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Help on debugging - mp3dec.asi giving me trouble according to Event Viewer, Application log

I have an old game, Heroes3, that I have played for a few years now on various computers - all older and running windows xp pro.  On my new laptop I have been getting errors from time to time.  The program crashes and in the event viewer, in the Application log, the error message says  "Faulting application heroes3.exe, version 4.0.0.0, faulting module mp3dec.asi, version 3.0.0.0, fault address 0x00002280"

Now, as far as mp3dec.asi, I see this file in my Command and Conquer Generals game also, and I can't swap the two, heroes won't even open with a different mp3dec.asi file.  I assume by the name this is an audio decoder, mp3 for the audio, and dec for decoder.  I hid the file and was able to open the game, and also hear sound.  Now I did not test every aspect of the game to see if some sounds will not work now, and I have only played it for a short bit since hiding mpsdec.asi, so I am not sure of the full impact from my actions of removing mp3dec.asi.

Does anyone have more info on mp3dec.asi?  If you do, if you could help me understand how to dig this kind of information up - I'm a big believer in the "teach a man to fish" theory vs "give a man a fish".  

Also, is there a method to get more information from the fault address - meaning does it point to a different file that is making the heroes game's mp3dec.asi file unstable on my laptop but not on any of my other P3 machines?  

Any debugging suggestions are helpful.

I should mention I have updated all my drivers, video, sound, chipset, network, everything.  I didn't mess with the BIOS yet because I would rather try something else instead of messing with the BIOS, if indeed id does need to be updated.  I have not verified this.
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Bigdoggit
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Bigdoggit
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1 Solution
 
scrathcyboyCommented:
"turns out the mp3 decoder (mp3dec.asi) file was bad, so what did I do replaced it with a copy from here: "

http://217.170.130.5/Games/RobotWars/redist/ ...
filesharingtalk.com/vb3/archive/index.php/t-1383.html

More likely, the old game wont support the newest sound devices on the laptop because they are linked to a 16 bit driver for sound, and 32 and 64 bit drivers will not work.

YOu need to set up the game to use an OLD sound card emulation, and then install an emulator for that --
http://www.google.com/search?num=30&q=sound+blaster+emulator+device

Also check out these, there is good help here --
http://www.google.com/search?num=30&q=Heroes3+sound+problems

Remember, you wanted to do your own debugging, so I am only giving you general links to debug it.
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BigdoggitAuthor Commented:
thank you scratchcyboy - I will look at those links this evening and if I am still confused, offer up questions for clarification.  So far so good, a few nudges in the right direction and hopefully what I learn will stick a little better, not to mention be a huge help in the future.
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BigdoggitAuthor Commented:
I looked at the page regarding installing the emulator for soundblaster - but I have a sigmatel card, and it was talking about VPCShare 2004 - so I couldn't really make sense of how that applied for me.  The other links didn't seem to give me the info I needed.  Could you offer some education of emulators?  You are saying the game probably needs 16 bit drivers - so assuming that is true, how do install such drivers?  I apologize, sometimes my head  feels like a rock and I just don't get it.
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scrathcyboyCommented:
well, you haven't said the vitage of the game, but assuming 4-5 years old, it will use 16 bit sound drivers to access the hardware directly, at least most games of that vintage did.  This is a no-no in XP, which tries to protect the hardware from application changing.  The fact that it worked in XP either means it setup a PIF to run the program with special hardware settings, or the game is at least 32 bit capable.  Given that, and the fact that you did run it on XP Pro, the issue is more likely your laptop.

1.  Plug the laptop into a power outlet while you are running the game, don't play it on batteries, as this cuts the CPU activity dramatically.  If that doesn't work, decrease windows accelleration of the video card, desktop, properties, settings, advanced, troubleshooting tab -- move the slider down.

2.  If that doesn't work, you are looking at an incompatibility with the sigmatel card and this program.
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BigdoggitAuthor Commented:
You are pretty accurate with the vintage of the game - now out of curiosity, since I did run this on another XP Pro machine with integrated sound, intel sound, that is why you are concluding it must be specific to the sigmatel sound.  (I may have said this wrong before, my sigmatel sound is integrated)  So when there are such incompatibilities, I am usually screwed unless through playing around I find the fix, right?

Also, what is a PIF?
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