After spending almost three hours trying to get Bioshock (the first game) working on my Windows 10 computer (upgraded from Windows 7), I determined that the issue was related to the initialisation of the audio device (regardless of what the audio device actually is / was). I’ve got a Creative Sound Blaster Audigy sound card, an onboard Realtek HD Audio sound card, the NVIDIA audio controller (courtesy of my NVIDIA GTX 560), Total Recorder audio drivers, e2eSoft audio drivers and a Logitech G930 gaming headset. No matter what combination of default devices etc that I tried, nothing ever worked.

Two things did work though.

  1. Disabling all the sound devices (in the Windows Device Manager and the Sound / Recording options)
  2. Starting the game with the -nosound switch (added to the launch options for Bioshock, on steam).

So that pretty much nailed it down. After a little more research on the internet, I discovered an audio initialisation was carried out at the very beginning of the execution of the game, during the developer intro.

Here’s another switch: -nointro.

Apparently the sound device initialization carried out at the very start, is simply used for displaying the developer intro. When you start the actual game, a separate audio initialisation is carried out.

Who needs to see the developer intro every time they start the game? I certainly don’t.

So I added this to the launch options for Bioshock, on steam

  • -nointro

Started the game, no issues. Set my resolution to max, changed my audio to 7.1 (to suit my Logitech G930) and off I went to Rapture!

No other changes, no compatibility mode, no run as administrator, no additional drivers (I’m not using / have never used OpenAL, Rapture3D) installed and no changes to Bioshock configuration files.

Of course, if you have a non-steam version of the game, you could create a shortcut to the bioshock.exe file and add -nointro to the end of the Target line, in the properties of the shortcut and start the game from the shortcut. Did I mention the word shortcut ;-P

This may not work for everyone, as I’ve seen some really ridiculous fixes (seriously, stuff that just doesn’t make sense, like plugging headphones into the microphone port) apparently get Bioshock working for others, so consider this solution to be just as crazy as all the others.

Happy to provide assistance with this solution in the comments. Have fun!

Comodo Time Machine is a fantastic product. Allowing you to completely ruin your Windows operating system, and then restore it back as good as new with the click of a button (well, maybe more than one click). By that I mean its great software for being able to roll back after your kids have just destroyed the OS directories or you have suffered damage by a virus.

For most users, the installation is a breeze and Comodo Time Machine does it’s job. Unfortunately, this is not the case for all of us.

I’ve been installing Comodo Time Machine on systems for a little while now, and more than once, after the initial installation, I get the following error message upon boot up:

Testing Memory <Hexadecimal Value>...

Something went wrong. I don’t know exactly what, and perhaps a helpful reader can fill us in, however at this point, it would seem all is lost. Now, I’ve only tested this so far on PCs with Windows Vista and Windows 7. So if you have Windows XP, you made need to use a little additional effort.

If you have Windows 7 or Windows Vista, possibly like me, your first thought was ‘No worries, I’ll use the System Repair Utility on the my installation media’. This won’t work. ‘Startup Repair’ won’t be able to solve the issue, and neither will rolling back to a ‘System Restore’ point. It simply won’t work, yet.

Even though this is a problem for you, as far as your computer and operating system are concerned, there is no issue. Which is correct. Yes, Comodo Time Machine has failed to install correctly (of which there are many reasons why this may occur, one being lack of space on drive ‘C:’), however that has not really done any harm to your PC. You just simply can’t get into Windows!

If you have Windows 7 or Windows Vista, yes Startup Repair can help you, but first you have to give it something to repair. I was pretty desperate when this first happened to me, and I actually ended up re-installing the entire system. Not the second time around though. No way was I re-installing, especially since I didn’t have a backup of my clients system, and I was working on site without additional PCs to help my efforts.

