By Chris Maxcer
09/24/07 1:22 PM PT
At the stroke of midnight Monday evening, “Halo 3″ will hit the shelves in a debut that has already claimed a record for racking up the fastest pre-sale numbers. Microsoft has claimed 1.5 million pre-sale orders. The third installment in the “Halo” series could give the Xbox 360 a shot in the arm against rival Nintendo, which has been consistently beating Microsoft’s platform in monthly console sales.
Microsoft’s (Nasdaq: MSFT) “Halo 3″ video game for the Xbox 360 console will blast its way into the world Monday at midnight when it goes on sale for the first time. The first two games in the “Halo” trilogy, a series of first-person shooter games that lets friends cooperate as well as play against one another online, were wildly successful. All indications suggest that “Halo 3″ will meet with a similar destiny.
First, there’s the Microsoft marketing blitz, and it doesn’t appear to be unfounded. The company has been selling collector’s items, special edition green and orange “Halo 3″ Xbox 360s, and co-branded “Halo 3″ Mountain Dew soda — no doubt aimed at helping gamers stay awake well into the wee hours of the morning as they blast aliens.
Microsoft said it’s sold more than 1.5 million copies of “Halo 3″ in advance of its retail launch, making it the fastest pre-selling game in history, beating out “Halo 2,” which happened to generate a US$125 million in sales in the first 24 hours. In total revenue, blockbuster game titles can blow past blockbuster movies, and “Halo 3″ is widely expected to sell fast around the globe. Microsoft will roll out “Halo 3″ to 37 countries in 17 languages.
The Biggest Launch of 2007
Microsoft is holding special midnight launch events in major cities in the U.S. as well as overseas, and 10,000 retail outlets will be staying open past midnight just to sell copies of the game.
“Our customers have been waiting for ‘Halo 3′ since the day after ‘Halo 2′ launched in 2004,” noted Jill Hamburger, vice president of movies and games at electronics retail giant Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) .
“‘Halo 3′ is is probably going to be the biggest game launch of 2007,” Paul Jackson, an analyst for Forrester who is based in the UK, told TechNewsWorld.
“You’re seeing a lot of other promising other titles that may or may ship this year, but it’s difficult to think that, particularly in North America, which is Microsoft’s Xbox stronghold, that any other game is going to have any more mass appeal than ‘Halo 3,’” he explained. “In the UK, the hype is running high. The biggest stories at the moment are about supermarkets breaking the release deadline, which seems to have been a UK phenomenon — people going into Argos, which is effectively a catalog shop, and buying ‘Halo 3.’”
While some players in the UK have apparently gotten their hands on copies early, most everyone else will have to wait. Rob Enderle, principal analyst for the Enderle Group, however, has been playing ‘Halo 3′ all weekend.
“I think it’s going to meet expectations. The beta was so limited, it wasn’t giving me the experience I was expecting. Now that I’ve got the full game, I can go into the mission mode,” Enderle told TechNewsWorld.
“The story line for me is pretty nice — it’s actually really good, and the AI [artificial intelligence] is good, it pulls you in. The new weapons are great — the hand canon is a ball to shoot. And the fact that that you’re actually playing alongside an alien for much of the game is great, too,” he added.
Enderle thinks the game will live up to its acclaimed predecessors. “I think it’s going to meet some rather lofty expectations for the game. The Xbox 360 was really dropping off in the face the Wii , and I think ‘Halo 3′ is going light a fire under the Xbox 360,” he said.
“From what I’ve seen of the previews, it’s by no means a spectacular-looking game — it’s no ‘Gears of War’ for pushing a graphical boundary,” Jackson noted. “What will be interesting to see is if the actual game play lives up to what was, at the time of the original ‘Halo,’ very revolutionary. It’s the perfect balancing of weapons, being able to carry two weapons and swap them.”
Developer Bungie Studios has made some tweaks to the game, reportedly increasing the power of melee punches — for example, hitting an alien with the butt stock of a rifle — in an effort to get back closer to the sweet spot of game play that lets gamers make a variety of fun and effective choices while in the heat of battle.
Microsoft Needs This
The success of ‘Halo 3′ is also widely seen as critical to the success of the Xbox 360, which has faced tough competition from the widely selling Nintendo Wii.
“I think that ‘Halo 3′ will bring new buyers to the Xbox 360,” Van Baker, a vice president of media industry research for Gartner (NYSE: IT) , told TechNewsWorld.
“It will not dramatically increase Microsoft sales of the Xbox 360, but it will add to the installed base. It could ultimately add somewhere between 500,000 and 1 million, but that will be over time. People forget that ‘Halo’ made the Xbox. Without this franchise Microsoft would probably be out of the gaming business by now,” he added.
