Menu

Viewing all items for tag Vista

Don’t disable Vista UAC system-wide; disable Vista UAC per application

For those of us that find ourselves disabling Vista UAC for the whole system (points finger at self), we now have the ability to disable UAC per application. Thanks to Microsoft KB946932, here’s the solution:

Using the tool and steps below, you may disable UAC prompt for the specific application. This does not disable the User Acount Control feature for the whole computer.

1. Download and install the Application Compatibility Toolkit from this link:Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.0
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=24DA89E9-B581-47B0-B45E-492DD6DA2971&displaylang=en
(http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=24DA89E9-B581-47B0-B45E-492DD6DA2971&displaylang=en)

2. In the Start menu, locate the new folder. Find the shortcut icon for Compatibility Administrator. Right click it and clik Run as administrator.

3. In the left hand pane, right-click on the database under Custom Databases and select Create New, and select Application Fix.

4. Enter the name and other details of the application you want to alter behavior on and then browse to it to select it. Click Next.

5. Click Next until you are in the Compatibility Fixes screen. 6. On the Compatibility Fixes screen, find the item RunAsInvoker, and check it.7. Click Next and then Finish.8. Select File and Save As. Save the file as a filename.SDB type file in a directory you will easily find it.9. Copy the <filename>.sdb file to the Vista computer you want to alter the elevation prompt behavior on.

10. Click Start>All Programs>Accessories. Right click Command Prompt and click Run as administrator.

11. Run the command below:

sdbinst <path>\<filename>.sdb

For example, if you saved the .SDB file as abc.sdb in the c:\Windows folder, the command should be like this:

sdbinst  c:\windows\abc.sdb

It should prompt: Installation of <name> complete.

Now do this for each program that annoys the heck out of you with UAC and you should be good to go. This really helps if you share your computer with other users since UAC cannot be disabled on a per-user basis. You get to keep your kids safe (read, “protect them from destroying your computer”) and you get to keep your sanity!

Windows Vista x64 black screen after login, workaround

I’m currently using Vista x64 with a nVidia-based videocard with dual monitors and have run into the following issue:

 I work on my machine, then I lock it.  Later I come back and type my password to unlock it and I get to stare at black monitors with only the cursor showing.  Previously I would have shutdown the machine (power button does this gracefully) and then start it back up.

 Yesterday, I found a workaround while trying a bunch of different things, since I had a couple of Visual Studio 2008 instances open among other things:

  1. Lock your machine again (Windows Key + L) or (Alt+Ctl+Del, then L).  At this point, you still won’t be able to see anything, but your cursor should technically be in the password box for your login.
  2. Now, type your password, hit enter, and your desktop should come back they way it should have when you first unlocked it.

Update 04/04/08 – You may have to repeat these steps a couple of times to get it to work.

Annoying, but at least now I don’t have to restart my computer everytime I get the BSOD (Black Screens of Death).

Team Fortress 2 on Vista crashes on map change, “Can’t load lump x, allocation of x bytes failed! Engine Error”

I’ll get straight to the point.  I’ve been playing Team Fortress 2 with no significant issues since the beta was published via Steam…until recently.  For some reason I was randomly getting crashes when the map changed on a server.  The specific error is as given in the title of this post.  I could not for the life of me figure out what might have changed that would have caused an issue like this (completely forgetting I had recently reinstalled Vista).  Instead of actively searching out a solution I continued restarting the game each time it crashed.  This seems to be a problem of mine, putting a band-aid on the problem rather than researching the cause to find a true solution.  Well it turns out it was actually a problem caused by Windows Vista itself in the way it handles memory allocation. 

This issue actually affects more than just Team Fortress 2, but my exposure to the problem was limited to this game.  The solution is a patch provided by Microsoft which I had installed on my previous instance of Vista, and was the reason I had not experience crashing prior to my reinstall.  Hopefully if you’re reading this you’ve taken the initiative to research your problem rather than trying to do what I did.  I have been running successfully with no crashes since installing the patch.  With that said, install the patch and get back to the game!

Microsoft KB Article 940105 – Virtual address space usage in Windows game development

Vista – Explorer: Disable Full-Row Selection, Add Tabs

One of the changes from Windows XP to Windows Vista is the difference when selecting/deselecting items in Windows Explorer when using the Detail View. In XP, you can deselect all items by left-clicking any column that is not the name column. I love that it is this way. In Vista, good luck trying to deselect all items using the same method. In Vista, the details view uses full-row selection. Clicking on other columns causes the item to stay selected. Sure, you can right-click to deselect, but that shows the context-menu which requires another left-click to remove. The only way in Vista to deselect all items is to click in actual white-space below any selectable items.

