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85121 - Windows - Smartpen not recognized by Livescribe Helper (WIFI) or Livescribe Desktop (ECHO/PULSE)

posted this on November 05, 2012 12:28


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Issue / Question

85121 - Why is my smartpen not recognized by the software when I run the Livescribe Helper app (Livescribe wifi) / Windows Livescribe Desktop (Echo or Pulse)?

Solution / Answer

After installing Livescribe Helper (wifi smartpens) or Livescribe Desktop (Echo/Pulse smartpens), if you are having an issue with the software recognizing your smartpen:



CLICK HERE to use our interactive guide for this article.  




…or you can read the sections below.


NOTE: If your ECHO/PULSE smartpen IS being recognized by Windows Livescribe Desktop but your data is not transferring, please see 85300 - Smartpen not transferring all of notes and/audio or Livescribe Desktop is not syncing notes with audio.



The following are possible reasons your smartpen is not being recognized:


Smartpen hard reset is needed

Try a hard reset of the smartpen.  This will not affect the data on your smartpen. 


To perform a hard reset:


  1. Disconnect your smartpen.
  2. Press and hold the power button for 10+ seconds.  Your smartpen will restart in a recording session and will turn off again. 
  3. Press the power button.  Your smartpen will restart with the message “livescribe… Starting…” (wifi or Echo) / “livescribe… Starting…Checking filesystem” (Pulse).
  4. Reconnect your smartpen.

Restart the Computer


If the smartpen is still not recognized, you may need to restart your machine to re-enable Windows Plug & Play.  Then run Livescribe Helper (wifi) / Livescribe Desktop (Echo/Pulse) again.


Problem with USB port or USB cable

When you connect your smartpen make sure the charging cable is plugged into a USB port directly on your computer, NOT a USB hub, docking station, keyboard, or monitor port.   The smartpen may be drawing too much power for those ports to work effectively.


Once connected, if the smartpen is not recognized by our software try another port on the computer.


If you have tried all of the computer ports and there is still an issue, try a second micro USB cable from another device you own (if you have one).  If the smarten is recognized using the second cable, please let us know so that we can replace the cable that came with the smartpen.


If you have a second computer, try installing Livescribe Helper/Livescribe Desktop on that machine and connecting your smartpen.  If the smartpen is recognized on the second machine then please continue reading through this article.


PenComm Service needs to be restarted or is not running

If the smartpen is still not recognized, you may need to restart the PenComm service.


To get PenComm working please access 85910 - Turning on Windows PenComm Service manually.


Antivirus is Blocking Software Communication


In some rare cases antivirus software has blocked USB communication between the smartpen and computer.  To rule this out as a factor:


  1. Disconnect your internet connection to keep your computer safe.
  2. Shut down your antivirus software.
  3. Disconnect your smartpen and then reconnect it to the charging cable.
  4. Check Livescribe Helper/Livescribe Desktop to see if the smartpen gets recognized.
  5. Whether or not this resolves your problem, start your antivirus software again.
  6. Re-establish an internet connection.


Other Wired or Wireless Devices Causing Conflict


Occasionally other USB devices can cause a problem.  To check this:


  1. Unplug any wired USB device that is connected to your computer such as a USB Hub or printer.  You do not need to unplug your wired keyboard or mouse.
  2. Disconnect and reconnect your smartpen.
  3. If there is still an issue and you use a wireless keyboard and/or mouse (especially a wireless mouse) but have access to a wired keyboard and/or mouse, plug in the wired device(s) and unplug from your computer the keyboard and/or mouse wireless USB receiver. 
  4. Restart your computer and run Livescribe Helper/Livescribe Desktop.


ClickFreeBackup is interfering with the USB port

If you have a Clickfree™ hard drive backup device, the ClickFreeBackup software could be interfering with the USB port your smartpen is using if the backup drive was not plugged into a USB port when a manual or scheduled backup started.  If the Clickfree BackupLink application cannot find the backup drive, it will display a message “Clickfree is unavailable…” and will keep searching for the drive on each of the computer’s USB ports.  This prevents our smartpen from using any of the available ports until the drive is found.  To resolve this, plug in your Clickfree backup drive to allow the backup to start.  Then undock and re-dock your smartpen and Livescribe Desktop will detect the smartpen and start transferring your data.


If you did not see the “Clickfree is unavailable…” message, the process may still be running even though you weren’t notified of a problem. To temporarily disable this process:


  1. Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc on your keyboard.
  2. Click the “Processes” tab.
  3. Click on the column heading “Image Name” to sort the processes.
  4. Scroll down to “sacreminder.exe” and click on it to select it.
  5. Click the “End Process” button.
  6. At the Task Manager Warning click “Yes”.


NOTE: The next time you run a backup the process will start again.  In the future please be sure to have your Clickfree drive plugged in before starting the backup. 


