Category Archives: Windows

Halo 2 For Vista: Tray & Play

For the last year I’ve watched – and worked with – Hired Gun as they’ve worked on Halo 2 for Vista. As part of the work that I’ve helped with in months past – and as an active beta tester – is something called Tray & Play. Jo talks about it at IGN – it was also called out as a feature in other preview news during GDC this year.

How cool is this type of technology for PC gamers? Let me give you an example: the first time you play Halo 2 for Vista it takes less time to get into the game on my notebook than it took to get into Resistance – Fall of Man on a PS3.

Yes, the initial PC install process beat the most recent gaming console’s setup.
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Vista Tip: VirtualStore

Note to self: when working with older applications on Vista – or applications that keep trying to write settings to Program Files – remember to check \UserName\Documents\AppData\Local\VirtualStore for redirected INI files. Uninstalling and reinstalling the application will not clean out these files.

Long story short, I wanted to see what Clockz did on Vista, since it was originally written in 1997 for Windows 95. Not bad, really: it shows the time correctly, still docks like a proper AppBar, but the new width of borders in Aero causes some painting problems. And yes: because it was written ten years ago it uses an INI file that lives next to the EXE… which is now “off limits” to users. After seeing that the original INI file wasn’t changing, I went digging to see what was up:

When Vista sees an application trying to do this – that is, modify a config file where the EXE lives – it looks like they make a copy in a user-writable location and then uses that copy. Did the same thing for CuteFTP (from 1997) and CRT (from 1996), so it’s pretty aware of archaic software.

Pretty neat, actually, once ya know about it.

Vista Tip: Elevated Command Prompt Here

One of the things that irks me is I’m trying to do stuff in a deeply buried directory in Explorer and the realize that I want to do something Command Prompt related. You get all the way down to where you want to be and say “uwaaaah!” because you realize that you now have to type that long path into a command window. Sure you could copy the path from the directory bar and paste in the command window, but, well, that’s a bunch of steps I don’t feel like dealing with.

In Vista, there’s an addition challenge because you might want a Command Prompt with Elevated permissions.

Below you’ll find a set of Registry settings that will enable a “Command Prompt here” and “Elevated Command Prompt here” menu item when you right click on a drive or directory in Explorer, including the Start Menu Vista Button.
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What About Vista Anyway? How About Office?

A number of people have asked me “what do I need to run Vista?” over the last few days… in some ways, it’s a trick question. After all there’s a bunch of different versions of Vista. It runs fine without Aero – the glassy styled Windows – and there’s a boatload of features between the versions… so, simply put: it depends.

And now for Part 4 of a trilogy of Vista/Office posts.
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Memory Loss

I had a bunch of stuff to write… total memory gap. What’s more is that I was no where near a running instance of notepad or a piece of paper when I was thinking… *shrug* Lost or delayed, does it really matter?

In other news, has anyone else noticed that Vista ships tomorrow night at midnight? And I mean that in a good way – being this close to our Main Campus is like being at the epicenter: I’m wondering if there’s a similar level of excitment in other parts of the country.

Is anyone going to a Best Buy or CompUSA? I’ve seen the list of swag – I’ll probably go.

I’m also amused to see the new Office SKU’s running around store flyers. Over the holidays I heard “Get the Student/Teacher version – it’s the same [as Professional] and much cheaper!” from three stores in two states. The SKU’s change in 2007 – Office Max had a good chart of what comes in each SKU. Of interest was: Edu comes with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote but no Outlook – Standard comes with the same but with Outlook and no OneNote. There’s also an Ultimate SKU I had overlooked that comes with is the only other SKU to come with OneNote… shame, too because OneNote rules.

Ah well… should be an exciting week on many levels!

Note To Self: Permissions Count On Vista

For decades I’ve kept a set of “tweaks” in my head that I make to all of my machines, just after I install an OS. This includes moving certain “important” directories around my hard drive because I don’t like digging through multiple layers of directories to get to things. Somethings should be right off the root of the drive, in my opinion.

Mental note to self: permissions on these “special” directories become very, very important on Vista.
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Vista on a ThinkPad T60p

As many of you are aware, Windows Vista RTM’d last week. So did Office 2007, for that matter. I spent some time upgrading one of my work machines as well as my notebook… traditionally speaking, upgrading a notebook PC to a relatively new OS can be suicide, unless the OEM has made specific drivers available to you. It’s not just a Windows thing: I’ve seen pages and pages of Linux folks attempting to get devices supported on machines that OEM’s have decided they wouldn’t support.

But I decided to do it anyway… this is the story.
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