Confessions of a Windows Enthusiast

Where I rant about Microsoft products, computers and technology, and much more.

May 2007 - Posts

  • Workaround for LSM.EXE Handle and Memory Leak

    Consider the following scenario. If you have a computer that uses a high definition audio device, which is running Microsoft Windows Vista, and you are using Windows Media Player 11, handles and memory may be lost because of a leak in the Lsm.exe process.

    As you fast forward through your Windows Media Player library, or have a playlist set to repeat, you may lose a large amount of handles in a short amount of time. This can lead to performance degradation and in some cases, "out of memory" error messages and other unexpected behavior. If you review the Task Manager you may notice that Lsm.exe is consuming a large amount of memory.

    This issue only occurs if the following statements are true:

    • Your computer utilizes a High Definition Audio Device
    • You are running Windows Vista, or Windows Vista 64-bit.
    • You are using Windows Media Player 11 to play back audio files.

    There is a hotfix available from Microsoft to resolve this issue, however in some cases this may not resolve the issue. The following workaround is a method that I have tested on several systems that exhibit this issue and have found that it does indeed resolve the issue.

    • Click on Start, and then click on Control Panel.
    • Click on Hardware and Sound.
    • Under Sound, click on "Manage audio devices".
    • Select your output device in the list that appears (the default output devices is commonly labelled "Speakers")
    • Right click on the device and from the context menu click on Properties.
    • In the "Properties" window, click on the "Enhancements" tab.
    • Tick/check the option box for "Disable all enhancements".
    • Click on OK to dismiss the properties window.
    • Click on OK to dismiss the "Sound" window.
    • Close the Control Panel window by clicking the Close ("X") button at the top right of the window.

    NOTE: You will have to restart your computer in order to reclaim previously lost memory and handles.

  • Windows Vista Aurora Screensaver Hidden Settings

    For those of you who are using Windows Vista, you may have noticed that the screen savers that are included do not contain any settings. Actually, they do, but Microsoft didn't include options dialogs for them.

    Long Zheng posted the settings for the Bubbles, Mystify, and Ribbons screensavers back in September before Windows Vista officially shipped. But he didn't post the settings for Aurora.

    Through a little bit of digging and guess work, I've uncovered one registry key that actually works for customizing the Aurora screensaver. Let's get started, shall we?

    DISCLAIMER: This involves modifying the Windows registry. It is recommended that you make a back up before performing any of the steps outlined below. Kristan M. Kenney and can not be held responsible for any instabilities or damages that may be caused by editing the registry. Mis-use of this trick may cause your system to become unstable. Please proceed with caution.

    • Click on Start, and in the Start Search field type "regedit" (with or without the quotes).
    • If User Account Control prompts you for consent, click on Continue or provide the proper credentials.
    • In the Registry Editor window in the left hand pane navigate to "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Screensavers\Aurora"
    • In the right hand pane, right click on an empty spot and click "New > DWORD (32-bit) Value".
    • Give the new DWORD value a name of "NumLayers" (without the quotes).
    • Double click on the "NumLayers" DWORD value and next to "Base" on the right hand side select "Decimal".
    • Give the DWORD value a numerical value of your choice.
    • Repeat these steps for the "Amplitude" and "Speed" REG_DWORD values outlined below if you wish, and when setting the value type choose "Decimal" under the "Base" settings in the value dialog.
    • Right click on the Desktop and click on Personalize.
    • In the Personalization Control Panel window click on "Screen Saver".
    • In the Screen Saver Settings window, under "Screen saver" select the "Aurora" screen saver and click the OK button, or click Preview to view your changes.

    Other settings and explainations:

    NumLayers is a REG_DWORD value (Decimal) that can be set to any number that you desire between 1 and 15. For a darker aurora effect I'd recommend using 2 or 3. For a strong aurora effect, choose 10 or 12. Do not set this value past 15.

    Amplitude is a REG_DWORD value (Decimal) that can be set to any number between 500000000 and 2000000000. The lower the value, the slower the screen saver is. This setting also seems to affect the amount of brightness in certain areas of the aurora effect. I'd recommend a value of 1073909999.

    Speed is a REG_DWORD value (Decimal) that can be set to any number between 1000000000 and 2000000000. For a slow aurora effect, I'd recommend using 1000000000.

    If you would like to return the screen saver to its default settings, simply delete any of the REG_DWORD values that you created from above in the Registry Editor.

    I have created a preset that I am personally using now. If you would like to use it, simply click here to download the ZIP file. Open it using a file extractor of your choice and then merge the .REG file. Then navigate to the Screen Saver selection dialog and select Aurora as your active screen saver.

    Download: Northern Lights Aurora Preset (.ZIP file)

  • Correct Disk Cleanup shortcut for Windows Vista 64-bit

    If you are using a 64-bit (x64) version of Windows Vista, then this is something you should know. By default, the shortcut in the Start menu points to the 32-bit (x86) executable for Disk Cleanup. While Disk Cleanup will work fine from this shortcut for most things, there is one function that does not work correctly – the cleaning of System Restore points and Shadow Copies / Previous Versions.

    Note that if you launch Disk Cleanup from another location in Windows, for instance by clicking the “Disk Cleanup” button on a drives properties window, it will launch the correct executable for Disk Cleanup.

    If you want to correct the Disk Cleanup shortcut in the Start menu, follow these steps:

    1. Click on Start, All Programs, Accessories, and then click on System Tools.
    2. Right click on “Disk Cleanup” and from the context menu that appears click on “Properties”.
    3. Change the “Target” from “%SystemRoot%\SysWOW64\cleanmgr.exe” to “%SystemRoot%\system32\cleanmgr.exe”.
    4. Click on OK. If User Account Control prompts you for consent, click on Continue or provide the appropriate credentials.