Chris's Corner

Where I talk, rant, and do mostly everything

October 2006 - Posts

  • So EA Officially Fails at Life

    Yeah EA fail at life, BIG TIME!  I just downloaded a copy of the new Need For Speed Carbon demo, happily installed it on vista, and when I went to start it, it crashed.  Funny thing is that I tried it on another box running RC1, thinking it was my version of Vista doing it and it STILL crashed.  But it works fine on XP, very interesting considering NFS Most Wanted works FINE on Vista.  So the question of the day is, where did EA screw the pooch and will they fix it before the official game is released?  Because if they don't, they sure as hell aren't going to get a Games for Windows badge on their box.

     Good job EA, lets actually try to make the game usable before we release, the practice of releasing bug ridden games with subsequent 500 MB patches (*cough* BF2 *cough*) is getting a little bit tiring.

  • Windows Vista Guides

    Well some of you have probably been wondering what happened to the Vista guides after build 5536.  To be honest, I got lazy.  Betweem that and working a lot I just didn't have time to pump out new guides for new builds that were, quite frankly, not much different from 5536.  Instead I decided to move my focus on something that I am working on which will be based on Vista RTM.  I'm not going to say what it is exactly (can't have anyone stealing my idea now, can I?).  I just figured I'd post this to let everyone know theres a good reason for all of this and I think you will all be pleasantly suprised when I do come out with what I've been working on :).

  • WMP on Vista x64

    One thing I have noticed about Vista x64 is that the default Windows Media Player is the 32 bit version.  Microsoft did this for compatibility reasons with codecs and such.  But some people may want to restore the 64 bit WMP in light of a x64 FFDShow being out which decodes virtually all audio/video.  Thankfully there is a relatively easy way to switch the system default WMP to x64 and back to x86.

     To switch to x64, open a command prompt as administrator and type:

    %windir%\system32\unregmp2.exe /SwapTo:64

    Alternatively to swap back to 32 bit go to a command prompt and type:

    %windir%\system32\unregmp2.exe /SwapTo:32

     So there you have it, a relatively easy way to swap back and forth between x86 and x64 versions of Windows Media Player in Vista x64.

    NOTE: It seems that this changes the OS shortcuts but it's not changing the actual file associations, I'm looking into this now.

    UPDATE: There is one more step required to complete the transition to a full x64 Media Player.

    Go into the registy and navigate to:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths\wmplayer.exe

    And set the Values as follows:

    (Default) - "%ProgramFiles%\Windows Media Player\wmplayer.exe"
    Path - %ProgramFiles%\Windows Media Player

    Include the quotes on the value for (Default).

    That's it, now you have a completely x64 Media Player experience.  Enjoy!

  • Fix Aero Glass on Low end DX9 Cards

    Some people with low end DX9 cards (Geforce 5x00 series and ATI 9x00 series) have been reporting issues of Aero Glass not enabling itself despite getting a system rating more than good enough to run Aero Glass.  This is a known issue in RC2 and is on the board to be fixed in RTM.  But for now here's the workaround that I spotted on AeroXP (Posted by Colonel.Cool).

    1.  Ensure that you have the following registry value set to :

    HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\DWM\Composition set to 1 (32-bit DWORD)

    HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\DWM\CompositionPolicy set to 2 (32-bit DWORD)

    2.  Restart DWM by opening a command prompt with administrative privileges :

    - Type 'net stop uxsms'
    - Then 'net start uxsms'

     After doing this you should have Glass, enjoy!

    NOTE: Do NOT try this on a non-DX9 card.  This is for people who should be getting Glass only.

  • Windows Vista x64 - Revisited

    Well I decided that with RC2 I would at least make an effort to give x64 another chance on my machine.  Worst that could happen is that I format in anger and go back to x86, so here's the story.

     I was talking to Robert on Friday and told him that I wanted to try it just for the heck of it.  (Actually I told him to tell the Windows Beta team I was trying it again and the proverbial *** may hit the fan again lol).  So I burned the x64 ISO and prepped for an install that in my mind was destined for miserable failure given the driver signature BS and all that happy stuff.  So it installed, I left to run a few errands while it did it's thing and when I came back I did the post-setup username, date/time, computer name stuff and let it log in.  Everything came with drivers except my, yep you guessed it, my X-FI sound card.  So I had a thought, the XP x64 drivers for the X-FI are WHQL signed, so let's try those.  Ran the installer as admin (don't worry, I disabled UAC shortly after this :P) and it, wait, it INSTALLED?!  OMG!  I rebooted and to my disbelief i heard sound on shutdown!  When it came back up sound was working as well as audio console so I now have full 5.1.  Awesome, but I know it's gonna trip up on my iPod, let's plug it in shall we?  Plugged it in and, wait, it had inbox signed drivers?  HOLY CRAP!  Installed iTunes 7 and everything works with my iPod.  Ok now I must be dreaming because the last time i tried x64 I wanted to shoot someone after 10 minutes.  Needless to say I have been on x64 since yesterday and I haven't had anything to really complain about.

     So I really have to hand a kudos to Microsoft for shaping up x64, but I still think there should be a way to disable the driver signing check for the short term to make the transition a little bit easier for people who aren't fortunate enough to have WHQL drivers available for all of their devices.

  • WLM 8.1 - A Step Backwards?

    Ok, this is something that has been bugging me for a while now, I just haven't had the time to address it in detail.  Now, anyone who has used WLM 8.0 for any extended period of time knows it pretty much stinks.  It's not stable, disconnects randomly and fubars your contact list out of the blue.  Now one would think that things would get better with WLM 8.1 right?  WRONG!  The beta builds of WLM 8.1 thus far have been absolute crap.  It crashes if you even look at it the wrong way let alone trying to do anything.  One of the big issues with it is the pure joke that they claim it has "better Vista support".  Well in WLM 8.0 on Vista it will crash silently on exit, well it doesn't crash on exit in 8.1 but that's about the only time it doesn't crash!  Whatever WLM is doing, it seems to be interfering with DEP in Vista when it tries to parse anything that uses Flash.  So the workaround is to disable DEP, but seriously Microsoft.  This piece of garbage can't even play nicely with one of your critical security technologies?  IMO these current builds of WLM 8.1 should have never seen the light of day.  WLM as a whole is becoming an utter joke, and you know it's really sad when most Microsoft employees do not use it because they admit that it crashes so much that it interferes with their day to day work (this is both 8.0 and 8.1 btw).

    Anyway, I just had to get that off my chest, because I really think the WLM team needs some devs and testers who know what they're doing, because at this point I'm starting to think I could train a monkey to write a more stable IM client.