Automatic Simple SDM 2.2 Installation Setup Tool (ASSIST)
for Windows, OSX and Linux (Ubuntu)

Thanks to Werner Bloos there is a German version of ASSIST here.

ASSIST is a Java application designed to make the process of installing SDM Version 2.1 on your Canon camera as simple as possible. It does for SDM what my STICK app does for CHDK. If you don't have Java installed, here is the official download site for Windows and Linux. For recent versions of Mac OSX (Yosemite and later) you need to install legacy Java 6 from Apple here..

All you have to do is drop a photo taken by your camera on the ASSIST window and it will:

The cameras that SDM Version 2 supports are listed here. Be aware that some of the older cameras only support the hard-to-find SD cards rather than SDHC cards.
Also note that due to technical issues with how usb-detection is done on the S2is and S3is these cameras are not suitable for action stereo or stereo with flash.

ASSIST runs under Windows (from XP onwards), Mac OSX (from 10.4 onwards) and Linux (Ubuntu 11.x and 12.x at least).

To make things as easy as possible all you have to do is press a button to make ASSIST continue to the next step and on-line help is just a button-click away. Here's a picture of ASSIST just after a photo has been dropped.

Downloading and Installing ASSIST

Download the Assist zip file and unzip it. You'll get a folder called 'assist' which you can relocate anywhere you fancy. Inside the folder are the following files:

Running ASSIST

Double-click the appropriate script file depending on your Operating System. See the notes below for information about giving ASSIST permission to modify a card (this applies to OSX, Windows and Linux).

exFAT cards

ASSIST can't currently reformat exFAT cards as FAT32 or repartition them into FAT16 and FAT32 partitions, at least not reliably. If ASSIST finds an exFAT card it will will issue a warning message, asking for another card to be inserted. In such a situation reformat the card as FAT32 and try ASSIST again. Note that Windows cannot format cards bigger than 32GB as FAT32 - if you have such a card try one of the 3rd-party formatting tools such as this one or this one.

Supporting Files

ASSIST does not copy all the files to the card, only DISKBOOT.BIN and the contents of the SDM folder. The remaining files are retained in a sub-folder of the assist folder whose name is the model name and build of the camera (e.g. "a570-101a).

Note - the Common_files folder contains the SDM User Manual and other documentation.

ASSIST will also detect if a build has been previously downloaded and if so, let you skip the download step. This can be useful if you want to prepare another card for your camera, but of course skipping the download step may mean you don't get the latest SDM build.

Note for Mac OSX Users

Starting with Mountain Lion (10.8) OSX requires root access to make changes to cards. As a result, ASSIST will fail with a "permission refused" message unless it has root access. To run ASSIST under these versions of OSX (Mountain Lion, Mavericks, Yosemite, El Capitan and later), use the assistML.command script. Double-clicking the script will bring up a terminal window and sudo will ask you to type your logon password so ASSIST can get root access. ASSIST will run when you press return.

Note for Windows Users

Some Windows 10 users have reported that they needed to use 32-bit Java, not 64-bit java.

For cards larger than 4GB in pre-2011 cameras, ASSIST will create two partitions - a small FAT16 one containing DISKBOOT.BIN and a large FAT32 one for photos. Note that Windows will only let you see one partition at a time - use my WASP utility to switch between them.

Under the covers ASSIST issues commands and makes API calls that require administrator privileges under Windows 7, 8 and later. If you run ASSIST when logged on as a general user, without admin permission, ASSIST will diagnose the problem and display the message:

  ASSIST needs Administrator permission - start it by double-clicking ASSISTX.CMD

On a 64-bit system, even if you are logged on as an Admin, you will have to start ASSIST using ASSISTX.CMD, otherwise ASSIST will display the message:

   ASSIST needs permission to analyse disk

If you see this message, or are running a 64-bit Windows system, terminate ASSIST and double-click the ASSISTX.CMD file. This will display a dialog allowing you to temporarily 'elevate' yourself to Admin level by selecting a user account with these privileges. ASSIST will then run properly.

Unfortunately this temporary elevation breaks drag-and-drop (it's a known Windows problem) so you will have to use the Browse button to locate a photo.

Notes for Linux Users

Different flavours of Linux use different formats for the names of removable drives. Although ASSIST tries its best to parse such names, it sometimes fails - my apologies!

Assist needs sudo permission for some of the commands it issues. Currently that means you need to run it from a terminal window, setting the current directory to the folder containing the jar file and typing:

   sudo java -jar assist.jar

When you run it it will ask you to type in your admin (logon) password and then run ASSIST


Pressing the 'Help' button when ASSIST is running will display one of the following pages in your default browser:

Extra Features:

ASSIST has some extra features that can be enabled by changing its properties file, "", (which you will find in the same folder as the app once you've run it). These features are:

Version History:

There's a companion app, STICK, which will install CHDK in just the same way.

Comments, suggestions and bug reports welcome.

All my apps are freeware, but if you've found them useful and would like to thank the author, you can make a donation (for example £1, €1 or $1) to show your appreciation for the many hours spent working on them!

For other SDM and CHDK-related stuff of mine, see here

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