Saturday, March 28, 2009

Remapping the Dell MediaDirect Button

Have you ever wanted to take control of the Dell MediaDirect button and have it launch another application? Perhaps turn off the LCD when pressed? How about launch your default browser and load your favorite website? Well, now you can do just this.

  • This modification requires that QUICKSET be installed on the system. Quickset provides the necessary Registry entries and functionality.

  • Tested and verified compatible with MediaDirect 3.5, MediaDirect 4.0 and Quickset v8.2.20+. This process has been confirmed to work with Vista 32 & 64 bit versions. Also confirmed to work under XP 64 and Windows 7 64.


    Let’s get started:

    The first step is to modify (or create) the registry entries that handle the MediaDirect button. Open REGEDIT via the RUN command (type REGEDIT). This will launch the REGISTRY EDITOR.

    Find the following keys...

  • HKey_Local_Machine\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\MobilePC\HotStartButtons\0
  • HKey_Local_Machine\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet001\Control\MobilePC\HotStartButtons\0
  • HKey_Local_Machine\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet002\Control\MobilePC\HotStartButtons\0
  • HKey_Local_Machine\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet003\Control\MobilePC\HotStartButtons\0

    Note: You may not have an entry for ControlSet003 - if not, don't worry. Just proceed.

    For each of these keys, there is an Application Path entry. This is the entry you will need to modify.

    When looking at it, it will look like this:

    "C:\Program Files\Dell\MediaDirect\MDirect.exe"

    In order to remap it to launch another application, just edit the path to whatever application you want. So, for example:

    To map it to launch Windows Media Center, you would change the path to: "C:\Windows\ehome\ehshell.exe"

    You now have the process to change the mapping to any application you have. Just point the application path to the application you want the button to launch. Remember to leave in the quotes.

    NOTE: After modifying the registry, you will need to reboot for your changes to take effect.

    Several people have expressed interest inhaving the MediaDirect button power off the LCD when pressed. In order to do this, use the following process:

  • Download This is a small 85kb Freeware application. Thanks to Taimur Asad for writing this AWESOME little application.

  • Extract the file you downloaded and move it to the root level of your C: Drive. To keep things neat and tidy, rename the application to 'TurnOffLCD'.

  • When editing the registry, you would change the Application Path key to: "C:\TurnOffLCD.exe"

  • Close regedit and reboot your system

    That’s it! After your reboot is complete, depressing the MediaDirect button will turn off the LCD. Moving the mouse or pressing a keyboard key will power on the LCD.

    So, for Lock Workstation you would:

  • Right-click an empty space on your desktop, point at New, and then select Shortcut from the context menu

  • Type rundll32.exe user32.dll,LockWorkStation in the location field and then press Next

  • Type the name of the shortcut in the name box ("LockWorkstation")

  • Click Finish to create the shortcut. To keep the desktop clean and free of clutter, move the newly created shortcut to the root level of your C: drive.

  • Now, in the Application Path of the registry edit process, change it to point to your LockWorkstation shortcut:


  • Close regedit and reboot your system

    Pressing the MediaDirect button will now lock your laptop. Granted it’s probably just as fast to use the keyboard shortcut (Windows Key+L), but some people may find it useful.

    How about locking and turning off the LCD by just pushing the button?

  • First we will need to create a batch file. This is very simple to do. Open NotePad and type the following:

    @echo off
    start C:\Windows\System32\rundll32.exe user32.dll,LockWorkStation
    PING -n 3
    start C:\TurnOffLCD.exe

    Save the file as 'TurnOffLCDandLock.bat' - BE SURE TO CHANGE THE FILE TYPE to: All Files or it wont save properly. Save the file to the root level of the C: drive.

  • Be sure that The TurnOffLCD application is named 'TURNOFFLCD' its located at the root level of the C: drive.

  • Edit your Current Control Set registry entries as explained above to point to the TurnOffLCDandLock.bat file you created in Step 1.


  • Reboot and depress the MediaDirect button - your workstation should lock then 3 seconds later the LCD will power off.

    As before, create a new shortcut, but instead use the following to create a "SHUTDOWN shortcut" which will force all open applications to close and the system to shutdown when the button is pressed:

    Shutdown.exe -s -t 00

    or to give the system 30 seconds, use this:

    Shutdown.exe -s

    For SLEEP, try:

    Rundll32.exe Powrprof.dll,SetSuspendState Sleep

    For HIBERNATE, try:

    Rundll32.exe Powrprof.dll,SetSuspendState Hibernate

    For Website or Document shortcuts just follow the same procedure. Right Click on the desktop and create your shortcut. You could even link to a .wav or .mp3. Anything is possible. ;)

    Remember, once you have identified the shortcut/application/file you want to link the button to, just go into the registry as before and change the Application Path.

    Kind of cool, huh? Well, that's about it for remapping the Dell MediaDirect button.
  • Saturday, March 14, 2009

    Updating your Video Driver - The Right Way (VISTA)

    Properly Removing the NVIDIA Driver

    NOTE: This is for Vista ONLY.

