How can I get WMV Playback working correctly within powerpoint 2007 on a Thinkpad R61i?

I work at a place with a mixed os x/xp environment whom need to be able to exchange presentation files easily..

We're in the process of transitioning over a user from an old laptop to a new laptop (Thinkpad R61i) Running Windows XP SP3.

When you insert a WMV file (WMV9 video format) into powerpoint 2007, it will put it in there, but when you try and play the slideshow or preview the video, powerpoint will just hang there unresponsive until you end the task of the application.

I've tried this particular WMV in my xp sp2 Virtual Machine, and it works with no problem.

I found that if you turn off "hardware acceleration" in the adapter settings on the thinkpad it will work - but this is not really a suitable solution.

I did a bit of googling and it appears there might be a problem with the graphics chipset that the laptops running - it's got the Intel GM965 Express chipset in it (I had to download a 'chipset identifier' exe to even determine it, windows identifies it as "Mobile Intel(R) 965 Express Chipset Family").

There were old drivers running on the system - after doing some research on the lenovo site and finding the correct updated driver for the system (driver dated, 17 Mar 2008 v6.14.10.4926 for win xp) and put that on.

after updating the drivers, it still does not work, I've tried rolling back to WMP 10, from 11.

(an aside in case you're wondering - getting the drivers from intel and trying to install them will leave the installer checking your system - finding its a thinkpad and then quitting with an error saying to get the driver update from lenovo)

I then found the thread that ACTUALLY got me to sign up to see if it would solve the problem ( http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/Misc/Q_23253890.html ) and it does not actually solve my particular issue.

We don't have access to the source material for the WMV, so we can't re-encode it in that method.

Even as a lossy encode, I have not found a program that will successfully convert wmv > *insert-working-format-here* (I've been using mpg).

 I've used mediacoder, and it will not play on macs - although VLC can play it fine and correctly identifies the streams - quicktime will not - not an ideal solution.

Has anybody else here with this chipset found a way to solve this problem?

I've spent about 3 hours on it and it's doing my head in.
PAhelptechAsked:
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PAhelptechAuthor Commented:
As a note, I've tried the "Shorten the path" thing, the file is in the root of C:\ at the moment.
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Echo_SCommented:
Have you read about how PPT handles multimedia: http://www.playsforcertain.com/tutorial.htm

What usually matters is not Windows Media Player, but rather how the MCI Media Player handles the file.

I don't know aobut the issues with your chipset specifically, but you might try PFCPro. There's a free, fully functional trial version available at the link above. It may encode your WMV using a codec that PPT and your system can handle. Worth a shot, anyway.
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PAhelptechAuthor Commented:
I had come across that site actually - but I hadn't read that particular page - I mainly saw it for the plugin they were selling. I didn't think that we should be buying a plugin for what in my opinion should be core functionality of powerpoint - Who knew interacting with a codec Microsoft created within a Microsoft product would be this hard!

After reading that link, I had done that, however I've been using windows long enough to actually remember "MCI Player" actually being, windows media player :D, so I remember it as the "old" media player. It's on an xp box so that's mplayer2.exe. (I used it to find the stream information, I didn't know where to find the dialog in v10, the current version on the laptop, I had rolled back from 11)

When I  loaded the particular file in mplayer2 the first time - it did need to download the WMV 9 codecs from microsoft for the particular player.

I thought this might be the breakthrough so I went to test immediately after, but alas, now it will play in mplayer2 (MCI Player), but NOT in powerpoint 2007! I even gave it a reboot for good measure. :)

it still hangs in the exact same fashion.

Thankyou for the tip though.

I didn't include it in my original question - I thought I covered about everything.

Following the link on that page, it suggests if it doesn't work it's likely due to codec packs being installed, ' too many codecs'.

This is a clean xp install, so it only has default codecs and whatever lenovo might have added.

the senior tech here has suggested to ring Lenovo support, and see if they have a fix, which is my next step that I'm not looking forward to.

