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HP and Compaq PCs - Resolving General Game Issues

This document applies to HP and Compaq desktop computers with Windows XP, Me, 98, and 95.
This document helps resolve general game startup problems and PC lockups and problems that can occur while playing a game.
 note:
Before starting, remove extra discs from the drives, and USB and firewire devices that are not being used. Print this document or save it to your computer to help after disconnecting from the Internet. There are multiple solution steps in this document. If one doesn’t work, continue to the next.
Resolving game installation issues
  1. Check whether the current version of Windows is supported by the game.
  2. Make sure the PC meets the minimum requirements listed on the game package.
  3. If the PC is has multiple CD or DVD drives, try installing from a different drive.
  4. Some software or DVD copy protection use a verification test. On a high-speed drive, the disc may spin too quickly, causing the test to fail. Switching off DMA in Device Manager can help resolve these problems.
    Perform the following steps to turn off DMA:
    For Windows 98 and Me
    For Windows XP
    1. Click Start, Settings, Control Panel and double-click the System icon.
    2. In the System Properties window, click the Device Manager tab.
    3. Make sure View devices by type is selected. If not, select it.
    4. Double-click the CD-ROM icon.
      Figure : System Properties Device Manager tab
    5. Double-click the desired CD or DVD name to open a drive properties window.
    6. In CD-ROM / CD-RW / DVD drive properties, select the Setting tab and unselect DMA in the Options field. In most cases, after verification has been completed and the game installed, DMA can be switched on again.
      Figure : CD-ROM / CD-RW / DVD Drive Properties Settings tab
    7. If problems persist, make sure there is enough free hard disk space to install the game.
    1. Click Start, Control Panel and double-click the System icon.
    2. Click the Hardware tab, and double-click the Device Manager icon.
      Figure : Device Manager
    3. Double-click the IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers, icon and then the Secondary IDE Channel.
    4. Select the Advanced Settings tab
    5. In the Device 0 section (applies for the upper C or DVD device in PCs that have more than one CD or DVD drive), find the Transfer Mode entry.
      If DMA if available is selected, select PIO Only.
      Figure : Device Manager
      In most cases, after verification has been completed and the game installed, DMA can be set again.
    6. Click OK, and close all open windows.
      Restart the PC, and try to install the game again from the upper CD or DVD drive.
    7. If problems persist, make sure there is enough free hard disk space to install the game.
     note:
    If installation fails again, disable DMA from Device 1 (that applies for the lower device in PCs that have more that one CD or DVD drive available) and try to install the game again from the other CD or DVD device.
Resolving general startup, motion, and freeze issues
Use the steps in this section to resolve issues with a game not starting, choppy motion problems, or software lock-ups.
Does the problem occur with a specific game?
Step 1: Updating the game’s software
If you experience problems with a specific game, always consult the game vendor's Web site first. Chances are others have had the same problem and the game’s manufacturer has created a software patch for it. These patches will resolve a variety of compatibility and game play issues.
 note:
If the game's site does not offer patches or other support for the game, continue to Step 2.
After installing the manufacturer’s update, try playing the game again and see if the problem still occurs. If it does, continue to the next step.
Step 2: Checking the software requirements
This is a step that sometimes gets overlooked. Make sure your PC meets the minimum system requirements for playing the game.
  1. To view your computer specifications, right-click My Computer, select Properties, and then click the General tab.
     note:
    For detailed specifications, see the User's Guide or search for product specifications on the Hewlett-Packard Web site.
  2. Check the game product package for the minimum system requirements.
  3. Compare the computer’s specifications to the game’s minimum system requirements.
  4. If your PC does not meet the minimum system requirements for the game, you must upgrade the PC hardware to make it meet the requirements or not play the game.
    If your computer meets the minimum system requirements, continue to the next section.
Step 3: Windows XP - Using compatibility mode
If the game is an older game and you are trying to run it in Windows XP, sometimes compatibility mode will resolve the problem. If your PC does not have Windows XP, skip to the next Step.
