Sunday, 18 January 2004

Real need a good kicking

I'm not sure who to be more pissed at, Real or Microsoft.

I was trying to play an ordinary MP3 from a website a short while ago. I clicked the link, bloody Real Player pops up. Dammit, I thought, I never asked for Real Player, I detest the thing, but another user on this computer installed it.

OK, never mind, change the association - hang on, where's the option in Media Player? There's supposed to be a File Types tab - and it's missing!

OK, let's look at 'Set Program Access and Defaults' - nope, can't do that, I'm not an admin in this account.

(Swears loudly)

Log on as my admin account, make my normal account an administrator, log off admin account, log on in normal account. Oh look, File Types is back. Use SPAD anyway to fix anything else Real has broken. Now links play in WMP, like they ought to.

Note to self: become a Limited User again later

So let's summarize, shall we:

  • Media Player should show its File Types tab to all users, no exceptions.
  • Set Program Access and Defaults should be accessible to all users - maybe it shouldn't show the 'show this program' checkbox, but I should be able to change my damned default player!
  • Real should not assume that all users want their crap if one user installs it.

To be honest, it's not entirely Real's fault: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT in Windows is a sort of virtual registry key, where per-user settings override per-machine ones. Somehow you have to propogate default settings, including file type associations, for newly installed programs to individual users. I'd prefer if Windows checked during logon and made a copy of any newly installed settings, but without overwriting anything I was already using. Question: how do you determine what was in use?

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