I wanted to share the saga of getting my new USBConnect 881 PC card up and running in hopes that it might save others some pain.
I went to the AT&T store down the street yesterday and added 3G data service to my plan. I installed the SIM card and the battery, plugged the card into a USB slot, and fired up the laptop. Just after the Windows startup screen, I got the dreaded Blue Screen of Death with a message indicating "Bad Pool" or somesuch followed by a spontaneous reboot. I removed the USBConnect 881 card and the computer started up without incident. (I have a 3 yr old. Toshiba laptop running Windows XP.) I really wasn't in the mood to call Customer Support, so started troubleshooting. To make a long story short, the magic solution was:
1) Power down the computer. 2) Plug in the USBConnect 881 card. 3) Start up Windows in Safe Mode (no BSOD! Yay!) 4) Go to "My Computer" and open up the USBConnect 881, which appears as a "Device with Removable Storage." 5) Copy all of the files (and the ATT) folder from the USBConnect 881 to a location on the hard drive (e.g., C:\temp). 6) Power down. 7) Remove the USBConnect 881 card. 8) Restart the computer and boot Windows in normal mode. 9) Navigate to the ATT folder and install the AT&T Connection Manager Software. 10) Plug in the Aircard. Reboot until Windows recognizes it as a hardware device. 11) Go to Control Panel --> System --> Hardware --> Device Manager. 12) In my case, the card showed up in an error state, right click on it and manually install the drivers. 13) In the Control Panel, there is a "Sierra TruPort" icon. It's probably worth clicking on it to make sure the card is in "Modem" mode and no longer in the problematic "Software Installation" mode. 14) Reboot. 15) The Connection Manager fires up and attempts to register the USBConnect 881 to the AT&T network. Everything should've just worked at this point but...
16) In my case, the guy at the AT&T store failed to actually activate my SIM card, so I had to call the 1-800 number. Use the phone # on your sales receipt (a different # from your existing AT&T cell phone, if you have one). You can complete this process without actually talking to a person. 16) Turn off the computer, wait for 5 minutes for the network to update, and try again. Voila!
Symptom: Windows XP Shows a Blue Screen (BSOD) after an AT&T USBConnect 881 is Connected Cause: An AT&T USBConnect 881 initially installs as a CD-ROM until AT&T Communication Manager has been installed. A conflict has been identified with older versions of some CD burning suites and the services they install. The following workaround involves booting the computer in Safe Mode which prevents these conflicting applications and services from starting. Fix: Procedure
Start the computer in Safe Mode.
Disconnect the AT&T USBConnect 881.
If necessary, shut down the computer.
Turn on the computer.
Repeatedly press the F8 key until the Advanced Boot Options screen appears. NOTE: If the Windows logo appears, reboot and try again.
Select Safe Mode and press Enter.
Copy Setup.exe to the Desktop.
Connect the AT&T USBConnect 881 to the computer.
Select My Computer.
In the field labeled Devices with Removable Storage double-click TRU-Install.
Double-click the AT&T folder.
Right-click Setup.exe and select Copy.
Right-click an open area on the desktop and select Paste.
Disconnect the AT&T USBConnect 881 from the computer.
Restart the computer.
Install AT&T Communication Manager.
Double-click the Setup.exe file located on the desktop.