News from the “e” world

Switch, Change or Set 64-Bit WMP11 in Vista x64 as Default

Posted by n0nsequitur on June 8, 2008

In Windows Vista x64, the 32-bit edition of Windows Media Player 11 (WMP 11) is set as the default Windows Media Player. This is done to avoid and reduce any compatibility issues or problems that may arise with codecs or other DirectShow related plug-ins or add-ons that majority of them still built for 32-bit operating system. However, if you decide to use the 64-bit version of WMP11 with your 64bit version of Windows Vista, especially now that more and more codecs support 64-bit computing platform, and a x64 FFDShow codec which can decode virtually any audio or video media files has been released, you can use a few easy methods to launch 64 bit WMP11 or simply switch, change or swap the system default media player to x64 Windows Media Player, and revert back to x86 version when you need to.

By default, the 32-bit WMP 11 x86 is located at path of %ProgramFiles(x86)%\Windows Media Player, and 64-bit WMP11 x64 is located at folder of %ProgramFiles%\Windows Media Player. So the first method to use 64-bit Windows Media Player is by launching WMP from its x64 location.

Press the Start button, type %Programfiles%\Windows Media Player\wmplayer.exe and press Enter. Alternatively, you can create a shortcut with target and location set to the above, and place the shortcut on the Desktop or in Quick Launch for easy access.

Second method: You need to perform 2 steps each to swap to 64-bit version or to undo the change back to 32-bit version WMP. The unregmp2.exe command (first step) changes the operating system shortcuts to point to WMP 64bit, while the second registry step changes the file associations default program to WMP64-bit, which determines which program will be used when you double click on a media file.

Open an Elevated Command Prompt, type unregmp2 /SwapTo:64 and press Enter.
Then, open the Registry Editor (regedit), then navigate to the the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths\wmplayer.exe. Set the registry subkey Path to be %ProgramFiles(x86)%\Windows Media Player, and the (Default) subkey to “%ProgramFiles%\Windows Media Player\wmplayer.exe” (include quotes).

To undo the x64 change, open an Elevated Command Prompt, type unregmp2 /SwapTo:32 and press Enter.
Then, open the Registry Editor, and reset the value for registry subkey of Path and (Default).

With either one of two methods, you will have complete full x64 Windows Media Player experience.



Posted in Tips, Vista Tweaks | Leave a Comment »

Generate a Systems Diagnostics Report

Posted by n0nsequitur on June 8, 2008

Windows Reliability and Performance Monitor uses performance counters, event trace data, and configuration information, which can be combined into Data Collector Sets. You can generate a report detailing the status of local hardware resources, system response times, and processes on the local computer along with system information and configuration data. This report includes suggestions for ways to maximize performance and streamline system operation.

Open the Control Panel, click Performance Information and Tools, click Advanced Tools (Tasks pane on the left), click Generate a System Health report. Or,.. press the Windows button, type perfmon /report and press Enter.

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Memory Tweaks – Part 2

Posted by n0nsequitur on February 2, 2008

One of the great things about how Vista manages memory is Prefetch and Superfetch. Incredible as this might seem, the default values work best for most people. There is no need to clear the Prefetch directory from time to time as unneeded entries are cleared automatically and the “/Prefetch” command appended to application shortcuts is a myth according to this article at MSDN.

To set the parameters for Prefetch and Superfetch, open your favorite registry editor and navigate to the following:
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\PrefetchParameters]

EnablePrefetcher and Enable Superfetch should be at their default value of 3.

Another myth that I would like to dispel is regarding the AlwaysUnloadDLL setting in the registry. Since this key only applies to Windows Explorer extensions, it is completely unnecessary. Here is an explanation from Microsoft:

“The Shell automatically unloads a DLL when its usage count is zero, but only after the DLL has not been used for a period of time. This inactive period might be unacceptably long at times, especially when a Shell extension DLL is being debugged. For operating systems prior to Windows 2000, you can shorten the inactive period by adding the following information to the registry.”

To remove this key, navigate to the following location in your registry:

and if you have a sub-key called AlwaysUnloadDLL, delete it.

As with all registry modifications, restart your system for the changes to take effect.

Posted in Vista Tweaks | Leave a Comment »

Memory Tweaks

Posted by n0nsequitur on January 26, 2008

Although Vista already does a great job managing your computer’s memory, you can custom tailor it to your needs. Open your favorite registry editor and navigate to the following:
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SessionManager\Memory Management]

There are several keys here that can be changed to customize memory management.

