Category Archives: Windows

New Advisory Pages!

Whoah!  We have been busy, busy over here setting up a bunch of new advisory pages.  Just in case you are wondering, we take an RSS feed and set it up to display on a page.  So, you can click on that page link and get the latest information from that RSS feed right there on the page here at Solarum dot com.  We have many of the major feeds that IT folk would be interested in, from Microsoft and Cisco security advisories to Linux and UNIX as well.  We even include feeds from NIST, US Cert, OSVDB and more so we can keep an eye on apps and everything else too.  Not to mention that we add feeds any time we can, and especially when we find good information to share.  Enough talking, why don’t you go check them out, they are in the middle column near the top, all the information you need!  If you know of a feed that we should carry, please let us know so we can add it!!

Gratuitous Space Battles and the error “Failed to initialize 3d engine”

Gratuitous Space BattlesHowdy folks, here is a tip for some of you gamers out there.  I don’t know how many this might help, but as with some of the other posts on this site, this tip comes from figuring out an error that I ran into myself, so I thought I would share the solution with everyone.  This relates to the game Gratuitous Space Battles, but this type of fix might be something that could fix other games as well, who knows.  This tip does involve deleting files, so as always, be sure to have an appropriate backup in case you need to put them back!

OK, on to the good stuff weight loss fast pills.  I have the game Gratuitous Space Battles and I rather enjoy playing it.  I purchased it through Steam and up until now, haven’t had any trouble running it.  I installed it recently on my laptop, which is acting as a fill in for my main computer since my Alienware desktop finally died on me.  What this means is, I hadn’t had this game installed on my laptop before, but I had the contents of “My Documents” from my desktop restored to my laptop since it was now my main machine, the desktop where GSB had in fact been installed.

I tried the game yesterday for the first time and when it started up, all looking like normal, I received the following error:

Failed to initialize 3d engine

I tinkered with the game a bit but didn’t have the time to fix it so I just closed it up and bagged it for the night.  Then tonight I decided to dig into it, I tried it again just in case the shutdown and restart from last night might have had anything to do with it, but nothing, I got the same error.  I then did some digging and found that in my “My Documents” directory, and then further down into the “My Games” directory, there was a Gratuitous Space Battles directory from where it had been installed on my desktop.  I know it was full of old data because all of my screenshots I had previously taken were there.  What does this mean you ask?  Well, all of the configuration information from the desktop setup is in that directory, including settings for the 3d engine!  Well now, that should be easy enough to fix.  I make a copy of that directory, just in case, and then delete the thing (even going so far as to emptying my recycle bin).  That directory should recreate itself when the game restarts, complete with all new default settings.

So, I fire up the game once again and what do you know?  The game starts up, no problem at all, and the directory gets created again fresh.  Now I can play the game on my laptop!  It’s fascinating to me how simple things like that can be the problem and the fix for so many things.  I hope this tip helps someone out there, until next time … Enjoy!

Mobile Data On Disk

Today I thought I would show you a neat trick you can do with your PC or laptop and a blank CD or DVD.  Using something that Microsoft calls their Live File System, you can create or format a blank disk that will then allow you to use that disk (while it is in your disc drive) just like you would use a floppy disk or USB flash drive.  You can copy files to and from the disk, erase files you no longer need, etc.  All without “burning” files like you might be used to, just drag and drop right from Windows Explorer or whatever your favorite file manager might be.

There are some caveats with this, it appears that creating these disks is something you can do on Windows 7 machines only.  However, once created, they can be read on Windows versions going back to Windows XP and in some cases even Windows 98.  There is a URL at the bottom of the article that will take you to a Microsoft page with more information.  In addition, the reason I so far have only said CD, DVD and disk without getting specific is because you can create this kind of disk on standard writable media (-R) as well as re-writable media (-RW) meaning the list of disks you can format for mobile data storage starts to get kinda long, like so: CD-R, CD+R, CD-RW, DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-RW, DVD+RW, or DVD-RAM.

