Sunday, June 22, 2008

How to make older Firefox extensions compatible with newer browser versions?

Have you ever had a Firefox extension that is no longer working with the most recent version of the Firefox browser that you have installed? Well, your agonies are gonna end soon (probably!), because this is a guide on "how to use your older incompatible extensions in newer versions of the Firefox browser".

I'm gonna warn you, that any change you make to those extensions is your responsibility and by applying these methods, you also accept the risks involved. I suggest that you first make a backup of your Firefox bookmarks and then use the guide. By the way, don't be discouraged by my warning, as we all know that we're not fiddling with a bomb or something!

So, here we go.

I - First of all, you need to have the file of the extension add-on, which is a file of type .xpi. If you've just installed the extension and don't have it's file, look for it in Firefox Add-ons site and if there, right click on it's link and save it, and if not there, Google it's name and cross your fingers. But if you have such a file, continue reading.

II - Change the extension's .xpi file type to .zip. This way you can access it's contents. Now unzip the file somewhere and go to the containing folder. There, you can find some files, one of which is named install.rdf. Open it with the WordPad text editor.

III - Here it gets a little tricky. Find the following tag:
<!-- Firefox -->
or if you couldn't, look for this:

The first one is actually just a comment, so if you didn't find it, don't worry. What you've found, may look like this (Notice that the mentioned tags are in bold) :

<!-- Firefox -->

Sometimes there are some other tags too, like <!-- Mozilla Suite -->, but ignore them. As you can see, there's a tag <em:maxVersion>, which is the culprit that forbids you from installing your beloved extension. Yes!! Just a simple tag! So what to do? Huh! Easy. In my example, there is a 2.0 in the maxVersion tag. It effectively limits you to install the extension on up to version 2.0 of Firefox and not more. Just change it to 3.0 or 4.0 and you know better than me that what this change means.
Here's the modified portion of install.rdf, with the maxVersion changed accordingly (shown in bold):

<!-- Firefox -->

IV - Save your modified install.rdf file. Compress the files again in a .zip file (Remember to compress the files and not the containing folder). Revert the .zip file type back to .xpi.

V - Open the Firefox browser. Go to Tools -> Add-ons. Now just drag the modified extension file and drop it into the Add-ons window (If other windows are in the way, minimize them, even Firefox itself). Restart your Firefox. Whoops!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

How to save manually in Penumbra Overture & Penumbra: Black Plague?

I know that part of the fun of playing "Penumbra" is not being able to save at whim, but maybe someone likes to have the option of manual saving, so here it is.

You can save the game manually at some locations in the game (at artifacts) but they are few and far between. To enable manual saving feature, follow the steps below:

I) Do the following based on your Windows:
  1. In Windows Vista, go to "C:\Users\your_username\Documents", in which your_usernam is the name of your Windows username (e.g. Alice or Jack or ...)
  2. In Windows XP, go to "C:\Documents and Settings\your_username\My Documents", in which your_usernam is the name of your Windows username (e.g. Alice or Jack or ...).

II) From there go to "Penumbra Overture\Episode1" or "Penumbra\Black Plague".

III) Here you find a file named "settings.cfg". Open it with a text editor (e.g. Wordpad) and find the line containig AllowQuickSave="false" and change it to AllowQuickSave="true". Save the file and start the game.

IV) While in game, you can quicksave by pressing the F4 button. When you do this, your data will be saved in the autosave section. (**Be careful not to press F5**)

V) So, to load your manually saved game, press Esc and go to Load Game -> Auto Saves and the topmost save is your manually saved data. (or alternatively use the F5 button to load last autosave)

We're done! Just remember that Auto Saves section has limited save slots, so save your progress wisely or copy the save folder every once in a while.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

How to back up user profiles in Call of Duty 4?

This is a guide on how to keep your user profile data intact in COD4 when you want to have them on another system or when you change your OS.

It's actually quite simple:

I - First, make a copy of the user profile you wanna keep. This is how to do it:
1 - Go to you COD4 installation folder (for example it may be C:\Program Files\Call of Duty 4 - Modern Warfare)
2 - Now go to players folder and then profiles.
3 - Here you can see one folder for each user you have created.
4 - Enter the folder of the user which you wanna keep and copy it's contents somewhere safe (by content I mean: config.cfg, config_mp.cfg and mpdata)

(Caution! if you have new profiles on the new COD4 and you want to keep them too, things get a little tricky. There's a way to keep them too but, come on already, let them go!)

III - In the new installation of Call of Duty 4 create a new profile, if you haven't already, and then go to Options -> Multiplayer Options -> Enter Key Code section and enter the same key code that you had for your old profile (the one that you want to port into the new system).

