Flying Model Simulator and Vista

Filed under Helicopters, Troubleshooting, Vista

Apparently, DirectX supports something called “retained mode”. Not exactly sure what it is or what it does.

But I just found out that one of my favorite apps, Flying Model Simulator or FMS requires it and you get a lovely dialog that “D3DRM.DLL cannot be loaded” when you install the latest FMS 2 Alpha 85

A little digging and it seems this is quite the problem with a number of older DirectX programs. I suppose MS figured that if the app is more than a few years old, nobody would possibly want to use it anymore:-(

Anyway, this forum posting discusses the problem and pointed me to the Dell web site here to download the missing file.

Copy it to my fresh and shiny clean System32 folder and I’m flying my simulated RC heli again.


Here’s something interesting. If I switch windows away from FMS, it pauses in the background, which is actually quite nice.

I don’t recall it doing that under XP.

Something to actually like about Vista? I…feel….so….dirty…. 


  1. Ralf says:

    One thing I’ve really appreciated about XP — maybe 2000 did it too, and I never noticed — is that when you minimize an application it (somehow) flags the app as being lower priority than any foreground tasks. It doesn’t crank the actual cpu priority lower, I don’t think, but it does swap out to disk sooner.

    If Vista takes this model farther for graphically intense apps, it makes sense. Good deal!

    We sure have come a long way from Win 3.0’s "cooperative multitasking" model, that’s for sure.

    But you’re right to feel sullied by your desire to like Vista. It’s fundamentally evil. No fears, though, since even Darth had his moments of doubt.

    (I think my kids been playing too much Lego Star Wars and the soundtrack is seeping into my brain…)

  2. Darin says:

    Win 3.0? How ’bout Win95 and ME. They also used the cooperative multi-tasking model. Was dang irritating, but not terribly difficult to deal with.

    Thing is, thinking back about some of the things I had to do in VB3 to "emulate" threads and provide a responsive UI while doing some processing heavy lifting in the background. Amazing that stuff worked as well as it did.

    And on Star Wars, the Ft Worth Museum of Science and History is doing a "Science of Star Wars" exhibit till late summer. Gotta take my 3 year old to check that out!

  3. Ralf says:

    OOh, I wish I could go. Is it a travelling show?

    My 7 year old discovered Star Wars last year and has become quite a fan. Oddly enough, she’d already been exposed to many of the popular memes through other cultural outlets (ahem), and knew who Darth was, knew about the Death Star, what a light saber did, etc. Star Wars is lodged in our racial memory, I think.

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