Windows Vista under Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 SP1 – Installing using the ISO as the installation media

System Requirements:

  • Virtual PC 2004, SP1
  • Windows Vista DVD-ROM ISO

The Problem:

It’s very nice of Microsoft to make the ISO available to so many people for testing, and I hate to think how many downloads and DVD burns that will equate to – though I shant dwell on the fact it took 3 download attempts to actually get the thing, the first keeling over at a robust 89% before the Akamai server decided it didn’t want to resume and reset the file stream to 0%, and the second a hearty 71% before I was graced with the same announcement.

What if you either don’t have access to a DVD Burner, the test PC you plan to install on has a DVD drive that doesn’t accept the burn media from the DVD-Writer (like me) or you just don’t like wasting Disc’s on one hit wonders (like me).

In amazing thoughtful form, the Virtual PC ISO mount driver cannot seem to address ISO’s over a couple of GB, handy when a Vista ISO weighs in at 3.12GB. So here’s a nice 100% Microsoft way to get aroung the problem.

The Fix:

When I was working on Windows 2000 SP4, SP4 URP and on the short lived Windows Security CD beta’s, Microsoft introduced a nice MFC utility to the beta core to instill a sense of environmetntal responsibility in us – after all we were getting weekly builds.
The Virtual CD Control Panel Driver application is a ISO mounter in a stand-alone form running at the driver layer (VCdRom.sys), with no resident applicaiton layer (aside from the service start/stop/mount MFC application). Unlike its counterpart in Virtual PC, it isn’t restricted to the size of the volume it can mount – at least any ISO I have ever tried.

The driver identifies itself to Windows as a de facto Optical drive, complete with drive letter. The short answer to the problem is that the Virtual PC Physical drive mounter doesn’t actually care what it is mounting so long as it is identified as an optical drive. By piggy-backing the ISO through the VCdRom driver, you can get around the limitation’s of Virtual PC.

The Virtal CD Control Panel runs under any NT 5 based OS, is completely free and is a Microsoft application – be it an unpolished one.

Download: Virtual CD Control Panel 1.21

The VCdRom driver is naturally a software based solution, as a result there is bound to be a nominal impact on performance, however in the greater scheme of VPC2004 performance hits, it is indistinguishable from a pre-Additions installation of any OS.

When mounting one of the formal beta ISO images, you will encounter an error message stating that the mount failed with the driver. Under these conditions, the most likely culprit is the literal name of the ISO. As an Exmaple the Public Beta 2 release ISO is catchily named:

A 67 character file name, or a nice round 536-bit ASCII string with a couple of periods thrown in for good measure. The simple fix: Shorten it and drop all but the suffix identifier period. Vista.iso will do nicely in the event you cannot think of anything creative.

Using IEAK 5.x under Windows XP or Internet Explorer 6 / 7

System Requirements:

  • IEAK 5.0
  • IEAK 5.01
  • IEAK 5.5

The Problem:

If you need to build an IEAK 5.0, 5.01 or 5.5 internal distribution for your organisation, or you are just playing with the older IEAK versions, then you will encounter a significant problem if you happen to be using Windows XP, or have upgraded your web browser to Internet Explorer 6.0 or 7.0.

IEAK configurations are designed to operate exclusively under the Internet Explorer release they are generating redistributable’s for, and will bluntly refuse to work if you attempt to fob it off with a greater IE version.

The Fix:

Pretty simple really. Like most of Microsoft’s application dependencies, it’s nothing more than observable madness, built in for some strange reason (presumably to force Internet Explorer 3/4 users to migrate to 5.x. Quite why it wasn’t deemed sensible to program IEAK…

if MSIE version <=4.01 SP2 then
End if

… is beyond me. Anyway. The fix is so extremely simple, you will wonder why you were reaching for a Windows install CD.

  1. Open up Regedit and navigate to:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer
  2. Find the string value called Version and edit the Major and Minor version to match the version of IEAK that you are attempting to install. For Example:
    Change 6.0.2900.2180 into
    5.5.2900.2180 for IEAK 5.5 or
    for IEAK5.0x.

I don’t recommend that you fiddle with the build number, as you’ll probably forget it when you go to switch it back again. As soon as you have run IEAK for the first time, you can safely switch it back to whatever you had before.

It wont bother you again after that.