Microsoft makes money each time someone buys a game for its Xbox 360 — and more, of course, when the game is wholly owned by Microsoft — but the company’s base of online playing customers is what keeps a steady stream of revenue heading into Redmond’s gaming division. Xbox Live currently has 7 million users, Microsoft says, though not all of them are on the Xbox 360.
“In the old days, you’re looking at a game where you play your way through it — and then you take it online,” Jackson said. “I think ‘Halo 3′ might be the first major selling title that gets huge amounts of online play more or less from the day of launch.”
In fact, the online experience might be the most important factor in the success of the “Halo” line.
“People playing against one another online — that’s really what it is all about,” Billy Pidgeon, IDC’s consumer gaming markets program manager, told TechNewsWorld. “The single player experience is good, but that’s not really the point for the fan base.”
One-to-One This Time Too?
“The attach rate of ‘Halo’ with the original Xbox, if not one-to-one, was really close to that. People have been waiting for ‘Halo 3′ to get the 360,” Jackson noted.
The overall impact of ‘Halo 3′ on a wider audience, however, remains somewhat murky. “‘Halo 3′ will help Microsoft widen the install base, but it’s not going to get anybody into gaming who wasn’t already into gaming,” Pidgeon noted.
I am planning to get an O2 XDA Exec to replace my phone… This phone seems to be my all-purpose phone… except it runs in Windows…
I thought it was the end but… I came around this site that well…uhm… changes the Windows Thingey to Hardcore Linux… and i like to share this with you…
note: There is no custom bootloader for the HTC Universal, so linux has to be booted via HaRET.
Download Ramdisk-image to your HTC Universal. Install it to your device (not to SD). The program will appear in Start->Programs->Bootlinux named Ramdisk.
Then do as follows
Start the program Ramdisk from Start->Programs->Bootlinux.
The screen will get some funny colors and seem freezed, don’t freak out its normal
Login with : root Password : rootme
You write / by holding down FN while pressing the O button
You write + by holding down SHIFT while pressing the = button
This show’s how to create vfat and linux partiton on your SD/MMC card
Write and then hit enter as shown below in the white textboxes
Clear your old partition table
Type : o
Create two partitions [one vfat (32MB) and one ext3 (rest) ] like this:
Type : n
Set the primary partition
Type : p
set the Partition number (1-4)
Type : 1
Set the First cylinder (1-xxxx, default 1):
Hit enter (This will set the default value to : 1 )
Set the Last cylinder or +size or +sizeM or +sizeK (1-xxxx, default xxxx):
Type : +32M (NOTE TO MAKE ALTERNATIVE DESCRIPTION HERE ((Blocks/SD-Size)*32=Value to be set))
Create the next partition (linux partition)
Type : n
Set the primary partition
Type : p
Set the Partition number (1-4)
Type : 2
Set the First cylinder (xx-xxxx, default xx):
Hit enter to select the default value
Set the Last cylinder or +size or +sizeM or +sizeK (xx-xxxx, default xxxx):
Hit enter to select the default value
Define the Fat partion for WinCe to use
Command (m for help) Type : t
Partition number (1-4)
Type : 1
Hex code (type L to list codes)
Type : 6 (For Fat 16)
Command (m for help)
Type : w
Hit enter and you will be returned to the shell
Now you have to create the filesystem on the two partitions you have made
Make filesystem for wince
Type : mkdosfs /dev/mmc/blk0/part1
Make filesystem for Linux
Type : mkfs.ext3 /dev/mmc/blk0/part2
Wait until the command promt returns Reboot Universal by issuing the ‘reboot’ command
Type : reboot
Now you prepare your SD/MMC card to run linux on it
When WinCe starts loading, remove the SD, and put it in your desktop, check that your desired size in MB correspond with what you set it to in fdisk
Choose and download a GUI image (*.tar.bz2 file) and the corresponding linux boot installer (the *.cab file) you want to run, Download Linux.
NOTE: Someone told me that internet explorer might change the extension on the *tar.bz2 file to *.tar.tar. If it does simply just rename it back to it’s name with extension tar.bz2. DOenst mather if you do that in windows or with the RAMDISK image. With the RAMDISK image you can change the name like this:
Type : mv *.tar.tar *.tar.bz2
Copy both files you downloaded to the root of your VFAT partition on your SD-card (it’s the viewable partition in WinXP).
