The game is still available for sale on Amazon: http://amzn.com/B007VTVRFA
I'm not sure why people keep saying they took it down. Maybe they did, but it's there and available now and the ratings on it are still horrible.
Amazon did take it down for a few hours but they put it back up and added a notice to the page stating that EA was having server problems and was working to resolve them and that customers who purchase the game may be unable to play until those problems are resolved.
Now I see that Amazon has since removed that notice and replaced it with a note saying that owners of SimCity are entitled to a free game from EA.
2) I don't have a motherboard that supports an SSD. So I need a new motherboard
Pardon my ignorance, but why couldn't you use an SSD with your existing motherboard? An typical SSD is presents itself like any other SATA drive so as long as your motherboard has SATA ports it should have worked fine.
Even if you didn't have any SATA ports you could use, basic SATA controller cards are very inexpensive (unless you want to do hardware-based RAID but if that were the case you would have probably already had a card you could use.)
Of course based on the rest of your post, it sounds like the most of the components in the system you were upgrading were fairly old anyway and a complete motherboard, CPU, and RAM replacement was probably needed anyway to get decent performance in most modern games.
Under windows you just need to launch the application using the runas command that has been built into the OS since at least Windows 2000 (possibly as far back as some versions of NT, not sure.)
Also UAC introduced in Vista and later allow applications to run at a special reduced privileged level which gives them a set of permissions below a normal user account which prevents them from accessing many parts of the user's profile. IE, Chrome, and later versions of Acrobat will run in reduced privileged mode by default. However last I checked Firefox doesn't support this feature and always runs with the same permissions as the user that launched it.
Well that's only for DirectX. And there are hacks to get DX10/11 to run under XP.
Those hacks simply cause XP to lie about the version of DirectX that is currently installed and some of the better ones have simple stubs for some the new API calls introduced in DirectX 10 and 11. The do NOT actually implement the new features found in the later versions of DirectX.
While this means that applications that require newer versions of DirectX can "run" it also means that the moment an application tries to use any of the new features are used there will be rendering errors and other unexpected behaviors.
I have a similar setup (128GB SSD). You make it sound easy. I tried several ways to move everything over to a hard drive so that nothing user-related was stored on the system/boot SSD. I tried hard links, fiddling with the registry, changing environment variables, but in the end I gave up and kept the stub of my user directory on C: where Windows seemed to want it, and moved all the individual directories (Documents, Music, Pictures, etc.) using the "right-click and use Location tab" approach. Microsoft does NOT make it easy to do this elegantly for all users. Everything I tried either didn't work in the end (e.g., trying to do it via a hard link for the whole Users directory), or was a horrible kludge that left dribbles of user profile stuff on C:, or it didn't recognize things had moved when you try to create new users, or similar "close but not quite" breakage. Either I'm dumb, or you found a magical way to do it easily and effectively. Do share.
It is actually fairly easy to configure Windows to put user profiles for all users on a different drive than the boot (system) drive, however it must be done when first installing Windows.
As far as I am aware Microsoft does not officially support moving user profiles after the OS is installed. There are ways to do it, but as you found they all have their problems. By doing it during the OS install pretty much all of the problems are avoided.
The option to change the location for user profiles is not exposed through the graphical installer for Windows but it can be configured by using an Unattend.xml file by setting the FolderLocations key to point to the drive you want the data to reside on. You can either create the file manually or use the free Windows AIK to do it.
You can use the FolderLocations key to move several key folders and one of which is the User profile folder.
If you have never installed Windows using the unattended setup before you may want to experiment using a VM before doing it on real hardware just to make sure you have your Unattend.xml file doing what you want it to.
The only problem with this is some of the junctions created on the system drive will continue to point to the wrong location. You can find more information on this in MS KB929831. An easy way to fix this is to create a junction at c:\Users pointing to the new user profile location. (For instance on one of my systems I have a junction at C:\Users pointing to F:\Users). This neatly fixes this issue and as a bonus fixes any applications that have hard-coded paths for user profiles.
I have been running my home system like this for the past 2 years and have not encountered any problems.
