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May 2007



Windows Live Suite Beta

31 May 2007


Microsoft has officially released the 'Windows Live Suite' - including Windows Live Writer, Windows Live Messenger 8.5, and Windows Live Mail - in Beta form.



Steam Update & Survey

31 May 2007


Valve has released a Steam Client Update, and along with some fixes, there is an update to the Steam Hardware Survey. I recommend that Steam users undertake the survey as it only takes a minute, but even if you don't, you can still view the Survey Results. It's an interesting snapshot of PC hardware statistics for gamers who use Steam.



Half Life 2 Games Free to All ATI Users

31 May 2007


Valve has released the full versions of Half Life 2: Lost Coast and Half Life 2: Deathmatch Free to All ATI Users. Anyone with an ATI Radeon graphics card installed can use this link to launch or download Steam, and then automatically be allowed to obtain these games for free via Steam. If you're not familiar with Half Life 2 or Steam, make sure to check the Half Life 2 Tweak Guide for more details.



VIA Hyperion Pro 5.12A

31 May 2007


VIA has released the 5.12A Hyperion Pro chipset drivers for VIA-based motherboards.



iTunes 7.2.0.34

31 May 2007


Apple has released iTunes 7.2.0.34. Aside from bug and compatibility fixes, the latest version adds the ability to buy DRM-less music at extra cost.



Firefox 2.0.0.4

31 May 2007


The final version of Firefox 2.0.0.4 has just been made available on the Mozilla FTP Server. It should be released officially on the main Firefox Site and the built-in updater shortly, along with the full Release Notes at that time.


Update: It is now officially available via the main site or built-in updater as well.



Game Patches

31 May 2007


  • Forge of Freedom - 1.9.23 Patch
  • Harpoon 3: Advanced Naval Warfare - 3.8.0 Patch
  • World of Warcraft - 2.1.0.6 Patch


  • X-Fi 2.15.0002 Drivers for Vista

    31 May 2007


    Creative has released new Version 2.15.0002 drivers for all X-Fi series cards (except the Xtreme Audio) in Windows Vista.



    WinRAR 3.70

    30 May 2007


    The final Version 3.70 of the WinRAR archival utility has been released, and includes improved Vista compatibility.



    Game Patches

    30 May 2007


  • Eternal Lands - 1.33 Patch


  • Site Update

    30 May 2007


    In case you're wondering where the latest news updates are, don't worry - I still have my eye on the ball. It's just been relatively quiet over the past few days with no real news to report. Rather than posting gossip or the usual fillers other sites do, if I don't find anything useful I just don't post anything.



    Crysis DX9 vs. DX10

    27 May 2007


    Two Crysis Videos have recently surfaced which show similar portions of the game in DirectX9 and DirectX10 modes. You can also see screenshot comparisons between DX9 and DX10 here. It's apparent that while the base graphics are similar, DX10 adds improved lighting and blur effects to make the game look much more atmospheric.



    Game Patches

    26 May 2007


  • Eudemons Online - 1061 Patch
  • Halo 2 - Update 1


  • Windows Defender Updated

    25 May 2007


    Microsoft has released an updated version of Windows Defender, a free anti-malware utility. For Vista users, since Defender is already built into the OS, you can simply update it via Windows Update.



    Game Patches

    25 May 2007


  • Ageod's American Civil War - 1.03 Patch
  • Conquer Online - 4349 Patch
  • Making History: The Calm & the Storm - 2.0.1 Patch


  • Nvidia Human Head Demo

    24 May 2007


    Lest anyone think DX9 is dead, Nvidia has released a Human Head Demo which renders in real-time a photorealistic 3D human head. The demo is designed for the GeForce 8800 Ultra, but any 8800 series card should run it quite well - reduce the Supersample Multiplier from 1.5 to 1.0 if necessary. Here is a Sample Screenshot and Sample Video from my 8800GTS 640MB.



    Windows XP SP3

    24 May 2007


    Microsoft has let slip in a recent Press Statement on network technologies that Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) will be released "...later this year".


    Update: Apparently MS made a mistake in the XP SP3 release date - it is planned for sometime during Q1/Q2 of 2008.