Removing Windows Media Player 7 from Windows Millennium

Windows Millennium… The final stage in MS-DOS’s evolution. With this release of Windows, 9x is no more.

As with a lot of Microsoft products… you always feel that you get lumbered with MegaBytes of unnecessary data, programs and dll files.

You could call this page the Head Quarters of the “Say No To 7” campaign.

So what can be done about it:.

We want some of the extra features. We want the operating system shell, Kernel and GUI enhancements, but not all of the features:

Updated 22nd February 2006

Windows Media Player 7

This application may be Microsoft’s first attempt at an all in one media player, and in my opinion… they didn’t quite hit the mark. The biggest problem with it is its resource requirements. They are huge. The application takes far too long to load even on the fastest of systems. This of course means that that you will run out of available memory, run up a huge swap file and have to reboot the system.

There are still problems with the CD audio, you are lumbered with features that you will never use such as the mobile device synchronisation options. All of these could be optional and save on the space.. but no. As with windows, office and so many apps before it you can’t.

NOTE: This has not been tested any other Operating System than Windows Millennium

For those of you devoted to Windows Media Player 6.4 here’s how to get your music life back (Please make sure to read all instructions before proceeding):

To uninstall Windows Media 7 under Windows Millennium

  1. Download and Re-install WM7 from   (This is required to install the uninstall routines)
  2. Open a Command Prompt
  3. On the prompt type(Assuming that ME is installed on c:):
    c:\windows\inf\unregmp2.exe /SafeUninstall:c:\windows\inf\wmp.inf
  4. Press enter
  5. Reboot the Computer
  6. Open a Command Prompt
  7. On the prompt type(Assuming that ME is installed on c:):
    c:\windows\inf\unregmp2.exe /SafeUninstall:c:\windows\inf\mplayer2.inf
  8. Press enter
  9. Reboot the Computer*
  10. Delete the directory C:\Program Files\Windows Media Player
  11. Download and install Windows Media Player 6.4 from

You will now have removed Windows Media 7 from Windows ME, and replaced it with a full copy of Windows Media 6.4:

If you do not wish to install and use Tweak UI, you can place the commands at step 6 and 15 into a Start: Run dialogue box and selecting OK. If this fails then you will have to use Tweak UI

* After this point, and only if you are an advanced user, you can access the system registry and remove all references to Windows Media Player, WMP, mplayer and c:\program files\Windows Media Player . Be sure to back the registry up first of all and Re-Boot after you have finished. This will ensure that you have removed most traces of 7 from your system, and will help keep the registry tidy.
You can also remove certain system files regarding Windows Media Player. Click Here to download a partial list.

No Media Player… No CD Player

New Version 1.3 – Now with Auto Start support!

In removing 7 from your computer, you have now removed Audi CD capabilities. I have compiled a file that will install the Windows 98 CD-Player on Windows ME

  1. Download (251 KB) from this server
  2. Run the file
  3. Make sure to read all on-screen instructions before proceeding
  4. After installation, all of the required system files will have been updated with the CD Player routines. Except the registry
  5. The registration entry’s will be listed on the desktop as 0.reg – 12.reg. You will need these files in order to install and use auto start
  6. Insert files 0.reg – 12.reg by double clicking them and saying OK *
  7. Open ‘Control Panel’, ‘Add/Remove Programs’. Go to the ‘Windows Setup’ tab, select ‘Multimedia’. Tick ‘CD Player’ and click ‘OK’
  8. The files will install
  9. Reboot Your Computer

* Back up your system registry before running this update

After Running this update you will have to install the registry update files found on the desktop. These files update the Add/Remove Programs tab as to the presence of CD Player and enable the CD Audio auto start feature. I plan to write a automated installation file soon.

To uninstall Windows Media 6.4 under Windows Millennium

  1. Download and Re-install WM6.4 from   (This is required to install the uninstall routines)
  2. Open a Command Prompt
  3. On the prompt type(Assuming that ME is installed on c:):
    c:\windows\inf\unregmp2.exe /SafeUninstall:c:\windows\inf\mplayer2.inf
  4. Press enter
  5. Reboot the Computer*
  6. Delete the directory C:\Program Files\Windows Media Player

You will now have removed Windows Media Player completely from Windows ME.

