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April 2007



Site Update

29 April 2007


For those of you wondering which guides I will be doing next, at the moment it seems the likely candidates are Halo 2 which is set for release around mid-May, and then Enemy Territory: Quake Wars due to be released in early June.



RealTek HD Audio 1.66

29 April 2007


RealTek has updated their HD Audio driver to Version 1.66 for Vista and XP/2K/03.



.NET Framework 3.5 Beta 1

28 April 2007


Microsoft has released the .NET Framework 3.5 Beta 1, a preview of the next version of the .NET Framework. The final version will be available towards the end of 2007.



Windows Vista and OpenGL

28 April 2007


At a time when anti-Vista hype is reaching fever pitch, it's interesting to find that an official OpenGL ARB Working Group, a body that has no real reason to be biased towards Microsoft, has released a Vista and OpenGL article. The article compares OpenGL and Direct3D performance between XP and Vista and notes that "Windows Vista performance for full-screen Direct3D games is comparable to the performance delivered on Windows XP, just as for OpenGL".


While there is no urgent need for anyone to upgrade to Vista yet, I think this article is a timely reminder that many websites are using Vista bashing as a cheap way of gaining traffic and popularity. As always, the real story is much more complex than the sensationalist hype would have you believe.



Nvidia nTune 5.05.38.00

28 April 2007


Nvidia have released a new Version 5.05.38.00 of the nTune system monitoring and overclocking utility. You can monitor and overclock your Nvidia graphics card on any system using nTune, however nTune's motherboard-specific functionality requires an NForce motherboard.



Next 3DMark to be DirectX10 Only

28 April 2007


One of the developers of 3DMark, the popular gaming benchmark, has posted on his blog that the next version of 3DMark will be DirectX10 only. This of course means that it will only run on Windows Vista, and will require a DirectX10-compliant graphics card.



Game Patches

28 April 2007


  • Ageod's American Civil War - 1.02 Patch
  • ANNO 1701 - 1.02 Patch
  • City Life: World Edition - Vista Patch
  • Pacific Storm - 1.4 Patch
  • Real Estate Empire - 1.8 Patch
  • Sim City 4 Rush Hour - 1.1 Patch


  • Windows Server Longhorn Beta

    27 April 2007


    Microsoft has released a Public Beta of Windows Server "Longhorn", the successor to Windows Server 2003.



    Game Patches

    26 April 2007


  • Company of Heroes - 1.51 Patch
  • Conquer Online - 4345 Patch
  • Maximum Football - 1.3.171 Patch
  • Rise of the Witch King - 2.01 Patch
  • Tales of Pirates - 1.33 Patch


  • Vista Beta/RC Expiry

    26 April 2007


    Paul Thurrott has posted details of a reminder issued by Microsoft regarding Vista Beta & Release Candidate builds. These are all set to expire on June 1 2007, after which users will only be allowed to log in for 2 hour sessions to backup their data, up to the final expiry date of August 28 2007.



    Windows Update

    26 April 2007


    As part of the recent Microsoft updates, it's worth noting that a Windows XP patch has been released which improves reliability when third party drivers on your system may cause problems opening NTFS files. I recommend all XP users install this patch.



    Shockwave 10.2.0.021

    25 April 2007


    A new Version 10.2.0.021 of the Adobe Shockwave player plugin for browsers has been released.



    Windows Updates

    25 April 2007


    Microsoft has released some updates for Windows XP x64, Vista 64-bit and Server 2003, which you can view and download here. There is also a new Offline Crash Diagnostic utility for Windows XP which seems similar to Vista's 'Problem Reports & Solutions' feature.



    Battlefield 2142 1.25 Patch

    25 April 2007


    EA have released the final version of the 1.25 Patch for Battlefield 2142. The patch contains many much-anticipated gameplay and exploit fixes, and note there is no incremental version. The BF2142 Tweak Guide has been updated, but there are no significant changes.



    Game Patches

    25 April 2007


  • Wings of Power Heavy Bombers & Jets - 1.1 Patch


  • Winamp 5.34

    24 April 2007


    The final version of the Winamp 5.34 media player has been released. Changes include a range of fixes and improvements.



    Microsoft Office 2007 Compatibility Pack

    24 April 2007


    Microsoft has released a Compatibility Pack which allows users of previous Office versions to open, edit and save in the new Office 2007 formats.



