j7n

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About j7n

  • Birthday January 13

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  1. I have solved this issue after reading the experience of some users of VMware Tools and mIRC. https://communities.vmware.com/thread/513894?start=0 http://forums.mirc.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/241712/mIRC_7.27_and_7.29_causing_BSO I was surprised that both VMware and mIRC accepted reports about older OS as valid. Respect to them. The culprit turned out to be an overly complicated manifest resource: two "xmlns" values per any element, as well as a section <ms_compatibility:compatibility ... >. Removal of those stopped the crashes. Replacing <ms_compatibility...> with <compatibility><application><supportedOS ... also seemed to work. Copying sxs.dll 5.1.2600.2932 from the KB921337 hotfix into XP SP1 hasn't caused any new issues yet, and also allows software that previously crashed to work. Yes, I still have an installation of SP1 which is heavily cutomized. Getting all settings and applications installed again on a new OS would require much effort. <rant> I have always hated manifests and the winSxS system, because they don't allow to easily copy MSVC runtime DLLs. But I didn't think they would be the cause of crashes, the kind that just don't happen since Win9x. Supported OSs and whether XP themed controls should be enabled could be recorded in a few bits in some header, instead of a big file in text format that needs to be parsed, and contains impossible to remember GUIDs. I just googled sxs sucks or something similar, when I came up to the posts containing the solution. </rant> Long live XP.
  2. A normal desktop, at the time of XP's release, was 1024*768 at full RGB, maybe somewhat less if the picture tube was only 15". Games and videos were played at smaller resolutions which we are not at liberty to pick anymore today and are stuck with either blur or ringing. But you don't see a wallpaper during those activities. Games from 1999-2001 generally had preset options for 640, 800, 1024 modes. Win98/2k/xp all also come with nice 48px icons, which can only be appreciated on a decent screen. Yes, the UI scales well.
  3. I'm disappointed, although not surprised, that they didn't include such a valuable picture in decent quality. The JPEG on the XP CD is about 50 KB (46 KB after optimization) with color subsampling, and looks very poor. I found [url=a better copy via google, which, according to its Exif, was saved recently in 2011 (seems that Imgur stripped it). [rant] Anyway, XP was well into the era of "bloated" software, and could have used some of that free space on the CD for art of lasting value. I have to shake my head whenever I go to a website, which loads some heavy javascript and other "user experience" junk, but has chosen the absolute minimum parameters for the images or music, the actual "content". [/rant] I like the "Autumn" wallpaper more, but unfortunately it is just as pixellated.
  4. As expected, new forum engine is an up-date, but down-grade. Very few classic forums remain. They're all slow and look like social media. MSFN still works with Opera 12, but requires web fonts enabled, or most buttons are without labels. Still ugly, flat "immaterial" design.
     

  5. The size of software always increases for one reason or another. In case of XP and Seven, most of it is due to dllcache and winsxs respectively. I always disable system file protection, so XP is still relatively lean for me. I do find most improvements in XP over 2000 to be of little substance. It boots a little faster (improvement largely negated by overall increase of size of all components), doesn't require a reboot as often when swapping drivers. I wouldn't have thought of wifi, because I don't use it, good point. Most 3rd party control applications for network are much more bloated than the built in service. What's left... The Fisher-Price Luna theme and themeing in general is nice to toy with for a while. I do recall that the introduction of theming brought compatibility issues, and introduced Manifests as the solution. So better they shouldn't have bothered. In the "multimedia" Windows has the Media Player, which is an insecure ripper without built-in support for modern formats, and Movie Maker, which is another toy, and shell media handler, which can crash explorer and prevent files from being deleted. Home users are better served with 3rd party "multimedia" applications. What do you mean by "modern LAN networking" apart from Wi-Fi? The network interface is mostly implemented by its driver. Most high performance TCP functionality, such as large window sizes and TCP options was alrady present in 2000 but not configured for top performance. The next generation improvement (Compound TCP) only came with 2003. Grandma's NT4 PC is probably not accounted in those statistics above.
  6. I have some doubts about the accuracy of usage share statistics if they are populated by instances of a user downloading some script file that is embedded into a website. Correct me if I'm wrong with my assumption of how these are collected. If older computers with an old operating system are still in use, they are increasingly less likely to browse mainstream websites where these statistics counters are included, because how slow those sites are getting. Those computers either serve some other purpose, or they browse small or private websites, and not contribute to any statistics of this sort.