* After this point, and only if you are an advanced user, you can access the system registry and remove all references to Windows Media Player, WMP, mplayer and c:\program files\Windows Media Player . Be sure to back the registry up first of all and Re-Boot after you have finished. This will ensure that you have removed most traces of 6 from your system, and will help keep the registry tidy.
You can also remove certain system files relating to Windows Media Player.

Keeping Windows Media Player 6.4

So, you’ve decided to do the honourable thing. You value your system resources, that or your worried about your Grid Computing project results being crippled by WM7.

If you check your resources, you’ll find that WM7, playing your average MP3 can take between 60% and 90% of your system processor resources away from you. Catastrophic if you use a processor dependant application such as SETI@Home. In contrast, the New WM8 (Windows XP only) takes 50% – 70% and Windows Media 6.4 anything between 1% and 15% of system resources*

Microsoft, are in fact updating Windows Media 6. They don’t publicise this, as they want everyone on version 7 or above. Microsoft are updating 6.4 to suit the new codec’s and Internet Explorer versions that they produce. This inevitable was their own mistake in deciding not to allow Windows 95 and NT 4 users to use WM7. For what ever reasons they chose to do this, technical or political fortunately for us we can still get the most out of 6.4.

The latest build of Windows Media 6.4 is version:

For Windows 3.1x:
(Maximum Internet Explorer version 5.0 build 913.2206)

For Windows NT 3.5x:
Not released
(Maximum Internet Explorer version 5.0 build 913.2206)

For Windows 95:
(Maximum Internet Explorer version 5.5 SP2 build 4807.2300 + Q320920)

For Windows NT4. 98 and Millennium:
(This version ships with Internet Explorer 6.0 SP1 build 2800.1106 + Q828026)

For Windows 2000:
(This version ships with Internet Explorer 6.0 SP1 build 2800.1106 + Q828026)

For Windows XP Home, Professional:
(This version ships with Internet Explorer 6.0 SP2 build 2900.2180)

For Windows Server 2003:
(This version ships with Windows 2003 Internet Explorer 6.0 build 3790.0)

If your using Windows Media Player v6.4, you can extend its functionality by installing the following patches and utilities.
Note: These will not work with Windows Media Player for Windows 3.x. Do not install on Windows XP installations

Patch Downloads Codec Downloads

The remaining life in Windows Media Player 6 is on borrowed time. With Windows 95 having been retired on Dec 31st 2001 and likewise with NT 4 / Windows 98 being retired in July 2003 users can expect 6.4 to become a distant memory.

Microsoft have always had a thing about it’s media players. Distributing the old MCI version of it right up until Windows Millennium. Even then in Windows Millennium 6.4 remained present side by side with 7.0. Windows XP no longer included the Windows 3.11 MCI version, but 6.4 remains side by side with 8.0 & 9.0.

I predicted that “Windows .net, the next Windows version due in 2003 will not contain 2 versions of Media Player. The minimum system specification by then won’t warrant it. But by then you are likely to see the ability to choose your Media Player and Internet Browser, at least the front end of it. Personally, I’ll be sticking with Microsoft’s contributions to the industry.”

With the release of Windows 2003 Server, the renamed Windows .net, Windows Media Player 6.4 still ships along side 9.0. Windows Media Player 9 updates that modify the core .OCX drivers in media player will however continue to incriment the Windows Media Player 6.4 build number, as has been shown by the univeral rise to build version 1128 with the relase of Q808226.

But at the end of the day its entirely down to personal preference

*Statistics taken on an Intel PIII 733eb with 256 MB RAM

Windows Media Player 9.0

Windows Media Services 9 is upon us, and with this comes Windows Media Player version 9. What makes this significane is that it, unlike version 8 can be installed on other Operating Systems. I can confirm from seeing the beta’s that 9 installs on Windows 2000 and runs quite well. I’ve not tried it on any 9x OS, however under Microsofts Operating System retirement policy, I would expect it to install on Windows Millennium, and perhapse Windows 98SE, but I would hold me breath over any of the 98’s.

Windows Media Player 9 is virtually identical aestetics wise to that of Windows XP’s version 8, however there have been refinments to both the code, the layout, the look and most importantly the codecs and underlying backbone of Windows Media format.