    Game Patches

    24 April 2007


  • Ageod's American Civil War - 1.01a Patch
  • Devil May Cry 3 - 1.3.0 Patch
  • Half Life 1 DM/Team Fortress Classic - Update via Steam
  • The Longest Journey - 1.61 Patch


  • DirectX10 on Windows XP

    23 April 2007


    A site called the Alky Project has released a set of files which demonstrate their efforts to get DirectX10 games to run on Windows XP. DirectX10 is normally Vista-only, and given it is a proprietary API, I sincerely doubt Microsoft will allow this project to continue - even if it was actually practically possible for it to reach fruition, which seems unlikely.



    Game Patches

    21 April 2007


  • Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars - World Builder
  • Oblivion - Construction Set 1.2.404


  • Game Patches

    20 April 2007


  • DEFCON - Update via Steam


  • Steam Hacked?

    19 April 2007


    A hacker has made an announcement that he has managed to bypass Valve's security and access sensitive data including credit card details. He is now attempting to hold Valve to ransom, stating that he will remove the information he has in return for "something good". I'm still not certain how valid this claim appears to be, and to be honest I strongly dislike giving this hacker any publicity for such a stupid act. Holding a company to ransom is precisely the wrong way to achieve anything other than self-promotion. Unfortunately there's not much we can do at the moment - if you've purchased anything from Steam via credit card, keep a close eye on your credit card statements.


    Update: According to The Steam Review, only a minor Valve server was hacked, and most importantly no consumer credit card information appears to be compromised. It is still a stupid act by the hacker, and he achieved his aim of getting publicity, and strangely enough, a lot of support from the community.



    ATI Catalyst 7.4

    19 April 2007


    ATI have released the Catalyst 7.4 graphics drivers. The changes include performance improvements in OpenGL, the Avivo Video Convertor for Vista, and a range of game and general bug fixes for both XP and Vista. I have fully revised the ATI Catalyst Tweak Guide, both reducing it from 14 to 11 pages, and including all the major changes in the recent Catalysts.



    Windows Patch

    19 April 2007


    Microsoft has released a patch for Windows XP to resolve an issue caused by an earlier Windows security patch.



    Neverwinter Nights 2 1.05 Patch

    19 April 2007


    The re-issued Neverwinter Nights 2 1.05 Patch has been released. You can get the patch through the game's updater, and the change list and manual download link for the patch are in the link above. Aside from bug fixes, the patch introduces an in-game VSync option, as well as new Drive Camera Mouse Behavior and Render Grass options - the NWN2 Tweak Guide has been updated for these, see in particular the bolded updates on page 6 of the guide for details.



    Oblivion: Shivering Isles Beta 1.2.0416 Patch

    18 April 2007


    Bethesda have released a newer Beta 1.2.0416 Patch for the Shivering Isles expansion pack of Oblivion. This patch appears to add two new bug fixes on top of the major fix introduced in the recent Beta 1.2 Patch.



    Nvidia Forceware 158.18 for Vista

    18 April 2007


    Nvidia have released the official Forceware 158.18 graphics drivers for GeForce 6/7/8 series cards under Windows Vista. These drivers increase performance and fix a range of game issues and bugs, alter the control panel appearance slightly and add the ability to force VSync in DirectX applications. Importantly, the installation process has changed. The installer will automatically try to clean out all previous Nvidia graphics drivers from your system, so read the Instructions carefully to understand what to do.


    Update: The XP version of the 158.19 Forceware drivers has also been released, but only for 8000 series cards.



    Game Patches

    18 April 2007


  • Eudemons Online - 1.057 Patch
  • Gumboy Crazy Adventures - Update via Steam
  • Resident Evil 4 - 1.1.0 Patch
  • Silent Hunter 4: Wolves of the Pacific - 1.2 Patch


  • CCleaner 1.39.502

    17 April 2007


    A new Version 1.39.502 of the free CCleaner system cleaning utility has been released. It contains some important bug fixes and performance improvements.



    Site Update

    15 April 2007


    Let's take some time out to discuss an issue close to my heart: Tweaking. More and more people these days are taking an interest in it without really understanding what it means. Tweaking is fundamentally about both optimization and customization. That is, tweaking is not just about making something go faster; it's also about making it better suit your personal taste. Some people claim that if tweaks exist for a piece of software that must mean it's 'not optimized'. This is nonsense. It's like claiming that the fewer gears a gearbox has, or the less adjustments you can make to the seating position, the better the car must be. Tweaking is precisely what's great about PCs - there is greater scope for adjusting software to better suit your needs. This is also why it will never be an automated process - customization involves making many personal choices, such as the particular performance vs. quality compromise acceptable to you.