Put the SD back in Universal
Boot Ramdisk again from (From Start->Programs->BootLinux )
Login with : root Password : rootme
Prepare the first mount point:
Type : mkdir /mnt/vfat
Prepare second mount point:
Type : mkdir /mnt/ext3
Mount the partitions
1st partition mount
Type : mount -t vfat /dev/mmc/blk0/part1 /mnt/vfat
2nd partition mount
Type : mount -t ext3 /dev/mmc/blk0/part2 /mnt/ext3
YOU MIGHT GET AN ERROR [EXT2-fs warning…blablabla] nevermind this
Copy Opie, GPE, x11, OpenMoko or Console-image to the linux partition ext3 (without quotes) (no need for the linux-boot cab file yet)
Type : cp /mnt/vfat/"The *.tar.bz2 file" /mnt/ext3/
Go in to the linux partition (ext3)
Type : cd /mnt/ext3
Decompress the image (without quotes)
Type : bunzip2 "The *.tar.bz2 file"
You will now have a file with allmost the same name , but it misses the bz2 ending. The file ends now on just “tar”. Now it’s time to add it to the filesystem, do:
Type : tar xvpf "The *.tar file"
You will now see a lot of files beeing unpacked to your sd card (if it doesnt spam messages on your screen something went wrong, try again). After it is done wait a minute to get sure everything is written. Now do:
Type : sync
Now you can also delete “The *.tar.bz2 file” from both /mnt/ext3 and /mnt/vfat to free up some space (without quotes).
Type : rm /mnt/vfat/"The *.tar.bz2 file"
And (without quotes)
Type : rm /mnt/ext3/"The *.tar.bz2 file"
To be sure everything got written/delete to/on the SD/MMC card do *(Do it three times just to be sure it is finished):
Type : sync
Wait until it get’s done and then issue the ‘reboot’ command again.
Type : reboot
Now it’s time to install the linux bootloader (it wouldnt harm your WinCe bootloader)
Install the cab file (”image”-Linux.cab) to your device (not SD). When it’s installed you are ready to run Linux. Choose Start->Programs->BootLinux and hit the linux bootloader you installed. To free up some some space you can just uninstall Ramdisk. You wouldnt need it anymore.
Note : There are no password on the image you just installed. Login as ‘root’ and hit [Enter] when it asks for a password (only Ramdisk is suplied with password).
How to install a new updated image on an already formatted SD-Card
Boot Linux with RamDisk (if you uninstalled it you have to install it again).
Type : mkdir /mnt/vfat
Type : mkdir /mnt/ext3
Type : mount -t vfat /dev/mmc/blk0/part1 /mnt/vfat
Type : mount -t ext3 /dev/mmc/blk0/part2 /mnt/ext3
Type : cd /mnt/ext3
Type : rm -rf *
NOTE: Errors may occur, never mind them :
rm: unable to stat `var/lock/browse.dat' : input/output error rm: unable to remove : `var/lock' : directory not empty rm: unable to stat `var/run/nmbd.pid' : input/output error rm: unable to remove : `var/run' : directory not empty rm: unable to remove : `var' : directory not empty
Type : sync
Type : cp /mnt/vfat/"The *.tar.bz2 file" /mnt/ext3
Type : bunzip2 "The *.tar.bz2 file"
Type : tar xvpf "The *.tar file"
Type : sync
Type : reboot
notes: Only applicable to T-Mobile MDA Pro, O2 XDA Exec,QTEK 9000, i-Mate JASJAR, Orange SPV M5000, Vodafone VPA IV,Dopod 900)
This guide will walk you through the process of repairing a malfunctioning Playstation 2 or one that gives you Disc Read Errors (called “DRE” from here on). I have tested this process on over fifty Playstation 2s now and it completely fixed the errors on about forty of them.
The most common with this issue seemed to be model # SCPH-30001, and this guide focuses on it. Some of these steps can be applied to other models and won’t hurt them.
This process will void the 1 year warranty of your unit if it hasn’t expired. Perform at your own risk!
How To use This Guide
Before you begin, note that this article was written for older Playstation 2 models, not the second generation model (that looks the same externally as the first model) or the slim PS2 model.
Please refrain from throwing your shoe at the monitor. It will all be okay soon.
What This Guide Fixes
Typically the steps outlined here fix the following:
- “Disc Read Error” problems
- Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and San Andreas “DVD Read Errors” and “Loading” errors
- Playstation 2 will stop getting stuck at the “Browser” screen.
- Skipping should stop in some games and load times may even improve.
- More DVDs and Playstation 1 games should work.
- Loud tray opening/closing could be fixed.
- The PS2 may run slighly cooler.
Before you gather tools and begin, you might want to know what this process entails. You’ll be opening up your Playstation 2 console and cleaning various components inside. Also you’ll adjust the angle of the disc to the laser. Finally you’ll check loose connections and clean the mechanism/track for opening and closing the tray. The whole process is very simple and assuming you have some easily acquired tools, the first time you try this it will only take a half hour or so.
The Playstation Curse Begins
A Little Background: Playstation Woes
This isn’t the first time a Sony console has had problems reading discs. My first experience with Playstation problems was years ago, when a well-known software company named Square released what many people consider to be a masterpiece, one of its finest games: Final Fantasy VII. The extremely long and complex game offered incredible graphics, stunning pre-rendered movies, a great soundtrack, and killer storyline.