  7. A couple areas aren't covered by your list. IrfanView or FastStone Viewer for image management, viewing and simple conversion. Foobar2000, or Winamp + Mp3Tag for audio playback and conversion. Exact Audo Copy, FileZilla (older versions). Serif PagePlus Starter, half baked replacement for InDesign. Older versions of the Sysinternals utilities, or Process Hacker + Currports. Many things from NirSoft might occasionally be useful. You could just use Photoshop CS2 (and the rest of the suite) for free. It's faster, more capable and compatible with older plaforms. uTorrent 2.x is much better, with same capabilities, but without ads and cloud/social/mobile BS.
  8. I expect that the version of a browser released today will remain fully functional for at least a couple years. So there is little immediate effect from them ending support. I am using Firefox 22 released in 2013 on one of my computers (I notice there is no copyright year in the About box), as my fallback browser for when Opera can't be used on a certain site, and so far it hasn't yet failed. I have the program customized, and don't feel like going over all settings in a more recent version to check what has been changed/removed. The corporations have needlessly hooked users into the "rapid" release cycle as the only right way. I fear this is part of a grand design to move everyone onto 'the cloud'. The version number race was after all started by Google, an internet-oriented company. Would all other rebranded Chromiums, including modern Opera, also cease compatibility with XP? Perhaps a company like Opera wouldn't want to risk appearing "backwards" by catering to users of older systems. I feel Firefox is the better choice for old systems anyway, because it handles more functionality in itself – certificates and proxy servers – whereas Chromium/Opera[ium] relies on system components.
  9. I have reached the opinion that removing bundled drivers and small components from 2k/XP doesn't make that much difference in practice anymore, once you add modern software post-installation, such as bloated drivers or any web browser. And adding removed components back, once their dependancies are better understood, takes some effort. Currently I have an XP system that doesn't have users displayed in task manager, nor can I search for them to add permissions, because I was over-eager in my removals. XP is plenty fast already when clean installed, with basic tweaks and a couple services stopped (indexing). I would disable System File Protection for a considerable cut in disk usage (dllcache folder) and installation time, and set a great number of registry tweaks that I consider best practice, as a convenience to not go over the long list again. Perhaps I would remove 'totally useless' features: msn, wmp, oobe (with VLK), iis. I have an irrational hatred toward them... But then again if I was to install XP for someone else, they might actually "like" WMP and the unstable shell media extension, so the build with all the registry tweaks ceases to be universal. But most of the things like mosue pointers and sample music just exist on disk passively, without causing trouble. If you want to install XP on a very very constrained target system with around 128 MB of RAM, I'd consider using Win2K or XP SP1, as a starting point, and use it with small period applications only.
  10. My choice is Total Commander. I have tried XYplorer in the last few days. It has some positive aspects. The performance and stability are suprisingly good considering it is a Visual Basic (!) application. I wouldn't even consider it, if it required NET. The visual design is overall nicer compared to TC. Unlike TC, Xyplorer builds upon the win95-type Explorer with a folder tree instead of two panes, which might make the program more accessible to new users. TC has a "DOS/Norton"-feel to its core (down to keyboard shortcuts). I found the initial setup usable, and further configuration quite intuitive. I like how there is a search function for the bulky Settings dialog, as well as an overview of keyboard shortcuts, both of which TC does not feature. Without a heavy-handed license management, Xyplorer is easy to transfer to a new computer. The preview panel is easy to configure to show any media formats via DirectShow. In other ways Xyplorer is quite limited. There is no FTP client in it. FTP is a good OS-agnostic way to connect to any other computer, which cannot be easily done using SMB/network neighborhood. Xyplorer has some MP3 metadata management options, but doesn't support other common formats (including those with simple tags - ogg, ape), which means we need a dedicated software anyway. Built-in archive support only includes ZIP. Even with Zip, we do not get a tree-view of the compressed files. Instead the program launches Internet Explorer in another window to show the file listing. This requires a recent version (>6) of MSIE. XYplorer appears to be fully functional (including media preview) on Windows XP and Windows 2000 (with gdiplus.dll copied from XP). Files and folders with unicode symbols also worked. Xyplorer did start up on Win98, but certain functions showed the expected unreliability of Visual Basic software: New File and New Folder options spawned a dozen error messages and crashed the program. The basic rectangular selection frame didn't seem to select any files. I was a user of PowerDesk 3 by Mijenix Corporation in Win98 days. The included file finder had a few more options, and the explorer featured treeview of compressed archives, also the dialog helper allowed to resize the open/save dialogs and retain their history. Looks like PowerDesk has changed ownership several times. It seems PowerDesk is now marketed by Avanquest. The webpage design is quite repulsive, it seems like a scam site, overly commercial, with big download buttons and meaningless awards. System requirements for this file manager are rather elevated: 100 megabytes of disk space!? Total Commander remains my choice. It starts up quicker than Xyplorer, fully supports WinXP/2000/98, has integrated archive management (RAR3/RAR5 support for Win2k was recently addressed by the helpful forum members and author), and has integrated FTP with advanced configuration options related to codepages and security. So no matter how awful Microsoft makes Explorer in recent versions of Windows, I can get full control back if I can figure out how to load TC onto the system. Configuring TC to feel like Windows software takes some effort.