If you are a person who is very concerned with security, this option should be very useful.

  • 0: Inactive pages in the page file are not written with zeros during shutdown. This is the default.
  • 1: The page file will be overwritten with zeros during shutdown. Note that this will increase your shutdown time so use this option only if you absolutely need this kind of security.

This setting controls the size of the file system cache.

  • 0: This is the default setting. Vista will allocate a standard sized file system cache; usually less than 10MB.
  • 1: This setting will enable Vista’s large file system cache. The cache use all of your system’s ram minus 4MB therefore it is only recommended for use on servers. Do not use this option if you intend to use your system for gaming or other applications. Microsoft notes:

    “When you enable System cache mode on a computer that uses Unified Memory Architecture-based video hardware or AGP, you may experience a severe and random decrease in performance. The Drivers for these components consume a large part of the remaining application memory when they are initialized during startup.”

More to come…

Posted in Vista Tweaks | 1 Comment »

Superhidden Files

Posted by n0nsequitur on January 20, 2008

Did you know that even if you check the “Show hidden files” option in Windows Explorer, you still won’t see all the files? There are files in Windows that are “Super hidden”. To be able to see these files, simply open your favorite registry editor and navigate to the following:
Set “SuperHidden” to 1

Posted in Tips | 3 Comments »

If UAC is blacking out your screen…

Posted by n0nsequitur on January 16, 2008

For Vista Home Users:
Type in regedit in the start menu search box and press Enter. Browse to the following registry key:
Double-click the key called PromptOnSecureDesktop and change it’s value to 0.

For Vista Business and Ultimate Users:
Type in security in the start menu search box. Click on “Local Security Policy” and browse down to Local Policies \ Security Options. On the right window, scroll down and find “User Account Control: Switch to the secure desktop when prompting for elevation”. Double-click it and change it to disabled then click OK.

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Going directly to Network Connections

Posted by n0nsequitur on January 15, 2008

Having to go through the Network and Sharing Center to get to Network Connections in Vista can be a real hassle. Here’s a way to jump there directly:

  • Create a new shortcut on your Desktop
  • In the location box type: explorer.exe ::{7007ACC7-3202-11D1-AAD2-00805FC1270E}
  • Click on Next
  • Type in Network Connections as name and click on Finish

If you would like to use the correct Network Connections icon, it can be found in Windows\System32\netshell.dll

Posted in Networking | Leave a Comment »

Command Prompt Tips

Posted by n0nsequitur on January 15, 2008

  • Turn on Quick Edit Mode. This will allow you to easily select, copy and paste all with just your mouse and a right click.
  • When typing in a file or folder name, type in part of the name and then hit the TAB key to bring up matches. Use SHIFT +TAB to go the other direction.
  • When searching for a file, type in dir part_of_filename* to look for the file in the folder. To search sub directories as well, append the /s flag as well. Example: dir exp* /s
  • Use the up arrow to go back over past commands. Alternatively you can hit F7 and go directly to the command.
  • When working with network drives type: prompt $m$p$g to show the full network path along with the drive prompt. Other prompt settings can be found by running prompt /?.
  • You can print the contents of a file by typing: copy file.txt prn
  • Write the output of any command by appending > output.txt. For example, dir > filelist.txt

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Quick way to resize your desktop icons

Posted by n0nsequitur on January 15, 2008

Click on your Desktop then press and hold Ctrl button while using your mouse wheel to change icon size.

Posted in Customization | Leave a Comment »

Quick shortcuts to keep your privacy in IE7

Posted by n0nsequitur on January 15, 2008

Delete Temporary Internet Files: RunDll32.exe InetCpl.cpl,ClearMyTracksByProcess 8
Delete Cookies: RunDll32.exe InetCpl.cpl,ClearMyTracksByProcess 2
Delete History: RunDll32.exe InetCpl.cpl,ClearMyTracksByProcess 1
Delete Form Data: RunDll32.exe InetCpl.cpl,ClearMyTracksByProcess 16
Delete Passwords: RunDll32.exe InetCpl.cpl,ClearMyTracksByProcess 32
Delete All: RunDll32.exe InetCpl.cpl,ClearMyTracksByProcess 255
Delete All + files and settings stored by Add-ons: RunDll32.exe InetCpl.cpl,ClearMyTracksByProcess 4351

Posted in Networking, Security | 1 Comment »