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Codecs, tools, random doodads!

ShadeShade Registered User regular
edited August 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
Can you smell that? Do you know that sweet fragrance?

Its the smell of a format and a fresh install of windows XP(trying out essential 2)!

Upon resetting the shit pile back down to sea level, I have the opportunity to makes some changes and tweaks. And as such I give you the chance to recommend your favorite toys and talk about how your "WaReZ be 1337 yO" and how your down with the 411....(don't post actually warez)

Thinking about glass windows 2.0...

And while I'm looking for new toys to play with, I'm also looking for the basics such as a new Codec Pack, Ace Media is getting old(literally).

And for some reason windows is automatically logging me on when I power on instead of the welcome screen and password I've set it to, and gives me the classic logon when I come back from standby. Halp??

I'll put all the recomendations in the OP so other who are browsing don't have to go though every page.

Installed so far:

Kel's CPL Bonus Pack
VistaDrive Indicator
ASUS MyLogo
PC Probe 2
Virtual Cable tester
Undelete 2.8
Tweak UI
FLV Player
Orbit Downloader
Ace Media Mega Codec Pack

Recommended :

Unlocker is a really handy tool for unlocking those pesky files you can't delete because some process or other file has it open.

WinDirStat is a slick GUI showing disk utilization by folder to help find out where your space is being eaten up.

RocketDock is an excellent OSX style taskbar/dock thingey

foxit pdf reader - for pdfs

tweakui - more options to fiddle with in xp

uxtheme patcher - allows xp to use custom themes

gridmove - window management for people who like more than one thing on screen at once

VLC - Media Player

Spacemonger Nifty little app that shows you where all your hdd space is being used.

Orbit Downloader has the ability to download almost any flash video IE: Youtube

FLV player Plays any flash video your downloaded

CutePDF. It's a freeware program that lets you print documents, webpages...well, pretty much anything that's printable to a pdf rather than the stupid Microsoft Document Image format. It great for keeping receipts of any online purchases or printing a document that you want to email in a static and uneditable format. Handy to have installed.

Shade on

Posts

  • ErandusErandus Registered User
    edited August 2008
    FFDShow is my codec pack of choice... don't really know what you're looking for though.

    Unlocker is a really handy tool for unlocking those pesky files you can't delete because some process or other file has it open.

    WinDirStat is a slick GUI showing disk utilization by folder to help find out where your space is being eaten up.

    RocketDock is an excellent OSX style taskbar/dock thingey.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • ShadeShade Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Erandus wrote: »
    FFDShow is my codec pack of choice... don't really know what you're looking for though.

    Unlocker is a really handy tool for unlocking those pesky files you can't delete because some process or other file has it open.

    WinDirStat is a slick GUI showing disk utilization by folder to help find out where your space is being eaten up.

    RocketDock is an excellent OSX style taskbar/dock thingey.

    oooh, I like rocket dock.*grab*

  • shutzshutz Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    I second ffdshow: it's not a codec pack, per se, it's actually one codec that you install, which supports many, many formats.

    What I usually do with a new install, when it comes to video viewing:

    I install the latest version of Real Alternative, just in case I might need to view one of those old .RM files I have archived up. It'll play Real's files without installing any unneeded crapware, like the "real" RealPlayer does. It also automatically installs Media Player Classic, which is my video player of choice, because it loads really fast, is surprisingly full-featured, and has a clean, unobtrusive UI that's old-school (Win95 old-school!) but clean and functional.

    In some cases, I have to look for a more recent build of MPC than what is supplied with Real Alternative: that's usually a good thing, because there are minor bugs with some formats (notably FLV) that are dealt with in more recent builds.

    Then I install VLC, so I can play any files that MPC chokes on. VLC is also a lot more tolerant of partially-corrupted files, or incomplete downloads.

    Then I install the latest ffdshow, which takes care of almost all my codec needs, with the exception of the Quicktime formats (.mov files, mostly). So I install Quicktime for that.

    Sometimes, very rarely, I'll come across a format that is not already supported by the above: in those cases, I'll go digg around. Otherwise, this covers most of my needs.

    One more thing you may find out you need at a later date: an AC3 codec for some downloaded videos, unless you have working DVD player software already installed, which supplies the needed codecs. In any case, I think VLC can already deal with AC3 streams, so you may not even need this.

    I tend to avoid recommending codec packs: you'll often end up with some items being incompatible with others, and some packs are not properly installed, making them hard to properly uninstall, leaving your system in a weird state. When you install codecs individually, you can usually easily uninstall them individually, which can help immensely when troubleshooting codec conflicts. Also, you don't end up installing multiple codecs for the same format, which prevents other kinds of conflict.

