/Maxmem support in Windows Vista

High-performance hardware from time to time needs direct access to memory in order work properly. That is the case with the excellent Matrox Imaging line of framegrabbers. In particular, I am using the Meteor/2 family of framegrabbers (a framegrabber is used for capturing images from a camera, usually for industrial, medical, or surveillance purposes). The driver and library that comes with these framegrabbers, Matrox Imaging Library, ensures during installation that the framegrabber has direct access to memory by adding a switch to the Windows XP’s (or NT or previous versions of windows) boot.ini file: /MAXMEM=xxxx where xxxx is the upper limit of memory (in MB) that windows will use. For example

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\windows=”Microsoft Windows” /MAXMEM=2040

This lines reserves 8 MB (of my computers 2048 MB memory) for direct use by the framegrabber.

However, with Windows Vista this possibility changed. It does not use the boot.ini file any more. Instead, one has to use the Boot Configuration Data Editor or bcdedit. This utility can be run from the command promt (but remember to run the command prompt “As administrator” – by rightclicking and selecting “Run as administrator”).

BCDedit is explained here, at Microsoft Technet. /Maxmem is replaced by the option TRUNCATEMEMORY, and in order to get the same effect as the example above try from the command-line prompt:

bcdedit /set TRUNCATEMEMORY 2139095040

As can be seen, the limit 2040MB now needs to be specified in bytes.

After a reset, going into Control Panel – System, you can see that it has worked. In order to remove the limit, try

bcdedit /deletevalue TRUNCATEMEMORY

There should probably be a warning here: “Don’t try this at home”. Or at least don’t try it if you don’t know what you are doing. Of course, by the level this is documented by Microsoft, no one knows even half of what they are doing, so …

To the end of the story, I have not managed (yet) to get Matrox Imaging Library 7.5 to run properly on Windows Vista. On the other hand, as this blog explains, I managed to reserve memory for direct use by the hardware.

Network storage – Do you need it at home?

If you are like me – having 5-10 computers around the house (home computer, work laptop, wife’s work laptop, 2x old work laptop, 2x media centers, …) – you’re soon getting tired of copying all thos mp3, movies and images around so that they can be accessible from all the computers.
The solution of course is easy, but not free. I recently purchased the Synology DiskStation DS-106e, added a 500GB disk, and voila! This product works like a charm. It is based on linux, and Synology makes available free updates to the software inside. I used it both as a printserver, diskserver and ftp server. In addition it can function as a webserver as well, but I haven’t tried that part yet.
The setup is based on an onboard webbased configuration tool. I have created a few network shares, one for my personal stuff and one with public read availabilty (within the family) so that everyone can make use of the music, images and videos on their own computers.
The alternative is of course using an old computer running linux. However, the Synopsis was very easy to configure, and remembering hours and hours of previuos time used for Linux configuration, this device pays for itself. Recommended!

Microsoft Keyboard wit Fingerprint Reader on Vista

I installed Vista two months ago, and although most drivers were installed out of the box, a few drivers did not. Among those is the fingerprint reader on my “Microsoft Keyboard wit Fingerprint Reader”. Actually, the keyboard itself works fine, it is just the fingerprint reader that has no driver installed.Before Vista, I used it for logging on to my home pc almost every time.

I was expecting the drivers to be installed automatically throug Windows Update, but today, after two month I gave up. First I tried Driver Detective, an excellent piece of software which already has a Windows Vista version. However, it reported the device with a “driver not found” mark.

After a bit of searching I go the drivers in two steps:
i) Installing the latest version of the IntelliType Pro software from Microsoft
ii) Installing the DigitalPersona Password Manager 2.0, also from Microsoft.

After a restart (which by the way take som time on Vista), and some calibrating using the autostarting Wizard, I worked fine.

Anyway, logging on to Vista is easier now. For the home office, it offers good enough security.

How to change the location of the Documents, Music and Video personal folders in Vista

In Vista, under normal circumstances, the Documents, Music and Video folders are located under c:\user\. If you rightclick on these folders, either from the start menu or from browsing to c:\user\, and select “properties” and then the “location” page, it is possible to change the location to a different folder, perhaps your old catalogue of mp3, or divx video files.

Have a look at this artice.