    Game Patches

    24 May 2007


  • Armed Assault - Beta 1.07.5157 Patch
  • Battlestations Midway - Iowa Mission pack
  • Eudemons Online - 1060 Patch
  • Voyage Century - 1.22 Patch
  • War in the Pacific - 1.806 Patch


  • Windows & Office Security Fixes

    23 May 2007


    Microsoft has fixed security holes in Windows Vista, XP and 2000. You can read the details here, including links to the fixes, or you can get them through Windows Update. MS has also released Microsoft Office Isolated Conversion Environment and File Block features for Office 2003 & 2007 as detailed here, both designed to increase security in opening/converting documents in these versions of Office.



    Game Patches

    23 May 2007


  • Mall Tycoon 2 - 1.022 Patch
  • Supreme Commander - 1.1.3251 Patch
  • World of Warcraft - 2.1.0 Patch


  • ATI Tray Tools 1.3.6.1042

    23 May 2007


    A new Version 1.3.6.1042 of ATI Tray Tools has been released. There are a range of updates and changes, including Vista support. I recommend all ATT users upgrade to this version.



    Game Patches

    22 May 2007


  • Tales of Pirates - 1.33.3 Patch


  • Opera 9.21

    22 May 2007


    The free Opera browser has been updated to Version 9.21. The changes are mainly bug fixes.



    VirtualDub 1.6.18 & 1.7.2

    22 May 2007


    Two New Builds of the free VirtualDub video capture/processing utility have been released. Version 1.6.18 is the latest stable release with bug fixes, and Version 1.7.2 is an experimental release with new features as well as bug fixes.



    Site Update

    20 May 2007


    It's been all quiet on the guide front here at TweakGuides for the past few weeks. I've used the extra time to ponder the future of the site without sponsorship, revise a few of the existing guides to keep them fully up to date, and also do a bit of gaming for myself. I've mainly been playing Shivering Isles, Spider-man 3, BF2142 and of course the Lost Planet demo. Speaking of Lost Planet, I've decided to postpone any guide for the game until the final version comes out, given both DirectX 10 graphics drivers and the game itself will likely change by then, affecting the performance impact of settings. My initial impressions of DirectX 10 are that it shows promise for smooth, beautiful gaming. However we won't see its full potential until both games and drivers mature. In terms of upcoming guides, I believe Halo 2 has just been released, and I'll investigate whether a guide for it is possible, keeping in mind that console ports are notoriously untweakable. Enemy Territory: Quake Wars will definitely be tweakable and will be out in a few weeks, so it will be getting the full guide treatment.



    Realtek HD Audio Driver 1.67

    19 May 2007


    Realtek have released Version 1.67 of their HD Audio driver for Windows XP/2K and Vista.



    Game Patches

    19 May 2007


  • Two Worlds - 1.3 Patch


  • Nvidia Forceware 94.24 for XP

    18 May 2007


    Nvidia has released the Forceware 94.24 drivers for Windows 2K/XP. The driver supports all GeForce graphics cards except the GeForce 8 series. I haven't found a full change list as yet, but this driver is recommended for all non-8 series Nvidia graphics card users.


    Update: It appears these drivers default to the Classic Control Panel instead of the new CP. It's not clear if this is deliberate, or a mistake by Nvidia.


    Update 2: Nvidia no longer links to these drivers when a user goes through the main Nvidia Driver Page, suggesting that they've been withdrawn. Likely this is due to the Control Panel issue as I've not heard of them being otherwise problematic.



    CCleaner 1.40.520

    17 May 2007


    A new Version 1.40.520 of the free system cleaning utility CCleaner has been released. The changes are mainly bug fixes.



    Game Patches

    17 May 2007


  • Armed Assault - Beta 1.07 Patch Fix
  • Eudemons Online - 1058 Patch
  • Flight Simulator X - Service Pack 1
  • Garry's Mod - Update via Steam
  • StarCraft - 1.15 Patch
  • StarCraft: Brood War - 1.15 Patch


  • Lost Planet Article

    16 May 2007


    I've posted a brief Lost Planet Article which looks at performance in Lost Planet in both DX9 and DX10, as well as some screenshots, and initial tips and thoughts. In the next few days I will be expanding the article into a tweak guide with full descriptions of each setting.