In come Hirens Boot CD. Admittedly, you could use any number of rescue boot CDs out there on the internet, I happened to have Hirens Boot CD 10.0 which had exactly the tools I needed. In CD/ISO form, Hirens boot CD does contain some software that others would call ‘commercial’ thus I can’t provide you with a download link to the ISO. However, this page, and this page, should get you on the right track.

Once you have the CD prepared (or USB Key), place it in your computer, and boot from it. Most recent computers are capable of booting from a USB device or CD-ROM. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever come across a computer that couldn’t boot from CD-ROM, and I’ve worked on some old PCs!

Don’t try booting the ‘MiniXP’ It’s a little over kill for what we are going to do, although it is a very VERY responsive Windows XP based environment with most of the tools available. MiniXP runs entirely from memory, meaning you can remove the CD or USB Key once it has finished booting! Neat huh?!

Choose to ‘StartBootCD’. At the ‘Hirens All in 1 BootCD 10.1 Menu’ menu, you’ll need to use your keyboard to select option 9, then select option 1, then select option 2. You should now have MBRtool loaded.

This program requires just a little understanding about the configuration of your HDDs in your computer. For simplicity sake however, if your computer only has one HDD with only one partition on it, the following instructions will work just fine. If your computer has multiple HDDs, and you don’t boot from the otherwise known as the ‘first HDD’ then you need to pay attention to the screen and modify the instructions below accordingly. Feel free to ask for help in the comments below.

Enter 4 and press [Enter]

Enter 6 and press [Enter]

Enter 0 and press [Enter] (Zero)

Enter o and press [Enter] (O, as in the circled shaped letter for Orange) <– This final step will wipe your MBR straight away, no questions asked. If you are feeling concerned, nervous or worried at this point, I suggest you reboot again and use another program on the CD called ‘ghost’ to clone your HDD in its current state to a safe location.

Remember, I said we need to give Windows 7 / Windows Vista Startup Repair tool, something to fix? Well, now it has something to fix!

Press the [ESC] key three times to return you to the DOS prompt. Remove the CD/USB, put your Windows 7 or Windows Vista installation media in the drive and type: reboot (followed by a press of the enter key). Be sure to boot from your newly inserted installation media again.

After selecting your language, Time and currency format and Keyboard or input method, click Next. Click the text link ‘Repair your computer’. The ‘System Recovery Options’ window will appear. Don’t be alarmed at the fact that it doesn’t detect your installed operating system (Windows 7 or Windows Vista), this is what we want!

Click the next button, and from the main menu choose ‘Startup Repair’. This process should only take a few seconds. If you want some assurance it worked, click the ‘Click here for diagnostic and repair details’ link and scroll to the bottom. You should see something like this:


Root cause found:
----------------------------
MBR is corrupt
Repair action: Disk metadata repair
Result: Completed succesfully. Error code = 0x0
Time taken = ####ms
----------------------------
----------------------------

Click the Close button and click the Finish button. Your system should automatically reboot. If not, click the Restart button.

Hopefully you are now staring at your Windows 7 / Windows Vista logon screen or desktop!

For Windows XP Users

 Thankfully Windows XP has something  a little less evolved, but no less powerful called ‘The Recovery Console’. To access it, you’ll need an original Windows XP (SP1/2/3) installation media disc. Boot from the media and when prompted, press the R key.

When you are asked for the Administrator password, enter it. If you are on Windows XP Home, and you’ve never configured an Administrator password, chances are it’s blank, so just press enter. This may apply to some Windows XP Professional users as well.

At the prompt, assuming you have Windows XP installed to C:> type:

fixmbr

Ignore the warnings, unless you understand what they are (your situation couldn’t get any worse at this point anyway), and press the [Y] key followed by pressing the [Enter] key.

Type:

exit

to leave the recovery console and reboot. Hopefully you are now staring at your Windows XP Logon screen or desktop!

Why Does This Work?

