Atomic I/O letters column #21Originally published in Atomic: Maximum Power Computing Reprinted here 26-May-2003.
Last modified 16-Jan-2015.
A while ago I decided to use WinXP Pro's fancy Encrypting File System (EFS). I figured my files were important enough to not be viewed by anyone else in the world (password lists, pr0n, the usual stuff). Anyway, a while after this I decided to dual boot with Win2000 Server to help with my studies at TAFE. Anyway, long story short, the dual-boot part of the drive corrupted for some reason, and I was left with no other option but to format the whole drive. I wasn't too worried, because my encrypted files were kept on another drive, so I figured I was safe to proceed.
Once XP was reinstalled I went back to my encrypted files only to find out that I no longer had access rights to them. I reinstalled with the exact same settings as the previous installation, but apparently that didn't matter, because XP has built in features which make every installation different from the last.
Is there a way for me to decrypt these files, without asking the Pentagon for help?
If you've got a backup of the administrator account's private key then you can recover the files (see here), but it doesn't sound as if you have. Encryption is meant to stop people who don't have the right certificates from accessing the files. You should have backed up the recovery agent certificate and/or the personal user certificate after you encrypted the files.
As you've noticed, every WinXP install has a different Security Identifier (SID), and generates new certificates. Otherwise anybody could crack EFS encryption by simply reinstalling Windows, so they were the administrator of the new install.
EFS, when used by individuals who haven't made sure they know what they're doing, is recognised as being a guarantee that sooner or later those individuals are going to lose their files. One phrase used to describe EFS in this situation is "delayed Recycle Bin".
When I right click "Save Picture As..." in Internet Explorer (IE6 on WinXP), it always defaults to saving JPG files with a JPE extension. I know that JPE and JPG files are the same, but I'd rather have the JPG extension; some programs only look for files that match *.jpg. Can this be fixed?
This is fixable, by editing the registry.
Run Regedit (Start -> Run -> type "regedit" ) and click your way through to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\MIME\Database\Content Type\image/jpeg . The value of the "Extension" key in the right-hand Regedit pane is, I think you'll find, ".jpe". If you double-click it and change it to ".jpg", IE should start saving files with the right extension again. No rebooting required.
Note that the save dialogue may not show any extension on the filename any more, but the "Save as type:" drop-down will be set to "JPEG (*.jpg)", and the actual saved filename should be correct.
hi i am hardcore gamer with hardy any money ok i get to the point now i got a celeron 600@855 with big globle win wbk-38 giveing it coolness and got a geforce 2 mx asus 32mb overclocked (170/166)@(210/205) with an asus cuv4x mother borad and 384mb of ram and i am planing to get a geforce 4 ti 4200 asus 128mb delx version couse of the core speed at 260 and mem core at 550 (275) 3.3 ns ddr make it the fastest geforce 4 ti 4200 out there well i think but the point with this geforce 4 and my celeron 855 will it give me a big boost i know it will of the video card but ppl saying the cpu will drag my video card down,the video card will not work at it;s max power with a celeron 855 they say at althon xp 2000 atlest to get it's max power i want to know is this ture
Good luck saving up for those punctuation keys, kid.
In answer to your question, it's not really accurate to say that a slow(ish) CPU will "drag down" a fast graphics card. Basically, the way it works is that the CPU determines the fastest frame rate you're going to be able to manage with any graphics card, and the graphics card determines the fastest frame rate you can manage at a given resolution with any CPU. This isn't exactly the deal, thanks to the expanded hardware rendering capabilities of modern 3D cards which can take some load off the CPU, but it still pretty much holds.
So let's say you're playing some game on your 855MHz Celeron with its GeForce2 MX, and you notice that the maximum frame rate you get, even if you wind the resolution down to something stupid like 320 by 240, is 50 frames per second. If you wind the resolution up to 1280 by 960, on the other hand, your frame rate drops to 25 frames per second.
Upgrading your GeForce2 MX to a GeForce4 Ti won't make much difference to the ceiling frame rate at low resolutions, if it makes any difference at all. But now 1280 by 960 will still be at the ceiling frame rate - the CPU won't have to wait for the graphics card at higher resolutions any more. In fact, the Ti4200 will probably even give you 50fps at 1280 by 960, or higher, with FSAA turned on.
After reading in Atomic magazine about the Asus CRW-4816A, I want one. Can other non-Mount-Rainier-supported CD burners or CD-ROMS or DVD-ROMS read Mount Rainier formatted discs? Does the Asus burner format CD-R and CD-RW disks in the Mount Rainier format? Is data written to CD-RW discs in general of lower quality than data on CD-Rs?
The Mount Rainier standard, for people who came in late, is an updated and streamlined form of packet writing for CD-RW. It aims to make CD-RWs work as much like ordinary read-write media as possible. Packet writing software already lets you drag and drop files onto CD-RW (and CD-R) discs in an intuitive fashion, but Mount Rainier doesn't make you spend time pre-formatting discs, has better defect management (so discs that're going flaky can still be safely used) and is supposed to come built into operating systems Real Soon Now.
To create Mount Rainier discs, you need a drive that supports the new standard, like the CRW-4816A. You can read the resulting discs in any drive that supports CD-RWs, but the Mount Rainier site says you'll need a "defect re-mapping driver" installed to do it, which means third party software, at the moment.
The bundled software that comes with Mount Rainier capable drives should take care of the problem for the OSes it supports; other third party software, like Software Architects' SAI, comes with read utilities that make Mount Rainier discs legible with any Universal Disk Format (UDF) compatible drive and Windows version. That means you'll be OK with that software, any somewhat current drive, and any somewhat recent version of Windows.
