Archive for the ‘Software’ Category

Adding Windows XP to a Windows Vista Installation (Dell Studio XPS)

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

If you want to run multiple operating systems on one machine, Microsoft recommends to install them in the order of increasing age with the oldest first.

However, when I got my Dell Studio XPS machine an year and a half ago (gosh, is it already that old!), Windows Vista 64 bit was already installed and I wanted to add Windows XP. So what I did to run both OS’s was the following:

  1. Add a new partition, in my case 40 Gigs, for Windows XP and the associated programs (J: drive in my case. Windows Vista is on C:). You can partition your drive within Windows Vista – Computer Management –> Storage –> Disk management. When partitionened, format that new drive.
  2. Install Windows XP on that drive
  3. After the install, Windows Vista is no longer accessible. There is no boot menu
  4. Restore the Windows Vista boot partition. I did it with “VistaBootPro 3.3″ (google it, but careful: the first site displayed charges 9.99$ for the program. Look for the next results where your should find the freeware version). Make the program restore the Windows Vista boot loader.
  5. At this point only Windows Vista will boot, so we now configute the Vista boot loader to recognize Windows XP as well.
  6. Start a DOS command prompt (right-click it from Accessories to start it in ADMINISTRATOR mode) – Note: These instructions were taken from a microsoft document to be found here.
  7. Enter the following in the DOS window: BCDEDIT /create {ntldr} /d “WINDOWS XP”      (type it in as is. you can change the string “WINDOWS XP” to anything you want. It’s possible that you get an error which says “entry already present”. fine, no problem. continue below)
  8. Enter the following in the DOS window: BCDEDIT /set {ntldr} device partition=x:        (replace x: with your boot drive, in my case it was C:)
  9. Enter the following in the DOS window: BCDEDIT /set {ntldr} path \ntldr                          (enter as is)
  10. Enter the following in the DOS window: BCDEDIT /displayorder {ntldr} /addlast           (enter as is)
  11. Reboot.
  12. At this point you should the OS choice menu. Enjoy.

FLV Player for the Web

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Adobe’s FLV video-format isn’t directly playable on the web, you will need a (usually) flash-based player.

I’ve found an easy-to-use and affordable player to be SlideShow Pro, which is fully configurable via XML (pretty easy using the supplied documentation) and it also makes great slideshows, which is actually it’s main purpose. You can even combine images and videos, group media sets within albums, add your own mp3 soundtrack and much more.

At currently 29$, Slideshow Pro Standalone is affordable and offers much better value due to it’s flexibility compared to other obvious choices like the wimpyplayer.

Curing Sluggish Photoshop CS2 (csrss.exe)

Thursday, March 8th, 2007

To summarize: The solution to sluggish Photoshop and csrss.exe using a lot of CPU is having too many fonts loaded. Trim down the fonts and the problem will disappear.

I’ve been up to some Photoshop CS2 work lately and was *immensely* aggravated by photoshop freezing for as long as a minute at odd intervals. Using the task manager, I noticed csrss.exe was taking up 50% of one of my dual core processors. csrss is Windows’s Client Server Runtime Subsystem, and even though I couldn’t quite find out what exactly this beast does, it should not (and can not) be stopped from the task manager.

I tried deinstalling and reinstalling CS2 (I hadn’t noticed this problem a few months back, so I thought corrupted code or a bad registry might be a source). No relief. Googling didn’t deliver a satisfactory solution for the problem either, although it seems I was not alone. And running mcafee on my system didn’t reveal any malicious code hiding in csrss or elsewhere which could have pointed to a solution.

At long last it dawned on me to check adobe for an update for CS2, and lo and behold, the 9.0.2 update was available (I was running 9.0).

Initially, this seemed to solve the problem, but it didn’t. I read that a large amount of fonts could cause sluggish behaviour, but I was loth to remove my wide range of fonts.

I was using a dual-boot system with a clean Windows XP install to use CS2, which was  a bit of a pain, nevertheless.
It was not until upgrading to CS3 solved the problem.

Wow, what a freaking relief!

Running through a Windows Vista RC1 Installation

Saturday, September 9th, 2006

Today’s Saturday, somewhat of a lazy day, so I decided to accompany an installation of the new Microsoft Windows Vista Release Candidate 1 RC1 installation.

Yes, Vista RC1 can still be downloaded from Microsoft, complete with a genuine serial, from here.

Windows Vista RC1 Desktop after installationThe Vista Desktop after installation and changing the wallpaper

The installation took very long, all of 3 and a half hours! The Vista DVD refused to boot, so the installer was started out of Windows XP. The startup window scheme was of a light blue melting into a light green, see below, a bit of a tired color scheme. The whole installation was in this scheme. But: It’s over after installation, and the real Vista looks a lot better.

But beware of Vista’s ego: It deleted (er “upgraded”) my XP to Vista, no XP left to choose from at the OS-boot menu. The OS-boot menu itself, together with my Linux installation were gone as well. Wow, that’s machismo! Vista RC1 without activation is useless after 15 days and with activation ends in July 2007. So it is doing some pretty permanent changes for being something so temporary!

Check out here for instructions to dual boot vista and XP and here and here on how to get rid of the beast. Partioning your harddrive is mandatory and this is the crucial step I missed out. DAMN!

Windows Vista Installation Initial SCreen

The color sceheme of the first screen of the installation disc runs through the installation process but thankfully not beyond

I was expecting something sexier. It didn’t take many dialogs to get the installation process going, simple enough. A range of Vista flavors could be installed, and ULTIMATE was chosen (what the heck!). The machine was a 1.7G Celeron with 1Gig of RAM. The installation steps were
- copying files
- gathering files (stuck for a l-o-n-g time at 32%, but jumped from 80-100% instantaneously)
- expanding files
- installing features and updates (quick)
- completing update (this too extraordinarily long, I’d guess more than an hour. since there is no progress indicator except three dots appearing in sequence, I thought the box was stuck). There was a reboot only to land smack dab in this step again

Before all of this happens, the installer runs a compatibility check and flagged a SCSI driver and Alcohol as incompatible with Vista. The installer aborted and I had to remove these componets manually in XP before restarting the installer.

Once installed, time zone, keyboard layout and language need to be entered, after which the login screen appears. Vista inherited the login users from the XP installation. The available SIS display driver crashed so it was running Vista’s generic VGA display driver. It did not recognize by built-in AC97 sound system.

The displayed desktop was nice and polished, and it IS possible to switch the theme back to Windows Classic (well, when is that one going to die?). But the default there is much nicer than XP’s (which really was garish. I HAD reverted to Classic in XP :-) ).

All in all:

- nice desktop look and feel (the setups have become more intuitive)
- installtion time WAY too long
- some compatibility issues with existing soft and hardware (yet again…)
- my multi-OS boot menu was gone, as was XP and the Linux installation previously on the machine.
So, not really worth the effort, Vista will be removed from the machine again as soon as it’s clear exactly how that’s to be done. Will prefer to wait for the actual first release. Hasta la Vista!