How to remove ‘SecureBoot isn’t configured correctly’ watermark on Windows 8.1

October 19th, 2013 Comments off

The ‘SecureBoot isn’t configured correctly’ watermark in question is this:

This guide will remove the watermark by replacing all text with invisible spaces, using a tried and tested method that has been used in earlier Windows versions to remove similar watermarks.

Don’t follow this guide unless you have exhausted all the other options, such as group policy, clearing keys and otherwise fidding with BIOS options. I’m one of the unlucky ones that has a BIOS with UEFI support but no SecureBoot options at all, so this was my only choice.


  1. Install Resource Hacker
  2. Install TakeOwnership
  3. Install Process Hacker
  4. Open C:\Windows\Branding\Basebrd\en-GB\basebrd.dll.mui with Resource Hacker (en-US if American)
  5. Go to String Table > 1 > 2057 and replace the contents of strings 12 and 13 with a space, e.g.:
    12,     " "
  6. Click ‘Compile Script’ then File>Save As and save with the same name but to a different folder (e.g. your desktop)
  7. Right click C:\Windows\Branding\Basebrd\en-GB\basebrd.dll.mui, and select Take Ownership, then delete it and copy the one from your desktop into its place
  8. Open C:\Windows\System32\en-GB\shell32.dll.mui with Resource Hacker (en-US if American)
  9. Go to String Table > 2070 > 2057 and do the same process as above with strings 33108, 33115 and 33117
  10. Click ‘Compile Script’ then File>Save As and save with the same name but to a different folder (e.g. your desktop)
  11. Open Process Hacker and click the ‘Find Handles or DLLs’ button in the main toolbar
  12. In the search box type ‘shell32.mui.dll’ and click ‘Find’
  13. Order the results by the ‘Type’ column
  14. Select all results of type ‘File’ by shift-clicking, ignoring the ones of  type ‘Mapped File’
  15. Right click and choose ‘close’, accepting any warnings
  16. Close Process Hacker
  17. Right click C:\Windows\System32\en-GB\shell32.dll.mui, and select Take Ownership, then delete it and copy the one from your desktop into its place
  18. Reboot
Categories: Windows Tags: , ,

Fix for scrobbler not working on Windows 8

January 18th, 2013 Comments off

Since the 2.1.30 update, if your media player is running as admin (this may only apply to Winamp), the scrobbler needs to run with admin privileges too.

Categories: Windows Tags: , , ,

Fix for Samsung 750 and 950 series monitors 120Hz “Not Optimum Mode”

January 15th, 2013 2 comments

Use 120.8Hz custom refresh rate. Both Windows and the monitor’s OSD will show 121Hz. Actual 121.0Hz will cause the error without fail, it must be a tiny bit below. I guess there is something weird going on with the tolerances in the monitor – I’ve noticed things like mains current spikes contribute to the problem.

This may apply more to HDMI 1440×1080 or 1280×720 than to DisplayPort 1080p.

My exact settings for 1440x1080x120Hz over HDMI are as follows:

Categories: Hardware Tags:

How to fix issue where you can only type in the address bar of Internet Explorer 9

January 3rd, 2013 Comments off

Had a weird issue where every input field on webpages in IE9 would redirect focus to the address bar.

Turning off Protected Mode fixed it, probably not a great fix but whatever

Categories: Windows Tags: , ,

Far Cry 3 registry error after copying files from another PC

December 31st, 2012 Comments off

If you get the error “cannot find essential information in the registry” and Uplay will not accept your Steam key, do the following:

Transfer the registry key HLKM\Software\Wow6432Node (if 64-bit)\Ubisoft\Far Cry 3

Update value of ‘InstallDir’ as necessary

Categories: Gaming Tags: , ,

How to get bitstreamed S/PDIF digital audio out of a laptop without spending a fortune

December 21st, 2012 3 comments

It’s amazing the amount of people willing to spend insane amounts of money on asynchronous USB audio – either direct to DAC or an asynchronous USB to S/PDIF adapter. Though to be fair, I can say from experience that asynchronous USB is absolutely necessary over standardised USB audio, unless you get extremely lucky with your hardware and driver stack. But there is no point in throwing money at the problem (async USB is invariably much more expensive) – there is a much cheaper solution.

At this point it is assumed that your laptop or PC has an HDMI output with audio support, and that your DAC has a S/PDIF coaxial input (if you have bought a DAC which only supports USB, you’ve made a terrible mistake).

What you need is a chinese-made HDMI switch, labelled ‘HDMI 4 Ports Switcher With Audio Outputs‘ (in big letters across the top of the device itself). This is available on ebay and countless import sites. Inside you will find a EP94A1 chip, which not only switches 4 HDMI inputs to 1 output, but provides a raw audio stream in all the usual compressed formats (actually more than I have ever seen reported by a device), as well as up to 192KHz 24-bit PCM. Unlike some similar boxes with inferior chips, it overrides the audio capabilities reported by the HDMI video device attached to the output port. It is also capable of downconverting 5.1 channel audio to 2 channel for the digital outputs, but I think you would be much better off doing this on the software end.