CA Internet Security Suite Plus is blocking access to Livescribe Desktop

If CA’s “Internet Security Suite Plus” is running on your machine, a change to the network settings should resolve your issue.  To do this:


  1. Double-click the “CA Security Center” icon in the Task Bar.
  2. Click on “MY INTERNET”.
  3. Under “Did You Know?” on the right click on “View Settings”.
  4. Under “What type of network are you currently connected to?” if “No Assigned Network” is selected then click the radio button next to “Home Network” and click “Apply” (this screen may not appear if you already have Home Network as the default).





Pending Windows Updates are Preventing Driver Installation


If you still have a smartpen recognition problem you may need to accept any “Important” (8, 7 & Vista) or “High-priority” (XP) Windows updates in order to allow our driver to complete the installation.


To check for updates:




Windows 8

Type “windows update” from the Start screen, select “Settings” on the right, and tap/click “Windows Update”. 


Windows 7, Vista, XP

Click the Windows “Start” button and select “All Programs > Windows Update”.



Windows 8

Tap/click “Check for updates now”. 


Windows 7, Vista

Click the blue “Check online for updates from Microsoft Update” link.


Windows XP

You will be taken directly to the Microsoft site to check for updates.




Restart your computer when prompted so that the updates can install.


NOTE:  If updates are available but you are unable to install them, you may want to have your system checked for viruses in case a virus is preventing the installation of the Windows Updates and/or our driver.


If your system is virus free but you cannot install your Windows updates, please contact Microsoft Support at


Windows Error “USB Device not Recognized” or “Device driver software not recognized”


If you are still having an issue, make sure our driver has installed properly. 


To check if the smartpen driver is installed and working in Device Manager:




Windows 8

Type “control panel” from the Start screen, select “Settings” on the right, and tap/click “Control Panel”. 


Windows 7, Vista, XP

Click on the Windows “Start” button and select “Control Panel”.




Windows 8, 7 & Vista

From the Category view (8 & 7) / Control Panel Home view (Vista) select “Hardware and Sound” and click Device Manager (upper right for 8 & 7 users / middle of list for Vista users).


From the icons list view (8 & 7) / Classic View (Vista) select “System” and then “Device Manager” (upper left).


Windows XP

From Category View select “Performance and Maintenance” (from Classic View there is no step required).  Then select “System”, “Hardware” tab, and click the “Device Manager” button.




Depending on the smartpen you have, if:


  • “Livescribe Echo Smartpen”


  • “Livescribe Pulse Smartpen”


…appears under “Digital Pens” in the Device Manager list WITHOUT a yellow triangle/circle with exclamation point (!), your driver has been installed properly and the driver is not the problem.  Please let us know if this is the case.




If any of the following:


  • “! Livescribe Smartpen Composite”
  • “! Livescribe Echo Smartpen”
  • “! Livescribe Pulse Smartpen”


… appear (yellow triangle or circle with an exclamation point) under “Digital Pens” in the Device Manager list then the driver did not install properly.


NOTE: If “Digital Pens” does not appear at all then expand “? Other devices” (if it appears) or “Universal Serial Bus controllers” in the Device Manager list.  If any of the following appear then the driver did not install properly:


  • “! Livescribe Echo Smartpen”
  • “! Livescribe Pulse Smartpen”
  • “? USB Device”
  • “USB OBEX”
  • “Unknown Device”
  • “USB Root Hub”


To resolve this:


  1. Right-click on the option above that is appearing under “Digital Pens”, “? Other devices”, or “Universal Serial Bus controllers” in Device Manager.
  2. Select “Update Driver Software…” (8, 7 & Vista) / “Update Driver…” (XP).
  3. Windows 8, 7 & Vista - Select “Browse my computer for driver software”.  XP - Select the “Install from a list or specific location (Advanced)” radio button and click “Next >”.
  4. Click the “Browse” button.
  5. For 8, 7 & Vista 64-bit machines browse to “C:\Program Files (x86) \Common Files\Livescribe\PenDriver…”and click “Next”.  For 8, 7, Vista, and XP 32-bit machines browse to “C:\Program Files\Common Files\Livescribe\PenDriver…” and click “Next”.
  6. Restart your computer and start Livescribe Helper (wifi) / Livescribe Desktop (Echo/Pulse).


This should resolve the issue.  If it does not then in some extreme cases you may need to force a manual driver install by picking the device from a list.  To do so:


  1. Right-click on the option that is appearing under “Digital Pens”, “? Other devices”, or “Universal Serial Bus controllers” in Device Manager.
  2. Select “Update Driver Software…” (8, 7 & Vista) / “Update Driver…” (XP).
  3. Select “Let me pick from a list of drivers on my computer”.
  4. Select the option below that matches your smartpen, click “Next”, and restart your machine:


  • “Echo Smartpen Composite” (WIFI or ECHO)
  • “Pulse Smartpen Composite” (PULSE - titanium or black)
  • “Pulse Smartpen” (PULSE - charcoal blue)


If you still have a problem please let us know.


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