For those of you who use MagicJack, there is a way to get it running on Windows 7.Â Even in XP it could be a real pain, and unreliable. I’ve been hung up on more than a few times because the voice quality was so bad. The advertised “plug it into a USB port and that’s it” procedure falls flat in Windows 7.
The cost and Long Distance savings are outstanding. But if I had serious health problems and required dependable 911 service, MagicJack just might not be there when needed.
From what I’ve read and tested, there are a couple of options.
The first is to start it from the command line eliminating the initial splash screen. The command line for this is:
Start C:\Users\userguy\appdata\Roaming\mjusbsp\magicjack.exe /scf _magicJackPersonalDataRoot Y:\magicJack
- Of course, substitute your user id for “userguy”.
- On Windows 7, you’ll need to copy the \Roaming\mjusbsp\ folder from your XP installation. If it’s not available, see if someone can zip theirs and try it. Sorry, but either way it will trash your Contacts list, Call History, etc.
- Y: is the Removable Drive created by MagicJack (FAT format, default block size), not the “CD” USB Image.
You can first try to just add the command line shown above to your startup folder. If the voice quality is ok, you might want to leave things as is. If it just doesn’t work, follow these steps (straight from the MagicJack support Chat standard procedures):
- Find the Removable Drive created by MagicJack. Reformat it using FAT, default block size.
- Go into Administrative Tools/Computer Management/Disk Management.
- Change the drive letters for both the Removable Drive created by MagicJack and the the CD/USB Image. Change the command line shown above from Y: to the new value. Cross fingers. Reboot.
To install MagicJack as a service, there are a few options.
DISCLAIMER: This has been reported to work on XP, possibly on Vista. Given the variance of any user’s machine hardware/software and adding on the uncertainty of what MagicJack will actually do, all I can say is if it works, and continues to work, great. Otherwise, give up, bail out and use the command line option. Note the strikethrough over the Windows 7 items below, and the Addendum at the end of the article.
- Use the Instsrv.exe/Srvany.exe method. Search microsoft.com for the procedures, and download the Resource Kit Tools if necessary. It’s good to have them around anyway.
- Or, download ServiceShell from http://www.uinterface.com/serviceshell/, and try/buy. You can cheat and use it to start, then substitute the path and executable for srvany.exe for the serviceshell.exe.
- Use the local service account and check desktop interaction. I’ve seen recommendations to create a MagicJack user account, etc. and run the service with that account but I did not see a need for that.
- And in Windows 7 at least, the MagicJackloader.exe I’ve seen in some documentation doesn’t work, so be sure to use MagicJack.exe as shown above.
- I haven’t been able to get the service to work installing it using sc.exe, which I expected.
In Windows 7, there is still a downside. The Interactive Services Detection window appears, and lets you know MagicJack is trying to do something, and not quite right. I tried changing the compatibility sessings on the executable, but no help. Since starting MagicJack as a service doesn’t show a tray icon, the application is hidden in the Interactive Services window:
I’d recommend that you right click and pin the window to the task bar. If you click on “Show me the message”, it will take you to the MagicJack user interface screen.
Some users wouldn’t care if they never saw the user interface screen again. You can uncheck the interact with desktop option for the service, and that will do it. Otherwise, if you switch back & forth from your phone to your Microphone/Speakers or use the contacts, call history, etc. then you’ll want the UI. Before running it as a service, using the Microphone on my Logitech QuickCam and regular speakers was a mess. Now it works fine. It also does not show the user street address at the bottom or 911 calling info. I decided not to try it and tell the 911 dispatcher “just checking, thanks”.
On a tangent, a couple of years ago someone on “Good Morning America” suggested that viewers “try out” their 911 service as a test, with a net result of thousands of pissed off 911 dispatchers nationwide. Even better is another VOIP 911 incident I read about (I’ll only say the VOIP company’s name started with “V”). A man’s house started on fire somehow, he called 911. The Fire Department went to the address, but it was his address prior to moving to his current (and still burning) address. Luckily the residents there had his new address, and Fire crews rushed on over. However, the guy kept running back into his house to rescue his downloaded music CD collection. They finally had to taser him, throw cuffs on & shove him into a squad car. No word on whether he was charged with pirating copyrighted music, or if they just let it go.
So if anyone tries out the MagicJack 911 service, let me know if it works or not. I’ll be glad to step aside and let someone else test it out.
Addendum/Update, Friday, March 6, 2009:
After further testing, I must insist not even thinking about possibly maybe considering using the procedure aboveÂ “To install MagicJack as a service”, at least in Windows 7. It did indeed work well, at least for a couple of calls. Then it proceeded to just fall apart, exhibiting a variety of malfunctions. In my case, the “screw this” threshold was crossed by a huge margin during a phone call that should have lasted two minutes but instead lasted more than ten minutes since I had to ask for at least two repeats of everything the caller on the other end was saying.
Sorry, but I just don’t call too many people, and if I don’t recognize the incoming number, I don’t answer. Otherwise I would have posted the update much sooner.
For now, until there are changes from MagicJack or Microsoft, I’d recommending using the following command in your startup (refer to the notes for the command above):
start Z:\Users\userguy\appdata\Roaming\mjusbsp\magicjack.exe /scf _magicJackPersonalDataRoot Y:\magicJack
Don’t bother using the /HIGH start parameter, or boosting the priority of the MagicJack task. It seems to actually make voice quality jittery (or more so). Good luck, and I’ll pass on MagicJack MagicFixes when they are released.