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April 2005



Microsoft Releases Fix for SafeDisc

30 April 2005


If you're running games under a restricted user account with fast user switching under Windows XP, some games won't start properly - the game may ask you to insert the original disk in the drive, even when it's already there. This is due to the SafeDisc copy protection system used by some games. The two ways to fix this are to either run games under an Administrator-level account (recommended) or download and apply this MS SafeDisc Fix.



TweakGuides Forums

29 April 2005


After a great many requests from readers, and based on my own experiences on other forums around the Net, I've decided I want to set up a TweakGuides Forums. At the moment I'm working out the precise form these forums will take, and what the rules will be. Some things I can tell you are that these will be no ordinary forums. They will not be a free-for-all, ask-whatever-you-want, 1337-sp34k-punk-filled type of forums. These will be an elite forum where membership is free but earned. They will be publicly viewable, so even if you're not a member, you will benefit from the great knowledge shared by the genuine experts on these forums. They will be restricted to PC hardware and software topics only. They will not be based around just me answering tech questions, as I just don't have the time - there will be a wide range of trusted experts.


If you've been around the Internet for a while, you may remember the 'good old days' when forums were filled with people respectfully sharing genuine knowledge in intelligible English, where if someone didn't know the answer they didn't post garbage. Well these will be those kind of forums. As Martin Luther King said, "I have a dream!". Now let's see if I can make it happen...



Catalyst 5.4 for Windows x64 Released

28 April 2005


ATI have released the official Catalyst 5.4 Graphics Drivers for Windows x64 users. You can read about the changes these contain here, and of course if you run an ATI graphics card on Windows x64 it is strongly recommended you download and install these drivers.



Firefox Tweak Guide - Status Update

28 April 2005


I know a lot of you have been waiting very patiently for me to finish my full Firefox Tweak Guide. I have to apologize about the delays so far, I've had a lot of different things pop up which have taken me off the guide. However I am close to completion and if all things go well I should be able to release the guide on Sunday. Please bear with me - I want to make sure the guide is accurate, descriptive and contains all the best tips and tweaks possible.



HL2:DM and Source Engine Updates Released

27 April 2005


Valve have released another set of updates for Half Life 2: Deathmatch and the Source engine. Your can read about these changes here, but the most prominent is a new map for HL2:DM called dm_runoff. To download these updates simply relaunch your Steam client while online.



Microsoft Officially Launches Windows x64

25 April 2005


Microsoft has just released the final version of Windows XP Professional x64. If you run a 64-bit CPU, there are several ways you can get an official copy: Order a free 120-day Trial Version, or take the next step and Upgrade your XP Pro 32-bit to 64-bit. If you're already running Windows x64, check this MS x64 Support Site for official tech support. Note that as Microsoft themselves say, unless you're truly pushing the boundaries of 32-bit Windows XP, you should really hold off on going to a 64-bit OS as there are still issues with drivers and software support.



More Windows x64 Stuff

25 April 2005


It seems people are already sorting out software and driver problems on the new Windows x64 platform. For example, there's a new 64-bit Firefox release you can try, as well as these beta Creative SB Live/Audigy/Audigy2 64-bit Drivers, and finally these instructions on how to get the ATI Catalyst Control Center to work in Windows x64.



Windows XP Professional x64 Edition

24 April 2005


I've received a fair few emails from people asking me where they can get a copy of Windows XP Professional x64 Edition (better known as Windows x64), Microsoft's new Operating System designed for 64-bit CPUs. The simple answer is that you can't legally download this OS any more. The Evaluation Version of Windows x64 is no longer available, as the final retail version is due shortly. Stay tuned for an official launch announcement in the next few weeks. The main differences and benefits of current 32-bit vs future 64-bit Windows can be examined here, but in short 64-bit computing allows for more data per clock cycle, and the use of larger amounts of memory. All of this theoretically increases performance on 64-bit based systems, but from what I understand there are still issues surrounding proper driver support for Windows x64, as well as the need for many applications and games to be coded to take advantage of 64-bit computing, so there is no hurry or great benefit in switching over to a 64-bit OS at present.



Intel INF Chipset Software Driver Version 7.0.0.1019 Released

22 April 2005


If you run an Intel Chipset-based motherboard, you should download and install the latest version of the Intel INF Chipset Driver - Version 7.0.0.1019 - which was officially released a few days ago. Note that Intel recently changed their download links, so I've updated all my guides which link to Intel software to the correct links, including the Windows XP Tweaking Companion.