Sadly the optical output is of poor quality, and can barely output 24-bit at any sample rate – from subjective testing I found the highest quality available was 16-bit 88.2KHz. For this reason you want to use the coaxial output, which unless I am mistaken, is a perfect bitstream from the HDMI audio signal, and is capable of full 24-bit 192KHz PCM. The stereo 3.5mm output is powered by a CSC4344C DAC, which is common in basic S/PDIF to analogue conversions, for example the FiiO D3. Sadly it is far from audiophile quality, so you will want to steer clear of it.

The only major flaw in the device is that it is extremely susceptible to electrical interference – I am forced to keep my smartphone a minimum of 1 metre away to stop the audio cutting out entirely, replaced by the typical GSM noise.

If you are a mad bastard like me and feel the need to overclock every HDMI chip you see in order to drive high resolutions or 120Hz monitors, you will be pleased (or possibly disappointed) to know that the EP94A1 can pass through any obscure signal (I’m using 1920×1080 72+85Hz and 1440×1080 120Hz), as long as the pixel clock remains under 200MHz. Once you cross the 200MHz threshold, the audio cuts out for 5 seconds every 30-60 seconds, but the video signal remains intact. I have not tested if this holds true once you go significantly past 200Mhz due to monitor limitations.

Basically it’s an excellent little device (especially considering the cost of only £28, a tiny fraction of what async USB to S/PDIF adapters cost), perfect for bypassing the awful USB system in the FiiO E17 amp and tapping the true potential of the E17′s DAC chip, which, if I remember the specifications correctly, is connected directly to the S/PDIF inputs.

Categories: Audiophilia Tags: ,

DarkELEC Release 3

November 2nd, 2012 29 comments

Just an interim release for now as I don’t have my proper dev environment (TV, Pi-compatible internet connection, etc.). Once I figure out a way of getting networking to my Pi, I’ll throw in the promised features such as USB audio support.

No idea at all if this works (I can’t do much more than play about in the menu with no networking), but it certainly seems a lot smoother and more responsive than r2.

There’s been no significant changes on my part, but likely a very significant amount from upstream (namely the extra codecs, 512mb support, etc.).


More details:

Asus Xonar sound card frameskip issue

August 15th, 2012 Comments off

Just a little tidbit of information regarding Xonar sound cards: The ‘GX’ mode, while I dread to think how deeply it hooks into DirectX (considering it crashes several old games), must be enabled for anything which involves certain clocks to not develop awful judder on the video side of things.

Basically if you use ReClock or play osu!, or anything of that sort (high fps/fast reaction games), enable GX mode. Without GX enabled, I’ve found there to be intermittent severe frame skip, which is only visible to the eye and not to any kind of software FPS or frame loss counter.

If you have a Xonar card and a high refresh rate monitor (it’s not very clear at 60hz), compare GX on and off with

If I remember correctly, with Aero enabled or Vsync on, the issue is not apparent.

DarkElec Release 2

August 4th, 2012 38 comments


Finally got DarkELEC to compile successfully with the latest upstream changes from OpenELEC along with a few tweaks that I’ve since forgotten :P

Observations for this build:

  • Fairly high idle CPU usage (70%+) sadly
  • libCEC works on LG and Sony TVs now, however all input stops working once you begin playing a video (a complete deal-breaker for me personally :( )
  • Built in streaming services still work
  • Overall smoother UI
  • More reliable Wifi
  • Thumbnails aren’t missing/oddly coloured

More details:

Categories: Linux, Raspberry Pi Tags:

DarkELEC – Raspberry Pi optimised OpenELEC fork

May 31st, 2012 101 comments


None of the currently available solutions do a perfect job with running XBMC on the Pi, however OpenELEC comes by far the closest, in spite of its locked down nature.

This fork aims to remedy the very few flaws in its implementation and to focus 100% on the Pi, while also sticking to the upstream and incorporating its updates.


  • Low idle CPU usage (< 15%)
  • Smoother and more responsive
  • Built in XBMC addons: iPlayer, custom fixed version of Demand 5, various unofficial repos
  • iPlayer, 4oD, Demand 5, ITV Player, SportsDevil all fully tested+working
  • Improved wifi connectivity
  • Added test-connman scripts for easy wifi setup (see here)
  • Added wireless_tools (iwconfig etc.)
  • Added rndis_wlan wifi driver (broadcom 4320 chipset)
  • Easy SD card installation script for building from source (./install [block device])

Download pre-built SD Card image: (~75MB)
(Fixed partition size at just under 2GB total, you can expand manually with GParted if necessary)

(Refer to Building and Installing OpenELEC for Raspberry Pi – expect build issues on anything but a stock debian squeeze i686 install)