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All About Solitaire- Vista changed it!!!

Now in windows 8 & 10 everything changed.

This is about the Solitaire supplied with windows, not about Spider and other variations. Applies to older versions of windows only.

I am a diehard Windows solitaire player. I don't play video games. I don't play other games because I hate to lose. With Solitaire, I can win a lot. I set the game to deal one card because when dealing 3, I don't win as often. I'm not into challenges, I'm into winning.

Solitaire has been with us as a computer game since the first Windows. Of course it has been around as a card game since who knows when. It was put in windows to teach mouse control. It was included as a learning device, not as a toy or just a fun game. It has taken a few changes as Windows changed from version 3 to 95 to 98 to Me to XP to now Vista. I don't think it was in Windows NT, but was in Windows 2000. Correct me if I'm wrong.

The changes were hardly noticeable until Vista came along. Mostly the revisions reflected changes in the speed of the OS, so the game would display properly. But now with Vista, the change is major and I do not like the new revision. I had the old game down to a science and could win a lot.

I had the game options set to time and score my game so I could compete against myself and I kept getting better. I finally got less than 75 seconds and scored higher than 10,000 points. As proof, here is a screen shot of my best game in 2009.

Then along comes Vista and messes up my game. Have no idea if it was intentionally redesigned to slow down the game, but that was the result. A number of things changed that affected the speed. The biggest thing was the double click changes.

In versions prior to XP (or maybe Me), you had to drag or double click every card individually to move it to the suit stack. The idea was to teach you to drag and double click with the mouse.

Then in XP (or maybe Me), the program was changed to allow right click. This really sped up the game because now if you right clicked anywhere, all cards eligible to move up to the suit stack jumped up there at once. When you got to a point in the game where there were no more hidden cards, the game could be finished with a single right click and the score time plummeted.

There must be some commercial competition somewhere that was going to fast for the minds at Microslop so they decided to slow things down. In the new program in Vista the right click was majorly revamped. How it reacts depends on where the mouse pointer is setting. If the pointer is off of any cards, the reaction is as before. But now if your mouse pointer is on a card, the effect is only for that single card. And if that card is not eligible to move, nothing happens. If you want all eligible cards to move, you have to move your mouse pointer off to the side of any cards and right click. And man does this slow things down!

Now this is not the only factor that contributes to the slowdown. The way the game is allowed to be resized affects is since you now cannot size the window to place the cards closer together. You would not think this has any effect but when the cards are just a few centimeters farther apart, it takes longer to move the mouse to them. And further to drag cards across the deck.

Another new thing that affects the speed is the sound effects. The reaction time of the action on the cards is slowed by the constant visual and sound effects placed on each move. The best time I've been able to get in the Vista version is 122 seconds, so the effect has been almost to double my time. And I don't like it! July 2010 update: I have gotten the time down to under 90 seconds.

Here is what the 2 games look like side by side:

Both of these programs are running in Vista because I copied the solitaire game from XP and installed it in my Vista machine. The reason I was able to do this is because the new game in Vista has a new name and is in a different directory. If you like me would like to have your old version available in Vista, here is the method and the whole reason for writing this page.

If you have XP still running, copy 2 files from your XP machine to your Vista machine. In XP, find sol.exe and cards.dll. They are both in C:\windows\system32 folder or (C:\winnt\system32). You can use Windows Explorer to find the files. Copy them onto a removable media such as a jump drive. They will fit on a floppy, but chances are your Vista machine probably does not have a floppy drive. You could copy them to CD, but that is a terrible waste of space.

Once you have the files on your media, put them into the same folder in Vista. C:\Windows\system32 or (C:\winnt\system32). Then you can start the game by creating a shortcut to the sol.exe file or just typing sol in the run line (start-all programs-accessories-run). If you don't know how to do any of these steps, send me an e-mail from the link below.

If you don't have XP available or just don't want to do this, then copy the files from here. Sol.exe and cards.dll.

When you click on the links above, you will get a window that asks if you want to run or save. Choose Save and change the location to the path noted above. C:\Windows\system32 or (C:\winnt\system32). You could just save them to the desktop, but I'm not sure the program would run. At the very least the dll must be in the correct folder.

July 2010 update: I finally bit the bullet & started using the new program almost exclusively and as mentioned above, improved the time considerably. I also discovered something I really like about the new game. Undo is a standard Windows function in all programs. The shortcut key is Ctrl Z. interestingly previous versions of Solitaire had a limited Undo. You had to click the mouse on the edit menu & click Undo. You could only undo one move. Now the new Solitaire has converted to the standard Windows function including the keyboard shortcut and you can undo all previous moves.

Now this may seem a small thing but it allows winning many more games. Here's how it works: In the old game, if you had 2 choices of a card to select to move, you had to select one of them. As soon as you make another move such as exposing the under card, there was no backing up.

In the new game, you can select one of the choices and make a number of moves, then undo all those moves and try the other choice. I have had many games that were lost with the first choice but winnable by going back to the second choice.

So my original upset has been redeemed. Actually I went against my normal preaching to learn to use the new programs. I have been teaching Windows since the earliest versions in the late 70's. I have always told my students to embrace the new program. From 3.1 to 95 to 98 to Me to XP to Vista to 7 there have been improvements. Every new release has had bugs but major improvements over previous versions. The problem is we get stuck in our ways and don't want to learn the new way. There are always complaints, some justified. But I can give you examples of changes in every version that made the change worthwhile. Of course if the changes don't affect your particular operation, then it nmay not be valuable. But some changes affect every user.

One example is the change in Vista and improved in 7 to security. In XP and previous versions, a program could be loaded and activated without any permission from the operator. In Vista, when you start to load a program, the scrren blacks out and a dialog box opens asking your permission to install the program. Some diehard users consider this an irritation. The value in this is that a hacker cannot install an unwanted program in your computer from the internet. The point is: Find out why a change was made and learn the value of it.

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