Installing Windows Media Player 7.1 Under Windows NT 4.0 SP6a

It’s hypocrisy gone mad! Yes, I know. As the self professed leader of the Say No To 7 campaign, here I am about to show you how to install it onto something it was never meant for!
Well, one does like to fiddle.

 

Windows Media Player 7.1

The interesting thing about Microsoft, is their uncanny self-imposed need to artificially limiting their software products to conform to whatever marketing initiative they’re currently undertaking. This isn’t necessarily always a bad thing – it does force some level of forward progress. However, I do wonder how much end user adoption they have inhibited, and how large a slice of the security exploits pie such a policy has helped to create.

The the official system requirements for Windows Media Player 7.1 are as follows (Source):

Minimum

  • Microsoft Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition, Windows 2000, or Windows Millennium Edition
  • Pentium 166 megahertz (MHz) processor
  • 32 MB RAM
  • 28.8-kilobits per second (Kbps) modem
  • 16-bit sound card
  • 256-color video card

Recommended

  • Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition, Windows 2000, or Windows Millennium Edition
  • Pentium or AMD Athlon K6 266 MHz processor or faster
  • 64 MB RAM
  • 56-Kbps modem
  • 24-bit true colour video card

If you’re someone who takes such information as sacrosanct, then this might surprise you:

Windows Media Player 7.1 under Windows NT 4.0 SP6a

I would like to stress that the image is not a fake, it is a genuine Windows NT 4.0 Workstation screenshot. Neither is the process some sort of hack which would be seen as a breach of EULA terms by rewriting, hex-editing, decompiling or resource editing even a single binary digit of Microsoft code.

Though it was exceptionally time consuming to initially setup, the program runs on the Windows NT 4.0 kernel with no modifications, no special DLL’s ripped from any other version of Windows, and relies upon nothing more than the Windows Media Player 7.1 installer binary, and a fully patched Windows NT 4.0 installation.

You are probably wondering at this point why I’m fiddling with Windows Media Player 7.1, when there is a version 9 release out there just waiting to be converted down. Truth be told, I did try it. However, it loads with a Kernel related error and attempting to fix it goes too far plus, when all is said and done, I wasn’t going to spend that much time on this project.

 

NOTE: This has only been tested under Windows NT 4.0 Workstation SP6a on a Virtual PC Image, and has not been thoroughly tested in features or performance. It should however work with NT 4.0 Server and Advanced Server (it may not Terminal Server). Use at your own risk.

 

Installing

I have created a redistributable of the Windows Media Player 7.1, which will enable you to get it working in a few very short steps. If you are so inclined, you can inflate the installer yourself.

The binary download includes:

  • Windows Media Player 7.1
  • Adaptec CD Burning Plug-in (untested)
  • Windows Media Device Manager (untested)
  • All other installed components
  • Windows Media Player 7 Patches:
    1. Q308567 ASF Processor Contains Unchecked Buffer
    2. Q320920 Windows Media Player Rollup
    3. Q808226 Windows Media Player Script Commands Update
    4. Q817787 Flaw in Windows Media Player Skins Code Execution
    5. Q828026 Windows Media Player URL Script Command Update
  • Windows Media 7 ActiveX Control for Internet Explorer

 

Patch It Up

Step one in this plan is for you to fully patch NT 4.0. I recommend that you follow my guide, and get yourself the Internet Explorer 6.0 SP1 (with the shell update) from HPC:Factor or anyone else you care to source it from.

When I say patch it, I mean it. In full. If you don’t want to install Microsoft Internet Explorer, stop reading now and go and download WinAmp.

View: Windows NT 4.0 Installation, Patches & Updates Guide (HPC:Factor)

 

Download

The installation binary for Windows Media Player 7.1 for Windows NT is nothing fancy, just a zip file which you will need to drag into your own file system, and a bat file that you need to run yourself. There is no formal uninstaller, though it’s pretty easy to reverse engineer the bat file to clear out your system.

Download: (11.8 MB) wmp71-nt4.zip

 

Installation Procedure

Please be sure to read the following carefully!

  1. Inflate the zip file into a temporary folder
  2. Exit Windows Media Player, Internet Explorer and ideally all programs / tray applications
  3. Copy the Program Files over program files on your system drive. It’s safe to allow all overwrites*
  4. Copy the WinNT folder over your file system. READ all dialogue boxes. Do NOT overwrite new files with older ones
    e.g. If the file you already have is 23/03/2002 and the one you are copying is 02/04/1999 do not overwrite it
    If you say Yes to overwrite a system file and Windows tells you that it cannot perform the replacement action, ignore it
  5. If you wish to install ‘My Music’, copy the My Music folder into the My Documents (Personal) default profile, and then in turn into your user(s) profile(s)
  6. Run the Register.bat file
  7. Copy the Windows Media Player shortcut into your Start Menu, desktop, quick launch (as desired)
  8. Installation is now complete

 

* Back up your system registry before running this update

Preventing Virtual PC’s obsession with “My Virtual Machines”

System Requirements:

  • Virtual PC 2004, SP1

The Problem:

Virtual PC 2004 ritually insists upon creating the a “My Virtual Machines” directory beneath your user profiles My Documents root, even if you have previously deleted this folder and frequently set the ‘working’ path to another location while in the file browser.

