Monday, May 21, 2007

More on Creative X-Fi Xtreme Audio

A month ago, I posted about my frustrations concerning the Creative X-Fi Xtreme Audio soundcard I recently bought. The card is not really compatible with Vista (no control panel, no surround, etc.), so when some time ago the Vista X-Fi drivers were released, I was quite thrilled! This feeling didn't last long however, as the new drivers are only compatible with every other X-Fi card, except for the Xtreme Audio. I let this pass, as Creative has promised it will have proper drivers for it sometime in Q2-2007... But as times goes, I'm getting more and more frustrated.. So I Googled this, and guess what turns up..

The Xtreme Audio version of the X-Fi line does not feature a X-Fi chipset at all! It is merely a tuned up version of the Live 24! card, with some software features that emulate X-Fi functions.

For more information on this, please visit this thread:

I don't know yet what frustrates me the most.. Either the fact that Creative published a card that clearly deceives consumers, or the fact that my computer vendor doesn't mention this (complete misinformation actually)...

Anyway, I hope the above mentioned computer vendor will offer me some solution for my problem..

For now, be warned: if you are looking for a soundcard that actually reduces your CPU load (when gaming, for instance), don't go for the X-Fi Xtreme Audio, instead purchase X-Fi XtremeGamer or something alike!

Friday, May 4, 2007

Google SketchUp on Windows Vista

Google has recently released version 6 of the amazing SketchUp. Even though they do not officially support Windows Vista, I have found that it will install and run if you follow the following procedure:

  1. Download Google SketchUp;
  2. Go to your download directory:
    1. Right click the downloaded file -> Properties;
    2. Go to Compatability;
    3. Activate Compatability mode, select Windows XP (Service Pack 2)
    4. Activate 'run this program in administrator mode' (or something like that, I have a Dutch Vista, so translated this myself)
  3. Now run the setup file
It should all work fine now!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

How to remove Ubuntu from a Vista dual-boot config

On my new PC I wanted (still want) to have to a go with Linux. I chose to experiment with Ubuntu. I downloaded the desktop CD, burned it, freed up some disk space (inside Vista) and loaded up Ubuntu from the CD. After some experimenting I figured out how to install Ubuntu in the empty disk space and it all worked fine (GRUB took over my booting (recognized Vista automatically!) and Ubuntu loaded up fine).

Then I tried to install my GPU drivers and everything went wrong.. For some reason Ubuntu wouldn't boot anymore (failed to load X-Server or something). I was completely lost and wanted to remove Ubuntu.

This is where things start to get really messy!

If you simply remove the Ubuntu partition, GRUB (Linux boot loader) will still be on your PC (in control). It will trip out, as the Ubuntu partition will be removed.. Bad thing!

So you need to restore your Master Boot Record (MBR) for Vista (so that Vista will handle the booting, not GRUB).

Google only pointed me to sites that explained how to REMOVE VISTA, which isn't what I wanted. Many sites talked about the 'fixmbr' command, but this is really only available in Windows XP.

So how do you restore your MBR for Windows Vista?

1. Put the Windows Vista installation disc in the disc drive, and then start the computer.
2. Press a key when you are prompted.
3. Select a language, a time, a currency, a keyboard or an input method, and then click Next.
4. Click Repair your computer.
5. Click the operating system that you want to repair, and then click Next.
6. In the System Recovery Options dialog box, click Command Prompt.
7. Type Bootrec.exe /FixMbr, and then press ENTER.

That's it. Now when you reboot your PC, Vista will load automatically... You can now safely boot using your Ubuntu desktop CD, to use the built in Gnome Partition Manager to remove your Ubuntu partition!