Steam Burnout Paradise - Multiple Owners on One Machine

If you have multiple Steam accounts that own Burnout Paradise on the same computer, and you've discovered you could only tie one EA account to the game and it happened to be tied to the Steam login of the account logged in at the time of the game's installation; here's what you can do to fix it:

Make sure you have the correct CD-key listed in the "Data" column of the "(Default)" string value of the following registry key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Electronic Arts\EA Games\Burnout(TM) Paradise The Ultimate Box\ergc

Steam keeps track of all accounts' different Burnout CD Keys, so you're in luck.  The problem is, the game was designed to only be tied to one CD Key, which ties to one EA account.

The game will track different Windows user's progress as far as the single player campaign goes, but to play online and have the EA servers track stuff for you, you have to have the right CD-Key in the registry and the right EA account tied to each CD-Key.

It's a little tricky, but doable.  And for the record, the CD-Key doesn't seem to matter as much once you get the EA accounts tied to the game... As long as the game can login with EA account credentials that have been tied to a Burnout CD-Key, the game seems to work fine.  Please correct me if I'm wrong... your mileage may vary.

Ok, here's the sitch... we're going to do several things:
1. Extract your CD Key branch of the registry out to a file.
2. Make as many copies of the file as there are Steam accounts that own the game on your computer.
3. Tweak each registry file to have one of the Steam account's Burnout CD-Key and rename to identify with the Steam account it belongs to.
4. Create a batch/command file to auto-change the registry with the appropriate CD-Key registry file, then launch Burnout from Steam.
5. Enjoy the game.

1. Extract the Burnout Paradise CD-Key from the registry:
  • Open your registry editor by running "regedit" (32-bit Windows) or "regedt32" (64-bit Windows) to ensure you're in the 32-bit registry.
  • Navigate to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Electronic Arts\EA Games\Burnout(TM) Paradise The Ultimate Box\ergc
    (This is where the CD-Key is located)
  • Right-click the ergc folder and select "Export"
  • Save to: burnout_cdkey_YourSteamUserName.reg ... replacing "YourSteamUserName" with your real Steam username.
2. Make as many copies of the file as there are Steam accounts that own Burnout on your computer.
  • Rename each to follow the same format as the original export file:
Examples: If our Steam usernames are "JohnDoe01" and "CrazyJane42", we would have the following files:
  • burnout_cdkey_johndoe01.reg
  • burnout_cdkey_crazyjane42.reg
3. Tweak each registry file to reflect the appropriate Steam user's Burnout CD-Key.  You can find your CD-Key on Steam's Library page for Burnout (under the "LINKS" section on the right side):
Example of Steam's Burnout Paradise CD key dialog
(Product Code changed to protect the innocent)

  • Click "Copy key to clipboard" and modify the appropriate registry file.  Note: this will require logging into each Steam account separately, going to the Burnout Paradise library screen and bringing up the CD key dialog.
4. Create a batch/command file to auto-change the registry with the appropriate CD-Key registry file, then launch Burnout from Steam.
  • In the folder where you've created the exported .reg files, create a new text file called:
  • Edit the new file and put the following in it:
    @echo off
    regedit.exe /s burnout_cdkey_YourSteamUserName.reg
    explorer steam://rungameid/24740
  • Save the file.
  • Create copies of this file and rename them with the appropriate other Steam accounts.
    • Modify each copy and change the .reg line to match the appropriate filename.
5. Enjoy the game.
Ok, so not quite yet... we're not out of the woods until we solve the EA account ties to each CD-Key.  I'm guessing that the first person that logged in and tied the EA account probably told Burnout to auto-login with the same credentials each time.

You should get prompted regardless, since it should detect that the CD-Key has not yet been assigned an EA account.