    Creativity begets criticism.
    Check out my new blog: http://50wordstories.ca
    Also check out my old game design blog: http://stealmygamedesigns.blogspot.com
  • ÆthelredÆthelred Registered User
    edited August 2008
    It's pretty easy to end up with a confusing mix of codecs. I second the advice about installing them individually. Mine are completely messed up at the moment and Windows doesn't have a "reset all" button for that.

    pokes: 1505 8032 8399
  • TechnicalityTechnicality Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    One thing I usually do is when all the important stuff is in place, run "hijack this" and save the log somewhere.

    That way if you pick up something nasty in the future, you know that anything not on that list is safe to remove.

    Other useful things include:
    foxit pdf reader - for pdfs
    tweakui - more options to fiddle with in xp
    uxtheme patcher - allows xp to use custom themes
    gridmove - window management for people who like more than one thing on screen at once

    handt.jpg tor.jpg

  • DalbozDalboz Resident Puppy Eater Right behind you...Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    I've had decent luck with the K-Lite Codec Pack. It can take a little tweaking after the initial install, but then never really need to worry about another codec after that.

    Think about any distributed computing programs? I run Folding@Home on my PC (yep, same program as on the PS3).

    I think if you go into Control Panel/User Accounts, you can change your log-on settings.

  • PirateJonPirateJon Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    I've installed the CCCP and never had an issue playing anything. http://www.cccp-project.net/

    For other stuff:
    First thing I do on every PC I use - make a shortcut to notepad.exe in the "send to" folder. That way you have any file opened with notepad without the "open with" B.S.

    sysinternals toolkit (best free tools ever, procexp is a fantasticly detailed taskmanager replacement)

    windows debugger

    tftpd32

    foxit reader to replace adobe for PDFs.

    all perfectionists are mediocre in their own eyes
  • ErandusErandus Registered User
    edited August 2008
    shutz wrote: »
    Then I install VLC, so I can play any files that MPC chokes on. VLC is also a lot more tolerant of partially-corrupted files, or incomplete downloads.

    Then I install the latest ffdshow, which takes care of almost all my codec needs, with the exception of the Quicktime formats (.mov files, mostly). So I install Quicktime for that.

    If you have VLC you shouldn't need Quicktime ever?

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • ShadeShade Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Erandus wrote: »
    shutz wrote: »
    Then I install VLC, so I can play any files that MPC chokes on. VLC is also a lot more tolerant of partially-corrupted files, or incomplete downloads.

    Then I install the latest ffdshow, which takes care of almost all my codec needs, with the exception of the Quicktime formats (.mov files, mostly). So I install Quicktime for that.

    If you have VLC you shouldn't need Quicktime ever?

    I ended up reinstalling Ace Mega Media. Combined with FLV Player and Orbit. I can play/Save anything on the interwebs...except those goddamn Matsukra or what ever they're called codecs.

  • ShadeShade Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Anyone have a program that will let me lock and password folders?

  • TavTav Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    There's a thread for this in the tech tavern.

  • ShadeShade Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Tav wrote: »
    There's a thread for this in the tech tavern.

    I'm not finding it, link?

  • the cheatthe cheat Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited August 2008
    Erandus wrote: »
    shutz wrote: »
    Then I install VLC, so I can play any files that MPC chokes on. VLC is also a lot more tolerant of partially-corrupted files, or incomplete downloads.

    Then I install the latest ffdshow, which takes care of almost all my codec needs, with the exception of the Quicktime formats (.mov files, mostly). So I install Quicktime for that.

    If you have VLC you shouldn't need Quicktime ever?

    you probably need it for streaming whatevers, and embedded videos on websites.

    i don't even have any codecs installed that i know of, i just use VLC...

    and thanks for that unlocker, guy. i haven't been able to get rid of some demo installer for like, a year.

    ql0xn38ekryt.png
  • DalbozDalboz Resident Puppy Eater Right behind you...Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    One thing that I would recommend is CutePDF. It's a freeware program that lets you print documents, webpages...well, pretty much anything that's printable to a pdf rather than the stupid Microsoft Document Image format. It great for keeping receipts of any online purchases or printing a document that you want to email in a static and uneditable format. Handy to have installed.

  • shutzshutz Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Shade wrote: »
    Erandus wrote: »
    shutz wrote: »
    Then I install VLC, so I can play any files that MPC chokes on. VLC is also a lot more tolerant of partially-corrupted files, or incomplete downloads.

    Then I install the latest ffdshow, which takes care of almost all my codec needs, with the exception of the Quicktime formats (.mov files, mostly). So I install Quicktime for that.

    If you have VLC you shouldn't need Quicktime ever?

    I ended up reinstalling Ace Mega Media. Combined with FLV Player and Orbit. I can play/Save anything on the interwebs...except those goddamn Matsukra or what ever they're called codecs.

    Matroska. Developed in some Eastern European country, I think. Hence the name.