When you install Comodo Time Machine, it makes a modification to your HDD MBR (Master Boot Record) telling your computer to first boot Comodo Time Machine (instead of your Windows OS), which in turn is configured to boot your Windows OS. When we use MBRtool to erase your MBR, we then use one of the options above to rebuild or repair your MBR. Regardless of Windows XP, Vista or 7, your MBR will be repaired/rebuilt to only boot your Windows OS again! By passing Comodo Time Machine altogether.

What About Comodo Time Machine?

It’s up to you. If you try again and it fails, you know now you have a way to get things working again. Having said that, I’ve had an almost 100% success rate when installing Comodo Time Machine again the second time around. I don’t why sometimes it fails the first time around like it does, it just does.

Any comments, improvements or criticism is welcome.

Kudos to qmchenry at Tech-Recipes for the Windows XP Recovery Console instructions, where you can find additional comments and instructions about it’s use.

Can’t access file shares and shared printers on your Windows 2000 or Windows XP Machines from Windows 7? The solution is below. I had this issue for a few days and finally, after searching through heaps of forum threads and posts, stumbled across the solution. The solution was originally posted on Windows Client Tech Centre forums (by a user known as ‘shooda‘).

On your Windows 7 Machines:

  1. Access the ‘Run’ command (otherwise known as the run box). If you can’t see it in your Start Menu, try enabling it in the ‘Superbar’ (the Task Bar) properties or on your keyboard press the ‘Windows’ (WIN) key and the ‘R’ key at the same time.
  2. Type: gpedit.msc (press enter or click OK)
  3. Make your way down through Computer Configuration
    1. Windows Settings
      1. Security Settings
        1. Local Policies
          1. Security Options
          2. And double click on ‘Network security: LAN Manager authentication level’
            1. Click the drop down box and select the option ‘Send LM & NTLM Responses’
            2. Click OK
  4. Close the Local Group Policy Editor.
  5. Done! Try accessing file and printer shares on your Windows 2000 and Windows XP machines from your Windows 7 machines.

More information (as technical as it is) can be found here.

Kudos go to my girlfriend for sussing this one out.

Recently, we came across a conundrum concerning the computer game Sacred 2 running under Windows 7. Long story short, it just wouldn’t work. It should be noted that the reason for this not working, has nothing to do with Nvidia / ATI Graphics cards, but it is related to Physx/Ageia. Make sure you have the latest version of Physx installed. Sacred 2 does come with the last version of Physx known as Ageia Physx (before nvidia bought it and rebranded it to just Physx). You can also obtain the latest stand alone Physx package from the nvidia website. Even if you have an ATI graphics card, you still need to have this installed to play Sacred 2 and any other games that require Physx. So long as your CPU supports it and it is powerful enough, you’ll get CPU powered physics, instead of physics powered by your graphics card. Some people call this “Software Physics” or “Software” mode. I’ve noticed no performance difference between a computer playing Sacred 2 with an Nvidia graphics card and a computer with an ATI graphics card.

This fix should work for owners of Sacred 2 under Windows 7, regardless of the version  you have (Steam, Impulse, Stand alone or whatever).

  1. Create a shortcut to the Sacred 2 executable. You’ll find it in the game directory, in another directory called ‘system’. For me, it is: D:GamesSteamSteamAppsCommonSacred 2SystemSacred2.exe
  2. Put the shortcut on your desktop, or somewhere handy.
  3. Right click the shortcut and select properties
  4. Click the Shortcut tab
  5. In the Target field, you need to add the following: -skipopenal -nocpubinding. The contents of my Target field look like this: "D:GamesSteamSteamAppscommonsacred 2systemsacred2.exe" -skipopenal -nocpubinding
  6. Click Apply and Click OK.
  7. Double click the shortcut and play Sacred 2!

Still can’t get it to work? Leave a comment and I’ll see what I can do to help you out. Further comments and suggestions are welcome. These are just simply the steps that worked for us. In case you are wondering, we are using the RTM (Release To Manfacture) version of Windows 7 (we are Microsoft Technet Partners). This is the same version that is available to consumers and end users as of mid October 2009.