There are other video files that the user has, the .mpg 's work without a hitch on the laptop.

If I need to do a workaround, I'd prefer not to use commercial software for this purpose, can anyone reccomend a good wmv > mpg converter, preferably free?

This way in future I can provide the users with the application - some documentation and the ability to help themselves out.
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Echo_SCommented:
It's interesting that MPGs play, but not WMV, especially because WMV is usually more Windows- and PPT-friendly than MPG.

A couple of tips from my site http://www.echosvoice.com/tshoot_video2.htm that you may have missed (and heck, it's been so long since I looked there, I've forgotten most of these!):

1. Update Windows Media Player (You may have done this already.)
2. Update Direct X
3. Disable Direct Show on your video card
4. Do you have MuVee Audio Producer DVD or a Pinnacle product installed? There are known conflicts with some of those.

Also, reinstalling Windows Media Player can sometimes correct file and codec issues.
http://groups.google.com/group/microsoft.public.powerpoint/browse_thread/thread/7aae25b7600ea21a/19a3fd3901c38cf8?lnk=gst&q=austin+install+media+player#19a3fd3901c38cf8 (Austin Myers, who responds in this thread, is the guy who developed PFC products and who wrote the multimedia tutorials.)

Sorry, I don't have a handle anymore on all the conversion software.
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PAhelptechAuthor Commented:
Ok here we go.

I've contacted lenovo about this issue - of course it's not warrantable - I didn't expect it to be.

They suggested re-imaging, I explained this is a new image.

they said they're getting their 'product lead' to do a test with the issue on the model, as talking to the technician who rang me back (had to wait 2 hours) it's likely a driver problem.

we have another R61i on site, so as to do some testing - I tried doing the exact same thing on it.

it worked.

The First Time.

I was shocked, so I tried it again (open new presentation, insert wmv located in root c: just as before)

& it crashed.

tried it again.

& it crashed.

This problem is now the definition of insanity, as I've performed the same action three times, and gotten two different results. 1 out of 3 is pretty bad.

the lenovo tech has been told to test it multiple times.

I also tried re-encoding the WMV on the local system using windows movie maker as the lenovo tech suggested - that didn't work either (although the new file plays fine in MCI player/mplayer2).

I have now: -

Updated Windows Media Player to version 11 (i rolled back to 10 as previous threads had suggested when it wasn't working). - tried it - it works!!!!!!&

however, just like the other system I tried it on, the second time I attempt it - it fails!

I don't really know what to do at this point,

but here's the answers to your suggestions:
Direct X is at version 9.0c, the latest one.
I can't see the ability to disable directshow in the intel app or in the adapter properties, i've checked all the tabs and preference panes.

We do not have  "MuVee Audio Producer DVD" or a pinnacle product installed.

Somehow office is messing it the WMP install??
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PAhelptechAuthor Commented:
to clarify the first WMP comment - It was updated to 11 when it was crashing.

i rolled back to 10, continued crashing.

I upgraded back to 11& it works once, and then will fail all times after.
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PAhelptechAuthor Commented:
I double checked microsoft office update - running the latest version of office 2007.

0 required updates.
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PAhelptechAuthor Commented:
As a note - I also tried this on a lenovo T61 - it had absolutely no issues - even when tested multiple times.
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Echo_SCommented:
I'm sorry, I have absolutely no idea at this point. I think you're maybe back at where you started -- finding it really is a problem with the graphics chipset. ?
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PAhelptechAuthor Commented:
After long searching, not hearing back from lenovo, I managed to find a way to convert the file, from another experts exchange thread.

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/MultiMedia_Applications/Q_22802965.html?sfQueryTermInfo=1+4+insert+mpeg+powerpoint

however this is still not an ideal solution, SUPER is a windows only thing, and requires a certain amount of technical expertise that our project officers do not (nor I would say they wish to) possess.

I'm reccomending getting Quicktime Pro so we can get some 'standard formats' across the organisation and people can edit and help themselves quickly.
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