From TFA, the specific configurations that allow this to happen: "Anyone who used FileVault encryption on their Mac prior to Lion, upgraded to Lion, but kept the folders encrypted using the legacy version of FileVault is vulnerable. FileVault 2 (whole disk encryption) is unaffected."
The problem is actually far more widespread than that. I have some Macs running Lion here that have never had FileVault enabled that have this problem. People on the MacEnterprise list have been discussing this bug for about a week now.
Using the legacy version of FileVault may be one method to trigger the bug but it definitely isn't the only one. Many are seeing the same bug when Lion is joined to an AD domain and some are also seeing it when using OD as well (Especially when using mobile home directories).
So far no one has been able to determine exactly what configurations trigger the bug since not all systems appear to be impacted, but the problem is definitely far more widespread than the article indicates.
Really? I've always found VLC to be better. MS-WMP won't even play mkv files.
Perhaps there is a setting that I am overlooking but on my system VLC appears to totally ignore the color space the video was encoded with and makes no attempt to convert the color space to the one currently being used by the display device. As a result most videos are displayed in a totally wrong color space.
WMP gets it right and always converts the color space as long as the file was properly encoded.
WMP can play video and audio from any container as long as the appropriate splitter is installed. If you can't play MKV files with WMP then I'm guessing you probably can't play them with any Direct Show-based players either.
All you need to do is download and install the Haali Media Splitter and they should play just fine both in WMP and all Direct Show-based players.
Proof by anecdote, I know, but I've never had any issues cleaning out C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download. Now, C:\Windows\Installer on the other hand... Just leave that one alone. Compress it if you want, but don't delete that stuff, or you will majorly screw up subsequent installations/uninstallations.
Yes, cleaning out C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download is perfectly safe but usually unnecessary.
Updates are downloaded into that folder and then installed. If the installation of an update is successful, the installer is deleted from the SoftwareDistribution\Download folder. If it is unsuccessful the installer remains in the folder and the installation will be attempted again the next time Windows Update is run.
I have seen systems with a lot of installers in the SoftwareDistribution\Download folder for updates that were installed successfully. Further investigation revealed that the antivirus client on the machine was keeping a file handle to the installer open after the update was installed. As a result, when Windows failed to delete the installer because the antivirus client never closed it's handle to the file.
The way to fix this problem was to reboot the PC (to make sure there are no more open handles) and manually delete the contents of the SoftwareDistribution\Download folder. I usually follow this up by removing the installed antivirus client and installing a more well-behaved one such as Microsoft Security Essentials.
"Support" for Microsoft products currently comprises making tedious searches in their "knowledge" base and reading their circular answers to questions only peripherally related to the problem you're actually having.
Really? I have also found the knowledge base to contain quite a bit of good information once you learn how things are organized. (I agree that the organization is not very intuitive at first but there is more information there than a casual search may reveal at first.)
I have also contacted Microsoft Support at least 3 times in the past year and I have always found them to be very knowledgeable and quite helpful.
Yes, there is a fee required to contact support but they almost always refund the fee if the problem was not caused by user error and they will continue working with you on the problem until you agree that it has been resolved.
I had one particularly puzzling problem that turned out to be a bug in IIS. The support ticket ended up being escalated to someone on the IIS development team and they built a custom hotfix to fix the issue. The problem was resolved within 2 days and they refunded the support fee automatically.
Then of course as you pointed out there is the weird window tearing thing going on, which for some reason will happen even on a top-of-the-line Windows machine with no software running except the one explorer.exe window you're moving around.
The window tearing that you are describing was fixed by the hardware accelerated window manager that was introduced in Windows Vista.
If you are experiencing window tearing on a modern Windows machine, either your graphics card or drivers does not support the features required for hardware composting or you have disabled Aero. (Disabling Aero forces a fallback to a software desktop compositor similar to the one used in Windows XP and Server 2003.)
Please note that you can disable the transparent glass effects while still taking advantage of the new window manager by switching the theme from Aero Glass to Aero Basic.
While this is not quite HD, 1024x768 is fairly close to 720p (1280x720).