    Lost Planet Demo

    16 May 2007


    Capcom have released the Lost Planet Demo. Importantly, there are two separate downloads: one for people who wish to play in DirectX9 mode, and one for those who want to play in DirectX10 mode. Note that the DX10 download requires Windows Vista and a DX10 capable graphics card, namely a GeForce 8X00 or Radeon HDX2X00XT series card. This is the first playable DirectX10 game that has been publicly released, and I'll try to do a brief guide/performance examintion of the game in DX9/DX10 shortly.


    Update: If you get an error or crash while attempting to launch this game (either DX9 or DX10 version) in XP or Vista, first make sure you install the latest DX9 Redistributable, and secondly for Nvidia users make sure to install the 158.42 Forceware drivers or newer.


    Update 2: If you're experiencing a hard lock crash/freeze during the game, try setting Concurrent Rendering to Off. This can fix the problem and shouldn't noticeably reduce FPS.



    Nvidia Beta Forceware 158.43 for 8X00 series

    16 May 2007


    Nvidia have released another new Vista beta driver, this time Forceware 158.43. The main difference between this version and the recent 158.42 drivers is that this one also supports GeForce 8600, 8500, 8400 and 8300 cards as opposed to just the 8800 series.



    Game Patches

    16 May 2007


  • DOFUS - 1.18.2 Patch


  • Winamp 5.35

    16 May 2007


    The Winamp media player has been updated to Version 5.35. The main changes are bug fixes, as well as a security fix.



    ATI HD2900XT Drivers

    16 May 2007


    If you've just purchased a Radeon HD2900XT graphics card, ATI has released a newer version of the drivers used by this card. These are not the 7.5 Catalysts however; they are due out shortly.



    Nvidia Beta Forceware 158.42 for 8800 series

    15 May 2007


    Nvidia have released a new beta Forceware 158.42 driver only for 8800 series graphics cards in Windows Vista. Importantly this driver improves 3D performance and has a range of fixes, so it is recommended to all relevant users.



    DirectX10 Gaming

    15 May 2007


    I'm sure that just like me, you're curious as to the performance of current DirectX10 cards in DirectX10 mode. While we wait for the Lost Planet demo to give us a hands-on insight, some interesting figures have emerged which give a clearer indication of DX10's impact. The first are these Call of Juarez DX10 Benchmark results. The second are graphs showing performance in Lost Planet, first in DX9 Mode, then in DX10 Mode at 4xAA/8xAF and DX10 Mode at 0xAA/4xAF. It seems that while games in DX10 mode at maximum settings are absolutely beautiful, they are also stressful to run on current high-end DX10 cards.



    Site Update

    14 May 2007


    As you might already know, ATI have officially released their HD2900XT DX10 graphics card today, and initial reviews show mixed results, as the drivers are not mature enough to fully realise its potential. Based on my own research, I've bitten the bullet and bought an 8800GTS 640MB card for my existing system. You may wonder why I'd bother getting a new DirectX10 card right now, but as it turns out a demo for the game Lost Planet is due out in a couple of days, and it will have both DirectX9 and DirectX10 support. Equipped with a DX10 card I can begin to practically examine how DirectX10 will impact on gaming, and how to tweak games in both DX10 and DX9.



    One in Ten Web Pages Contain Malware

    13 May 2007


    Google recently did an in-depth analysis of a sample consisting of 4.5 million web pages, and found that 10% of them contain malware. Even major legitimate sites have unwittingly fallen victim to infection - Tom's Hardware recently hosted banner ads linking to a malware site. As malware creators become more cunning by the day, no automated software can keep your PC completely protected, nor can you stay safe just by avoiding "bad" sites. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I believe it's imperative to have a deeper understanding of your system and hence be able to prevent, or more quickly identify and remove, potential malware infections.



    Intel Chipset Drivers 8.2.0.1014

    13 May 2007


    Intel has released Version 8.2.0.1014 of their chipset drivers for Intel-based motherboards. The drivers are for all versions of Windows.



