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If you are looking to transfer the videos from the Camcorder to your computer you will need a firewire card otherwise you can only view the videos and cant transfer them. If cant even view them then choose the option "Search for drivers from the internet" option and windows will automatically find the compatible driver for you.
It seems you've tried some of the steps I would suggest already. However, to avoid any confusion I'll mention them anyway:
-When you connect a camcorder using DV cables, you have to use the playback mode rather than the PC Connect mode. The firewire connection is a p2p interface for streaming.
-The camcorder sometimes does not show up under "My Computer" when using DV connections as no removable drive needs to be installed. In this case, the camcorder may still be recognized and you should use the "capture" feature of whichever software you prefer.
-Most camcorders require that the AC adapter cable be used during capture operations for various reasons. If you are not connected to AC power, this could halt some functionality.
-Generally camcorders require a cable and IEEE1394 card that are OHCI compliant. Very rare you would find any that aren't, but it may be worth checking into if you're still having issues.
-Obviously, as you've mentioned, checking the device manager and BIOS configurations to ensure your hardware is operating properly was a good call.
Generally when you connect the camera via USB Windows XP and Vista activate native drivers and the camera becomes visible under "My Computer" (XP) or "Computer" (Vista) as a removable drive. However, probably will not be visible by capture software. In that case you would need to use a DV interface cable otherwise known as firewire and have the camcorder in playback mode.