    So you want to update your NVIDIA driver? In order to facilitate a clean install you will want to remove all traces of your old driver prior to installing the new one. This includes registry keys (Don't worry, you won't be manually editing the registry). So let's go over this simple but effective 2 step procedure.

    We want to completely remove all traces of the old driver install. To do this, we will be using two freeware applications. If you don't already use these, download them and install.

    Download CCleaner
    Download DriverSweeper

    In addition to the two programs, we also need to disable Vista's automatic driver install which is enabled by default. It's rather annoying and I actually prefer having control over the OS ;). By disabling this function, Vista will no longer automatically install a driver for a newly installed device it detects. Instead, it will prompt you to take action. A dialog box will appear asking you if you want Vista to search online for a driver, search its driver store or insert a disk. This is much better and essential to properly installing a device driver.

    So, let's get started:

    1. Open the 'System' control panel
    2. On the left side of the System control panel window, select 'Advanced System Settings'
    3. Click on the 'Hardware Tab'
    4. Click the 'Windows Update Driver Settings' button
    5. Choose the middle option, 'Ask me each time I connect a new device before checking for drivers'. Select OK and close the System Properties window and then close the System control panel. That's it.

    Step 1 - Uninstalling the Current Driver

    Open the Programs and Features Control Panel (Windows Vista) or Add/Remove Programs Control Panel (Windows XP).

    Find the entry titled NVIDIA Drivers **NOTE: DO NOT uninstall your PhysX Driver. If you do, you will have to reinstall PhysX completely. Starting with the 8.09 release. PhysX updates are meant to be applied OVER the existing version installed.

    Highlight it (NVIDIA DRIVERS) and select Uninstall.

    Windows will ask you to confirm the uninstall, select Yes.

    Windows will then prompt you to restart your system.

    Reboot Windows into Safe Mode. To boot into Safe Mode: As the system is rebooting and after the BIOS screen is visible, repeatedly press the F8 key. This will bring you to the Windows boot options. Choose the option to boot into Safe Mode.

    Step 2 - Removing All Traces

    Now that you are in Safe Mode, launch DriverSweeper. Check the NVIDIA Display checkbox ONLY (DO NOT UNINSTALL THE PHYSX DRIVERS). Select Analyze. Select Clean. This will remove most, if not all of the traces of the NVIDIA driver left over from uninstalling via the control panel. You can now exit out of DriverSweeper.

    Launch CCleaner and then Select the Registry button on the left side of the CCleaner main window. Select Scan for Issues. If any issues are detected, Select Fix Issues. You will be prompted to backup the changes CCleaner is about to make. If you feel the need, do so. Once the process completes, close CCleaner and REBOOT your system.

    After rebooting, proceed with your new Driver Install.


    HAVE DISK Install Method (Can be used to install NVIDIA Desktop drivers, LV2Go drivers that do not have a modded .inf file or other devices you need to manually update)

    1. Run the installer for your driver and let it extract the necessary files. If you are prompted for a location, I suggest saving them to a new folder on the desktop so you can locate them easier - you can always move them later. After the installer has extracted the driver files it may attempt to install them automatically. That's ok since it will not be able to install due to a missing entry in the driver .inf file. This is where the 'Have Disk' method comes into play.

    2. Next, open up Device Manager (you can open the Run command via the Start Menu and type in 'mmc devmgmt.msc' - this will launch the Device Manager window.

    3. Under 'Display Adapters' you will see an entry for 'Standard VGA Adapter'. Double Click on this to open the Properties window.

    4. Go to Driver tab and select Update Driver.

    5. Select 'Browse my computer for driver software'.

    6. Select 'Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer'.

    7. Select 'Have Disk'

    8. Select 'Browse' and navigate to the extracted driver files. Double click on the .inf file.

    9. You should now see the name of your device in the list. Highlight it and Click Next to continue.

    10. Windows may ask for your approval to install the driver. Select 'Install this driver software anyway'.

    11. Once installed, you will be prompted to reboot. If you have an SLI system, DO NOT REBOOT yet. You will need to repeat steps 1-9 for your second GPU. Look in the main Device Manager window and there should be an entry for 'UNKNOWN DEVICE' in the Other Devices category. Repeat steps 1-9 for the UNKNOWN DEVICE. Once done, Reboot and enjoy!

    XPS M1730 Vista Drivers (64-bit)

    Listed here you will find the most current available drivers specifically for use with the XPS M1730.

    For XP Drivers, you can use the same list of devices, just perform your own Google search for the XP driver.

