What's the problem ?
It's "Digital Rights Management", the Media Industry name for 'Copy Protection' or 'anti-piracy', of course. Microsoft designed DRM to be impossible to change or remove. At best you can 'update' it - for example by moving from WMP 9 to 10 - you will discover it's difficult (if not impossible) to return to the previous version. Why ? Because 'hackers' keep breaking Microsoft DRM so they can decrypt and keep 'play once' and 'time expires' music tracks from on-line commercial music 'stores' - and the last thing Microsoft wants is for you to go back to a version that has been 'hacked'. As a consequence, once installed, both the DRM system itself and the CODECS that it uses to decrypt video (and audio) files become 'locked' into your system. Why are the codecs 'impossible to change' ? Well, the codec uses the 'DRM key' to decrypt the audio/video during playback. So one way to gain access to the decryption key is to 'hack' the codec (just finding out where in RAM the codec places the key is enough to get access). Of course, whilst everything 'works' this is not an issue. However - as with all things Microsoft - sooner or later something will be 'updated' which results in a previously playable file becoming unplayable - and that's when you start tearing your hair out as Windows refuses to let you go back to the working configuration. If WMP9 is not found (or .wmv files are 'assocaited' with some other app. eg VLC), Photostory will show an 'Unable to add to playlist ..' warning at the end of your story 'build'. This is not 'fatal' - the output will have been saved to the location you spefified. To play if with WMP 9, right click, select 'Open with' and browse for Windows Media Player (if you can find it :-) ) A partial solution is the use of System Restrore, however this assume you have a recent Restore Point of your working system :-) For maximium flexability, what you would like is no DRM system at all and thus Codecs that can be added or removed as needed. Of course you won't be able tom play any DRM encrypted music files, but then who wants to do that anyway ? You don't even have to use 'Torrents' to get dRM free music. Just about any track or album you could want can be found - in a DRM-free unencrypted form - on YouTube ... ... and must Internet Radio sites are 'DRM free' (the battle is not to decrypt the music but to avoid the adverts ...) Be aware that some applications - such as ULead Systems 'Studio' - 'hook' into Windwos in such a waay that they 'take over' access you your CD/DVD drive (in the name of 'copy protection'). This can amke them virtually impossible to remove manually. If you get into a mess, usually re-installing will get you access to the 'add/remove' entry or uninstall.exe. After running the uninstall, you will have to reboot to remove the 'hooks'.
Missing codecTo play the PhotoStory 3 WVP2 file, Windows Media Player uses the wmvdecod.dll codec (which has to be 'registered'). Annoyingly, this is not found in the Photostory 3 (pstory.msi) installer. Nor can it be found in the Windows Media Encoder (Profile Editor) Pack 9, or any other MS application, or even the i386 folder of sp3. I could'nt even find it in the Windows Movie Maker 2.6 Setup Package. After trying verious versions of wmvdcod.dll (from win10 32bit and earlier), the only one I could get to both 'Register' OK and actually work with MPC+HC was the Vista version wmvdcod.dll-11.0.5721.5289-Vista.zip. To Register the dll, unzip it and move it into C:\Windows\System32. Then open a CMD window and type :-
regsvr32 wmvdecod.dll If you make the mistake of registering the wrong one, just add the -u option i.e. regsvr32 -u wmvdecod.dllWARNING - if you want to try more than one version of wmvdecod.dll, chances are Windows will not 'allow' you to Register an 'earlier' version of a Codec even after unregistering the 'newer' version ! You will have to start with the 'earliest' (lowest version number) and work your way up ...
The ideal solution = re-install XPsp3 with WMP 9 !XP-sp2 comes with WMP8 which can be totally over-written by sp3 WMP 9 without problems. All you then need is the Windows Media Pack 9 and you have all you need for Photostory 3. This is the solution I recommend for Windows 7 and above = just run XPsp3+Photostory 3+Windows Movie Maker XP 'Virtually' - and disable Internet access for the virtual 'image' When you launch WMP 9, if your PC is connected to the Internet, it's entirely possible that WMP 10 will be downloaded and auto-installed before you can stop it ! When you go to 'Add/Remove Programs' to uninstall WMP 10 (and thus get back WMP 9) you are in for a shock ! Like most Windows components, Media Player is not one of the programs that can be uninstalled ! Why Windows components don't appear in Add/Remove Microsoft uses the file \winnt\inf\sysoc.inf to control what appears in 'Add/Remove'. It sets a 'hide' flag for components tha Microsoft don't want you to remove. This includes Microsoft Mail, MSN Messenger, Media Player, MSN Explorer and Microsoft Games. Of COURSE they can be 'uninstalled', that's how MS Updates installs a new version. So just search for 'HIDE' in the sysoc.inf file and delete every occurance (make sure to keep the commas). You have to reboot your computer before the new settings take effect. But after uninstalling 10, when you try to re-install 9 you will get 'Error - a newer version is already installed' !!
