Games need opening twice to start, please help

Getting old Windows games working.

Games need opening twice to start, please help

Postby Kerr Avon » 2014-8-14 @ 17:55

I have a problem with a laptop I've been asked to fix. The laptop (Windows 7, 6GB RAM, 1.6 GHZ AMD Quad-Core A8-3520M APU) has no malware, and everything (hardware and software) seems fine, except that when you first try to open (load) a game, you have to do it twice or the game does not open. I.e.:



1. The laptop is turned on, boots, goes to the Windows desktop, everything is fine.

2. To start, say, Unreal Tournament 2004, I double click on the game's icon.

3. Nothing happens.

4. If I then double click on the icon again, then the game loads and plays as it should.


Experimentation shows that the first time you double click on the icon, two new processes appear in the Task Manager;

rundll32.exe *32
UT2004.exe *32

but the game does not load, nor do I get any error messages, until I again double click on the icon.



It does the same for other games, such as if I try to start Morrowind, then exactly the same thing occurs; nothing at all visibly happens, no error message, no system warning beep, and the game does not load. But if I look in Task Manager then two new processes have been added;

rundll32.exe *32
Morrowind Launcher.exe *32

and the game only loads if I then double click again on the icon.

It does this with many of the games on the machine, but even so, I uninstalled Unreal Tournament 2004 and installed my copy (original!), plus the patch and extra levels, and yet it still needs opening twice before it starts up though of course it works fine on my laptop and desktop.

All of the games that have this problem on the laptop are Windows native games, and when a game does load, then it works fine, and I can't find any other problems at all. Any help or advice would be appreciated.

Thanks for reading, and for any advice.
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Re: Games need opening twice to start, please help

Postby DracoNihil » 2014-8-14 @ 18:20

There's no way to prevent this from happening. Blame Microsoft for not releasing a hotfix to patch this or having any sort of group policy control that can disable this "functionality".

What you can do is download Process Explorer, find the rundll32 process hanging everything and suspend it's process. Then end the task of the program that's frozen BUT don't end the task of the rundll32 you just suspended. It must stay resident in memory at all times and it will never bother you again. As soon as that process is terminated you will have to repeat the process of suspending it again.

I don't think any amount of complaining on Microsoft's support pages will ever birth a hotfix to fix this problem though, they're all a bunch of idiots.
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Re: Games need opening twice to start, please help

Postby leileilol » 2014-8-14 @ 19:16

It's Games Explorer enumerating it so it can add it to the games list, count the startups it had, and "checks" for "updates" as well as content control (i.e. restricting M, T and E10 games from CHILDRENS' LOGINS!!!). It most definitely is a Windows 7 "feature".


You can rename your game exe to get around this lazily.
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Re: Games need opening twice to start, please help

Postby DracoNihil » 2014-8-14 @ 19:39

There are options in games explorer to prevent the updates, also there's Group Policy controls you can set in group policy editor (for non home editions because Microsoft thinks of everything), that do the same "effect" as the check boxes. Both of those options don't work, never have worked. They've been complained about in microsoft support forums and everywhere, yet Microsoft never released a fix nor did they ever confirm a problem.

Renaming the EXE will work so long as it wont screw up whatever game you're running. Generally you don't want to rename the executable if it's a unreal engine game, or if something else depends on the name of the exe being the name it's expecting. Suspending that rundll32 will always work until you terminate the process or turn your machine off.
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Re: Games need opening twice to start, please help

Postby Kerr Avon » 2014-8-14 @ 20:39

Thanks for all of the replies, I had not idea that this problem (which I've not seen before) is due to an official 'feature'. It's typical of Microsoft that (a) it screws up so badly, and (b) you can't turn it off. I'll have to spend some time on Google, as hopefully a third party (non-Microsoft emplyed) person will have written/modified a different rundll32.exe or whatever that gets around the problem.

DracoNihil, you say


DracoNihil wrote:...find the rundll32 process hanging everything and suspend it's process...



would it be possible to make a BAT file, or whatever, that can be double clicked on when the laptop has been booted, and the BAT file would load rundll32.exe into memory, and then suspend it? That way (I assume) any game can then be opened once and will load immediately, no problem?
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Re: Games need opening twice to start, please help

Postby Kerr Avon » 2014-8-14 @ 20:50

leileilol wrote:You can rename your game exe to get around this lazily.


Sorry, I forgot to say, that's a good idea, but sadly it's not my laptop, and I don't know how competent the laptop's owner is; some of the games have mods installed, which would suggest some level of PC competency (unless someone else installed them), but then the fact that his mother passed me the laptop to fix would make me wary of doing anything that might later confuse the owner, say if he decided to later mod UT2004 and can't find the file UT2004.exe. Even if I just renamed it to _UT2004.exe it might well confuse some people.
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Re: Games need opening twice to start, please help

Postby DracoNihil » 2014-8-14 @ 22:38

No there is no way to make a .BAT file, you'd basically would have to crack open a C++ IDE and code something that scans processes for rundll32 and examines their commandline to see if it contains gameUX in it, then suspend all it's threads.
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Re: Games need opening twice to start, please help

