OK, time for a technical discussion... I just recently purchased an Xbox 360 Wireless USB adapter for the PC. I can't buy the thing from Microsoft these days, because like the venerated and awesome Optical Trackball (which you can get today for anywhere around US$150 used to US$300 new in the box!!), Microsoft has decided that it didn't want to sell a product that it couldn't keep on the shelves.
Apparently, selling well is not the way to stay in the product line.
So for whatever reason, Microsoft stopped selling the adapter, possibly because they are preparing to release another product? Not sure... but I've got extra wireless 360 controllers, so I wanted to get one of these devices to make use of the controllers.
Where to get one? Buying an "official" wireless adapter still new in box is a pricey affair (just like the trackball), but lucky for me, Hong Kong has no compunction against keeping their assembly lines rolling and making more of the devices for the consumer market. US$20 "Bought it now" from an ebay HK transshipper and about a week or so later, it was in my mailbox.
Cool... so I open the package and find a reasonable facsimile of the Microsoft adapters, but a couple of things stand out; first off is a total lack of anything saying "Microsoft" on the packaging or device, even on the official-looking tag on the cord, and some holographic sticker (mostly just sparkly, no MS logo there, either). The box has an "Xbox Live" logo, but that was the "Classic" Xbox Live, not the incarnation for the 360, and what that would have to do with this device is anybody's guess.
While the device itself was fairly solid feeling, the plastic definitely looked "off". Hard to give it a description, suffice it to say it if it was an official product, it would match the plastic on the controllers; but the white was a bit more off-white, and the gray was a bit darker. The grainy feel was also slightly off from the plastic used in the controllers and console. Cosmetic issues aside, though, it was a solid device, as I stated above.
Now to plug it in. My wired Xbox 360 controllers work fine in Windows 7 - plug and play - so I expected the same here, but that was not the case. Here came the big stumbling block... the drivers included on the disk were also the latest from Microsoft; and neither worked (I downloaded the official drivers, too). The problem, it seems, is the USB device ID string: USB\VID_045E&PID_0291&REV_0107. The real culprit is the PID_0291, which doesn't match the value the driver files are trying to match, PID_0719. So what to do?
Well, I am a software engineer, and I've been digging into Microsoft systems for over 20 years now. After copying the files from the correct directory on the driver disk, and looking into the INF file (Xusb21.inf), I modified all of the references to Pid_0719 to Pid_0291, saved the file, and updated the driver for the device from that directory.
It found the driver fine, and after confirming I wanted to install the driver form the "unknown vendor", everything came up just fine.
Last step: connecting the controller to the adapter. Pushing a couple of buttons, the adapter had no trouble connecting to the wireless controller, and pulling up the Windows 7 "Devices and Printers" and pulling up the Game Controller option form the context menu, and I was quickly able to verify the controller was working perfect.
So there it is. Why am I even bothering to document this? Well, hopefully, others having the same issue will find this article and find it helpful.
UPDATE: Here is a link to the drivers I have had to use (even on a recently purchased adapter!!)
Windows will complain about not being a certified publisher or something... that's because the INF file was modified for the new device ID.