I clearly remember picking the game up at Software, Etc. in our local mall and rushing home to waste several weeks playing through it. But after playing it for about 10 hours straight, things started to go bad. Videos began to skip, sometimes constantly. It would sometimes take too long to load, if at all. I was very frustrated since my Playstation was nearly new and the game was only hours old. The problems persisted and I eventually was so frustrated I bought another Playstation from a friend, and sold mine “as is” locally. The problem went away with the new unit until I was about 3/4 through the game, then it happened again a few times during videos.
Supposedly the problem with the old Playstations was that the cooling ducts were placed on the bottom side of the unit, offering very little airflow unless it was stood up on a platform of some sort. Newer models fixed the problem by placing the ducts on the sides, where airflow was generally much better. Not many people noticed this problem until the Playstations were slightly older, especially when games were played for many hours on end and videos were played extensively — exactly what happened with Final Fantasy VII. The game effectively killed many Playstations.
As if these problems were not bad enough, over long times the heat would deform the round black piece that a CD would lock on, causing the disc to drop slightly and create even more read problems. An easy fix was to flip the Playstation over once the disc was in place, which would cure the overheating problem and also put the CD back into its correct position, fixing most video skipping problems. So, problems with Playstations are not anything new, but the fix for the PS2 is a bit more complicated than the original Playstation.
Okay, enough rambling - let’s void some warranties.
- 2 x phillips screwdrivers: one is about “normal” sized, one is “very small”
- (a pocketknife or small flathead may be used in place of the smaller phillips)
- Q-tips or cotton swabs
- rubbing alcohol or static free cleaner
- a marker or felt-tipped pen
- compressed air to clean the inside of the PS2
It might also be a good idea to have an original Playstation game, two Playstation 2 games (one with blue bottom, one with silver bottom), and one DVD movie. These will be used for testing to be sure you’ve completed the repair correctly.
Be sure you have at least one game to test with so you won’t have to disassemble the console again later.
Disassemble the Playstation 2
- Unplug the power and A/V connector from the back.
- Remove all controllers and memory cards.
- On the rear of the console, cut along the crack of the warning sticker, or remove it entirely.
This sticker is cool: it says VOID all over it once removed so it cannot be replaced.
- Turn the unit upside-down and locate the screw covers. These are tiny (1cm x 1cm) squares. Older models have 8. Newer models have 12: 4 are offset on the ridge area toward the front of the console.
The 30001 has 8 of these; the 4 corner covers are rubber.
- Pry these covers out by their corners with a small flathead, knife, or fingernail. Set them aside.
- Remove the 8 or 12 phillips-head screws under the feet.
- Rotate the top cover upward toward the front of the console. BE CAREFUL! If you meet resistence, check that sticker in the back. DO NOT RIP the cable that leads from the cover to the base. If this cable rips, your PS2 is probably as good as dead.
- Remove the tape (yellow arrow in picture below) that holds the cable.
- To completely separate the cover from the base, you need to remove the Power/Eject switch from the cover. To do this, put a flathead screwdriver or knife blade between the plastic switch and the cover (there’s a tiny slot where you can fit one), then gently pry upward (away from the cover). Once it pops out of place, slide it toward the back of the cover to remove the switch. This is not necessary, but is recommended to be sure you don’t ruin this fragile cable.
Pop it upward out of place then slide it back.
- Remove the 4 small screws on the disc tray cover (red arrows below) with either a small screwdriver or a knife if you don’t have one.
- Lift the disc tray cover off and set it aside. Some models may require additional screws to be removed to remove the disc tray cover.
The disassembly process is now complete. Put all those screws somewhere safe and let’s continue.
Clean the Inside
Since you’re going to clean the laser lens last, it’s probably a good idea to clean all the junk out of the case while it’s disassembled. You’ll probably find some hair if you have pets, lint, fuzz, and lots of dust inside, depending on the console’s age.
Using compressed air preferably, clean out the following areas:
- Cooling fan (at back of the console)
- Controller and memory card slots
- Area around the battery, to the right side of the tray if looking at the front (*** If you remove the battery, you must reset all system settings. If your system is not saving such settings, clean the terminals to the battery with alcohol and scrape them clean. If that fails, replace the battery).
- Under and on all heatsinks
- Top cover of the console on the inside
- Under and over the disc tray
Next you should clean the laser lens.
Clean the Laser Lens
Use a clean Q-tip or cotton swab to clean the laser lens. Dip it in rubbing alcohol (the less water/higher alcohol %, the better) and gently dab it onto the lens. Do this a couple times, or even *very* gently move the swab across the lens. Let it dry for a few minutes before you power on the PS2.
You do not need to open the tray to clean the laser.
Adjust the Angle of the Disc/Laser
Most Disc Read Errors can be fixed by adjusting the angle between the laser and the disc. This step is essential to the repair but can only be performed on older PS2s.