Postby aqrit » 2014-8-15 @ 05:44

GameUX.dll might be loaded via COM
so has anyone tried editing its registry key?
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\CLSID\{9A5EA990-3034-4D6F-9128-01F3C61022BC}]
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Re: Games need opening twice to start, please help

Postby Kerr Avon » 2014-8-15 @ 12:41

aqrit wrote:GameUX.dll might be loaded via COM
so has anyone tried editing its registry key?
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\CLSID\{9A5EA990-3034-4D6F-9128-01F3C61022BC}]


I'll try that when I get home, thanks. Otherwise, at:

http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/wind ... 1b3?page=2

someone says

If anyone don't like registry editing or dll file deletion, could probably try replace GameUXLegacyGDFs.dll with this (x86) empty one...
do let me know it is working...


But the link no longer works, and since that post is that person's only post on the forum, then (s)he is unlikey to see a pm if I send him/her one asking for the file. So does anyone know of a .dll file that does nothing, or at least nothing of any importance, that I could rename to GameUXLegacyGDFs.dll and replace the current (original) one with, please?
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Re: Games need opening twice to start, please help

Postby aqrit » 2014-8-15 @ 15:59

interesting, GameUXLegacyGDFs.dll is a "resource only" dll
it is just a bunch of xml files describing games to hook.
so having not tried it... IMO it could safely be replaced using ANY dll.
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Re: Games need opening twice to start, please help

Postby Kerr Avon » 2017-9-01 @ 11:47

I've had the same problem again with another laptop I was asked to fix, and this time I've found a solution that seems to work. At

https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_other-gaming/windows-7-game-explorer-interfering-with-game/efd39c74-cfab-4c2c-b6c5-834b8849a1b3?page=2&auth=1

Is a post saying:

Here is a little script I wrote to automate getting rid of gameux.dll (in case Windows update makes it reappear in the future). Just copy to some .cmd file and execute with admin rights:
Do NOT change the "go to helll" part, this is important! :D




if %PROCESSOR_ARCHITECTURE% == AMD64 (
set filename=%windir%\SysWOW64\gameux.dll
) else (
set filename=%windir%\System32\gameux.dll
)

TAKEOWN /F %filename%
ICACLS %filename% /grant %USERNAME%:F
ren %filename% "gameux.dll - go to helll!!!"
pause





I copied the text to a file called "Disable Windows 7 Game Explorer.cmd", copied it to the laptop, ran it, and it seems to work great. Since it's Windows based, then the usual considerations apply; it might not work on even another seemingly identical machine + Windows installation, a future Windows update might prevent the fix from working, and it's not impossible that this fix could cause problems itself. But if Microsoft won't add an option to disable Game Explorer, then a third party solution seems the only way to go.

Thanks to SD Sdafasdfadsfadf for writing the fix, and for making it available on that forum.
Attachments
Disable Windows 7 Game Explorer.zip
(344 Bytes) Downloaded 3 times
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Re: Games need opening twice to start, please help

Postby mauxie » 2017-9-20 @ 17:55

there is another method that may appeal to some.
the issue only arises when the user attempts to start a game
when there is not an active internet connection.
there is no failure point in game explorer's attempts to
reach its "update site". what I did was to go into the
registry and search for "servicelocation". when you
get there, double click "games" in the right pane, and
enter any valid local path. for example, I created a
folder on my c drive: widgets. so I gave servicelocation
that target for its updates. then I exported that part
of the hive to desktop, and then moved it with all the
games that are in game explorer. when you are online
windows will change that entry back to the original target,
so double click on your exported reg hive before you start
your game and voila. try it.
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Re: Games need opening twice to start, please help

Postby liqmat » 2017-9-21 @ 16:38

Kerr Avon wrote:I've had the same problem again with another laptop I was asked to fix, and this time I've found a solution that seems to work. At

https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_other-gaming/windows-7-game-explorer-interfering-with-game/efd39c74-cfab-4c2c-b6c5-834b8849a1b3?page=2&auth=1

Is a post saying:

Here is a little script I wrote to automate getting rid of gameux.dll (in case Windows update makes it reappear in the future). Just copy to some .cmd file and execute with admin rights:
Do NOT change the "go to helll" part, this is important! :D




if %PROCESSOR_ARCHITECTURE% == AMD64 (
set filename=%windir%\SysWOW64\gameux.dll
) else (
set filename=%windir%\System32\gameux.dll
)

TAKEOWN /F %filename%
ICACLS %filename% /grant %USERNAME%:F
ren %filename% "gameux.dll - go to helll!!!"
pause





I copied the text to a file called "Disable Windows 7 Game Explorer.cmd", copied it to the laptop, ran it, and it seems to work great. Since it's Windows based, then the usual considerations apply; it might not work on even another seemingly identical machine + Windows installation, a future Windows update might prevent the fix from working, and it's not impossible that this fix could cause problems itself. But if Microsoft won't add an option to disable Game Explorer, then a third party solution seems the only way to go.

Thanks to SD Sdafasdfadsfadf for writing the fix, and for making it available on that forum.


Thanks for this. Works great for me.
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