Solving a mystery: Windows 7 games won’t work on HP TouchSmart TX2

This one has been nagging at me for a long time. My grandmother has an HP TouchSmart TX2 tablet. It was bought with Windows Vista, but as with her main computer, I upgraded it to Windows 7.

It was a good plan – Windows 7 should make it perform better, and the touch capabilities of 7 are better than Vista. There was, however, a small matter of the N-Trig digitiser drivers not being great at point of release – something which would lead me down the wrong path over the problems I encountered.

Windows 7 went onto the TX2 with no problems, except for the phone call I got soon after the rebuild – Mah Jong wouldn’t load, and Tinker (courtesy of Live) was crashing on startup.

Weirdly, when I looked at the system, they all ran when I was logged in as an admin user. However, my standard user-level grandmother got errors. I played with UAC and discovered that having switched it off, rebooted, run the games, switched UAC back on and rebooted again, they worked.

I told myself that it was something to do with the recently-installed N-Trig drivers not having configured things right (the last change to the system) and went away. Except things weren’t working…

The next time, I spent hours examining the system using Process Monitor and Process Explorer. I was thinking that file rights or registry rights would be the culprit, as the games still worked for the admin user. Sadly, I found no errors, no access denied messages, no failures at all. Still things didn’t work.

I’d largely given it up as a bad job, until today, when I installed the Touch Pack. I thought that the additional games might be fun for my Grandmother to play. Had they worked… The newly installed games failed in the same way as Tinker – a shiny ‘program has stopped working’ message and nothing more.

When I tried Bing Maps 3D, however, I got a different error. There in front of was a message about being unable to initialise the Direct 3D system, and so Maps 3d couldn’t load.

Aha! I thought. I downloaded the ATI graphics drivers for the Mobility Radeon 3200 and installed the latest set. No difference.

So I resorted to the hive-mind of the web again. This time I found a thread on a Microsoft forum talking about a problem with ATI drivers properly recognising the hardware at install time on the TX2. That sounded promising, and led me to the AMD support article. Unfortunately, installing the hotfix drivers still didn’t work.

I then found another article on a Microsoft forum talking about a similar issue, fixed with a BIOS update. I hadn’t thought about a BIOS update for the TX2 – I tend not to think about that kind of thing when it’s not my PC. Sure enough, the TX2 had an older BIOS (version F.03) than the latest on the HP site – F.25.

Updating the BIOS still didn’t fix things, but I then reinstalled the ATI drivers supplied by the hotfix article and that did it. All the games worked, Tinker fired into life, and Bing Maps 3d started without a problem. before the driver reinstall I got a slightly more informative error from the games saying ‘A problem has occurred with the 3d driver’.

So, if you get the same problem, here is a quick summary:

Symptoms:

  • Windows 7-included games fail to load. Click the icon to fire them up and nothing happens.
  • Microsoft Tinker dies on startup.
  • Microsoft Touch Pack games die on startup.
  • Bing Maps 3D says it failed to initialise Direct3D.

System:

  • HP TouchSmart TX2 tablet, model 1015ea

Solution:

One Reply to “Solving a mystery: Windows 7 games won’t work on HP TouchSmart TX2”

  1. Thank you SO much, this had been driving me mental! I’m using the same model and had the exact same problem, took minutes to fix once I read this your a saint!

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