I have an inspiron 9300, and after upgrading Windows XP Pro to Vista Ultimate, I found that my SD card drivers were not working. I turned to this forum, and the Dell support forums for answers, but after spending about 3 days trying various driver downloads, suggestions, and beating my head against the wall (I honestly sunk about 10 hours into this, not so much because I couldn't live without my SD card reader, but because I wasn't going to let the darned thing beat me!), I finally figured it out.
In an effort to hopefully save at least one person from the same torture I've been through, I have written this small guide to get Vista working until Dell, Ricoh, or Microsoft finally gets their "real" drivers released for this.
First off, some background:
Many threads said to download the XP drivers or the recently release Vista drivers for the Ricoh R5C832/843 and use those. However, when you try to do this, there were always some devices that Vista still needed drivers for, and after giving it everything it wants, your card might show up, but never actually work. I think one of the problems with those drivers, is they are not for the chipset found in the Inspiron 9300, XPS, and 6000. It is a Ricoh R5C822/841. I found some XP drivers for that chipset on the Asus site - it was closer, but still no cigar.
Now on to the solution:
You can set up the Ricoh chipset and SD card reader system in your 9300/XPS/6000 as a generic device. The problem is, Vista does not contain "generic" drivers (at least that I could find) for the "SDA Standard Compliant SD Host Controller", and so searching for drivers will never come up with anything compatible.
And forget Windows Update, didn't find a thing. I must have clicked "Find a Solution Online" about 133,331 times over the past few days, in the hopes that the Gods would smile upon me for a moment (j/k).
I started thinking, and I decided to take the generic driver files from my XP sp2 machine, and bring them over into a folder on Vista, and let them install from there. Then I recalled reading that XP sp2 had a hotfix available from Microsoft "KB921413 - A High Speed SD Secure Digital card does not work correctly in a Windows XP-based computer". You can download the actual hotfix from "http://hf.xable.net" (second from the bottom). When you run it on your Windows Vista installation, it will say that the operating system isn't supported, but before you click cancel, note the temporary folder on your harddrive where the files were extracted, and go there and copy all the files to a temporary location on your desktop. You can then click cancel.
You need to make a few small changes to get them to install correctly. First, go to an XPsp2 machine, and search for and copy "sdhcinst.dll" to your Vista C:\Windows\System32\drivers folder. I don't understand why Vista doesn't have these files to begin with, at least mine didn't. Then go to the folder you copied from the hotfix above, and browse for the following 6 files, and place them in the same directory (any directory will do, as Vista can search sub directories) or make a new directory for the files, which you will point the Vista driver install program to:
Now, you can go to Vista's device manager, and find the entry for the SD host. It may show up as Unknown Device, or if you tried to install the generic Ricoh device drivers it will show as "Ricoh SD card" device, or something like that - check under "IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers" if you installed the Ricoh drivers previously. I would just recommend right clicking the device, and choosing "uninstall", and check the box to "delete driver files". Now have device manager scan for hardware changes, and when it pops up the device driver installation program, point it at the folder where you copied the driver files above.
It will detect and install drivers for "SDA Standard Compliant SD Host Controller" - but it will warn you that the vendor cannot be verified (funny because they are Microsoft drivers). Click to install them anyway.
Next, if you have an SD card in the slot already, or when you plug one in, it will ask you for drivers for "SD Memory Card" or "Secure Digital Memory Device". Point the installation program to the same folder with the drivers. There will be two more "Unknown Devices" asking for drivers. After the last step, the unknown devices will eventually show as "Microsoft WPD FileSystem Volume Driver". When Vista prompts you for those drivers, you simply point it to "C:\Windows\System32" and let it search the sub-directories.
Voila! That should make it work until you can get some "Official" support for the Inspiron 9300, 6000, and XPS from Dell and Microsoft, or some official drivers for the R5C822 and R5C841 chipset. I am currently using my SD card as a ReadyBoost caching device (although I can't tell the difference in performance). It is nice not having to worry about always plugging in my USB Flash drive for this.
PS. Thinking about this, and something I never tried, was pointing the initial Driver installation program at the Windows\System32 directory. Maybe your installation of Vista has those files already, and Vista just needs to be "reminded" where the drivers are. Good luck!