    DivX 6.6.1

    13 May 2007


    The DivX video codec has been updated to Version 6.6.1.



    Game Patches

    12 May 2007


  • Battle of Britain 2: Wings of Victory - 2.06 Patch
  • Two Worlds - 1.2 Patch


  • Windows Live Mail Beta

    12 May 2007


    Two days ago I mentioned that Microsoft was planning to replace Outlook Express and Windows Mail with a new email client. Well it turns out the beta of this email client has already been released: you can download Windows Live Mail and try it for yourself. Of course there's no urgent need if you're happy with your existing mail client.



    STALKER 1.0003 Patch

    11 May 2007


    GSC have finally released the much-anticipated 1.0003 Patch for STALKER. The patch contains a range of bug fixes for both single and multiplayer, and also includes widescreen and Vista compatibility fixes, and a new demo recording command. Importantly you can use your saved games from the previous version after applying this patch. I've updated the STALKER Tweak Guide for the changes, see in particular pages 4, 5, 8 and 10.



    Creative Driver FAQ

    11 May 2007


    Creative have released a brief Driver FAQ to answer common questions on the status of their sound cards and drivers, particularly regarding concerns raised over Vista compatibility and future functionality.



    RealTek AC97 4.00 Audio Driver

    11 May 2007


    RealTek have released Version 4.00 of their AC97 audio drivers.



    Game Patches

    11 May 2007


  • Armed Assault - Beta 1.07 Patch
  • Theatre of War - 1.2.0.46 Patch


  • iPod Patch for Windows Vista

    10 May 2007


    Microsoft have released a Patch which resolves potential corruption when connecting an iPod to Windows Vista.



    Game Patches

    10 May 2007


  • Battlestations: Midway - 1.1.1 Patch
  • Company of Heroes - 1.61 Patch
  • Space Empires V - 1.35 Patch


  • Outlook Express and Windows Mail to be Replaced

    10 May 2007


    It's worth noting that as part of its recent relaunching of Hotmail (see further below), Microsoft has also announced that Outlook Express and Windows Mail, the built-in email applications for XP and Vista respectively, will be replaced by a new email client called Windows Live Mail. The beta of this email client will be released in the next few weeks.



    Windows Activation Trojan

    10 May 2007


    A new security threat has appeared in the form of malware which imitates Activation. The trojan launches phony prompts at startup asking for personal details including credit card information to "activate" your Windows. The trojan doesn't seem to affect Vista, but in all cases clearly do not enter any details if so prompted, as real activation/validation never involves entering any such details.



    Shockwave 10.2.0.022

    9 May 2007


    A new Version 10.2.0.022 of the Adobe Shockwave player plugin for browsers has been released.



    Microsoft Security Updates

    9 May 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.



    Cellfactor: Revolution - Free Game

    9 May 2007


    Ageia, the company behind the PhysX add-on physics processor card, have released Cellfactor: Revolution, a full free game you can download (860MB). The game ideally requires a PhysX card to play properly, however there are portions which can be played on any system.



    Game Patches

    9 May 2007


  • Steel Panthers World at War - 2.5 Patch
  • Two Worlds - 1.1 Patch


  • Neverwinter Nights 2 Beta 1.06 Patch

    9 May 2007


    A Beta 1.06 Patch has been released for Neverwinter Nights 2, incorporating more improvements and fixes for the game. As usual, although it is likely to be quite safe, if you don't feel comfortable using the beta wait for the final version of the patch. I will update the NWN2 Tweak Guide when the final version is released.



    Windows Live Hotmail

    8 May 2007


    Microsoft has revamped the free Hotmail email service, calling it Windows Live Hotmail. The service includes an improved interface, better spam, phishing and malware protection, and greater connectivity with Outlook.



    Winamp 5.34a Security Patch

    6 May 2007


    A special 5.34a Patch has been released for the winamp media player to fix a potential security vulnerability.



    Game Patches

    5 May 2007


  • Devil May Cry 3 - 1.30 Patch
  • Medieval 2: Total War - 1.2 Patch


  • DivX 6.6

    4 May 2007


    A new Version 6.6 of the DivX video codec has been released. This version includes performance improvements and experimental support for the new SSE4 instruction set used on Intel Penryn CPUs.



