Friday, June 22, 2012

Phoenix FireStorm & Hardware Auto-detect : Good or Bad Idea ?

By Avatar JayR Cela

    This may seem like an odd thing to hear coming from me, since I am such strong supporter of FireStorm.

    Recently a new feature has stealthily been added to the Phoenix FireStorm viewer. And that is the ability for the viewer to automatically detect when you have made a change to your computers Video Card Hardware, right down to the point of even naming the card you have upgraded or downgraded too.

    On the outside this is a very good idea, but there is an insidious dark side to it as well. You may end up becoming unable to even get FireStorm to load at all, after making such a change, and greeted with the message during log in that your viewer's settings are configured incorrectly, and to try re-installing the client. Well guess what ? In some unique circumstances, you may end up being screwed ! Let me explain further.

    I recently made the Huge Mistake of installing the Windows 8 Preview release in a dual boot mode along side of Windows XP, and once you have decided that Windows 8 is a piece of garbage, You Cannot Remove It !

    That's right, it cannot be removed ! PERIOD !!!! The old tried and true fdisk /mbr  command no longer works. You will need to reformat your hard drive, and re-install the previous version of Windows. But  ahh-haa another guess what ? There is still a piece of Win 8 lurking in the dark just waiting to bite you when you least expect it.

    You see, the merry old folks in Redmond have decided that the old tried and true MBR boot loader that has been around since the first IBM PC was introduced in 1984 is no longer good enough, and have replaced it with this horrible Boot Manager that silently reboot's your machine into Protected Mode mode rather than Real Mode before you are even greeted with an OS choice.

    This has left me totally screwed when it comes to getting FireStorm to load now that Windows 8 has been removed and Win XP restored as the sole OS on my computer. Since FireStorm now includes the auto detect feature, that appears to not only determine hardware changes, but OS changes as well. I continue to get the message that FS is configured incorrectly and a re-installation, may solve the problem.

    Well in my scenario it has not worked, even after a HD reformat. If you understand PC's then you are well aware of the fact that reformatting a Hard Disk does not remove any of the old data, it simply tells your OS it is no longer there.

    Now we bring FireStorm into the mix, FS still see's that there has been a change and will refuse to load until the problem has been corrected. This will require a Low Level Format of your Hard Disk. ( a Low Level Format usually takes between 6 to 24 hours depending upon the HD's capacity ) And then re-install your previous version of Windows.

    I believe FS really need's to consider including an ( Opt-In ) selection choice for  the Auto-detect feature during the installation process.


JayR Cela :(

1 comment:

Mister Acacia said...

The Firestorm hardware detection function isn't new. Not to Firestorm, not to Phoenix, not to Emerald and not to SL's own V3.

The function's job is to determine what kind of video card and driver you have, and then adjust your graphics settings accordingly, including things like VBO, hardware skinning, avatar cloth, texture memory and so on. Without this function, we would all start on low graphics and have to fiddle with settings to make it look good.

And it probably does check to make sure the hardware is the same and, if not, readjust your graphics accordingly.

The error message you're getting sure sounds like something that many people suffer, and that is a mismatch of the MS C++ runtime libraries. You can download and install the fix for that.

And lastly, make use of the support system we have for the Phoenix and Firestorm viewers. We have an awesome wiki, web-based support system called JIRA and helpful folks in our inworld groups.