The way to ensure you get prompted for login credentials is to delete the following file:
%UserDocumentsAndSettingsPath%\Local Settings\Application Data\Criterion Games\Burnout Paradise\Save\AutoLogin.BurnoutParadiseSave
(where %UserDocumentsAndSettingsPath% is the path to your user and Documents and Settings.  This is usually found at:
C:\Documents and Settings\YourUsername (of course, changing the drive letter C: for whatever drive Windows is installed on; and changing "YourUsername" to your real Windows user name.
(Windows Vista and 7 users will need to go to: C:\Users\YourUsername\Local Settings... respectively)

Important note!
This gets you to the point that the next time you launch the game, it will prompt you for credentials.

It is critical that you make sure you launch with the appropriate .cmd file to ensure you tie the right EA accounts to the right CD-Keys.

Once you tie each account, you should be able to run the game normal without worrying about the .cmd or .reg files anymore, but if you should still need them, keep them around.

Please leave feedback with your experiences trying this method, and any comments on how to either:
1) Better explain the process or...
2) Correct any mistakes in my explanations.
Now if I could just figure out how to keep the game from crashing on my laptop anytime the Driver's License stuff shows up. I think I suffer from WebCam glitches I've read about all over the net. *sigh*

Happy gaming!


Stopping the Malicious Virus That Spams With No Subject Line

Many of you out there have probably been getting hate emails from your friends telling you to quit sending them malicious spam links to sites that offer certain "enhancement" drugs, among other things.  These emails you're purportedly sending have no subject line, and the only part of the body is a URL hyperlink to one of these malicious sites that will then perpetuate the viral love to your friend and their address book... and the vicious cycle continues.

You, at first, had no idea what they were talking about, until you checked your Sent Mail box and saw them sitting there, staring you in the face.

I still don't know what this virus is called, but I've been helping a load of friends who have been suffering its effects.  I helped them get set up with Microsoft's Security Essentials if they didn't already have a current anti-virus application on their computers, and had them ensure the virus definitions were up-to-date.

I had them all do the following:
1. Get their anti-virus software up-to-date on virus definitions.
2. Reboot their computer in Safe Mode and run a FULL virus scan on the entire computer.
3. Run a FULL scan again if a virus was detected and cleaned (to ensure that the next scan comes up clean still. We don't want viruses spawning in other already-scanned areas.)
4. Reboot into Normal Windows mode and run Windows Updates repeatedly until all critical updates have been applied.

Well, that got everyone cleaned up, but the next day more malicious emails were sent from their accounts to their address book still (including to myself.)

Baffled, I started doing more research.  While I still don't know what the virus is called, it became apparent that the malicious user was able to compromise email login credentials (haven't been able to determine through what mechanism yet...) and is now using said credentials to send emails from their own computer(s).

So to complete your eradication of this menace (and thanks to my friend Heather Serr for discovering and confirming this fix):
Immediately log in to your email account and CHANGE YOUR PASSWORD!

That should get you back in good standing with your friends, and leave you with a cleaned computer.

I would appreciate any extra information anyone can give on this situation.  Please leave comments if you know more.

Happy computing!!!


How Do I Check the Allocation Unit Size of a NTFS partition in Windows?

fsutil fsinfo ntfsinfo [DriveLetter]:
Replace [DriveLetter] with your drive letter.

fsutil fsinfo ntfsinfo c:

The line item to pay attention to is:
Bytes Per Cluster
(You can divide the number by 1024 to get it's value in K ... Example: 16384 / 1024 = 16K)

Hope this helps someone discover the answer faster than having to read a forum!  :)


Offline Play Doesn't Work in Starcraft 2

I decided to test the "offline play" feature of Starcraft 2 (for the single player campaign); so I unplugged my network cable and launched the game.

I was met with the "Can't connect to Battle.Net" message and was asked if I wanted to play offline.  I clicked the "Play Offline" button and was taken to the login menu.

When I tried to login with my battle.net account name, I was met with a "You must log in to battle.net first and acitvate your game, then connect at least once with that account..." message.

