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I'm not sure this is the right stack exchange community to be asking this, but I have a little issue. There's a great microscope-camera from Carl Zeiss (AxioCam HRc) which I got for free and would like to use. It originally came with a PCI interface board and a driver CD; the PCI interface board is built into a computer which runs Windows NT and the driver CD is missing. To make matters worse, Zeiss doesn't support this model anymore.

So I wanted to know if it's possible to just remove the PCI interface board and attach it to my Windows 10 computer, and also to somehow take the driver from Windows NT and install it on Windows 10? I know that Windows has always been big on backwards-compatibility, but I'm way out of my depth when it comes to drivers, interfaces, etc. and so I don't even know if and how I can do this. Any help would be highly appreciated!

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(Without knowing the model) Short answer is no.

In general older cameras (and even some newer ones) tended to use very customised communication protocols and drivers. Also the transition from Windows NT to Windows 7 (let alone Windows 10) changed a lot of things under the hood in the Windows kernel and now the result is that you have a lot of legacy cameras that don't work (even some older USB Logitech webcams stopped working after certain upgrades in Windows 10).

Your best bet (which is costly but probably not as costly as buying a Carl Zeiss microscope camera), is the following:

  • Use Acronis to take a full disk backup of the Windows NT system
  • try finding a similar box with a board (same PCI specification although nowadays it's very hard to find anything else other that PCIe).
  • Then clone the WinNT disk from the older system (There is no other safe way to get the drivers from the WinNT system).

UPDATE: regarding non-trusted driver downloads

I saw that kamran suggested that there is a driver in driverscape. Although, I would certainly consider it as an option (I've had my share of being on the receiving end of technical debt and inherited legacy devices and I know how frustrating it can be), I would be very cautious/careful in/when installing non-trusted drivers from a site on the internet. I've never heard or used of driverscape - so I can't really recommend - but I guess if kamran is suggesting it then it should be relatively safe (he has shown to be very conscious of problems that may arise when a suggestion is made).

In any case, before I tried that I would:

  1. check that I can physically install the interface board into my computer (if not then forget about it you need another older system)
  2. update the antivirus, and fully patch my system
  3. take a full backup of my system (or at least enable system protection on Windows and take a recovery snapshot).
  4. then download the driver from the site - (preferably with Tor Browser).
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  • $\begingroup$ Could you elaborate a bit on "try finding a similar box with a board"? I'm not sure what you mean by "similar box"... With "board" you're referring to PCI board, right? $\endgroup$
    – Suryetto
    Mar 10, 2021 at 9:44
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    $\begingroup$ You are right I am using non consistently the term board here. With box, I mean a computer. With board I mean either a motherboard that supports the same specification like the pci interface board (or I should say interface card). $\endgroup$
    – NMech
    Mar 10, 2021 at 9:51
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I googled and found this site. read their instructions on installation carefully and do not download junkware if any is packed with your zip file.

AxioCam driver

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  • $\begingroup$ Both Chrome and Avira instantly recognized the file this page wants you to download as infected. Would not recommend. And to make it even more obvious, you can just change the URL to your will (like driverscape.com/download/this-site-is-a-scam) and it will make you download the same file. $\endgroup$ Mar 10, 2021 at 14:44

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