Windows x64 Not Supported By PunkBuster

21 April 2005


This post at NGOHQ says that PunkBuster software - the anti-cheating software used by many multiplayer games - currently blocks Windows x64. This means that playing many popular multiplayer games is not possible on Windows x64. Fortunately (and as you'd expect) PunkBuster developers have promised to release a new version of the PB software which will support Win x64. On the subject of the new Windows x64, while I was at NGOHQ I also noticed this interesting article about Windows x64. It says (quite correctly) that at the moment the lack of suitable device drivers for x64 makes it very hard to take full advantage of the new 64-bit OS.



.NET Framework Beta Version 2.0 Released

21 April 2005


Microsoft has released a beta version of the new .NET Framework Version 2.0. It's claimed that this version may improve performance in applications which use the .NET Framework, such as the ATI Catalyst Control Center. I personally recommend that you don't install this new version until it is released as a final (non-beta) version.



VIAVGA Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil Deathmatch Maps

20 April 2005


The VIA gaming site VIAVGA has released two new deathmatch maps for Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil. They are the VIAVGA DM1 XP and the VIAVGA DM2 XP maps. Give them a try.



Windows Media Player 9 & 10 Fixes

20 April 2005


Microsoft has released several official fixes for Windows Media Player versions 9 and 10. If you run one of these media players then you should definitely download the relevant update and apply it.



I've Heard from You!

19 April 2005


As a result of my "I Want to Hear from You" news post a few days ago, I've received a great deal of very useful feedback from readers. I want to say a big Thanks for taking the time to write - I really do appreciate it. I've got some great ideas from people, and I'll be adding a few new features when I get the chance. However above all else most readers pointed out that they're quite happy with the site the way it is, so I'll continue to concentrate on producing more guides as time permits and not mess around too much with TweakGuides.com. And of course it goes without saying that you should continue to write to me with your thoughts and feedback, and I'll continue to read and reply to each and every email.



Windows XP Tweaking Companion Version 1.06

18 April 2005


BlackViper's website definitely seems to be down and perhaps out for a long while, so I've updated my Windows XP Tweaking Companion (both Regular and Deluxe Editions) accordingly. There are now replacement links for all of BlackViper's guides, including a reputable alternate XP Services Guide. If I have already sent you an XPTC Deluxe Edition I will re-send the updated version shortly. For everyone else, the free XPTC Regular Edition Version 1.06 is now available for download.



Windows XP Tweaking Companion [Deluxe Edition]

17 April 2005


One of the suggestions sent to me by a thoughtful reader was to publish my Windows XP Tweaking Companion at Lulu.com, an online publishing site which produces professionally published books on demand from original works. So I went ahead and created the Windows XP Tweaking Companion [Deluxe Edition]. The Deluxe Edition of the XPTC has additional features which you can read about by clicking the link above. You can get it in two ways: a PDF file emailed directly to you if you donate $10 or more to TweakGuides.com; or as a professionally printed and bound book for $18 by visiting this link. Of course the free version of the XPTC - the Windows XP Tweaking Companion [Regular Edition] - will remain available to everyone, however the Deluxe Edition gives you a chance to contribute to TweakGuides.com and receive something special back at the same time. Read more about it and see what you think.



Firefox Version 1.03 Released

17 April 2005


The latest version of Firefox - Version 1.03 - has been released. It contains a range of security fixes, so it is strongly recommended you download and install this version as soon as possible. Note that I am still working on my full Firefox Tweak Guide and despite many delays I will try to get it out as soon as possible.



Nvidia Forceware 76.71 for Windows x64

16 April 2005


OSNN.Net has a set of Forceware 76.71 for Windows x64 users which are apparently quite good. If you have a 64-bit capable CPU and an Nvidia graphics card, you should definitely give these a try. If you haven't yet got Windows x64, read this article for details on how to get it for free.



I Want to Hear from You!

