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Mobilizing Zoom Player for USB Flash Drives and CD/DVD-ROM Discs

With features newly introduced in Zoom Player v4.50, you can greater mobilize Zoom Player on USB devices and CD/DVD Discs. This allows you to move Zoom Player from system to system, maintaining your settings (with USB devices), using your favorite decoders without having an impact on the running system.

  1. Zoom Player v4.50 (or newer).
  2. A USB Flash Drive (Referred to as UFD from now on) or a writable CD/DVD disc.
  3. Any decoders you want to be temporarily installed while Zoom Player is running (XVID/ShoutCast/etc...).

Installation (UFD Devices):
First, insert your UFD so that your operating system can identify it as a disk drive. Next install Zoom Player directly onto the UFD (it is recommended that you install it into a folder named "ZP" in the drive's main folder). Now run Zoom Player from the UFD (if you already have Zoom Player installed on your system, make sure that you are running the Zoom Player from the UFD itself and not from your hard disk).

With Zoom Player running, open the Zoom Player Options Dialog (Ctrl+"O" on the keyboard, or through the right-click context menu). Switch to the advanced options dialog (button on the bottom-left), go to the "System" section (on the left side of the dialog). Within the "System" section, you will find a setting named "Save configuration in a local file".

This setting instructs Zoom Player to keep all settings on the UFD and make sure settings will not conflict with any previously installed version of Zoom Player, basically making the version on the UFD independant from any other version you have installed. You can now configure Zoom Player to your preferred setup and close Zoom Player to save your settings.

Installation (Read-Only Media):
With Read-Only Media such as CDR and DVDR discs, Zoom Player cannot maintain mobile configuration, as the Read-Only nature of the media does not allow Zoom Player to update a local configuration file. Your choices are either to include no local configuration file which means Zoom Player will behave as if it has been freshly installed or to include a local configuration file with your own preferred default settings and understanding that these settings will remain fixed each time Zoom Player is loaded. If you prefer your own default settings, follow the procedure outlined for UFD Devices with the exception of installing Zoom Player into a folder which you would later burn onto a disc.

It is recommended that you close Zoom Player before removing a UFD device as that will allow Zoom Player to save the last-minute configuration and unregister any decoders that were temporarily registered from the UFD device itself.

Advanced Topic - Automatic Decoder/Filter Installation:
Another mobility feature supported by Zoom Player is the smart installation and configuration of Decoders and other DirectShow filters. These components can be dynamically registered/unregistered with the system the UFD is connected to. If a component is already registered with the system, it is left alone and if not, it will be temporarily registered until Zoom Player is closed.

To configure Zoom Player to automatically handle such components, you will need to create a text file by the name of "zplayer.regfilters" within the Zoom Player folder. A sample file which configures Zoom Player to register the XVID decoder and SHOUTcast streaming filter can be found here (extract the ZIP file into the Zoom Player folder on the UFD).

Here is the content of this file:

The first line tells Zoom Player the name of the filter file (in this case the XVID decoder) and it's unique identifier. The unique identifier lets Zoom Player determine if the filter is already registered with the system, in which case Zoom Player will not attempt to register it again from the UFD. Obtaining the unique identifier for a registered filter on your system can be done within Zoom Player (Advanced Options / System / Filter Management / "Registered Filter Manager" button).

The third parameter on the first line is the word "filter". For now this is the only value, so always use "filter" as the parameter.

The second line tells Zoom Player to set a registry configuration value for the XVID decoder. This specific value tells the XVID decoder to support decoding of DIVX and MPEG-4 ISO content as well as XVID content. Setting registry values for filters is complex, you need familiarity with where the filter stores its data in the registry and what each value means for the filter.

As you can see from this sample, there are five parameters to the "registry" command. The first parameter is the base registry key, the second is the path to where the filter stores its data in the registry, the third is the key name, the forth is the key type (possible values are "DWORD,SZ,BINARY" where "SZ" is a text value) and the fifth is the key value. Most filters do not require any special configuration (like in the case of the SHOUTcast filter).

Zoom Player only erases registry keys when exiting if the keys did not previously exist, thus ensuring no conflict if the decoder/filter was previously installed on the system.

The third line like the first is used to register a filter with the system, in this case, the SHOUTcast streaming filter.

With the sample file, Zoom Player expects to find XVID's "xvid.ax" file (the XVID decoder is comprised of two files "xvid.ax" and "xvidcore.dll") in the Zoom Player folder and for "shoutcastsource.ax" in the Zoom Player folder. So when installing such components/filters, you should install them directly to the Zoom Player folder on the UFD, or move them after installation into that folder.

Advanced Topic - Auto Run Script:
Windows support a simple script file which can be run automatically when a UFD drive is inserted (under Windows XP you may be prompted with a dialog asking you what to do and the first option on this dialog will be to run the program on the device, which is our script).

To create an auto-run script, you need to create a file by the name of "autorun.inf" in the drive's main (root) folder. The content of this file has three lines:
action=Run Zoom Player

The first line is an indicator this is an auto-run file, leave it as-is. The second line is a text description that will show up on Windows XP's pop-up dialog when a new device is inserted. The third line is which program to run when the UFD is inserted. This file indicates that Zoom Player was installed to the "ZP" folder on the UFD.

You can download this sample file here (extract the ZIP file into the UFD main folder).

Advanced Topic - Batch Files:
Batch files are basic Windows scripting files allowing you to execute multiple programs/commands in sequence. By setting an Auto-Run script to run a batch file instead of the Zoom Player executable, you can have multiple commands executed. For example, the following script would first add a registry file into the windows registry and only then run Zoom Player in fullscreen mode:
@call regedit.exe /s mysettings.reg
zplayer.exe /f

There are plenty of tutorials for writing Batch files on the web, but for this tutorial, here are a few basic items you may want to take into account:
  1. All batch files have the ".bat" file extension (for example "go.bat").
  2. The "@" character infront of every command line means it's a silent command (would not appear in a console window).
  3. The "call" command infront of the file name indicates that the process should wait for the executed program to close before running the next line in the script.
  4. By right-clicking a ".bat" batch file, you can choose for the console window which opens for the batch file to start minimized. This is cosmetical... it doesn't look nice when a black window opens while the batch file is working. When specifying properties for a batch file, a file with a ".pif" extension is created. This file keeps the setting for the batch file with the same base file name.
  5. See what Google has to say about batch files.
Related Links:
Formats, Filters & Decoders