If you wish to store your VMC and VHD data elsewhere on your system or network, you must manually specify the full path to the Virtual PC Console each time you make configuration changes, as well as delete a new instance of My Virtual Machines.

The Fix:

This seems like a simple, yet typically Microsoft omission from the program – utterly defeating the idea of it being “My” Documents in favour of whatever Microsoft, Adobe, BVRP etc want to make it.
Most applications store working path information in the registry’s Current User settings, Virtual PC has, however been hard coded with its user profile paths, making non of the traditional registry keys beneath the Current User Software hive.

There is, however a way around this limitation, as presented cryptically in the readme.htm; which states:

MYVIRTUALMACHINES environment variable controls the default location where new Virtual Machine Configuration (.vmc) files are created
By default, Virtual PC creates the virtual machine configuration files (.vmc) in My Documents\My Virtual Machines. Virtual PC then stores other files that are used by the virtual machine in the same folder as the .vmc file. This is controlled on the host operating system by the MYVIRTUALMACINES environment variable. You can change the MYVIRTUALMACHINES environment variable to a different location. For more information on how to change environment variables, consult the documentation included with the version of Windows on which you have installed Virtual PC 2004.

What this is saying, in case you’re don’t happen to have a MCSE, is that as a counter measure, Virtual PC will screen for the presence of a Shell Wide configuration pointer (Environment Variable) defined as MYVIRTUALMACHINES.
Ever seen, for example, “%SYSTEMROOT%” or “%TEMP%” pop up before in Windows? They are environment variables specifying where the Windows folder (Q:\Windows\) and global Temp folder (N:\Eccentric\Folder\Naming\Temp\) are.

The Environment Variables are considered constants, and not likely to change – if indeed they will ever change. Administrative privileges are required to set or unset an environment variable, lacking the susceptibility of the registry. As they are global, they will already be considered active no matter who is logged into the system (unlike with Current User Registry settings) and unlike with Local Machine Registry settings, are globally available to anything looking for %MYVIRTUALMACHINES%. Saving the system or VPC drivers from specifying access to reams of registry hive to get to the desired few bytes of information.

There are two ways to set an environment variable.

Using the GUI:

  1. Pull up the Control Panel
  2. Run the System Applet
  3. Open the Advanced Tab
  4. Choose Environment Variables…
  5. Under System Variables click New…
  6. In the Variable Name enter:
    MYVIRTUALMACHINES
  7. Under Variable Value enter the Full System Path to your new MVM root e.g.
    D:\Virtual PC\Images\

Exit and restart Virtual PC for the change to become active under Virtual PC.

Using the Registry:

  1. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Environment
  2. Create a new String value named:
    MYVIRTUALMACHINES
  3. Set the value to equal the Full System Path to your new MVM root e.g.
    D:\Virtual PC\Images\

If you set the variable by hand in this fashion, you may need to log off before the change is recognised by the system.

Once you have added the system environment variable, Virtual PC will stop creating the My Virtual Machines folder beneath My Documents, and will default file system browser windows to the new MYVIRTUALMACHINES path.

Pinnacle Systems PCTV Vision 2.75 Mod

I bolted this one together on a whim because I’ve grown sick of seeing the drab 16 colour PCTV icon lingering in my start menu.

It’s pretty shocking really in the modern age of vibrant iconography and flash interface design that Pinnacle shipped this as a graphical afterthought in what at the time in my opinion was the better commercial option for a TV viewing application.

The modification is very simple, it replaces the shell icon with a new high contrast application icon, and replaced the old splash screen, (comically named the Potato Spash by the original programmer).

 

System Requirements

PCTV Vision 2.75 is the Stand alone viewer application which ships with PCTV Pro 5.50a. You must have a working Pinnacle PCTV card in your system running PCTV 5.5 (CD or web download) which has been patched to PCTV 5.50a .

Download

For PCTV 2.75 (PCTV 5.50a)Download : 600KB

Installation

  1. Simply backup the files Vision001.dll and Vision.exe found under the installation directory
    Default: C:\Program Files\Pinnacle\Pinnacle PCTV\Vision
  2. Inflate the zip file download
  3. Replace the existing files in the installation folder with the two from the zip
  4. Start PCTV
Splash Screen Icon
PCTV Icon
PCTV New Splash New PCTV Icon

Copyright information: PCTV is the exclusive copyright of Pinnacle Systems. The new splash screen is designed by C:Amie. The icon set it a converted version of an icon from “Capital Icon Suite” and is copyright ~Capital18.

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 http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmedia/   (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 http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmedia/

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 ME_CD_Patch13.zip (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 http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmedia/   (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:
3.5.980703
(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:
6.4.07.1124
(Maximum Internet Explorer version 5.5 SP2 build 4807.2300 + Q320920)

For Windows NT4. 98 and Millennium:
6.4.07.1129
(This version ships with Internet Explorer 6.0 SP1 build 2800.1106 + Q828026)

For Windows 2000:
6.4.09.1129
(This version ships with Internet Explorer 6.0 SP1 build 2800.1106 + Q828026)

For Windows XP Home, Professional:
6.4.09.1130
(This version ships with Internet Explorer 6.0 SP2 build 2900.2180)

For Windows Server 2003:
6.4.09.1130
(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