SofTutor® FAQ
(Frequently Asked Questions)

Table of Contents

  1. Top 4 User Problems
  2. Audio
  3. Documentation
  4. General
  5. Installation
  6. Video
  7. Windows 95
  8. Contacting New Vision Software, Incorporated

Top 4 User Problems

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1.) Cannot get setup.exe to run. (Problem occurs with AutoCAD R14 2D, 3D, Advanced, MicroStation 3D, 95 2D, SE and Imagineer Technical 2.0). There was a bug with the installation program that we used to create those products that conflicted with wheel mouses. To get setup to run type (<ctrl>, <alt> delete) ONE time only. A window will pop up on the screen, scroll down the list and look for "mswheel", select "mswheel" and choose "end task". Install SofTutor and reboot after installation which will restart mswheel.

2.) Cannot find my Serial Number or Key, or I'm Stuck in Demo Mode.

This is the number one problem. The serial number and key are located on the out side of the shrink wrap. Make sure you save the Serial Number and Key, if you lose them, you must return your CD with proof of purchase to New Vision Software, 130 S. Kainer Ave., Barrington, IL 60010 and we'll send you another CD within two business days after we receive it.

If you have your Key and Serial number make sure that you check the numbers against the alphabet and numbers printed on the label, make sure ones are ones and not I's, and check to make sure 0's are zeros and not O's (oh's) or visa versa.

3.) Invalid Data Base format or Incompatible Database Version or something to that effect.

Good old Microsoft, they have 2 different files with the same name. One is the one we need, and one is the bad file. The installation scripts cannot tell them apart either. If you get this error search for a file called vbdb300.dll and replace it with the one found on the SofTutor CD in the \libs directory. Then restart SofTutor. If you get the same error again then you will need to stop and restart windows. If the error still persists give us a call.

4.) If for some reason you cannot run SofTutor with Windows NT 4.0

Make sure you upgrade to at least NT 4.0 Service Pack 2, and some users may need to upgrade to NT 4.0 Service Pack 3. You can down load Service Packs from if your in the US you will need subdirectory usa and then directory nt40. Again if your stuck please give us a call.

NOTE: About 90% of our users have no problem running on Windows NT 4.0, 9.5% will have no problem after SP 2 is installed.


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The audio on some videos loses sync and can be off a few seconds.

Some video drivers can't play the video fast enough to keep up with the sound. You can fix this problem by running the mplayer.exe which is located in the windows directory. Load any avi video that you can find (File -> Open) select device then select configure (Device -> Configure) and check the "skip video frames if behind" check box then set this to be the default. Exit the program and restart windows. This problem should go away.

If you still have problems try running SofTutor by its self with no other windows applications running. Also try setting your video controller to use 256 colors. You can also try using a lower resolution on your monitor. SofTutor will run using the VGA driver (640x480) that is included with windows. Some of the colors will be off but the program will run fine.

SofTutor v 1.4 sets "skip video frames if behind" automatically.

The sound skips at times.

This was only notice on 486/33 or on systems with a number of processes running in the background. If possible decrease the number of processes running in the background. Increase the CD/ROM buffers /M:xx parameter of the mscdex.exe line in the autoexec.bat file. Try using an operating system that multitasks better. WFW 3.11, Windows 95 or Windows NT. Note: even rapidly moving the mouse while the SofTutor is playing may cause the audio to skip while running windows 3.1.

See Video section if you have an ATI video board.

This problems has been minimized in SofTutor v 1.4.


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The MicroStation 3D Acrobat document does not follow the video.

The document was used as a guide for the "SofTutor for MicroStation 3D with Rendering". We realized that the book didn't cover as much as we could fit on the CD so we added a lot more. A few seldom used sections were not added to the product either. If you find something that you wanted us to go over please feel free to let us know and we'll try to add it to the next release.

How do I get more information on how to use Adobe Acrobat.

If you installed Acrobat you look in acroread\help directory you will find a pdf file and a text file. If you don't know how to use acrobat and don't want to try with out reading something first then read the readme_r.txt file in the directory first. However if your like most of us give it a try without reading the documentation first. Or you can get more information from .


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Installation problems - Invalid file type or file not found.

Some users get an error that says invalid file type or file not found when trying to run SofTutor for the first time. This is caused by a file not getting copied in to the windows/system directory. When we created SofTutor we didn't want it to over write files like some installation programs do if a file with the same name already exists in the same directory.