None of this is terribly important, since without native OS support for Mount Rainier, it really doesn't do much that regular packet writing software doesn't. By the time OSes have Mount Rainier support built in, they'll no doubt have defect re-mapping drivers built in, too.
The archival qualities of CD-RW are hard to determine, but they don't seem to be any worse than CD-R. If you can read a CD-RW today, and if you store it sensibly, you ought to be able to read it in five years.
As far as readability goes, though, all things being equal, CD-RWs that've been blanked and rewritten a few times aren't as good as CD-Rs, which in turn aren't as good as proper CDs.
In ideal circumstances, CD-RW discs can indeed be written to many hundreds of times, as the promotional blurbs often say. In the real world, damage to the discs and inadequacies in readers and writers bring the useful number of writes you can achieve on cheap CD-RWs down massively, to something like 50 at best, and maybe not more than a dozen.
Buy quality CD-RWs and treat them very carefully (as we used to treat old-fashioned hard-platter SyQuest cartridges...) and use good drives as well, and you may be able to get a few hundred rewrites out of CD-RW. Just don't bet on it.
A while ago I purchased an Asus A7M266 motherboard. It's not the fastest, but I'm in the process of tweaking it to run more efficiently.
Some BIOS settings for the DDR RAM exist that I can't find reference to anywhere, not even in the manual! I was hoping you could shed some light on the topic and advise me on the best combination of settings. The options are:
Software DDR PDL Delay
DDR Slew Rate
DDR Command Driving
DDR DQS Driving
DDR MAA & MAB Driving
SD-RAM CAS Latency
SD-RAM RAS Precharge Time
SD-RAM RAS To CAS Delay
You know something that people in retail PC stores hate?
Customers who twiddle everything.
Sometimes the customer admits to it, sometimes they swear up and down that they changed not a thing. But when you get a motherboard back from someone who insists it never worked, right out of the box, despite the fact that every possible thing that could be changed has been (all IDE channels disabled, clock set to next century, all jumpers and DIP switches randomly reset, FSB and multiplier presumably wound through the roof, but who can tell, 'cos the changes mean the board won't boot without a CMOS reset...), certain assumptions can safely be made.
Obscure RAM tweaks are just made for pathological twiddlers.
If you're not a motherboard and/or memory engineer then there's practically certainly never going to be any reason in the universe to fool with drive voltages and slew rates and the other oddball settings, but some motherboards let you, nonetheless.
The CAS latency setting actually has some bearing on performance, though not a large one. You can use it to force the Column Address Strobe latency of your RAM lower if you know it can take it (if it can't, your computer will just hang), and you can also force the CAS latency higher, if you're running a high RAM bus speed for some reason and want to make sure your RAM isn't over-stretched. CAS latency has a really, really small impact on performance for most tasks, though; don't expect anything noticeable to happen, outside RAM benchmark programs.
Similarly, reducing RAS to CAS delay and RAS precharge time, if you can do it without losing stability, will give you minuscule performance gains.
The rest of the abstruse RAM settings aren't even visible in most BIOS setup programs, for the perfectly good reason that there's very unlikely to ever be a time when any user, no matter how tweak-obsessed, is ever likely to need to use them. They're mentioned in the more recent A7M266 manuals, to point out to engineering types at Asus and elsewhere that the options are there, in case they need to use them. They really should have a big NO USER-SERVICEABLE PARTS INSIDE sticker on them to keep regular users like you and me out, though.
I want to upgrade my Dell PC. It has a single 128Mb RIMM. The computer has two memory slots, one with the RIMM in it, and the other one with a module in it that looks blank but with a capacitor or two on it. Do I have to change both modules, or just remove the blank looking one and replace it with another module?
Your computer has single channel Rambus memory (so I presume it's a Pentium III; Rambus P4s are all dual channel, and need their RAM installed in matched pairs). The "blank" RIMM is a Continuity RIMM Module or C-RIMM; it's there because Rambus memory slots are connected together in daisy-chain fashion, and won't work if they're not all filled with something.
You should just be able to remove the C-RIMM and replace it with another module of the same type as the one you've got; it doesn't need to be the same capacity. The module you've got will be either PC600 or PC800 RDRAM.
My computer can't open exe files.
There would be nothing wrong if my OS were Linux, but my OS is Win98. Sigh.
I've got a program, IrfanView, that can open picture files, icon files etc. It has the ability also to show the icons of exe files, but you have to enable that. I wanted to see what would happen if I ticked "*.exe" as one of IrfanView's file types. I started to get worried when I went to "Shut Down..." in the Start Menu and all that came up was IrfanView telling me that the icon of this program was a computer monitor with a star on it. No other EXE files would work either. This is getting out of hand.
Select Tools -> Folder Options from an Explorer window. Go to the File Types tab. See if there's an EXE extension listed. If there is, delete it. Click New, type EXE in the File Extension dialog box. Click Advanced, and pick "Application" as the Associated File Type for that extension. OK your way out. Bing, EXEs are back.
(Associating executable files with a program is, by the way, a rather amusing thing to do to the computer of a person you don't like. I didn't say that.)
I've got a problem with Paint Shop Pro. Even though I installed a crack to stop it expiring, it is still expired. I tried reinstalling it, but the stupid thing still says it has expired. How does it even know when it expired if it has been wiped out? Please help me get around this, I can't afford to pay to register it!
Has someone put that "Get Yo Warez Here!" sign up outside again? I hate when that happens.
I'm not going to help you with software piracy. Sorry.
You might like, however, to check out The GNU Image Manipulation Program, affectionately known as The GIMP.
It's a quite powerful image manipulation package that can do everything most people want to do. And it's a genuinely, actually, legally, free download.