16 April 2005


Over the past few months I've been getting fewer and fewer site-related emails from readers. While TweakGuides.com has indeed become a "more important" site in terms of traffic and Net presence, I still read and answer every one of my emails, especially if they relate to your thoughts about the site. Almost all the emails I get now are people asking for technical assistance, which as I have said I cannot give since it is so time consuming and difficult to do. TweakGuides exists to help you help yourself, not as a central tech support area. However by the same token I really need to hear from people about my guides - things like errors, non-working links, additional info I should include, ideas for site and guide improvements etc. While I can't accommodate everyone's requests, it's hard for me to keep the site running at its best if I don't know what you guys are thinking. Email Me with your thoughts and any problems you're having with the guides!



KOTOR 2 Patch Released

15 April 2005


LucasArts has finally released the much-anticipated first patch for Knights of the Old Republic 2. The patch version is 1.0b, and you can read more about and download it here. The patch contains a range of fixes for a range of common KOTOR 2 problems. I have updated my KOTOR 2 Tweak Guide to reflect the changes from this patch. Note that LucasArts will be releasing another KOTOR 2 patch soon which will contain high quality music and movies for the game.



Nvidia Forceware 71.89 Released

15 April 2005


Nvidia have released the official Forceware 71.89 graphics drivers. If you run an Nvidia graphics card, especially using newer technology like SLI, it is strongly recommended that you download and install this latest driver version. This version should resolve the temperature bug from previous versions, as well as better support for SLI and the GeForce 6200 graphics card. I have updated my Nvidia Forceware Tweak Guide to reflect the changes from these drivers.



What's Happened to BlackViper?

15 April 2005


An alert reader has informed me that the links in my Windows XP Tweaking Companion to BlackViper.com are not actually working. When I went to check BlackViper's site, it says it's under construction and his famous BlackViper Services Guide doesn't respond at all. Anyone know what the deal is - if so Email Me and let me know.



New Half Life 2 Deathmatch Maps Released

14 April 2005


Three new HL2:Deathmatch Maps have been released by Valve. These maps are: dm_underpass, dm_resistance, and dm_powerhouse. You can read more about them here, and you can download all of them through Steam - simply restart the Steam client when online. Also note that there is a CounterStrike: Source update available through Steam now as well.



Windows Updates Released

13 April 2005


Microsoft has released a range of important updates for Windows. You can access these by running Windows Update. They include a new Malicious Software Removal Tool, several Security Updates including one for Internet Explorer, and a new Windows Installer Version 3.1.



VIA Hyperion 4.56 Released

12 April 2005


VIA have released their latest Hyperion Version 4.56 drivers. If you run a VIA chipset based motherboard you can download and install these. However the only change is a minor update to the AGP drivers, and as such if you are running the 4.55 drivers without any problems you don't have to update to these. For more details on the Hyperions see my VIA Hyperion FAQ.



Windows XP Tweaking Companion Updated

10 April 2005


The latest version of the Windows XP Tweaking Companion has been released, bringing this complete Windows XP and System Optimization guide up to Version 1.05. The changes include a new chapter on CCleaner, correction of some dead links, and refinement of various advice in the guide. I strongly recommend all XPTC users update to this version of the guide.



Half Life 2 Expansion Announced

9 April 2005


Valve have released details of the official expansion to Half Life 2 - Half Life 2: Aftermath. The storyline picks up at the end of Half Life 2, so much like the recent Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil official expansion pack, this promises more of the same for fans of the game.



New Features for TweakGuides?

9 April 2005


I'm still hard at it with my Firefox Tweak Guide, but I thought I'd take a break and ask you guys something: are there any new features you want for TweakGuides.com? If you have any ideas, please Email Me and let me know. Before you write to me, just keep in mind that I won't be adding a Forum at present for two simple reasons - (a) forums use a lot of bandwidth which slows down the site and increases my costs; and (b) forum users would expect me to answer all their questions, taking up a lot of my time to both answer them and to also make sure that other users' answers are correct and not misleading/wrong. Perhaps at a later date I can add forums. As for downloadable PDF tweak guides, read this page for reasons why that's not a possibility at the moment either for most guides. Otherwise any other feedback, ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.



ATI Catalyst Tweak Guide Updated

8 April 2005


I've updated my ATI Catalyst Tweak Guide to reflect the changes from the latest 5.4 Catalysts. The changes aren't major, but if you haven't been through the guide in detail for a while, now would be a good chance to go through and double-check all the recommendations and settings.