    The second misconception that needs to be laid to rest is that tweaking is only about changing secret hidden settings. I often see people getting quite excited when changing an .ini or console setting, even if it has no impact or it's exactly the same as one available through the in-game menus. I suspect there are often placebo or other psychological effects at play when people engage in tweaking, particularly evident when people refer to tweaks as 'hacks'. Tweaking is not hacking, so don't lose sight of the fact that some of the most effective changes on your system can be performed simply by understanding and tweaking the existing OS, application or in-game settings wisely, instead of just searching for non-existent magical cure-all hidden registry or .ini settings.


    Finally, I personally consider stability to be a major reason for undertaking tweaking. It's one thing to customize software or make it go faster, the trick is to make changes in such a way that your system also remains totally stable. One of the greatest pleasures of my current system is that day in, day out, for the past two years I've turned it on and used it - sometimes quite strenuously - without having it crash or act strangely, on the same install of Windows. Only the knowledge I've gained from tweaking has made this possible. So the more you understand your PC and software, the more you can change it to suit your needs, and have it perform as efficiently as possible with total stability. This is what tweaking means to me; it's not about voodoo magic or hacking or being cool.



    XPS Essentials Pack

    14 April 2007


    Microsoft has released the XPS Essentials Pack which alllows Windows XP, Vista and 2003 users to view and generate documents in the new .XPS format, Microsoft's alternative to the .PDF format.



    Game Patches

    14 April 2007


  • UFO Afterlight - 1.5 Patch


  • Flash Player 9.0.45.0

    14 April 2007


    Adobe has released an updated Version 9.0.45.0 of Flash Player.



    Windows Help Files Vulnerability

    14 April 2007


    A new security vulnerability has been discovered in Windows Help (.HLP) files in Windows XP/NT/2K/2003. People are advised not to download and open such files until the bug is fixed.



    GRAW 2 Multiplayer Beta

    13 April 2007


    A Multiplayer Beta has been released for Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2. However it is currently only available to Fileplanet subscribers.



    Game Patches

    13 April 2007


  • City Life - Vista Patch


  • Oblivion: Shivering Isles Beta 1.2 Patch

    12 April 2007


    Bethesda have released a Beta 1.2 Patch to resolve a major bug which affects Oblivion when the Shivering Isles expansion pack is installed. Note however that if you install this beta patch it may be necessary to reinstall Oblivion when the final version is released, so you might want to use the Unofficial Fix mod to address this issue instead for the moment.



    Game Patches

    12 April 2007


  • Battlefront - 1.01 Patch
  • Steam Client - Update via Steam


  • Opera 9.2

    12 April 2007


    A new Version 9.2 of the free Opera browser has been released. Aside from bug & security fixes, this version has a new feature called 'Speed Dial' which allows you to quickly load one of up to nine bookmarked pages.



    AVG Anti-Rootkit Free

    11 April 2007


    Grisoft has released the AVG Anti-Rootkit Free utility. This rootkit scanner is no longer in beta form, and Grisoft will be releasing regular updates to keep it effective.



    Microsoft Security Updates

    11 April 2007


    Microsoft has released its monthly set of Windows security updates which you can get through Windows Update, or if not there by viewing and downloading them from here.



    Game Patches

    11 April 2007


  • Dofus - 1.18.1 Patch
  • Eudemons Online - 1.055 Patch
  • Virtua Tennis 3 - 1.01 Patch


  • Oblivion: Shivering Isles

    9 April 2007


    Bethesda Softworks recently released a new expansion pack for The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion called The Shivering Isles. My initial impression is that it seems very promising. It's set in a completely new realm, accessible via a doorway which appears in the Oblivion game world. I've put up some short videos on YouTube in four parts which look at entry into the realm, and then some brief exploration/combat. These might help those of you wondering whether to buy it, but I'm fairly sure that if you're an Oblivion fan you'll enjoy this expansion pack. It has lots of new monsters, new environments, new plants and a totally new storyline. The monsters in particular give my Level 27 character a good workout. The developers suggest around 30 hours of gameplay is possible with this new pack; likely more in reality.


    Update: There is a major Shivering Isles bug as explained here which can only be fixed at the moment using this Unofficial Fix mod.



    ASUS Site Hosting Malware

    8 April 2007


    It appears the ASUS website has been altered by hackers to host malware. It's not clear the range of malware/exploits being served when users connect to the site, so I would recommend avoiding the ASUS website until the situation is clarified and resolved.