    I hate that container format, but unfortunately, a lot of HD downloads are packaged that way. Unlike AVI, the Matroska format lets you pack multiple video, audio and subtitle streams in one video file. (Some people have been able to package multiple audio streams in AVI files, but this is out of spec, and some players or video editors will choke on that.)

    Actually, VLC should be able to deal with Matroska files, and Media Player Classic can also usually deal with those too. Otherwise, you can just Google for "Matroska splitter" or "mkv splitter", which should take you to a codec download. At worst, you'll get a lone .ax file, which can actually be installed using some simple command-line work, but I'd have to look that up to really help you.

    By the way, my "guide" above, might not work if you end up with ".ogm" files (ogg media files), except with VLC (which plays anything). Those are rare, although I wish they were more common, as they're a more open format that falls in line with the entire suite of OGG open-source codecs (Ogg Vorbis for audio, Ogg Theora for video.)

    Creativity begets criticism.
    Check out my new blog: http://50wordstories.ca
    Also check out my old game design blog: http://stealmygamedesigns.blogspot.com
  • the cheatthe cheat Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited August 2008
    VLC doesn't like matroska very much. it gets terrible framerate.

    ql0xn38ekryt.png
  • ShadeShade Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    so, the other thread fails to deliver...... either that or no one knows a program that can password folders....

  • ErandusErandus Registered User
    edited August 2008
    Er.... NTFS?

    There's really no reason to get an app to do that when Windows does that perfectly well on it's own.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • embrikembrik Registered User
    edited August 2008
    Shade wrote: »
    so, the other thread fails to deliver...... either that or no one knows a program that can password folders....

    For encryption/password protection, TrueCrypt is going to be your best bet. NTFS permissions will keep files protected, unless another user on the same computer has admin rights, in which case, all they need to do is take ownership of the files and change the permissions. I don't know if TrueCrypt will be as seamless as you might want, but it is the best for this sort of thing.

    "Damn you and your Daily Doubles, you brigand!"

    I don't believe it - I'm on my THIRD PS3, and my FIRST XBOX360. What the heck?
  • the cheatthe cheat Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited August 2008
    Erandus wrote: »
    Er.... NTFS?

    There's really no reason to get an app to do that when Windows does that perfectly well on it's own.

    i've never heard of this. do tell.

    ql0xn38ekryt.png
  • ErandusErandus Registered User
    edited August 2008
    the cheat wrote: »
    Erandus wrote: »
    Er.... NTFS?

    There's really no reason to get an app to do that when Windows does that perfectly well on it's own.

    i've never heard of this. do tell.

    You.... you're... Seriously?
    Spoiler:

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • shutzshutz Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Erandus wrote: »
    the cheat wrote: »
    Erandus wrote: »
    Er.... NTFS?

    There's really no reason to get an app to do that when Windows does that perfectly well on it's own.

    i've never heard of this. do tell.

    You.... you're... Seriously?
    Spoiler:

    OK, I'm going to assume no sarcasm ever took place here, and take everything at face value and just explain how to encrypt files and folders under Windows XP.

    You right-click on the file or folder you want to encrypt, and select "Properties". Then, under the General tab (selected by default) you click the "Advanced..." button close to the bottom-right.

    A dialog will popup letting you set the Archive and Index attributes, as well as compress or encrypt the file or folder in question. Just check the "Encrypt" box, then click OK, and on the Properties window, click the now active "Apply" button. Your file will now be encrypted, and will be shown in green (compressed files show up in blue.)

    Note that anyone can open the file while they're logged-in as you. This doesn't directly password-protect the file, all it does is encrypt it so that only the user who encrypted it can decrypt it (and any other user-agents who are given permission.) So if you're running XP in single-user mode, where everybody uses the same account on this computer, then the file will not be very well protected.

    If you need to password protect something that you won't be accessing regularly, you might want to try compressing it with RAR or something like it, and using that format's encryption. Zip file encryption sucks, though, and there are "password crackers" for those that can make short work of this kind of encryption. RAR file encryption is much stronger. There is a RAR file password cracker, but it would likely have to work on your file for hours, even days, before cracking its encryption.

    Creativity begets criticism.
    Check out my new blog: http://50wordstories.ca
    Also check out my old game design blog: http://stealmygamedesigns.blogspot.com
  • ErandusErandus Registered User
    edited August 2008
    Rather than going through the encryption, you can also open the folder properties of any given folder, go to the security tab, and remove the rights of all user accounts aside from your own. (and probably the admin, if you don't use the administrator account yourself.)