ATI Catalyst 5.4 Released

8 April 2005


ATI have released the official Catalyst 5.4 graphics drivers. If you run an ATI graphics card you should update to this latest version as it has a range of changes and fixes. I will update my ATI Catalyst Tweak Guide shortly to reflect these changes. The changes are not major and primarily relate to fixes for several games including KOTOR 2, Splinter Cell:CT, enhanced HDTV support and some minor changes to the ATI Control Center.



Steam Updates Released

6 April 2005


Valve has released another update for CounterStrike: Source as well as the Steam platform itself. Read about the changes here and as usual simply restart Steam while online for the changes to apply. Note that you may be prompted to take part in a Valve survey during this process - you don't have to complete the survey for the update to install.



Audigy 2, Audigy 2ZS Beta Drivers

6 April 2005


Creative have released Beta Audigy 2/2ZS Drivers which add full OpenAL (Open Audio Library) support and Advanced HD/EAX 4.0 support for games like Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil, as well as performance improvements for other games which use OpenAL (e.g. the upcoming Battlefield 2). If you feel game, you can try them out. Beta drivers from Creative are usually OK, but backup or make a System Restore point first just to be safe.



Forceware Driver Comparison

5 April 2005


I don't usually post links to graphics driver comparison articles, because usually they're rubbish. However I found this TechConnect Forceware Comparison article - which compares the 71.84 Official Forceware drivers with the 75.90, 76.10 and 76.41 Beta Forceware drivers - to be reasonably good. The article provides comparitive benchmarks of these drivers in Doom 3, Far Cry, CounterStrike: Source and NFSU 2, in both single and dual (SLI) modes, and of course download links to get the beta drivers. If you run an Nvidia graphics card, read the article to see which driver suits you best.



Doom 3 Tweak Guide Updated

5 April 2005


I've had the chance to buy and install the Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil expansion pack and I've updated my Doom 3 Tweak Guide accordingly. There are several important changes you should be aware of, and these are detailed on page 4 of the guide.



Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil Expansion Pack

4 April 2005


As you might know by now, the much-anticipated expansion pack for Doom 3 called Resurrection of Evil has been officially released. I haven't had a chance to pick up a copy, but so far I hear good things about this expansion. By most accounts if you enjoyed Doom 3, this pack is even better than the original. Of course if you want to tweak the game for maximum performance, make sure to check out my Doom 3 Tweak Guide which I will update for any changes due to the expansion (there should be none) shortly.



Latency Settings and Performance

3 April 2005


If you're interested in RAM latencies, and what impact they have on system performance, you should definitely download and read this 600KB Latency Settings and Performance 8-page PDF Guide by Corsair - the company which produces some of the best memory sticks in the business. The guide provides good explanations of the various components of RAM operation, and then provides benchmarks which show the performance differences from using various latency settings. Highly recommended.



So how's that full Firefox Tweak Guide coming along...?

2 April 2005


The answer to that is: slowly. The good news is I have collected a large number of tips, tweaks and generally useful information for Firefox users which will make a great tweak guide. The bad news is my day job keeps getting more and more complex and time-consuming. As a result it will take longer than expected for me to release the full version of my Firefox Tweak Guide. But it will get done, and hopefully it should be in the next week or two. Believe me, I would much rather be writing tweak guides for a living and pumping out 2 or 3 solid guides a month, but for the moment since my guides are free and it's my day job which pays the bills, that can't happen.



Happy Birthday TweakGuides!

1 April 2005


Exactly one year ago this day, I made the decision that I wanted to run my very own website to serve my tweak guides, rather than writing for someone else. And so it was that I registered the domain name 'TweakGuides.com', and paid for web hosting, and starting getting help in designing and putting together a modest website to do just that. A week later I launched the new site and published my first tweak guide on this new site - my UT2004 Tweak Guide. That's right - it's TweakGuides.com's First Birthday! To see how we looked upon starting up back then, check out this TweakGuides Screenshot.


Well a lot has happened since then, and TweakGuides now has hundreds of thousands of regular readers, 15 new guides in the past year, and an established reputation around the web. However some things haven't changed, and won't: namely the fact that this site will continue to provide the best possible tweak guides absolutely free of charge, and will remain relatively simple, uncluttered and hopefully responsive to your needs. Stick around for another year and let's see what other guides I can come up with, OK? :)



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