To adjust this angle, we’ll use the white gear at the rear of the disc tray. You can barely see it with the disc tray closed, so plug in the Playstation 2’s power connector and eject the disc tray. Turn off the Playstation 2 from the rear power switch once it’s been opened.
Using a felt-tipped pen or marker, put a line on the gear where it meets the metal notch, so you can always return to this spot if you have problems later.
The plastic gear, found at the rear of the tray, can fix most DREs.
Since the base angle is already recorded, you can now freely spin the gear and observe how the angle of the disc changes to and from about a 10º offset. Set it back to the base point where you marked it. Rotate the disc about 20º or 1/16 of a turn clockwise. You should then test the setting as mentioned before reassembling the console.
Another Method to Fix Disc Read Errors
If your PS2 has a bronze or copper cog next to the white gear, you’ll need to follow the other repair process mentioned below and/or disable the motor that rotates this cog, as it will reset the position of the white gear, causing your efforts to have been in vein. I have not verified this technique, but it can apparently be disabled by disconnecting an orange power ribbon on the backside of the DVD disc tray. It may require additional disassembling of the PS2. This cable has no purpose except to reset the position of the gear. Thanks Josh Boston for the tip!
There is a different trick to fix this problem which works on all mdoels, passed onto us by Ari Vuorela, aka Thuuning, a veteran PS2 technician.
Ari explains that the reason for disc read errors is often not the white gear’s position, but it’s shape and dirt on the lens. He states that as time wears out the unit, the gear tends to bend, creating major problems. Additionally, the lens iself’s movement and position may be part of the problem or the lower part of the lens is dirty. Ari’s technique for repairing the PS2 is actually quite easy and can be applied if the fix we mentioned above does not work perfectly.
Here’s the gist of Ari’s e-mail (translated as best we could):
- The white plastic gear that moves the laser must make contact with the “motor”. A bad contact here can cause disk read errors. Sometimes it looks Ok, but you may need to remove the lens and bend the white gear for good contact.
- The two rails on which the lens move must be very slippery - which can be lubricated with cooking or motor oil. Usually the holes where the rail is (on the right side of the lens) are dirty or you have to bore then out slightly, making the holes bigger.
- The lens uses little torx screw (black) that move the lens up and down on the rail. Usually the lens is too high and requires adjustment.
- Take the lens off these 2 rails and take the black plastic cover off. Turn the lense upside-down and you’ll find there are 2 screws (silver, phillips or torx) that you have to remove to take the upper little lens off.
- Then you’ll see a larger lens that is usually very dirty (this lens is a mirror to light). If that’s dirty, it will give a disk read error. You’ll have to take the little electric board off that you see on the other side of the big lens-mirror. It’s probably dirty too, so clean it. Alcohol should work OK for this task.
- The lens bottom has 2 + 2 screws. You move the upper “little” lens up-down-left-right (this may require a special screwdriver)
- The motor “rail” that moves the lens must be very clean and oiled and the 2 rails too.
PS - The secret that makes the PS2 work is that bigger lens under the little lens (the bigger is unknown to most and becomes very dirty).
Usually you don’t have to move this white gear at all.
Test The Console
Reconnect the power and A/V connectors if they are disconnected. Plug in a controller to the front of the Playstation 2. Put the disc tray cover over the plastic alignment pieces and apply some pressure to the top (not much, just a bit to ensure the disc will seat correctly). It should snap into place and lock the disc in.
Open the tray if it’s not already open, and put in a game that’s given you problems in the past with DREs or load errors (in my case, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City). Close the Playstation 2 and access the Browser screen to view if the disc was correctly located.
Hey, that sure beats the “Disc Read Error”!
Try out an original Playstation game if you have any and at least one DVD movie. Also try other PS2 games - at least one with a blue underside as well as one that’s silver. If you still have problems with one of them, adjust the gear a little more until you find the right angle that works with all of your games and movies. I recommend shutting off the Playstation 2 between each adjustment.
You will probably need to adjust this gear several times to in order to find the perfect spot. Once you find this spot, add a second line to your gear with the marker, but distinguish this line so you’ll always have that perfect spot marked. You may need to re-adjust it in a few months or if problems return.
I believe some of the PS2s had two gears instead of one, or a different type of adjustment. These gears do essentially the same thing - try playing around with it and make your PS2 work. If you discover some tips to make your PS2 work that aren’t mentioned here, please let me know so I can share the information with others in your predicament.
A Couple More Checks / Fixes
While the system is disassembled, be sure to check to see if any wires or connectors are loose. Just tug on them gently and see if they come loose. DO NOT TUG ON THE POWER/EJECT CABLE. Also, if you’re having problems with an especially loud open/close mechanism, check the tracks to be sure they’re especially clean. The rods that the disc tray slides on are often dirty and can be cleaned with alcohol and a q-tip. Once cleaned, it would be a good idea to lubricate the rods with WD40, cooking oil, or another lubricant, but use a Q-tip when doing so to be sure you do not get the laser dirty. Also lubricate the path that the laser lens moves on - this is essential to longterm functionality.