    Intel PM965 Chipset
    Intel Chipset INF Installer v9.1.1.1019, Last Updated 09/07/2009

    Intel® Turbo Memory w/ Intel Matrix Storage Manager
    It is not necessary to install the Intel Matrix Storage Manager separately. It is included with the Turbo Memory installer. If using a Turbo Memory card, this is the driver you should install.
    v1.10.0.1012, Last Updated: 08/17/2009

    Intel(R) Matrix Storage Manager
    Only use this installer if you do not have an Intel Turbo Memory card installed.
    v8.9.0.1023, Last Updated: 07/18/2009

    RICOH R5C833 Card Reader
    v3.62.02 A00, Last Updated: 10/06/2009

    Ageia PhysX Card
    v9.09.0814, Last Updated: 08/14/2009
    Note: DO NOT uninstall previous version. NVIDIA PhysX software should be installed over your existing install (for it to function correctly with the AGEIA card installed in the M1730). **FOR NEW/CLEAN INSTALLS ONLY: First install v8.09.04. AFTER installing v8.09.04, install the current version.

    NVIDIA Geforce 8700M/8800M/9800M FORCEWARE DRIVERS
    NVIDIA Notebook Drivers Landing Page

    Dell NVIDIA Notebook Driver
    v186.24, Last Updated: 07/21/2009

    Network Interface Card
    Broadcom 57XX Gigabit Integrated Controller (Device ID = NetXtreme 5754M)
    Download via Broadcom's NetXtreme Desktop Driver Page (just select your OS)

    Broadcom Advanced Control Suite 3 - Diagnostics Utility
    Ins v11.31.04 BACS v11.2.6 A00, Last Updated: 8/15/2008

    Audio Adapter
    SIGMATEL STAC 92XX C-Major HD Audio
    v6.10.0.5866 A04, Last Updated: 10/22/2008

    Wireless Network Card
    Dell Multi-Device Driver for Dell 1390, 1395, 1490, 1505 Wireless Cards
    v4.170.77.3/ A22, Last Updated: 11/20/2008

    Intel® PRO/Wireless 3945ABG / 4965AGN Wireless Cards
    v12.4.3.9, Last Updated: 07/18/2009

    Logitech Gaming LCD Display
    LOGITECH GamePanel Installer v3.03.133, Last Updated: 10/06/2009

    Touchpad, Webcam, Quickset
    Synaptics TouchPad
    v13.0.6.0 A01, Last Updated: 07/28/2009

    Creative Labs Laptop Integrated Webcam
    vPRC2.0 A04, Last Updated: 04/28/2009

    Dell Quickset
    Version 9.2.13 and higher of Quickset runs as a Local Machine Process - no longer a startup item :) You will also have the new style volume/screen brightness on-screen indicators and Dell Extended Battery Life option. To utilize this new version, we have to do a few things before running the installer. In order to still access your lid backlight and touchpad/speaker leds, you need to have the following Quickset versions installed, in the following order (very important - install over the existing version). So, without further delay, here is the correct order...

    v8.2.20 A09, Last Updated: 03/27/2008
    v9.0.12 A00, Last Updated: 06/26/2008

    Once these are installed, run the installer for v9.2.13. When running this version's installer, you may be prompted to customize install, if so be sure to select Custom Install and set it to not install keyboard backlighting. The module for backlighting is written for the Studio line and not the XPS M1730. Don't worry, your backlighting will still work as normal. With this version, you will have the new style volume and screen brightness popups - much better than the old style. and it will run as a Local Machine process.

    v9.2.13 A05, Last Updated: 01/09/2009

    Next, download and run the installer for 9.4.6. You will be prompted to upgrade Quickset, select OK/Continue.

    v9.4.6 A00, Last Updated: 06/11/2009

    v9.6.6 A00, Last Updated: 08/16/2009 - INITIAL WIN7 RELEASE

    Bluetooth Module
    Dell Wireless 350/355/365/370 Bluetooth Modules
    v6.2.0.9600 A18-1, Last Updated: 09/23/2009

    Wireless Mobile Broadband
    Due to the number of different models, check the Dell Communications Driver List for the most recent drivers specific to your Mobile Broadband card.

    Dell Dock
    Dell Dock

    Dell Video Chat
    Dell Video Chat by SightSpeed

    Dell Diagnostics with MpMemory
    vA1355A0, Last Updated: 05/15/2009

    Sunday, March 08, 2009

    Intel Turbo Memory and Vista 64

    So I have a 1GB Turbo Memory module which came with my M1730. Even though many have slammed Intel's Turbo Memory technology, I never had any issues with Vista 32 and I did notice a slight speed up with boot time.

    Last week I switched over to 64-bit Vista and experienced a couple of snags resulting in two failed attempts at install (no, I wasn't using a slip-streamed install disc). I was finally able to update to SP1 with no glitches and all drivers installed fine. I did however notice a very long delay with boot time and just lag in general.

    After a couple of days of trouble shooting I was able to narrow it down and I came to the conclusion that Intel Turbo Memory just does not play nice with Vista 64. After uninstalling and then installing just Intel Matrix Storage Manager the lag was gone and boot time was acceptable.

    I'm hesitant to reinstall the chip (yes, I physically removed it from the system). I might consider it when Intel updates the Turbo Memory installer again. We shall see...