Firefox 4 restoring Firefox 3 UI

So as a very long time user of Firefox before it was even called that, I have become accustomed to it’s UI and how it works. Firefox 4 introduces a major shift in the UI which I cant say is to my liking as an old school user. Here are some basic tips in making Firefox 4 behave more like v3 particularly removing the transparency effect, although I do like it in explorer I run Firefox maximized and find the effect distracting.

Tabs on bottom – this one is easy just right click on the toolbar and select “tabs on bottom”

Restore menu bar – this again is easy just right click on toolbar and select “menu bar”

Disable transparency/aero/glass effect – the easiest way is to use a persona the light skins for Firefox. The persona’s OS Integration, Minimalist One or Firefox Minimalist are all a good match.

Restore the status bar – download the status-4-evar extension, this will put back in the status bar at the bottom of the screen

Adjust the navigation toolbar buttons – just right click on the toolbar and select customize from this you have from left to right : Arrow buttons : Reload: Home : anything else you prefer after that.

Posted in General

AMD CCC Wont Start After Driver Update

If you have installed an updated graphics card driver via the AMD Catalyst package & found the Catalyst Control Center no longer starts you may have run a foul of a very annoying and very old problem AMD (formally ATI) have not been able to fix.

At some point files critical to AMD/ATI graphics cards in Windows will be deleted either through some foul up by the Catalyst un-installation process, corruption of the update process or through third party driver cleaner, these files come with Windows and are not part of the AMD Catalyst package yet AMD’s own driver will not warn you these files are missing and will install away giving you the broken CCC.

How to remedy – run from a command prompt sfc/ scannow and check Windows\Logs\CBS\CheckSUR.txt to see if it find missing ati related files, if so then they need to be restored.

Option 1 – Do a repair install of Windows 7 (or any other version of Windows that this can be done to), this should restore the missing system files.

Option 2 – Manually replace the system files, thanks to this individual for his guide.

So, I had to copy/replace manually these files:
In %SystemRoot%\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository, you need :
[dir] atiilhag.inf_amd64_* or atiilhag.inf_x86_*
[dir] atiriol6.inf_amd64_* or atiriol6.inf_x86_*
[dir] nv_lh.inf_amd64_* or nv_lh.inf_x86_*

In %SystemRoot%\winsxs, you need :
[dir] amd64_atiilhag.inf.resources_* or x86_atiihag.inf.resources_*
[dir] amd64_atiilhag.inf_* or x86_atiihag.inf
[dir] amd64_atiriol6.inf_* or x86_atiriol6.inf_*
[dir] amd64_nv_lh.inf.resources_* or x86_nv_lh.inf.resources_*
[dir] amd64_nv_lh.inf_* or x86_nv_lh.inf_*

In %SystemRoot%\winsxs\Manifests, you need :
[file] amd64_atiilhag.inf-languagepack_*.manifest or x86_atiihag.inf-languagepack_*.manifest
[file] amd64_atiilhag.inf.resources_*.manifest or x86_atiihag.inf.resources_*.manifest
[file] amd64_atiilhag.inf_*.manifest or x86_atiihag.inf_*.manifest
[file] amd64_atiriol6.inf_*.manifest or x86_atiriol6.inf_*.manifest
[file] amd64_nv_lh.inf-languagepack_*.manifest or x86_nv_lh.inf-languagepack_*.manifest
[file] amd64_nv_lh.inf.resources_*.manifest or x86_nv_lh.inf.resources_*.manifest
[file] amd64_nv_lh.inf_*.manifest or x86_nv_lh.inf_*.manifest

To do that, I used this guide to extract the files of my language.
Then I used this guide to take perimission to delete some of the above files that I wasn’t allowed to.

I would also add run from a command prompt sfc/ scannow and check Windows\Logs\CBS\CheckSUR.txt again to see if it finds any missing files.

Alternate fix method:

This is the other way of fixing the CCC wont start if your lucky as it’s not as bad as the above.

  1. Download GAC View and run as admin, this browses the global assembly cache of windows.
  2. Search for 90ba9c70f846762e and delete every instance of ATI’s key.
  3. Re-install the Catalyst driver and the CCC should work as normal.

If the ATI token does not appear in the cache then you must use the driver repair method.

Posted in General

Blu-ray/DVD/HD-DVD to MKV

This is my short guide on converting a Blu-ray/DVD/HD-DVD into a MKV video leaving the video intact but converting the audio into regular AC3 to increase compatibility as software players and standalone devices that support MKV still seem to have quite a bit of trouble handling the HD audio formats.

Is there an easy way to go through all that ?

Yes for Blu-ray/HD-DVD & DVD there is a program called MakeMKV which is very easy to use. The latest version can now handle HD-DVD’s (though problems are still reported with those) and can also preserve HD audio tracks if needed.

MakeMKV can also decrypt discs without the need for any extra software, really good piece of software worth getting, is also ideal for extracting episodes from DVD TV show discs.

It didn’t work, is there another way ?

Blu-ray/HD-DVD manual conversion – what you’ll need:

Step 1:

Start AnyDVD and put in your Blu-ray/HD-DVD disc. Now start the HD-DVD/Blu-ray stream extractor and you will have a screen like below. Under “Input” click the browse folder button and point it at your Blu-ray disc or folder if you have transferred it to the hard drive. Now click on “Features” and it will scan for media that can be extracted, be aware their is a further delay when you select a stream so be patient.


Step 2:

After it finishes the scan it will populate with entries like below (though each disc can be different in my case this disc has multiple streams for foreign languages), I have ticked the box for chapters, the video stream is easy to ID because it’s 1080p and the audio stream is thankfully labeled as English. Under the heading “Extract As” for the audio change it to AC3 as seen in my screenshot below.

[You can of course pick another HD audio stream or convert into another format but for this guide I'm just using regular Dolby AC3]

Under “Output” set a folder to output the extracted files to, and when ready click on “Extract”.


Step 3:

After the extraction you will have a mkv file containing the video, a chapters txt file and the audio in AC3 form – all that’s left to do is to merge everything together into a single mkv file using mkvmerge so start that. Under the “Input Files” drag your video mkv in and then your audio into it as well, look at the “Output Filename” & select a name for the video.

Update: Newer builds of MKVmerge implemented a feature that while part of the MKV spec was rarely ever used, many players do not support this feature and your files may not play so go into File->Options->mmg and tick the box to disable header removal compression.

Now to go to the global tab and see where the section is highlighted you can add the chapters txt in through that.

Capture06 Capture07

Once done back on the Input tab click on “Start Muxing” the process will take a while but it will if all goes to plan spit out a fully working MKV.


Various things:

Playback software recommended is MPC-HC or VLC, there is no need for codec packs as both players have the necessary codecs built into the application.

Posted in General