If none of the fixes outlined here helped your disc read errors, you may need to calibrate the laser using an oscilloscope. This task may be over your head, and it is better to seek professional help
Reassemble the Playstation 2
Once you’ve thoroughly tested the PS2, reassemble it in the reverse order you disassembled it:
- Replace the disc tray cover and tighten its 4 tiny screws.
- Reattach the tape to the top of the tray cover.
- If it was removed, reinstall the Power/Eject switch by pushing it forward at a 45º angle, over the tab that it locks into. The Power (labled “Reset”) part goes toward the top of the cover. Gently push down on the plastic onto the cover. A screw fully secures it later.
- Slide the cover on from the front (using the same angle from its removal), being sure it clears the memory and controller slots.
- From the bottom, reinsert and tighten the 8 (or 12) screws (the shorter screws go on the shallow side, away from the power connector).
- Put the square screw covers back on (the rubber feet go at the corners touching the ground).
- Reconnect your A/V and power connectors, controllers, and memory cards.
- Play your favorite game!
You can spend hours tinkering with little system adjustments in the registry and ini files trying to get the most speed and performance out of Windows. While all the tinkering can make a small difference, you get 80% improvement with only 20% of the effort. It is better to do the simple stuff first before trying any of the nitty gritty. Also, once you start tinkering in the registry, there is a chance you will actually slow things down, or even worse.
The slowest part to any PC (except for the user) is the hard drive. It is orders of magnitude slower than the Memory or CPU. So it makes sense to spend a few minutes configuring Windows to make best use of your hard drive.
The following procedures work on all versions of Windows from 95/98/ME to NT/2000/XP, with a few XP specific ones at the end.
Something that is often overlooked, even by IT professionals, is to make sure your disks have got no errors on them. Crashing programs, power interruptions and even the infamous computer gremlins that all computers house, eventually create errors on your hard drives.
Make sure you run the disk checking program every so often. Select all the available options for checking, do this for each of your hard drives (i.e.. c: d: …). You may need to reboot your computer for it to complete the check at boot time.
You can find this program by double clicking My Computer, right click your hard drive, and select Tools from the dialog box.
The Paging File
The paging file (also called: Windows swap file or virtual memory file) is a system file that Windows uses when it runs out of actual RAM. Windows, by default, configures itself to control it’s own paging file. This is not the most efficient method, as Windows will continually increase and decrease the size of the paging file, thus causing long, slow disk accesses and fragmenting the file. If you find your computer trashing the hard drive quite often, this is a sign of bad virtual file management (it can also be a sign that you don’t have enough RAM, the more the better, always!).
It is much better to define your own paging file size. To do this, right click My Computer, select Properties -> Advanced -> Performance Settings -> Advanced -> Virtual Memory, Change. (Slightly different depending on which version of Windows you have)
You should see a box similar to the one shown here. Select to use a custom size and set the Minimum and Maximum sizes to be the same. A good size is about double how much RAM you have, or about half again what Windows recommends.
You will may get a message that this is not recommended, click Yes, and a reboot will most likely be needed.
After this change, if while using your computer, it complains that it is running low on virtual memory, you can increase the values you set. If you have XP or 2000, open up all the big programs you use at once. Then bring up task manager ([CTRL] + [ALT] + [DEL]), click the Performance tab, now check the Commit Charge Peak , if it is getting close to the Commit Charge Limit, then you need to increase your paging file size.
Temporary File Cleanup
Programs and Windows use a folder for their temporary files. Not all of the programs clean up properly after they are done. So after a while your temp folder gets full of left over files. There can easily be over 100 MB of files in there that serve no purpose. To clear these out, Click Start -> Run -> type %temp% -> OK.
In the window that appears, select everything and press [Shift] + [Delete] keys together. Shift stops the files going into the recycling bin.
If you use Internet Explorer to browse the web, it is probably using up way too much space for it’s temporary cache. The default value is always too high. I suggest 10 MB as it’s cache size. You find this in Internet Explorer Tools -> Internet Options -> General -> Temporary Internet Files, Settings…
Defragmenting Your Drive
The next thing you can do is make sure your hard drive is properly defragmented. (Is your disk defragmenter broken? How to fix). File fragmentation occurs continuously while using your computer. What it means is that the files are not in one piece, they are split up and spread around your hard drive, thus when you go to read them, it takes longer to find all those pieces, than if the file was all in one place.
The built in Windows defrag program works well. You should run the defragmentation routine about once a month, or more if you use your computer heavily.
The problem with the built in defragmenter is that it will not defragment system files that are open, like the paging file (you have to buy a product like PerfectDisk for that), but luckily there is a free program that will do just that.