Microsoft components (such as WMP) dodn't really uninstallWhen you use Add/Remove Programs to 'uninstall' a Microsoft component, all that actually happens is that the icon from the Desktop and the entry from Start Programs menu is removed. All the actual components - and especially the DRM components - are simply left 'in place', as are all the Registry entries, preferences and user files (such as 'play lists'). This, by the way, is how hackers get access to your ancient 10 year old Microsoft Mail Address Book ... Microsoft will tell you (and the Media Mogals) that Windows Media Player - or, to be more exact, Digital Rights Management - is an essential part of the core Windows Operating System, which, once installed, can not be removed. At best, this is being 'economical with the truth' - DRM is not 'essential' to XP** (XP/sp1/sp2 worked without DRM) and the second point is true only in so far as Microsoft Windows XPsp3 itself won't let you remove DRM. ** Later versions of Windows (7/8/8.1/10) with the 'N' suffix may not include WMP, however that does not mean they do not include DRM To 'go back' to WMP 9, you have to 'destroy' WMP 10. So, before re-installing WMP 9 you will need to find and kill the key WMP files. To do so, Windows File Protection has to be turned off and (for the DRM file) you might even have to reboot into Safe Mode or Command Line mode ! The WMP version specific files are :-
wmp.dll wmpdxm.dll wmpcore.dll wmvcore.dll (the DRM part of Windows Media Runtime) wmploc.dll
Using RollbackAlthough Windows won't let you re-install WMP9 after WMP10 has been installed, the previous version (WMP 9) still exists within the system !! Again, you have to disable Windows File Protection (this can be done from XPLite, or by rebooting to Safe Mode) and then, from a CMD prompt type :- RunDll32 advpack.dll,LaunchINFSection %SystemRoot%\inf\wmp.inf,Uninstall If you are lucky, this will get you back to WMP 9 sp3 (assuming that's what you started with) else you might get WMP 6.4 (sp 2) or even Media Player Classic (MPC), which does not use DRM. The latest version of MPC-HC which can be found here. The 'HC' in MPC-HC means 'Home Cinema' and allows you to 'pass through' 5.1 surround sound audio data unmodified to your audio interfaces' SP/DIF (optical) or RCA (co-ax) connection and thus to your Home Cinema surround sound system. WMP, of course, either blocks the use of the optical/co-ax path totally, or downgrades the audio to stereo first. The reason for this deliberate quality degrdation is to 'prevent copying', which, of course, is part of the DRM nonsense. NOTE THAT during 'roll back' you may have to help the uninstaller by providing a path to your sp3 /i386 folder. Once you manage to get your system back to have WMP 9 'level', for PhotoStory 3 all you need the WMEncoderPack9 (withProfileEditor) (v9.00.00.2980). WARNING - disconnect your Internet before running the installer (in case it tries to 'auto-update'). If it fails to install ('A newer version is already installed') you will have to dig deeper.
Removing CodecsDRM Codecs are exceedingly resource intensive and exceedingly inefficient. This is because they have to 'hide' the decryption process behind millions of irrelevant instructions so as to prevent hackers extracting the decode keys. Windows even 'obscures' the identity of the .dll's that do the decoding for each different audio/move format ('FOURCC') by using CLSID numeric strings for their entries in the Registry. Tracking down, and eliminating rouge codecs is thus an exercise in frustration. Even if you plan to 'start again' (eg. with the basic XP Windows Media 9 Codec pack), it's a 'good idea' to create a System Restore point before removing codecs. Start by looking in Add/Remove Programs (most 3rd party codec 'packs' will have an entry). If you are having pplayback problems, it's entiry possible that this is due to some ancient Open Sourve codec installed by the 3rd party codec pack that is 'taking priority' over the more up-to-date Microsoft one. If you have removed all that can be removed via 'Add/Remove' you can check what codecs are 'seen' by Windows (which are likley not the ones causing the problem). If they can be 'seen' they can be deleted (or disabled) from the Control Panel.
Disable Windows File Protection, or reboot into Safe Mode. Go to Control Panel and launch the System icon. Select the Hardware tab and click on the Device Manager Button. Expand the "Sound, Video and Game Controllers" list, then double click the Audio Codecs or the Video Codecs item to see a list of installed codec. Select a codec and click 'remove' (or disable).NOTE. Whilst 'delete' removed the half dozen or so Microsoft codecs from the list, on rebooting my laptop I found they had simply reappeared :-) The final step is to use a 3rd party app. (such as InstalledCodec.exe) to list the (100+) remaining codecs. Some apps. will let your delete them (typically, one at a time), some won't, however most should at least give you the codec .dll file name. InstalledCodec.exe let me 'select all' the 100+ codecs and set them all 'disabled'. This had no effect on VLC 'jumpy' playback.
