Update 6/11/2018: This post was originally written in 2012. Things have changed, and I don’t know how much of this is still relevant.
Calibre is an open-source e-book library manager, it catalogs, indexes, and organizes my e-books. It’s like the robotic bookshelf I never had. Want to show me all the works of Isaac Asimov that I own? What about books that contain the word ‘pinkerton’? In addition to that, and perhaps most importantly, it lets me track and manage the books on my Nook Simple Touch. For people who create ebooks, it is also useful to those ventures, but that’s irrelevant to this mission.
Did I mention that Calibre is 100% free (as in beer!)?
I’ve had a Nook for over two years now, and for that entire time, I’ve searched for a free way to get my Windows to launch Calibre automatically when I plugged the Nook in. I tried a number of things and never got it to work. A few nights ago I stumbled across the solution, and it was built into Windows 7 the whole time. I happened across this post on SuperUser. The author of this post has a very different goal than mine, he wants to auto-sync a USB flash drive, so he suggests an app called SyncToy. I don’t need the syncing, I just need the launch capabilities. And this post showed me the way.
You can go read the post I found and figure it out yourself, but if you’d rather stay here then read on as I’ll provide you with my step by step instructions on how to do this on your own Windows 7 machine (these instructions are likely invalid for other versions of Windows.)
Things required for this tutorial
1. Windows 7
2. Calibre software already installed (this is not a tutorial for how to use Calibre)
3. Nook e-reader (Or any other e-reader you plug into Windows 7, but mine is done using a Nook Simple Touch.)
4. USB cable to connect Nook e-reader.
Warning: As with all of these projects, your mileage may vary. We’re not doing anything inherently dangerous, but I just want to be clear that I offer no further support or guarantee for your computers. If your computer explodes, creates a black hole and sucks you and your office into it, or otherwise goes haywire – I am not held responsible.
Alright, with those things out of the way, here we go!
1. Click the Windows logo in the lower left corner and start typing ‘Computer Management’ at some point in that sentence you should see it pop up as an option at the top. Note, you’ll need admin rights on your machine.
2. It will launch the application, which looks something like this.
3. In that left column navigate down the tree as follows:
- Click the arrow to the left of “Event Viewer”
- Click the arrow to the left of “Applications and Services Logs”
- Click the arrow to the left of “Microsoft”
- Click the arrow to the left of “Windows”
- Click the arrow to the left of “DriverFrameworks-UserMode”
- Click on “Operational”
It should reveal a page which looks similar to this:
4. So what you’re looking at here is the log of all the things you plugged into the USB ports on your machine, so picking out which one is your e-book reader can be a bit difficult. So let’s clear the log. On the right column of the screen, the fourth option from the top is ‘Clear Log…’ – click that and then click the middle button labeled ‘Clear.’ We could save the log but there really isn’t a reason to.
5. Now that the log is cleared, let’s plug in our Nook and see what appears. Go ahead and plug your Nook into your computer using its Micro-USB cable. (If you don’t know how to do this, you shouldn’t be following this tutorial. Exit now.) Once it’s plugged in your screen will likely fill again with events as your computer fires off a series of actions relating to the newly connected Nook. You’re going to click one and select the top most log entry (this is the last one which ran.) For me this is ‘Event ID’ 2101, but your number may vary. (I’ve censored some unique data about my machine and Nook, ignore the grey boxes.)
6. Now that you’ve selected that top row entry, go to the menu bar at the top and click on ‘Action’ and then go down to ‘Attach Task to this Event’
7. Change the name for the event to something you’re recognize, I chose ‘Launch Calibre’ and click ‘Next’ button.
8. On the “When an Event is Logged” view, click the ‘Next’ button. On the ‘Action’ view, confirm that ‘Start a program is selected’ and click the ‘Next’ button. On the newly added ‘Start a program’ view on the left menu, you need to put in the link to where Calibre is saved. For me, it looks like this: “C:\Program Files\Calibre2\calibre.exe” – Once it’s in the ‘Program/script’ text field, click Next.
9. Click the ‘Finish’ button.
And that’s it! You click the OK button on the next modal. Now to test it, exit out of the Computer Management software. Disconnect and count to 5, then reconnect the Nook to your machine. Once you reconnect, after two or three seconds your computer should recognize the device and launch your installation of Calibre.
Hopefully you’re in business!