Bits from Bill

Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Vista Won't Silence Scotty's Bark

The new WinPatrol 2007 was designed to be Vista compatible as well as introduce a few other  new features like Delayed Start. Much to my surprise the number one bug reported with the new version was that Scotty no longer barked on Vista machines.

This was a real mystery to me since Scotty’s bark was a single function call(PlaySound) in Windows. It has worked for the last 9 years all the way back to Windows 95. Reports to Microsoft via the developer forums were pretty much ignored and it remained a mystery.

Next week I plan on releasing a new version of WinPatrol so I thought it was a good time to revisit this unique problem. I was lucky enough to track down a programmer at Microsoft named Larry Osterman. My new best friend Larry is very familiar with the workings of the PlaySound function and was kind enough to work into the early hours of the morning to give Scotty his voice back.

It turns out Vista has “tightened up the validation logic that's used when checking files before the PlaySound call”. Essentially, it means Vista is a little more picky with the format header used by WAV files.  Scotty’s bark was created a long time ago using a shareware program called CoolEdit96.  A little tweak to the wav file header and he’s happy again, barking on Vista machines.

If you’d like all the technical details and the debate on whether it’s a bug in Vista you can read more on todays post on Larry Osterman’s Weblog.

Stay tuned for a new version of WinPatrol with this fix and a few other surprises sometime next week.

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Blogger TeMerc said...

That's great new Bill, good work in tracking down the person who was finally able to help you.

And kudos to him for 'burning the midnight oil'.

I'm Vista more and more each day and Scotty's bark will be a welcome sound.

9:11 PM  
Blogger John L. Galt said...

Bill, that is wonderful news, both on finding the fix as well as knowing teh Vista is more picky on what it allows to be *played*.

I look for my plus to be barking again in no time!

11:47 PM  
Blogger John L. Galt said...

Bill, that is great news - both that you found someone willing to listen and help you fix the problem, *and* the fact that Vista actually checks files, even audio, prior to allowing them to be run....

Kudos! I look forward to the next plus version barking at me again!

11:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


10:29 AM  
Blogger Hitokiri JInchuu said...

I have a similar problem on my machine. I'm on Win Vista Home Prem 32 bit. WAV files that I download with Firefox absolutely refuse to play. They are full size, but their length is reported as 0.00 and one file player complained of a corrupt header.

How does a non-programmer fix the file header so Vista will play these files?

12:55 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

The solution is to find an updated wav editor that will save the file in the appropriate format.

In my case, the wav file was created with something created in 1995. If you can find a wav editor online you should be able to open your current wav and make sure it's saved in the current format.

3:14 PM  

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