Windows Vista shows its resilience to bad drivers

So as I mentioned in a previous entry I've started using nVidia's Vista drivers instead of their XP ones on my Tablet.

nVidia drivers stopped responding and Vista restarted them

This is with the new Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM), which takes advantage of Windows Vista's capabilities. One of those capabilities is running drivers in user mode instead of kernel mode, even the video driver.

In a previous operating system this crash would of brought down the whole system with a blue screen, but Windows detected the driver had stopped responding, shut down the video driver and restarted it, all within the space of about a second.

It does however mean I'm still waiting for better nVidia drivers.

Internet Explorer 7 surpasses version 6

At least on Portal, Internet Explorer 7 this month took the lead from IE6.

Internet Explorer 7 logo

Internet Explorer 7: 117373 hits which makes up 36.6%
Internet Explorer 6: 111058 hits which makes up 34.7%

Firefox 2: 21953 hits which makes up 6.8%
Firefox 1.5: 34848 hits which makes up 10.8%

I don't know what happened with Firefox 2, last month it was 10% exactly. Firefox 1 last month was 7.4% so it looks like we saw a shift backwards within the Firefox camp.

Windows Vista vs Toshiba M200

As regular readers know I've been caught in a battle between Windows Vista and my Toshiba M200 Tablet PC.

The root cause? nVidia's Vista drivers not turning the screen back on when resuming from sleep. In the whole beta program and up until now with the final version I had been using the Windows XP drivers Toshiba had posted on their website, largely without a hitch, but they are dated 2004, don't support Aero Glass and all the other nice things that WDDM drivers do support.

Anyway a few days ago I fired up Chess, and the system threw up a stop error, you can guess that nv_disp was mentioned somewhere in it. That was it I decided, time to use the Vista drivers and just use hibernate instead of sleep.

So I installed the latest Vista drivers 97.52 (with a modified inf so they actually install), rebooted and the screen wouldn't work at all. I tried some older versions with the same thing. So I System Restored back to how it was until I had time to sort it out.

That time came this evening, after about an hour, a system restore and a purge of everything nVidia I could find, I got the system back up and running, I think an old nVidia control panel was to blame, after installing Vista on my M200 I had gone through practically every driver version to see if sleep worked with any of them, I can't imagine the sort of mess that made of the system, when I installed Windows it only installed the standard VGA driver, I guess it felt there would be trouble ahead. But anyway I thought I was sorted, I was wrong.

Where's my hibernate option disappeared to? It was just gone. The hiberfil.sys had seemingly vanished. So I ran 'powercfg -h on' on an elevated command line, which turned hibernate back on. But that started the investigation as to what had turned it off.

After about 30 minutes of going through in my head everything I had done with the system, I realised this was the only machine I had run Disk Cleanup on.

Windows Vista Disk Cleanup

There it is, delete the hibernation file. I must of checked that by accident when I ran it.

So this round of the battle is over. But I feel more in the months ahead. I want to be able to sleep without having to resort to drivers from the dark ages. Come on I know Toshiba don't support Windows Vista on the M200, but this is getting silly, nVidia I'm looking at you.

Vista launch kits

I know a few people have blogged about these already, but it doesn't seem like everybody got the Windows Vista Product Guide, or mentioned it at least.

Windows Vista launch kit and product guide

There's are some further pictures of the contents that steve_sinchak posted on Flickr.

Did anybody get any kits with Lego Star Wars or Company of Heroes? Seems a lot of people got Age of Empires 3 WarChiefs and Flight Simulator X. I got Zoo Tycoon 2 Collection with mine, I've already got WarChiefs and Flight Simulator so that works out well, but not heard of anybody getting non-Microsoft games yet.

Of course the most awesome thing is the 2GB Sandisk Cruzer Micro, and the product guide, nothing beats a three hundred page A4 sized product guide.

Colorado meteor a Soyuz booster

You may have already seen this on the news:

Booster re-entering the atmosphere

While searching for this video one newscaster on a US news channel referred to it as a meteor shower, despite the fact it was obviously a single object. Who lets these kinds of people on TV?

This was actually part of the rocket which launched the French COROT space telescope on the 27th of December. It was carried into orbit by a Soyuz-2-1b launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. I'm not sure which stage of the rocket this is. The Soyuz-2-1b has 3 stages plus an upper stage which positions the cargo in the correct orbit, in the case of COROT a polar orbit at an altitude of 850km.

There are reports of debris being found but this is extremely unlikely. This sort of thing happens quite often, this time it happened over a populated area and so people noticed. Its pretty rare that anything survives down to the surface of the Earth.

The COROT space telescope will be the first to discover Earth-sized planets around other stars. More about the COROT mission here:

Waiting for better weather

About a month ago I ordered a T-ring so I could attach my Canon 350D to my telescope. In typical fashion we've had a month of terrible weather, we had a few clear nights which were dominated by the Moon, preventing me from imaging the Orion nebula and the Andromeda galaxy which is what I was going to test everything out on.

But the cloud does produce some nice images - sometimes.

Halo around the Moon

This was taken on New Year's Eve. You can just about make out a rainbow effect around the lower half of the halo too as the light is being refracted by water molecules in the clouds.

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