Sysinternals makes a program that defrags the system files at boot time, download from here. Unzip the program somewhere, then run it and set to defrag at next boot. This will defragment your paging file and other system files at boot time, before they are opened by Windows.
Hard Drive Temperature
Now that we have your hard drive purring away nicely, you may want to check how hot it is getting. PalickSoft makes a program that monitors your hard drive temperatures. This is totally dependant on your hardware being able to provide this information. You can download a free program that checks your temperature and produced a dialog as shown above. It does nothing else, if you want it to continuously monitor the temperature and give alarms etc, you need to buy the full version. But the free version is good enough for a quick check. Download it here.
Most desktop Hard Drives are rated to about 55?C working temperature, so if your hard drive is over this, you need to do some work on your system cooling.
Do make sure you keep your computer up to date using Windows Update, new exploits occur all the time, and there is always someone in the big bad world wanting to cause you a little grief, if you do not have Service Pack 1 on your XP machine yet, check out my XP exploit page for an example of what can be done.
Windows XP Specifics
The above tips apply to all versions of Windows, following are a few tips for XP only.
Microsoft has included a feature in XP that takes periodic snapshots of your essential system files and configuration. The theory is, if you have a problem, you can restore your system to a previous state. Sounds nice, it even works, but the problem is that Windows uses huge amounts of your hard drive to save restore information from the day dot.
Even on it’s lowest setting it is still using 200 MB, which gives me about 10 days worth of restore points, more than enough for me.
You can set it to whatever you feel most comfortable with, just pull the slider and find a point you like for safety and disk usage.
To set this right click My Computer -> Properties -> System Restore -> Select a Drive, Settings…
Adjust each of your hard drive to suit. Your system drive will have a much higher usage on minimum than your other hard drives, because of all the system files on it.
XP includes ClearType. This is a method of sharpening up text on your LCD monitor, by using the different colours on the screen separately. It works like magic, makes the screen much easier to look at. Even though it works because of the physical layout of an LCD screen, you may like the look of it on a standard CRT monitor too.
To enable, right click your desktop -> Properties -> Appearance -> Effects… and enable the smooth edges of screen fonts box, use Cleartype
To get the best out of ClearType, you have to fine tune it, you cannot do this from Windows itself, but only online on Microsoft’s web site here. Go through the tuning wizard and select what looks best for you. I selected the bottom left option.
If you have come up through the various Windows 9X OS’s, you may wonder what happened to the boot time recovery options, I know I did. This is where Windows used to say Press F8 for Advanced Recovery Options. This option is still there, but it only shows for a small amount of time (too small to display on a lot of computers), if you need it, press F8 just before the first black Windows XP boot screen.
Tired of the usual motorola phone you have? savvy your phone by changing your firmware!!! Pioneer of the MOTO-X Forums teaches us a thing or two to revive your old motorola phone…
.:: V3i Flashing Guide ::. n00bs Read
ok for all those n00bs to the moto modding, i will tell you how to flash a v3i with a reflash, flex and MP.
ok to start, you NEED TO HAVE A CHARGED UP PHONE 80%-100%
1. Get the file you want to flash your phone with, v3i flash/flex/Mp files start with R479_ for non itunes and R47A_ for itunes.
2. Get rsd lite 2.4 or higher, use that only to flash the v3i.
3. Open Rsd Lite and connect your phone via USB cable.
4. RSD Lite will detect your phone if you have the p2k 2.9 drivers installed
5. Pick the file you want your phone to be flashed with using the … button.
6. It will show the file details in right box.
7. Now click start, in the status box it will say something like “Creating Image File”
8. After it finnishes that, it should put your phone into boot loader.
9. When in bootloader it should say something like “Loading Memory To Bootloader”
10. When Finishes #9, it will start flashing your phone with the type of file you selected Flash, Flex Or MP.
11. Just leave it untill it complete to 100%.
12. Then it says “Verifying Checksums”, when thats complete it reboots
13. After the phone resets it is safe to unplug the USB Cable and close RSD Lite.
1. If your phone wont go into boot loader automatically, turn it off then press * # and power (red) button to put in bootloader.
2. If your phone will not reset at the finnsh of the flash, it is also quite safe to unplug it and press power (red) button to turn off then press again to turn on.
Ok, i think i have done it all…
also this is my first guide/tut or whatever you want to call it, so dont flame me!
[Edited By Joker: Pioneer’s request]
Approved By MotoX
Site Finished! Check It Out!
Last edited by Joker : 06-28-2006 at 08:36 PM.
I have used Dreamstudio for quite a time now and I find it easy and fun. For the contest, it is really making your creativity run wild with using the TWINKLE EFFECT in a SLIDESHOW that lasts 3 MINUTES (min) to 10 MINUTES (max).
For those joining the contest, (I, myself included), additional information is available here
The promo runs April 11 to May 11, 2007.