The process for setting up a disk for this kind of use is quick and easy, you simply insert your blank disk into your drive and wait a second.  If you have autoplay enabled, you know where your CD’s that you insert start automatically, you will get a window that pops up asking you how you want to use the disc, like a USB flash drive, or with a CD/DVD player (like a normal writer).  If you don’t have autoplay enabled, simply open Windows Explorer or My Computer and locate your CD or DVD drive.  Double click on it and you should receive the same window asking you how you want to use the disk.

Once you see the window, make sure that use “Like a USB flash drive” is selected and then press next. You will then get a message that the disk is being formatted.  Just wait and watch, and after a minute or two it should be complete and will disappear.  Once the formatting windows goes away you are done and ready.  You should now be able to drag and drop files to and from the disk, delete any that you want to, and manner of good stuff like that.  I hope you find this useful!

Get more information at Microsoft’s site

Powerconfig and Windows Hibernation – Part 2

I wanted to post a followup to an earlier post about Windows and disabling the Hibernation feature.  The original power was useful because in many circumstances (like most desktops) you don’t need to or want to hibernate your system.  So, you can save some disk space (upwards of the amount of RAM in your PC) and some performance overhead of managing that hibernation file, by disabling the hibernation function or feature.  You can read that one here.

Next thing I thought about was, what if you do need that hibernation function?  Well, naturally you can do the opposite of that earlier article to enable hibernation if it isn’t already, although usually it is by default.  But also, you can specific how big the hibernation file (hiberfil.sys) is compared to how much memory you have in your machine.  I would imagine if the file is set to less than your memory it must do some compression and maybe leave some non-essential stuff out, but I don’t know for sure and I am not sure if it’s worth digging into too deeply.  However, if you have some binary real estate (disk space) to spare, and you don’t have too much memory in your machine (you guys with 16GB or something need to ditch Windows and run Linux), set it to 100% and rock out.

Just like the enable and disable, you use the powercfg.exe command, and interestingly enough, still use the -H switch.  But instead of just On or Off, you add another switch ‘-Size’ and a number between 50 and 100 to equate to anywhere between 50 and 100 percent of your memory.  According to what I read, you can’t choose less than 50% or, obviously, more than 100%.  So, I set mine to 100% (it was at 75% by default) and am going to see how well it works.  If I see anything that warrants it, I’ll post a follow up as to whether or not it’s a good idea.

OK, the command to set your hiberfil.sys size to 100% would be:

powercfg.exe -H -Size 100

And there you have it, it’s just that easy!  Hope it helps 🙂

Disable Hibernation In Windows

Here is a helpful tidbit for anyone that might need it.  It’s something I used now and then, often enough that I remember the command, but not often enough to remember the exact syntax LOL  At least if I post it here it will be easy to find.  What am I talking about you ask?  Well, enabling and disabling hibernation in Windows.  If you are running a desktop, you most likely don’t need to hibernate your machine.  You can if you want, but I for one don’t want to lose the extra few gigs of disk space taken up by the ‘hiberfile.sys’ hibernation file.  Not to mention the system resource usage and overhead of keeping it updated.

OK, getting down to business, on Windows Vista and Windows 7, you can enable or disable the hibernation function easily by using the ‘powercfg’ command with the ‘-H’ (hibernation) option.  Here are a couple of examples:

powercfg.exe -H off

This turns hibernation off naturally, and:

powercfg.exe -H on

Will turn it on, and just that easily too!

I hope this little trinket of wisdom comes in handy for you.  Enjoy!

NetFlix DRM Error: N8156-6013

Recently I have been having trouble with my NetFlix instant watch service.  On several occasions I get odd DRM errors telling me that the date on my PC is set to (insert current date here) and to check and make sure it’s correct, which it is.  I don’t think I am the only person having this problem because when I fired up trusty ol’ Google, I found lots of other folks complaining about and seeking solutions for NetFlix DRM errors as well.  Not all of them shared my exact error number, but they all sounded faily similar in what was happening.

As I searched, I found a few things to try and although none helped me, some helped other folk so I will list them here anyway.  Finally, the explanation and solution that worked for me actually made a lot of sense once I digested it, and I bet it will help some of you out there as well.  🙂

Continue reading NetFlix DRM Error: N8156-6013