    Again, does not work with single-user environments, but works perfectly if everyone who might use your computer has their own/a guest account.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • the cheatthe cheat Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited August 2008
    i was talking about passwording files and folders. i thought maybe you could actually lock them somehow with windows. not just make them only for your account.

    ql0xn38ekryt.png
  • Jimmy KingJimmy King Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Any tips for making that Rocket Dock play more nicely with windows? I want it love it so badly, but I just can't due to how windows works for now. If I let it sit on top, it gets in the way of anything I do with a maximized window. If I hide it underneath then I have to minimize whatever I am working on to switch apps, making it not terribly useful.

    Am I doing it wrong? Is there something else I can install/tweak/edit to get some nice behavior? There's the obvious "don't maximize windows" solution, which in theory is all well and good, seeing as how that's how it's handled on OS X. For whatever reason, windows is just not right for me unless I maximize, though.

    Perhaps I'm destined to not use this, but if there's some way to get what I want, I want to know what it is.

  • ShadeShade Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Jimmy King wrote: »
    Any tips for making that Rocket Dock play more nicely with windows? I want it love it so badly, but I just can't due to how windows works for now. If I let it sit on top, it gets in the way of anything I do with a maximized window. If I hide it underneath then I have to minimize whatever I am working on to switch apps, making it not terribly useful.

    Am I doing it wrong? Is there something else I can install/tweak/edit to get some nice behavior? There's the obvious "don't maximize windows" solution, which in theory is all well and good, seeing as how that's how it's handled on OS X. For whatever reason, windows is just not right for me unless I maximize, though.

    Perhaps I'm destined to not use this, but if there's some way to get what I want, I want to know what it is.

    go into options and select pop-up, I have it set to always bottem, and when I scroll to the the very top up the screen it will popup ontop of everything else.

  • Jimmy KingJimmy King Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Thanks, I'll try to work with this a bit and see how I like it. Looks like it was a combination of setting the layering option and the pop-up thing on a different tab of options. I had only set the layering before - my assumption that the "normal" option, in between always on top and always on bottom, was intended to have it pop-up on mouse over and just didn't work right for some reason.

  • Dark ShroudDark Shroud Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    It's pretty easy to end up with a confusing mix of codecs. I second the advice about installing them individually. Mine are completely messed up at the moment and Windows doesn't have a "reset all" button for that.

    http://www.cccp-project.net/wiki/index.php?title=CCCP_Insurgent
    Dalboz wrote: »
    I've had decent luck with the K-Lite Codec Pack. It can take a little tweaking after the initial install, but then never really need to worry about another codec after that.

    Think about any distributed computing programs? I run Folding@Home on my PC (yep, same program as on the PS3).

    I think if you go into Control Panel/User Accounts, you can change your log-on settings.

    That is a horribly bloated pack that has multiple codecs to do the same function. K-Lite can also cause conflicts with other codecs and sometimes players.
    shutz wrote: »
    Shade wrote: »
    Erandus wrote: »
    shutz wrote: »
    Then I install VLC, so I can play any files that MPC chokes on. VLC is also a lot more tolerant of partially-corrupted files, or incomplete downloads.

    Then I install the latest ffdshow, which takes care of almost all my codec needs, with the exception of the Quicktime formats (.mov files, mostly). So I install Quicktime for that.

    If you have VLC you shouldn't need Quicktime ever?

    I ended up reinstalling Ace Mega Media. Combined with FLV Player and Orbit. I can play/Save anything on the interwebs...except those goddamn Matsukra or what ever they're called codecs.

    Matroska. Developed in some Eastern European country, I think. Hence the name.

    I hate that container format, but unfortunately, a lot of HD downloads are packaged that way. Unlike AVI, the Matroska format lets you pack multiple video, audio and subtitle streams in one video file. (Some people have been able to package multiple audio streams in AVI files, but this is out of spec, and some players or video editors will choke on that.)

    Actually, VLC should be able to deal with Matroska files, and Media Player Classic can also usually deal with those too. Otherwise, you can just Google for "Matroska splitter" or "mkv splitter", which should take you to a codec download. At worst, you'll get a lone .ax file, which can actually be installed using some simple command-line work, but I'd have to look that up to really help you.

    By the way, my "guide" above, might not work if you end up with ".ogm" files (ogg media files), except with VLC (which plays anything). Those are rare, although I wish they were more common, as they're a more open format that falls in line with the entire suite of OGG open-source codecs (Ogg Vorbis for audio, Ogg Theora for video.)

    Your method of using Ace is bloated and out dated. VLC can only handle some versions of Matroska files because it's .mkv splitter is very outdated. VLC has a few internal problem like this that can't really be fixed by the user either because VLC doesn't use external codecs.

    All someone has to do is install CCCP and then can use the same player for everything. CCCP uses filters that only work for playback so they use less system resources. Any player on the system that uses external codecs (which most players do) can use these filters. The only 2 formats that CCCP doesn't play by default are Quicktime & Real for legal reasons, and all you have to do is install the Alternative versions and you're ready to go.

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