Readers tell how to tweak DirectX, let NT show true colours

Readers tell how to tweak DirectX, let NT show true colours

Readers generally write to me about their problems with Windows 95 and Windows NT. They also offer solutions. It's great to report these fixes that have recently been passed to meNT and the true colour crashReader Brent McCraney discovered a very irritating problem on his NT system when viewing Web pages with Java applets. His machine would crash every time such an applet started.

McCraney's clues pointed me to Microsoft documents regarding the problem. It turns out that installing Service Pack 3 to NT 4.0 with Internet Explorer 3.02 causes Java applets to crash if your display properties are set to true colour (which is approximately 16 million colours).

In the short run, you can fix this problem on NT systems by setting your video driver to a lesser number of colours. McCraney finally fixed his system by entirely removing and then reinstalling his ATI video drivers, which may have reset his colour depth.

A more long-term solution is to download a patch from Microsoft called Getadmin-fix. This is available at lic/fixes/usa/nt40/hotfixes-postSP3/getadmin-fix.

At this site, read the Readme.txt file, then download ADMNFIXI.EXE for Intel x86 platforms or ADMNFIXA.EXE for Alpha. Run the appropriate program to install the patch.

Note: Microsoft distributed an earlier patch called Java-fix to solve these crashes and a separate program called Dblclick-fix to solve a mouse problem. Microsoft warns you not to run either of these two older updates after you've run the Getadmin-fix. If you need to know exactly what is going on with this type of crash on a true colour display, set your browser to com/support/kb/articles/q168/7/48.asp.

DirectX marks the spot

One related item deals with Microsoft's DirectX, a set of fast graphics and sound drivers for Windows 95, NT, and Internet Explorer 4.0. Installing NT's Service Pack 3 gives you DirectX 3.0 files, which are updates of older files supported under NT 4.0. Windows 95 users can get the latest DirectX drivers (known as Version 5.0 under Win95) from msdownload/directx/dxf/enduser5.0/default.htm.

Assuming that Service Pack 3 didn't put your system into an infinite loop, as it did with McCraney's above, you may want to tweak your DirectX drivers to better suit your preferences.

Now there's a convenient way to do that. Reader Alan Miller raves about a new DirectX control panel that enables you to configure Direct3D, DirectDraw, DirectSound, and other aspects of the drivers.

You can download the 21KB .ZIP file containing this control panel from www.euronet. Unzip that file, then drag Directx.cpl into your Windows/System folder. As soon as you do this, you can run the Control Panel, then choose DirectX.

McCraney and Miller will receive free copies of Windows 95 Secrets for being the first to e-mail me these pointers.

Brian Livingston is the co-author of several best-selling Windows books, including the most recent Windows 95 Secrets (IDG Books). Send tips to He regrets that he cannot answer individual questions.

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