TideLog Posts Tagged “Windows 7”

I’ve never seen this before, and neither has Google! One of my company courtesy laptops has just had a new screen fitted due to blown backlight tube, but now Windows won’t start. The last time we used it was on an external screen to back up the customer docs to the root of C:\ and do updates. Now all I get is:

RQGEY is compressed

Press CTRL, ALT & DEL to restart

I’ve a feeling something is corrupted somewhere as that error (RQGEY) message is NOT a valid boot failure message, even Microsoft’s site returns no results. I was wiping it anyway, but was surprised at the strange variable. Even if the volume is compressed after installation, the critical components such as BOOTMGR, page file, and hibernate file are bypassed. I don’t think I’ll ever find out what RQGEY is supposed to be….

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I’ve just refurbished a Thomson Lyra PDP2842. Replaced the HDD, dumped and modified the NAND firmware to iron a few “HDD Access Error” bugs out, and replaced the casing. It now seems to run OK, but hasn’t got the latest firmware yet, 3.03. I have it, but not yet installed it.

The firmware is in two parts. The NAND firmware on a chip on the board that controls the VFD LCD, bootloader, power and USB functions, and the HDD user-upgradeable software, which controls MP3, WAV, WMA playback, playlists, profiling, and radio play/record and tuner. The Hitachi hard drive firmware is separate completely from the player, and can be upgraded, but there’s no need to.

I connected the player to my Windows 7 machine, and the thing doesn’t work as a USB HDD. The computer makes the “do-dum” sound, and then pops up the dreaded “A device attached to this computer has malfunctioned, and Windows does not recognise it” message about six seconds later. THIS IS NOT A FAULT. Not an intentional one, anyhow. The USB function does work under XP and Vista. It’s happening because the motherboard of the player isn’t identifying itself and the HDD fast enough for ol’ Seven to think it’s responding. The board of the player is a bridge between the computer and the HDD, so it identifies itself as an IDE controller bridge, and then passes communication to the HDD, which the computer then detects, and installs, letting you use the HDD.

If this process doesn’t happen in a certain time, Windows 7 thinks there’s a fault, and ceases communication to prevent damage. My modifying of the NAND dump didn’t cause it, it happened before so I thought I’d see if I could fix it. My old one does the same.

I’ve had two of these blasted things. Poor firmware, poor design, and crap customer support saw an early death by Thomson and RCA of its own product. I sent bug report after bug report back in ’05, only to have them read the same tripe off a script to me in emails. I got fed up, and got Kassie to hex edit the lot. We recently figured how to dump the NAND contents using a probe, so I grabbed another Lyra and gave it another go. I sent my knackered Lyra to Her Ladyship in Tokyo (the HDD ribbon tore, making it damn more useless than ever!) and she played about with her probes, dumpers and chip programmers.

NEVER, EVER buy Thomson or RCA intentionally! Only if you wanna smash the shit up! Having said that, the Lyra Kassie has just helped me fix is almost brand new, and runs better than damn Thomson ever made it do. The software is smooth as oil! Oh, and I got rid of the stupid EU volume limit, because they said they had, and buggered the Equaliser up!

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I reported a while back that Microsoft had dropped the Hardware Assisted Virtualization (HAV) requirement for XP Mode under Windows 7. They’ve now rolled out the update, on their XP Mode pages. I’ve set it all up on my M670SU, and it seems to run pretty stably, but there’s a few minor default settings that seem weird:

1. VirtualPC is set to only have 256MB RAM by default on the XP image, and it’s slow as treacle, even on this Core2Duo CPU with 2GB RAM. I increased it to 768MB.

2. The VHD file is set at 126GB Expanding (My HDD is only 60GB!!) and I’ve haven’t yet figured out how to decrease it. You could easily overlook this, and then have your machine start acting weird as it runs out of space, yet VPC won’t bother!

3. The graphics will only go up to 16bit colour, using a crappy S3 Trio emulated card. At full screen, the title bar and window looks washed out, with colour loss and banding. Come on, Microsoft, the Trio is friggin’ ancient!! I wish it’d use my nVidia 8400 built in card, it’s WAY more powerful!

4. The virtual machine Hibernates instead of shutting down when you close it. This has to be changed to Shut Down, as you can’t change settings while it is Hibernated.

Other than that, it seems fine. I’m currently setting up VirtualBox to do a side by side comparison, because VPC doesn’t feel as fast as VBox does. XP Mode automatically shares your PC’s drives, so you don’t have to set them up manually like in VirtualBox. Here’s the installation window:

It then sets itself up, and displays the main XP desktop, which seemed to take longer than it should. If it performed this slowly on my dual core system, imagine how slow it’d be on a single core Pentium 4! I haven’t tried it, nor do I want to!

There’s been a lot of criticism of it on forums like Digital Spy, and news sites like the Register. People saying that VirtualBox and VMWare Workstation are better. They are right! The only snag is VMWare isn’t free, whereas VirtualBox is. I like XP Mode, it is useful for people using Windows 7 who don’t want to manually install a virtual OS. Then again, XP Mode is officially only intended for business use, and not personal.

But, to me, it feels slower than it should. My Core i7 rig runs it lightning speed, but the graphics are still emulating that awful S3 tripe. My i7 has the latest ATi HD5700 based card, for God’s sake!

If Microsoft call *this* a “selling” point of Windows 7, they’d be wasting their time. It feels like it was something they came up with at the last minute. Hang on, it WAS!! My advice to any business is, use VirtualBox! VirtualPC has been lacking and lagging behind the market for some time, mainly with USB support, they’ve only *just* caught up, but even this version feels rushed, and thrown together. On an older machine that meets the Minimum Win 7 requirements, you’re SURE going to FEEL it!

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Microsoft has just this minute released the EEA browser choice screen update to users of Windows 7, that it agreed to do in line with an EU ruling:

Cool. Don’t need it, though. I’m using the king of all browsers, Firefox, already. The one and only! (Until they change the UI to look like the crappy Ribbon and Chrome monstrosities, in version 4, that is.

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The headphone socket refused to work for me under both Vista and Windows 7. The sound would mute from the speakers, but nothing came from the headphones. I realised it was the driver that Windows was installing. The reason this happens is that the jacks are software controlled, meaning that when you plug something into the jacks, the software switches output to the correct socket, and pops up a dialog asking you what you plugged in:

The Windows driver doesn’t do this, so the headphones and surround jacks get no output. To fix it, install the VIA driver OVER the Windows one (don’t uninstall the Windows one first, the VIA install routine fails to detect the device if you do).

Once the VIA driver is installed, there is a utility that sits in your system tray/notification area, that will pop a dialog up, and detects what you’ve plugged into where (mostly automatic). You don’t actually need the utility running, the port seems to work even with it closed.

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