This made no sense to me, as I'd already connected with the same account on two different computers and had their "cloud" functionality let me continue where I'd left off on the other computer.  So I know the connection they were talking about had already been made.

Turns out there is a defect in the product as of this writing, where you have to click "Play as Guest" while connected to the internet and click to activate one of the Guest accounts first to get offline play enabled (for both Guests and your battle.net account.)

Note, you don't have to actually start the campaign on the Guest account, but simply getting to the in-game menu with that "profile" seems to activate the offline play ability.

So, to get the Starcraft 2 Offline Play enabled for the single player campaign:
  1. Launch Starcraft 2 with a working connection to the internet.
  2. At the login menu, click "Play as Guest"
  3. Click on one of the Guest profiles (I did Guest 1)
  4. Once in the menu that allows you to "Start Campaign", you can exit the game
  5. Disable your internet connection.
  6. Launch Starcraft 2 without internet
  7. Login with your battle.net account or Play as Guest (offline mode should be enabled now)
Now I don't know if you actually have to click into one of the Guest profiles, or if you can simply click "Play as Guest" and be good.  If someone has tried it without actually going into one of the Guest Profiles, please post a comment here to let everyone know.

I still wish Blizzard would give us LAN play without an internet connection... here's to wishful thinking!  It's a killer game otherwise... I'm loving the Single Player campaign.


How to Find Your TrackMania United Player Key on the Steam Version

Look for the InstallKey=****-****-****-****-*** value in the Nadeo.ini file located in your Steam install folder for TrackMania United.

The stars will be alpha-numeric characters (letters are capitalized/upper-case)

The default installation paths are:
32-bit Windows
C:\Program Files\Steam\steamapps\common\trackmania united\

64-bit Windows
C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\trackmania united\


Google Sync Multiple Calendars on Your iPhone (version 3.0 or later)

Yes, you see it correctly.

Google now allows you to sync multiple calendars to your iPhone or iPod Touch (version 3.0 or later) by creating a CalDAV account.

Not only is it cool because you can have multiple calendars synced, but they're color coded like unto what you see when looking at the calendar in Google's interface through your web browser!

In the picture above, the blue dot represents entries from my scouts calendar; the red is from my personal one.

Don't delay! Go follow the detailed instructions on how to set your iPhone or Touch to sync multiple calendars from Google's help pages...


Run TrackMania in NVIDIA SLI mode

Your mileage my vary, but I finally got TrackMania United Forever to work with my NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GX2 card in SLI mode.

All of you out there who have tried this share the same pain and know what I'm talking about... sunlight shining through solid objects (especially dirt hills), rainbow colored dust trails kicked up by your car when driving on dirt, among other anomalies.

I got annoyed at having to turn SLI mode manually in the NVIDIA Control Panel for TrackMania so I didn't see these anomalies. I finally found a way to not have to anymore... I tested it for about 20 minutes tonight and it seems to work great. Here's what you do:

  • Right-click an open area of your desktop and select "NVIDIA Control Panel"
  • Make sure you're in "Advanced Settings"
  • In the left pane, select "Set multi-GPU and PhysX configuration" and make sure "Enable multi-GPU mode" is selected under "2. Select the multi-GPU configuration:" setting.
  • In the left pane, select "Manage 3D Settings" under the "3D Settings" category.
  • Click on the "Program Settings" tab.
  • Under "1. Select a program to customize:" ... click the Add button and browse to the TrackMania executable. It could be in one of many places, depending on how you bought the game; your safest bet is to look at your desktop shortcut's properties, or the properties of the shortcut in the Programs Group.
  • Under "2. Specify the settings for this program", select "Multi-GPU performance mode" and select the "Force alternate frame rendering 1" setting (see screenshot below.)

Click "Apply" and launch your game.
That's all there is to it... GG!
(Please let us know if you have success, or know of a better workaround for this... and if you noticed improvement over running in single-GPU mode.)