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Old 12th October 2010, 20:30   #39
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: New Jersey, USA
Posts: 43
Preferences Dialog Removes File Associations from Vista

Winamp Pro 5.581 (build 2985)
Winamp plug-in details attached
Language Pack: None (default English US)
Skin: All testing done with Big Bento
OS: Windows Vista Home Basic SP2 (32-bit)
Locale: English US
CPU: Intel Core 2 CPU @ 1.8 GHz
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Graphics: ATI Radeon X1300
Sound: Sigma Tel High-Definition Audio
DirectX 11


Preferences Dialog Removes File Associations from Vista

The associations feature in the File Types screen of the Preferences dialog is broken on my PC since updating to 5.58x Pro on Vista Home SP2. After a clean install of Winamp (but before first use of the dialog), the associations are correct, as shown by Windows control panel and by my tests using Win Explorer. After making any change in Winamp Preferences/File Types and then clicking Close and Allow in the UAC prompt, all but three file types now show as assigned to "unknown application" in control panel. In other words, Winamp has cleared the old assignments but failed to write the new ones. The list shown in the File Types screen does not change to reflect this failure, meaning that the associations shown no longer correspond to those shown in Windows control panel.

When files are played from the Winamp UI, they play as expected. The problem is only evident when using another program like Win Explorer to play music or video files, in which case Windows shows a message that no application is associated with the file type. Since not everyone uses file associations to play files in Winamp, people could have this problem and not be aware of it. Unfortunately, I play files by association frequently.

From Win Explorer, if I now use the browse option to select Winamp as the default application for a file type, the change does takes effect but only until the next time that Winamp's Preferences dialog is used. Associations edited via Windows control panel are also undone later by using the Winamp dialog. Oddly, Windows Explorer still shows the correct Winamp icon for music files, even though clicking on a file will not play it.

Related options in the File Types screen also do not work properly. For example, the Winamp agent appears in the system tray but always fails to restore associations. I have tried all combinations of settings in this screen with no effect on the problem. I also tried using the Winamp Backup Tool to preserve the initial installation settings, thinking that I could simply restore settings rather than reinstall Winamp. However, the Backup Tool failed to restore associations.

Once the associations have been trashed, the only way that I can restore the whole list is to do a clean install of Winamp 5.581 (including purging the registry) and then to never, ever use the Preferences/File Types screen. However, if I do a clean installation of 5.575 Pro, the association problem does not occur and the Preferences dialog works as expected. This problem came in with version 5.8x.

Just to be clear, this is not a case of associations being stolen by another application. The problem happens immediately after the UAC prompt that follows on closing Winamp's Preferences/File Types dialog, and the associations are removed, not reassigned. I have no media-related apps running in the background.

Winamp is installed in C:\Winamp, in an account with admin privileges (the only user account on the machine). Installing the 5.581 update has no effect on the problem.

To Reproduce:
The problem is reproducible on my PC after associations are edited in the Winamp Preferences dialog:
  1. Install Winamp 5.580 or 5.581 on Vista SP2. Run Winamp to initialize it but do not open the Preferences/File Types dialog. Close Winamp.
  2. Verify that (say) Mp3 files are associated with Winamp: click on an Mp3 file in Win Explorer and Winamp should launch and play it.
  3. Now open Winamp's Preferences /File Types dialog and remove an association (for say WMA).
  4. Click Close and then Allow at the UAC prompt. Close Winamp.
  5. In Win Explorer, again click on the still-supported file type from step 2. The error message is "Windows cannot open this file...".

Note: the extension list in the attachment below is correct only until association edits are applied in Winamp. After that, the list is incorrect.
Attached Files
File Type: txt DM_plugin_list.txt (8.6 KB, 156 views)
File Type: log DM_hijackthis.log (4.7 KB, 137 views)

Doug M. in NJ

Last edited by retroman; 12th October 2010 at 21:04.
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