You can't just delete a codec .dll files - Windows File Protection will simply put it back again. If you disable WFP first (or delete from safe mode) the .dll will be gone but chances are your Media Player will abort with a 'missing file' error. To manually delete a codec .dll, you have to 'de-register' it first - and again, manually going through literally hunderds of seperate .dll's is a total pain.Some 3rd party utilities - such as DXman can be used to remove SOME types of codec (DXman is aimed at audio codecs). It is only capable of removing abbout 90% of the installed codecs - some will remain 'stuck' in the system. Few tools are able to delete the Registry (CLSID) entries for removed/invalid Codecs. One such as Codec Tweak Tool (v6.2.9). To use the tool, you have to go into each 'sub-window' to check codec settings - then return to the main window and select 'Fixes' to check the Registry. The great thing about this tool is that it will list which codecs are Microsoft and which are from 'other applications' (it's usually the 'other applications' codecs that are causing the problems as every software vendor is convinced that their software should take priority over everything else - and especially over MS codecs) Once you have removed what you can, use InstalledCodec tool to discover the 'path' (and CLSID) of the remaining codecs. If you navigate to that path, you can (sometimes) find an 'uninstall.exe' (which did not appear in 'Add/Remove Programs'). Needless to say, even after uninstall, some applications leave their codec CLSID Registry entries behind ! A good Register Cleaner (such as CCCleaner) will usually take care of these (note - after 'cleaning; the Registry, you have to 'scan' it again becasue entries removed on the first 'clean' typically reveal others that are no longer valid). After making chnages to the Registry, always reboot (many settings only take effect during boot-up) and then rescan in case new probelms are revealed.
Issues with MPC+HCThe problem with getting rid of both WMP 9 & WMP 10 is that you will likley loose the WVP2 codec - and PhotoStory 3 won't be able to preview or output your saved Story. On the other hand, just like DRM, chances are the codec still exists, it's just become 'unregistered' and can't be found. For sure, MPC+HC can't find it and won't 'play' PhotoStory .wmv files (in which case you will get a blank screen with audio only). Since, "only MS understands WVP2", you will have to 'add' the WVP2 codec to MCP+HC. Windows codecs are held in the Windows\System32 folder. Most have rather obsucre names, so you will likley need to use one of the various 3rd party utilities (such as InstalledCodec) that will 'reveal' the '4CC' formats supported by each Codec. The one you are looking for is :- DMO WMVideo Decoder DMO WMV1, WMV2, WMV3, WMVA, WVC1, WMVP, WVP2, VC1S wmvdecod.dll 6.3.9600.16384 DMO is just a 'type' of codec, the '4CC' formats supported are WMV1, WMV2, WMV3, WMVA, WVC1, WMVP, WVP2, VC1S. Since hotoStory 3 output is 'MVP2' this is the codec you need. The file name is 'wmvdecod.dll'. Depending on your player, 'registering' this codec varies from be 'easy' to 'impossible'. In MPC+HP (Medai Player Classic + Home Cinema), in View, Options, External Filters, when you click 'Add Filter' you will have to go find the 'WMVideo Decoder DMO' codec. Don't forget to 'Apply' before clicking 'OK'. NB. VLC includes all it's own 'decoder' code i.e. does not use the Windows Codecs. You can add the 'ffmpg' package, however I can find no method to add Windows codecs. Whilst it has a 'priority list' mechanism, I can find no information on it's use.
How to get WMP 9.00.00.4507Install WMP9 from WinXP-sp3 - this gets you WMP 9.00.00.4503 Then install MS Update KB973540 (wmp.dll, wmpdxm.dll) 2009-07-12, to get to WMP 9.00.00.4507. KB2378111 (wmp.dll) 2010-08-26, gets you to WMP v9.00.00.4510 and adding KB978695 (wmvcore.dll) 2010-04-08, updates to v9.00.00.4509.
PhotoStory 3You don't actually need WMP 9 = what you need is the WVP2 Codec. This is included in the XP v9 Codac Pack. If you don't have WMP 9 installed (for example you have WMP 10 or later, or 8 or earlier), when you click 'Play my Story', Photostory will complain that it is 'unable to queue the story for playback'. However the Story will have been 'built' just fine, so all you need is to go find it and play it with whatever oter media player you have installed (such as VLC etc).
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