    Game Patches

    4 May 2007


  • Anarchy Online - 17.3.1 Patch
  • Anarchy Online Shadowlands - 17.3.1 Patch
  • Conquer Online - 4347 Patch
  • DEFCON - 1.42 Patch
  • Dominions 3: The Awakening - 3.08 Patch
  • Galactic Dream: Rage of War - 1.0a Patch
  • Heroes of Might & Magic V - 1.5 Patch
  • Medieval 2: Total War - 1.2 Patch


  • Nvidia Forceware 158.24 Beta & 158.22

    3 May 2007


    Nvidia has released a new Beta Forceware 158.24 for the GeForce 6, 7 and 8 series on Windows Vista. The main changes seem to be two fixes for SLI-related crashes. There is also a new Forceware 158.22 solely for GeForce 8 series cards on Windows XP. This version contains some bug fixes, SLI fixes and also enables TurboCache.



    Game Patches

    3 May 2007


  • Bloodmasters - 1.2 Patch
  • RYL Unforgiven Wars - 561 Patch


  • CPU-Z 1.40

    3 May 2007


    The free CPU-Z system information utility has been updated to Version 1.40, adding support for the latest chipsets.



    Sandra XI SP2 11.35

    3 May 2007


    A new Build 11.35 of the free system information tool Sandra has been released.



    QuickTime 7.1.6.200

    3 May 2007


    Apple have released QuickTime 7.1.6.200. Importantly it addresses a recent security flaw found in QuickTime, hence all users are urged to upgrade to this new version.



    Silverlight 1.0 Beta

    2 May 2007


    Microsoft has released a Beta of Silverlight, a cross-platform plugin similar to Flash which allows you to view Silverlight web-based rich media in your browser, whether Internet Explorer or Firefox, on a Mac or PC. Once you install Silverlight, you can see a demonstration of its capabilities by viewing the movie previews on this page - I suggest you give it a try.



    Silverlight Wallpapers

    2 May 2007


    As part of the release of Silverlight (discussed above) Microsoft has released a set of free Silverlight Wallpapers, both the traditional static kind, as well as the animated variety for use with Vista Ultimate's DreamScene.



    Game Patches

    2 May 2007


  • Battlefront - 1.02 Patch
  • Company of Heroes - 1.60 Patch
  • Steel Panthers Main Battle Tank - 3.5 Patch


  • ALchemy for Audigy - Not Free

    1 May 2007


    If you're a SoundBlaster X-Fi sound card owner you should be aware of the ALchemy Project, a software patch for X-Fi cards to allow them to use full hardware audio acceleration under Windows Vista. Creative have now announced that they will extend the ALchemy Project to include Audigy sound cards, however there's a catch: the patch will not be free. To my mind this is a shabby way for Creative to treat its customers, given Vista's audio changes were well known to them for at least the past year, and the other major manufacturers have provided, or are working to provide, free driver updates to make their hardware fully functional under Vista. I recommend that if you're upgrading to Vista, or upgrading your system in general, that you do not spend large sums of money on a sound card. Consider spending more on a high-end motherboard instead - a good multi-channel onboard audio solution provides excellent results in Vista with minimal performance impact. See the Sound section of the Control Panel chapter in the TGTC for Vista to find out more about the audio changes.



    Oblivion: Shivering Isles 1.2.0416 Patch

    1 May 2007


    Bethesda have released the final version of the 1.2.0416 Patch for Oblivion: Shivering Isles. This fixes several important FormID bugs in the game, so it should be installed by all Oblivion players who have the Shivering Isles expansion. If you installed the previous beta version of the patch, you will need to uninstall and reinstall Oblivion before applying this patch.



    Firefox 3.0 Alpha 3

    1 May 2007


    Mozilla has released the Alpha 3 version of the Firefox 3.0 browser. This version is for testing purposes only and is not recommended for most users.



    Game Patches

    1 May 2007


  • Darwinia - Update via Steam
  • Garry's Mod - Update via Steam
  • Soldat - 1.4 Patch


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