  1. Click Start, and then All Programs.
  2. Find the name of the game that is having problems, right-click the name of the game and select Properties.
  3. Click the Compatibility tab.
  4. Select Run this program in compatibility mode for.
  5. Select a Windows version that meets the original system requirement for the game; Windows 95 (Also best for old DOS games), Windows Me, Windows NT, or Windows 2000.
  6. Click Apply, and then OK.
Step 4: Changing the video display settings
Change the video display settings to a more compatible resolution. Many games display movies and other types of multimedia before the game begins. Many games are unable to properly switch from some display resolutions to the resolution required.
 note:
If the game frame rate is low (jerky motion) try decreasing the display resolution to a lower value from the display setting menu in the game, instead of from Windows display settings.
  1. Right-click on an open space of the Windows desktop (not on an icon) and select Properties.
    The Display Properties window appears.
    Figure : Display Properties window
  2. Click the Settings tab.
  3. Change the Colors and Screen area/ Screen resolution to match the game’s recommended settings. See the software package for minimum display requirements.
    Widely accepted display resolutions are:
    • 800 x 600
    • 1024 x 768
    • 1600 x 1200
    Widely accepted color depths are:
    • 16 bit
    • 32 bit
  4. Click OK, and then click OK again if a message appears asking if you want to keep the setting.
  5. Click Yes and then restart the computer.
  6. Try playing the game again to see if the problem is resolved. If the problem still exists, try a different display resolution or continue to the next Step.
Step 5: Reading the Readme file
Refer to the games Readme file for any known problems and solutions.
  1. Insert the game disk. Close the game if it starts to load automatically.
  2. Double-click the My Computer icon on the desktop.
  3. Right-click on the disk drive containing the game disk, and select Explore.
  4. Double-click the Readme file and follow its instructions.
  5. If the Readme file does not contain a solution for your problem, or if the provided solution does not resolve the problem, continue to the next Step.
Step 6: Updating the version of DirectX software
DirectX is software that works with multimedia functions on your computer. It serves as a foundation for running many games. Updates to DirectX enhance the quality and performance of games and other multimedia applications.
  1. Go to the How to Download and Install DirectX (in English) and download the latest version of DirectX.
  2. Install DirectX according to the instructions provided with the download.
  3. After installing the DirectX update, try playing a game again to see if your system still locks up or freezes. If it does, continue to the next Step.
Step 7: Updating system software
If you experience a consistent problem with your computer, chances are others have had the same problem and HP has created a software patch for it. To help game playing issues, try updating your BIOS and video card software if one is available.
  1. Go to HP's software download page to search for updates.
  2. Enter the model number of your PC, like Pavilion 9790c or Media Center 1070n.
    The results page appears containing all software updates available for your computer.
  3. Follow the instructions on the download page to download and install the updates.
     note:
    If no updates appear for your BIOS or video card, you have the latest software patches available.
  4. After installing the updates, try playing the game again to see if the problem is resolved. If it is not, try the following Steps.
Step 8: Increasing system resources
You can increase the system resources on your PC without adding memory. Many types of software start up automatically with windows and stay open even when they are not being used. Closing these types of software and making space on the hard drive will create more system resources and improve the game's performance. For more information refer to the HP support document: Increasing System Resources Without Adding Memory.
Step 9: Reducing heat inside the computer
Playing a 3D video game can cause a graphic card to generate more heat inside the computer. Symptoms of excessive heat can appear as corrupted graphics, skipping and freezing graphic frames, and Windows not responding.
Heat can damage a computer so it is important to keep the computer well ventilated. The internal temperature of the PC case is affected by the PC being placed in an enclosed area, the temperature of the room the PC is in, and dust build-up clogging ventilation openings. To help keep the PC cooler, refer to the HP support document Reducing Heat Inside the Computer.

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