IV - Now quit the game. Go to COD4 installation folder and then players folder and then profiles folder. Here, create a folder with any name you want. This will be the name of your new profile with the same settings as the old profile. Finally, copy the files that you backed up to this folder (i.e. config.cfg, config_mp.cfg and mpdata) and you're done. Just start the game and enter the profile. VoilĂ ! it's all there!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

How to Disable Multicore feature?

How to use only one core of a multi-core CPU?

Yes! Sometimes you want to use only one core because some games and applications run poorly on multi-core CPUs. There are a number of ways to do this.

I - The easiest way (non-permanent method):

1 - Run the game or application.
2 - Press Alt+Tab to get out of the application (or any other way that you know).
3 - Open the Windows Task Manager by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc.
4 - In the Task Manager window select Applications tab which shows a list of applications currently running. Right click on your game or application and press G button (or select Go To Process).
5 - As you can see we're now in the Processes tab of the Task Manager and your application's process is selected. Right click on it and select Set Affinity.
6 - Processor Affinity window opens and you can select on which cores you desire your application to run. Select one and press OK.

This method works well and it's easy too but it's got a problem: You have to do this every time that you run your application. And there's another problem: For some games and full-screen applications this would cause an error since you've left their environment. So, What's the answer? The answer is method II.

II - The permanent method:

1 - Download Imagecfg (Rapidshare mirror Imagecfg).
2 - Copy the file to Windows\system32\.
3 - Find your game or application's executable file (You should be able to find it in the folder in which you've installed it) and write down it's path. (For example C:\Program files\My app.exe)
4 - Make a backup copy of the exe file (just in case).
5 - Open command prompt by going to Start -> Run and entering cmd.
6 - Type the following (use your app's exe path in the quotations instead of your path) :
imagecfg -a 0x1 " your path"

(For example: imagecfg -a 0x1 " C:\Program files\My app.exe"

(Note: If didn't work type these:
imagecfg -u " your path"
imagecfg -a 0x1 " your path"

Now every time you start the application it will automatically use only one core. If it caused a problem, replace the modified exe file with the backup copy .
But still it may not be enough as games like Broken Sword: The Angel of Death have problems with multi-cores and the methods above won't work for them. Anyway, we've got one last trick up our sleeve, that is, methods III and IV .

(Note: before reading items III and IV and as one of the commenters has mentioned, there's an easier and less hardcore way to get the same result as those items. Follow this:
Open the Start menu, click on Run, type in msconfig and press OK. In the System Configuration window go to Boot (Start in XP) tab and click on Advanced Options button. There you can see an option for choosing how many cores you want active. Restart your computer.)

III - Brute force technique (Windows Vista only):

(Check out the Note above!)

In this method you force Vista to boot only on one core as if you have a single core CPU. Don't worry, as it is easily revertible.

1 - Open command prompt by going to Start -> Run and entering cmd.
(You might need administrator privileges for this so I suggest to open cmd like this: Go to C:\Windows\System32 and look for a file named: cmd.exe (or just cmd), right click on it and choose "Run as administrator")
2 - Type: bcdedit /set onecpu on
3 - Reboot the system.

To check, when the system comes up, open Task Manager and click on Performance tab. You can see only one CPU there!

To revert back to multi-core simply type the following in cmd:
bcdedit /set onecpu off

And reboot the system. You are back to the multi world!

This last method only works under Vista. Doing the same thing under XP is explained in method IV.

IV - Brute force technique (Windows XP approach):

(Check out the Note before section III!)

Here you force XP to use only one core as if you have a single core CPU. You can revert back later if you want.

1 - Open boot.ini file. If you don't know how to do this follow the steps below:
- Right click on My Computer and select Properties.
- Go to Advanced tab and in the Startup and Recovery section click on Settings button.
- Startup and Recovery window opens, click Edit button in System startup section.
- That's it, you've opened the boot.ini file.
2 - If you have one Windows XP installed on your system, the boot.ini content is something similar to this:

[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect

Don't mind the values in parentheses. All you have to do is to add a simple switch to it. The switch is /onecpu. The content of boot.ini with the added switch in bold is shown below:

[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect /onecpu

Congratulation! We're done. Just save the file and reboot your system. The next time you boot your XP it only uses one core. To make sure, open Task Manager and click on Performance tab. You can see only one CPU there!

To revert back to multi-core, open boot.ini and delete the /onecpu switch and reboot.

Methods III and IV need a restart to take effect. I don't know of a way to do this without a restart. But still, I'm no expert or anything and the info you see here are things that I've put together off the net and tried myself off course. But I thought it would be nice to have them all in one place. Hope it helped.

Friday, January 18, 2008

My First Post

Hi there!

Just testing, nothing more.