The good news is that I’ve found a free Explorer Plugin that lets you set Vista to use the XP style of deselection: QT Tab Bar

Vista Default Sample:

If I click on the date column in this case, Music
remains selected.

Vista w/ QT Tab Bar Sample:

If I click on the date column in this case, Music
is deselected, the same way it would work in XP.

To set the option, please do the following:

  1. Install QT Tab Bar (requires log-off).
  2. Open Explorer.
  3. Hit Alt to show the default file menu.
  4. Right-click in the empty space to the right and check QT Tab Bar.
  5. Right-click next to one of the tabs that now appears and choose Options.
  6. Click the Misc. tab and make sure that Full row selection in details view is unchecked.
  7. Make sure that Hide menu bar(Vista) is checked on this tab as well. (hit Alt+M to toggle the menu bar)
  8. Click OK. (If you get an error, just click Continue and everything will work fine).
  9. Close and re-open Windows Explorer.
  10. Note: If you switch from a different view to details view, it will possibly show full-row selection in the current directory. Once you change directories and go back, it will correctly show without full-row selection.

There are a bunch of other features that QT Tab Bar provides. Here are a few of my favorites:

  1. Tabs! – Very cool way to organize your numerous open Explorer windows. As a developer, I have way too many explorer instances open. This allows me to become better organized and save time. It also doesn’t require me to use a different program that is meant to be an explorer replacement but lacks much of the functionality I already depend on.
  2. Tab Groups – Again, as a developer switching between different projects, I can have preset groups of folders I need open while developing. QT Tab Bar gives me that functionality.
  3. Restore Tabs – When I close Explorer I lose my open folders. This makes it so I can close Explorer, go do something else and re-open Explorer with the same folders I previously had open.
  4. Application Groups – I haven’t used this one yet, but I’m sure it will help. An easy way to startup a set of applications that you need for a specific task.
  5. Plugins – Create your own additional functionality to plugin without having to do everything yourself (the download comes with some plugins which I have yet to use – If I find one that stands out, I’ll make sure to add it to this post).
  6. Shortcut Keys – For all the QT Tab features: undo last closed tab, clone tab, forward, back, next tab, etc.
  7. Change Selection with F2 – A nifty feature that toggles the filename selection when renaming. Hit F2 to rename, in Vista, it selects the filename without the extension. Hit F2 again and it changes the selection to no selection but with the cursor at the end of the filename in front of the .ext. Hit F2 again and now the extension is selected. This will save a bunch of time when all I want to do is change the extension.
     

Sample of Tabs added by QT Tab Bar:

It’s definitely a tool to add to your collection if you’re using XP or Vista. Did I mention that they also created a plugin to add the Vista Breadcrumb Bar to XP?

Download QT Tab Bar

How do you install Windows Messenger 5.1 on Vista with UAC enabled?

The first question you may be saying to yourself is, “I thought the Microsoft download page for Messenger 5.1 said Vista wasn’t a supported OS”.  Well, it isn’t, at least not officially, but it does work (sort of).  The answer to the question above that you don’t want to hear is, “You can’t”.  Windows Vista will not let you install the newest release of Windows Messenger 5.1 on Vista when UAC is installed.  Sure, it will be nice and ask you for permission to install, but even though you say yes it will still fail and say that the “installation has been interrupted.”  The only way you will be able to install Windows Messenger 5.1 on Vista is to actually disable UAC, reboot, install Messenger, and then re-enable UAC, if so desired, and reboot again. 

Now how do you disable UAC? 

  1. Click on Start -> Control Panel -> User Accounts and Family Safety -> User Accounts -> Turn User Account Control On or Off.
  2. Uncheck the box next to “Use User Account Control (UAC) to help protect your computer”
  3. Click on “OK”. 
  4. It will say you need to reboot, and it isn’t kidding so go ahead and reboot.
  5. Once you’ve rebooted into Vista, install Windows Messenger 5.1 and then follow the same instructions above, this time placing the check in the box, to re-enable UAC.

Be careful though, Windows Messenger 5.1 doesn’t like to work very well when a scrollbar appears in a chat window.  This is somehow tied to the “don’t give out your credit card information” message.  More on that later if I can find an easy answer to how to fix it.