The player in its beta format handles better than Windows Media 7 does. However users won’t be surprised to learn that it covers the same sort of CPU and memory overhaeds as 7.1 and 8 respectivly do on their OS’s. This is perhapse the price we pay for eveoloution, who knows. The crux of the matter is that 6.4 unfortunatly is becoming more and more unstable especially when connecting to streaming servers. Its reliability is deminsihing.

With this volly of new Windows Media technologies, I can only guess that there will be new ActiveX plugins finally to facilitate the advances in browser technology and in Streaming technology. This change will spell the ultimate end for 6.4. Even if the 9 format will play on 6.4, it is unlikly that it will be able to play back on 6.4’s ActiveX, that has for so long been the only realy way to deliver any Windows Media, ASx / WMx / Proparetly WM6 format content over the internet.

I still use 6.4 for my MP3 listening and for video playback where it can handle it. But I’m increasingly using 8 to watch streaming content and inevitably under Windows XP to listen to Music CD’s. Reluctantly I’m being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st MultiMedia century, and I imagine so will you. Although not necesarily with Microsofts player.

The Question that I can see your all posing to me right at this moment… Can I remove Windows Media Player 9.0.. answer… Not the Beta version you can’t!

UPDATE 7th August 2002:
Having now had a chance to play with 9 properly, I have to say that I am very much impressed. Microsoft have clearly been listening to the Windows Media community over it.

Some key points worth noting are:

  • The new Taskbar Tile player, perfect for keeping an eye on web feeds, dvd’s, visualisations and controlling your multi media
  • Info Centre. New improved to provide track and album info, as well as links to purchasing the music
  • Improved CD recognition technologies. Non-US CD versions of a release now display the correct track data (UK Releases at least)
  • .NET services bar. I suspect that this will become more of a feature in the future as the inductry drives towards cleaning up the Internet Music environment
  • New A/V mulitmedia effects. Such as cross fading of media and the little touches on minimisang and maximising video

Removing Windows Media Player 8

Can it be done, can it be removed From Windows XP?

No, not using the methods described here on this page. I also do not want to experiment with this as, until we see Windows Media Player 8.1 arrive, there is no way to re-install it once its gone, short of a system re-install.

However, due to the current legal wrangles going on between the Microsoft Corporation, the United States and the European Union. Microsoft have submitted to the findings of the litigation and, in the forthcoming Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 1 (SP1), estimated to be released to the general consumer in August / September 2002. Usefs will have the ability to uninstall at least the front end of Windows Media Player from their systems using the Control Panel Add / Remove programs applet. The Service Pack will also allow users to uninstall Microsoft Internet Explorers front end, Windows Messenger (Currently removable via the sysoc process) and several other previously embedded utilities.

In the mean time, if you need to use a low process dependant version of Media Player, for example if you run SETI@Home or like to listen to music while Compiling or Rendering all I can suggest is:

  1. Open Windows Media Player 8
  2. Click the Tools button in the Menu Bar, and select Options
  3. Choose the File Types tab and deselect everything except for the CD and DVD options
  4. Click OK to conrim and exit Windows Media Player 8
  5. Browse to x:\Program Files\Windows Media Player (Where x: is the System Drive)
  6. Run mplayer2.exe
  7. Click the View button in the Menu Bar, and select Options
  8. Select the Formats tab
  9. Click the Select All button
  10. Click OK to confirm, then re-start Media Player
  11. You can also point the Start Menu Shortcut to mplayer2.exe

This will default all Media File types to open in Windows Media 6.4. CD Audio, VCD and DVD disks will still open in Windows Media Player 8.

Now that we are seeing openness on the part of the Microsoft Corporation and its integrated products, where does the future lie for the Microsoft vision. This is something only time will tell, however, if Real Networks get their media player onto a Microsoft Operating system CD ever again, Microsoft can say good by to me as a customer. I personally don’t want anything to do with Real Player or their dire codecs.

UPDATE: 03 June 2002:
Microsoft are not going for Windows Media 8.1 as CNet predicted, but instead have invested their efforts on a complete overhaul of the Windows Media Suite and family of products and services in “Windows Media Services 9”

UPDATE: 11 August 2002:
The time of reckoning has finally arrived for 6.4. Here for your viewing pleasure is the new ActiveX control for Windows Media Player Content.

ActiveX Control Screenshot