  11. That is progress. Every new version of a software product uses more resources, with very few exceptions. Vista was an epic jump in inefficiency. I take issue with the overhauled Event Viewer. Now that is slow with little gain in functionality, considering that it has to list hundreds more items than other parts of the MMC. I read that parts of it now use .Net. If the system is "older", one pretty much has no choice but to use a page file. 4 GB of RAM might be enough for XP with many uses, but I still have a swap file for the occasional overflow. I second going over the services. Totally disabling Prefetch (at boot time) was a pain in the neck. I forgot the exact location in registry where that service had a dependency, that caused the system to blue screen. It's not necessary to disable it. I just went as far as I could in slimming the OS down.
  12. In most cases you could forward a generous range of ports, or all of them, on the limited modem, toward the new router behind the modem, and set up detailed NAT policy on the quality router. If one isn't prepared to do an installation of custom software onto a router and often resort to the command line, but still needs detailed firewall options, a Mikrotik RouterBoard (such as the hAP or the 3011) with a responsive, compact Windows GUI might make an attractive option. In this case, I can't recommend it, because the built-in DNS server can't handle more than about 500 or so static entries, nor directly parse a hosts file. It works for me, I manually add blocked entries and local hostnames as they are needed. They can be loaded via a script; DHCP DNS can be disabled; user's DNS can be redirected via NAT; any MAC can be assigned to a port; wifi can work on any frequency without needing the ddwrt superchannel 'license', and other common options.
  13. The weight of today's web sites appear to be one of the main reasons why the average user would need to upgrade their computer, even if they don't work with graphics or play games. It is easy to get a browser to consume a gig of memory just by opening a couple of typical portals with a complex layout. Pages don't contain that many images anymore actually, since graphic buttons and rounded corners fell out of fashion. Typically I see few images of mediocre quality pulled in by a chain of JavaScript resources, onto a 'chickens*** minimalistic', – ugly –, flat single color background. Sometimes the page elements get repeatedly resized and reflown in response to some script, which again is quite slow. I like to see good quality photos without compression artifacts. Not all websites need them. A list of search results probably only needs one small picture at most. But what actually happens is that the same poor quality pictures of yesterday get pulled in from linked resources at high cost (latency, bandwidth, cpu/ram). They're not always advertisements. I've been quite annoyed by services like Gravatar. I've seen some forums (might have been this very one) contact Gravatar asking for an avatar for each and every member whose post was visible. Vast majority of users did not in fact have a picture hosted there, but my browser kept establishing SSL connections and asking anyway. It is difficult to imagine how people can surf without adblock to avoid "fat asset" nonsense... Opera versions 11 and 12 have been criticised as having decreased stability compared to earlier builds. I'm sure that vast majority of blame lies on web bloat, overcomplicated layouts and scripts, which didn't exist earlier. Websites following "obsolete" design standards are rare nowadays, but is quite ar relief to browse one, such as a good old VBulletin forum, or Project Cerbera. This site flies, its code is easy to read and save to for offline use. I love the attention to detail, how the author has used <abbr> to define terms, instead of a custom popup frame.
  14. In Firefox, I have set this option to run any plugin version: extensions.blocklist.enabled . This setting is non-discoverable, buried deep in about:config, and seems to pertain to scripted 'extensions' and not binary plugins (searching for 'plugin' would yield nothing, and I can only learn about this option after I search on the web). Firefox 27 and Flash 11.4 still working fine. All video sites and casual vector games still work in this Flash. Macromedia has put out 5 major versions of it withing in one year. Omg, the bandwidth that's wasted on those updates... I was seriously upset when I updated to a recent version of Opera (Opium), and it blocked my version of Flash. I was unable to find a setting, hidden or otherwise, to control this beahavior. Opera is not the controllable, power-user's version of Chrome I hoped it would be.
  15. I stand corrected, NET does install EVR and DXVA2. I've no experience with those... Still, the Flurry Screensaver 1.1 by Matt Ginzton is is an OpenGL application, not directX. Very nice small program. Thank you.