I just got rid of my Nokia N70 and Nokia 3120… 6 months ago, I was using a Sony Ericsson K618i and a w800i, I guess I really got tired…
Browsing for a phone, I was attracted to Motorola’s Razr… sleek, fliptype, usb connectivity, and just plain thin. (against N70)
I opted for the Razr v3i, I didn’t need 3G anyway. 1.3 megapixel, good enough for those spur-of-the-moment shots. I thought that it was a bore though (not able to change themes, thus customize) but then again, I was wrong…
While drivers were not included with the phone, (sold separately) I went on searching on the net for usb drivers (Google is our friend! ) and came across software modifications for Razr v3i. (Warning: modding your Razr is quite dangerous, I suggest you to think this over first)
Lesson 1: Installing themes on your Razr (skinning)
1. Open P2ktools v.0.8.6 and click on the refresh button, this will load all the phones files into the p2ktools file manager.
2. Locate the skin folder in the /c/mobile directory
3. Right click on the skin folder and choose CREATE FOLDER
4. Name the folder the exact same thing as the .ski file for the skin!!
5. Click the refresh button and go back to the /c/mobile/skin directory, the new folder should now be visible
6. With the new skin directory highlighted click on the upload button
7. Select all the .ski file and all the .dat files for your skin and press OPEN
8. The files should automatically appear in the new skin directory but if they do not try pressing the refresh button again. Next highlight the .dat files and .ski file in the skin directory and in the file information box on the left side check the system box, then press the change button
9. Finally open up the /a/mobile/picture folder and upload the wallpaper for your skin or if you want to have the skin in the /c/mobile/picture folder then rigth click the .ski, open it up in Notepad, scroll down to /a/mobile/picture and change it to /c/mobile/picture, save upload. (thanks to djdownhill for this tip)
10. Press the restart button and you are finished!
Additional Steps for 12 Icon Menu
Use the same guide as listed above but after step 5 do the following:
5b. Open Menu Maker V0.1 and click the open button, locate the ski file for the skin you want to enable the 12 icon main menu for
5c. Click on the 3×4 tab and then press the FIX & SAVE button
5d. Now open up the /a/mobile/system directory using p2ktools and click on the upload button. Locate the modified v3i mma_ucp file listed above and press open.
<Next: Dare to go more? Flashing your Razr to the firmware you want and saying goodbye to “hello moto” by changing your boot images (had mine changed to a D&G Edition :P)>
Credits to of motox.info for the skinning method, kudos to you!
Who says that two incompatible individuals can’t be together at last? Will this mean that Intel’s rivalry with AMD has already ceased?
Intel has chosen ATI to be integrated with their motherboard line, D101GGC.
As quoted from the ati website (ati.amd.com) : “Intel has teamed up with ATI to deliver its first Intel branded motherboard with the ATI Radeon Xpress 200 chipset. As part of the new Intel® Desktop Board Essential Series, the D101GGC offers a cost-efficient solution for the budget conscious user.”
ATI was earlier acquired by AMD (NYSE:AMD) last October 25, 2006 for a whooping $5.4 Million Dollars thus giving additional strength to its technological advancement.
“Intel’s use of the Radeon Xpress 200 IGP is a huge step forward in graphics performance compared to Intel’s Extreme Graphics architecture. ” says Anandtech.com’s Brandon Hill.
The D101GGC key features are:
- PCI Express™ integrated chipset
- Radeon® X300 Direct X® 9 integrated graphics
- Ready for the next generation Operating System
- High definition audio/video for Windows MCE
- Full support for the latest technologies to up sell
(next on The Ice(y’s) Age: Latest AMD and Intel Processors: The Fight Goes on!)
It’s that time of the year when you go of drooling on new models of cars. New styles, hot features, new technologies and the blah blah jargon with cars. Here are my favorites for this year:
2007 BMW 335 2dr Rear-wheel Drive Coupe I
3.0 Litter, 300 HP Engine, enough power to hit the highway
2007 Cadillac STS-V
469-hp, 4.4-liter V-8 engine with 6-speed automatic w/OD and auto-manual transmission, best if you wanna go CSI or 24
2007 Ford Mustang
300-hp, 4.6-liter V-8 Engine, Bring out the Power of the Covenant in you…. (or greet Transformers with this car…)
2007 Hyundai Tiburon
172-hp, 2.7-liter V-6 Engine, Best when you have the need for speed
2007 Mini Cooper S
Flavours: 168-hp, 1.6-liter I-4 and 208-hp, 1.6-liter I-4 Engines, best for those italian jobs
2007 Mazda Mazdaspeed3
263-hp, 2.3-liter I-4 Engine, Mazda’s Latest Shocker
2007 Porche 911 Carrera Turbo Coupe
480-hp, 3.6-liter H-6 engine will temp you to push the pedal to the metal.
Sadly, no Honda car made to my review…