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jeffryfisher

DAT Packer fails after looking for nonexistent user dir

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I have a fresh install of Wounagain's 2008 datpacker in Win7. In Win7, my user dir is under "My Documents", but the dat packer insists on looking in "Documents", which does not even exist in Win7. I've tried editing config.ini, but no joy. How do I coerce the datpacker to look in the right place?

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This is the sample line from my DATpacker config.ini:

[Settings]
folder = D:\\Users\\*NAME*\\Documents\\SimCity 4\\Plugins\\Plugins_Compressed

As you can see, it is also called only "Documents", but the real folder name is "My Documents". So I think,that's just right.
Did you put the mfc71.dll into the installation directory of the DATPacker to make it work under Windows 7? And maybe in the \\Windows\System32 folder as well?
I also have the msvcp71.dll and the MSVCR71.dll in the DATPacker installation directory. But I don't remember, if I put them there, or if they're coming during installation,
because it's been a while, since I made the DATPacker run on my system. And I don't wanna mess with it, *:D never touch a running system...

Kind regards!

 

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26 minutes ago, markussaage said:

As you can see, it is also called only "Documents", but the real folder name is "My Documents". So I think,that's just right.

Indeed, when coding the string %userdir/documents% or similar is most commonly used. This way the program will seek out the defined directories from Windows settings. Otherwise it wouldn't be able to find your username. If it displays as Documents, it's most likely the internal code rather than the actual directory being displayed.

11 hours ago, jeffryfisher said:

How do I coerce the datpacker to look in the right place?

Can't you just manually browse for a directory?, that should work.

29 minutes ago, markussaage said:

Did you put the mfc71.dll into the installation directory of the DATPacker to make it work under Windows 7? And maybe in the \\Windows\System32 folder as well?
I also have the msvcp71.dll and the MSVCR71.dll in the DATPacker installation directory

Only necessary if you can't get the main application interface to appear, if you can, then all such libraries should be present.

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38 minutes ago, rsc204 said:

Can't you just manually browse for a directory?, that should work.

Yes, indeed you can. On the top right corner in the main windows you can chose the path of the Plugins_Compressed folder.

Kind regards!

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  • Original Poster
  • As suspected, the main interface never appears, so I can't browse anywhere. After I acknowledge the error message about a missing subfolder, the app exits completely.

    I'll check my DLLs -- after installing, I copied everything from my dead Win-XP drive. Something there might be wrongly versioned and need to be replaced for Win-7. I should also see what environment variables I have and where they come from. Something else salvaged from XP could be the source.

    The error message shows my username (unchanged since XP) but the wrong doc folder under it. I wonder if it's coming out of some file I salvaged from XP. What's irritating is that my edits to config.ini have had zero effect.

     

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    If you have simply copied DAT Packer's install from another machine, which I think your saying, then yes step 1 is to remove that and install it properly. Very few modern programs work properly if you copy just the install DIR to a new machine. The last time you could reliably do that was with the 16-bit Windows 3.1x or DOS. Since then, registry entries, %appdata% settings and other links in the system just won't be there or properly configured so it works.

    As for why editing the .ini file may not work, perhaps it's simply a log file, so it's just being output as opposed to being read from?

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  • Original Poster
  • Huzzah, I worked around this puzzle, and I learned a couple things in the process.

    1) The "documents" versus "my documents" divergence was a windows explorer red herring. The datpacker displayed a real path in its error message, but windows explorer lied to me, displaying the variant in both its tree pane and subfolder list. It's just one more bit of evidence that Windoze developers hate us and want us to be unhappy.

    2) Datpack's config.ini contains a "folder" assignment that is used for the output path, not as an input path, which is why it didn't help me start the program. I wasn't able to find anything in the readme file about customizing datpack's input path.

    3) Apparently, datpack can only operate upon the default SC4 plugins path as input. My problem was that I use a custom -UserDir= folder to store my bulky SC4 data on a different physical drive. The error message was something like "Apparently C:\user\jrfisher\documents\SimCity 4\plugins has no subfolder". It was telling me that it couldn't find a subfolder to pack -- because plugins on the C drive under documents is indeed empty.

    Important safety tip for anyone using or contemplating a custom user dir: If/when you datpack, you'll need to either copy your plugins back to the default plugins folder under documents or else trick the program with something like a hard symlink.

    After doing a slew of folder renames, I was able to slide the mount-point of my RAM drive under datpack's nose, and then it ran like a champ, inhaling 2.24 GB from a dozen subfolders and sausage-grinding them into 2.17 GB of (~16) dat files written to HDD in about 80 seconds. I then renamed my folders back to where my scripts expect to see them.

     

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    And has it made a perceptible difference in load times? I would expect that the gain is in traversing folders and opening files, not really in volume, as the .dat format is pretty compressed already.

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    7 hours ago, jeffryfisher said:

    3) Apparently, datpack can only operate upon the default SC4 plugins path as input.

    I think, you're right there, but... *:8) My " \Users\NAME\documents\SimCity 4\plugins" folder is NOT located under drive C:\. For security reasons I move my user account to drive D:\, which contains nothing but user accounts. So either the DATPacker installer looks up the path in the windows registry, or I am just lucky.
    And yes, the files that you wanna DATPack, need to be in your user accounts SimCity 4 Plugins folder.

     

    Kind regards!

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