanks.

Whirly said...

Julien Le Jeune: The initial information swap seems to take a very long time before anything happens. All that overhead for only one picture is probably the worst case. If you have hundreds of photos and videos, the initial setup time isn't quite as big a portion of the total transfer time.

GoldAnt said...

I've been trying to get my wife's early Christmas present (camera) working for quite some time with this. I've spent hours, and your blog post was the only one that worked for me. Shoot me an e-mail to my gmail account which is goldant and I'll send you $25 back with Google Wallet if you want in.

Anyways, thanks so much for the help!

Linda Fuller said...

We were able to connect the camera to pc via wifi but it took forever. We placed the camera closer to the router it uploaded the photos in no time. We sent 300mb (47 Photos of rougly 8 mb each) to PC in less than 3 minutes. Our router is located in the garage due to our internet connection, so it is important to take not of where your router is.

Whirly said...

Linda Fuller, Thanks for posting your comment. That may give someone an idea about how to speed things up. I am sitting in the same room with my wireless router and transferring photos usually goes reasonably quickly after the inititial sync-up. If you see this comment, please try taking more photos, and maybe a few video clips, and then try to transfer the new ones without removing the ones already transferred. I'd be interested to know if you get the same long delay while the software and camera work to determine which images to send.

Tobias Wooldridge said...

On Windows 8, I found that the device wouldn't be found by PlayMemories until I went into the Metro 'Add or Remove Devices' app while the camera was connected to my WiFi and scanning for my PC

Hopefully this helps somebody :)

Stefan said...

Tobias Woolridge:

Your hint was worth the camera in gold!
Thanks a lot, this solved my problems immediatley

Thomas Fredriksen said...

In Windows 8, I had to stop the Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) service. Don't know why it was enabled, probably due to Hyper-V features not being uninstalled completely.

Pko said...

Thank you for the info, although it made no difference... I just installed the application on windows 10, I have no firewall running, I connected by USB cable the camera and configured it (both automatic and mannually) and it never works, and I do not know where to look for the reason it doesn't work. Simply select "save to computer", it connects to the wifi AP and looks for the computer (it uses the correct name "PLATON", so the playmemories home program actually did something to the camera), but after a long time it just says in the camera's screen "Connected to access point. Cannot connect to computer to be saved" and you can only press "OK" and go back. So it is just wired connection, it seems :-(

Whirly said...

@Pko, did you try stopping Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) as suggested by @"Thomas Fredriksen" or use the "Add or Remove Devices" while the camera is connected to WiFi and scanning, as suggested by @"Tobias Wooldridge", in the previous comments?

Pko said...

I discovered what the problem was... this time, it wasn't sony's fault (although it didn't help to find the problem...). The access point I was using was misconfigured: instead of just connecting to the local LAN and using my existing DHCP server, it was isolating the connected devices with its own automatic DHCP server and performing NAT (Network Access Translation) to reach the internet, so the phone could not find the computer running Sony's software. When I noticed it, I corrected the problem and the phone could reach the computer (but very slowly... although I didn't test it thoroughly because I had already transferred all the files by USB cable when in the previous attempts I could not connect because of the NAT problem).

The caveat to learn here: verify that the connection to the local network is actually direct, and that the IP address of the phone is correct for the LAN you are trying to reach.