    Site Update

    7 April 2007


    Having finished the STALKER Tweak Guide, I've now moved on to updating the ATI Catalyst Tweak Guide. After that, the next new guide is looking likely to be for Enemy Territory: Quake Wars due to be released around May 15. Since it's based on the Doom 3 engine I'm certain it will be extensively tweakable. For those of you writing to request guides for games like Supreme Commander and Command & Conquer 3, please be aware that I can't do guides for certain games as explained here. I apologize to fans of these games.


    I'd also like to take a moment to give a very warm thanks to Dylan Holmes. You may recall a while ago I asked if any reader could possibly donate a copy of Vista Ultimate to the site. Well Dylan - who is neither a retailer nor a rich sponsor - generously made the effort to send me one. It's genuinely tough keeping this site free, independent and unbiased, but people like Dylan give me the faith to keep trying to find a way without selling out. So here's a big "cheers" to Dylan, and I also hope all of you have a great Easter break.



    Game Patches

    7 April 2007


  • Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars - 1.04 Patch
  • Conquer Online - 4343 Patch
  • OOTP Baseball 2007 - 2.0.1 Patch


  • Nvidia Forceware 97.94 for 8800 Series

    6 April 2007


    Nvidia have released the official 97.94 Forceware for 8800 series graphics cards only under Windows XP. The drivers address a range of game-specific issues, as well as fixes for SLI.



    Game Patches

    6 April 2007


  • Anno 1701 - 1.02 Patch
  • Battlestations Midway - 1.1 Patch
  • Europa Universalis III - 1.2.1 Patch
  • Singles 2: Triple Trouble - 1.4 Patch


  • RealTek HD Audio Patch

    5 April 2007


    Microsoft has released a Patch which resolves a conflict between the Realtek HD Audio Control Panel and recent Windows security updates.



    DirectX April Update

    5 April 2007


    Microsoft has released the DirectX April Update as a redistributable, and the web installer will no doubt arrive shortly. This update isn't critical, so it's not absolutely necessary that anyone install it yet.


    Update: It appears Microsoft have removed the April Update for some reason.


    Update 2: The link is working again, the file's date is newer than the previous one however.



    Game Patches

    5 April 2007


  • Quake 4 - 1.4.1 Beta Patch
  • Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened - 1.3 Patch
  • Supreme Commander - 3223 Patch


  • STALKER Tweak Guide

    4 April 2007


    The detailed STALKER Tweak Guide is now online, and contains a range of descriptions, tips, tweaks and mods which I think all STALKER players will find helpful. Give it a read through to better customize and optimize STALKER on your machine.



    Windows Security Update

    4 April 2007


    Microsoft has released a security update to resolve a recent vulnerability involving .ANI files. You can download the update for XP 32-bit and XP 64-bit, Vista 32-bit and Vista 64-bit.



    Game Patches

    4 April 2007


  • Falcon 4.0: Allied Force - 1.0.11 Patch
  • The Sims 2: Seasons - 1.7.0.151 Patch
  • World of Warcraft - 2.0.12 Patch


  • No Major Vista Service Packs

    3 April 2007


    Microsoft has explained that there will be no major Service Packs for Windows Vista. While Vista will still receive Service Packs, they won't be of the size and scope that SP1 and SP2 were for Windows XP. The reasons for this include the fact that the automated Windows Update and Problem Reports & Solutions features in Vista make identifying issues and releasing smaller incremental updates much easier and more timely.



    UltraMon 3.0.0 Beta

    3 April 2007


    A new Beta 3.0.0 version of UltraMon, the multi-monitor management utility has been released. This version is recommended for those running Windows Vista.



    Game Patches

    2 April 2007


  • Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars - 1.03 Patch
  • Eudemons Online - 1.054 Patch
  • Garry's Mod - Update via Steam
  • Live for Speed S2 - 0.5W Patch


  • Site Update

    1 April 2007


    It took me by surprise, but I suddenly realised that it's TweakGuides' 3rd birthday today. That's right, back on 1 April 2004 I registered the domain and starting setting up this site. This is what the site looked like back then, and no, that's not an April Fool's joke! Though the design may have changed a bit, I'd like to think that I've stayed true to the original blurb I wrote in the 'About' box three years ago. I hope I can keep the site going and improve on its quality further in the years to come. I'm constantly impressed by the many intelligent people who contact me from around the world with kind words, and make me realise that I'm not totally wasting my time by writing my guides. And speaking of guides, I'm close to completing the STALKER Tweak Guide - it should be out in the next few days.



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