To fix the problem copy all of the files in the \lib directory on the SofTutor CD to the directory where the st_ms3d.exe file is located (usually \softutor\ms3d). Restart SofTutor. If the problem still exists call (847) 382-1532 for technical support.


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Do I have to load video for windows?

If you know you have all of the video codecs loaded with your current version of windows either video for windows or windows media player, you probably do not need to load video for windows. However, if you have any problems playing SofTutor you should reload video for windows. We make it the default installation to help resolve any problems users may encounter.

I cannot install video for windows on Windows XP!

Video for windows may not install on Windows XP. If you notice this problem try installing SofTutor without installing video for windows. The video codec may already be loaded on your machine. We have tested SofTutor and it runs fine on Windows XP. If you are still having problems let us know.

I have problems with the screen colors when I run SofTutor and MicroStation® Side by Side, what is the problem?

You are noticing palette flashing. When applications are run in Windows they use colors that are found in a color palette. Most applications including SofTutor use 256 colors on their palette. If all programs running use the exact same palette then there is no problem. However, if one program needs only one color that is not in the color palette, then that program must load a different color palette. If you switch between two programs with different palettes you will see colors change between programs when each one is selected.

We would like you to be able to play MicroStation and SofTutor side by side but we do not support side by side play. We have tested various configurations and side by side play has worked using Diamond Stealth 64 video with 2 MB of VRAM. At resolutions up to 1280 x 1024. If you have 4 MB of VRAM and you can display 16.7 million colors at 1280 x 1024 resolutions you should have no problems running side by side.

  1. If palette flash is noticed or if the colors are off when switching between images try the following:
  2. Turn off background image so the background is a solid color, preferably gray.
  3. Close all apps that are not needed. (MicroStation and SofTutor should be the only apps running)
  4. Change the start order. Try starting MicroStation first then starting SofTutor or Start SofTutor first then start MicroStation.
  5. Try setting your video controller to a lower resolution and use more colors. Then repeat step 1 to 3.
  6. Check with your video controller manufacture to see if there are any known bugs with your video drivers or see if there are any up dated drivers.
  7. See if you can upgrade your video controllers memory.
  8. Upgrade to a better video controller that supports at least 2 MB of RAM (DRAM, VRAM or WRAM). If your upgrading you may want to find a controller that will allow more than 2 MB of RAM.

SofTutor runs side by side with Diamond Stealth 64 Video with 2 MB of VRAM on Packard Bell P5 90 with 12 MB of RAM, Windows for Workgroups 3.11; 16 MB of RAM, Windows 95; 24 MB of RAM, Windows/NT.

When my video plays it has lines on it and the sound cracks.

We are currently only aware of a problem with ATI video boards. Please let us know if you are having a problem with someone else's video boards. If so contact your manufacture and make sure that the video drivers that you are using have no problems running Video for Windows version 1.1.

Versions of ATI's video accelerator prior to 2.1 do not work well with Video for Windows version 1.1. Installing the accelerator software after installing Video for Windows can overwrite Video for Windows version 1.1 components with components from the previous version. Avoid installing any version of the video accelerator unless it is specifically noted to be compatible with Video for Windows version 1.1.

The vidc.rlec=ativdacc.drv entry in the [installable compressors] section of the SYSTEM.INI file can cause problems when playing large compressed movies. Remove this entry from the SYSTEM.INI file. For update drivers, contact ATI Technologies Inc.

Sometimes the video doesn't look right.

You may be seeing some images left over on the video from applications that may be placed on top of SofTutor. Pause the video and skip back 5 seconds then play the video or pause the video and minimize SofTutor then maximize it and then play it or skip ahead to the next video then skip back to the current video.

Sometimes my system has a video in the upper left hand corner of the screen when SofTutor is playing else where.

This has been noticed using some video controllers. What happens is the video image can under some circumstances get put up as a background image that is not refreshed to the normal background. In most cases there is a bug with the drivers for your video controller. Contact the manufacture for updated drivers. A work around is to pause SofTutor, and minimize it. Open Program Manager, maximize it and restore it to the original size this should cause the background to be refreshed and the image should disappear. Open SofTutor and continue.

Windows 95

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In Windows `95 the icons for minimizing the window in the upper right hand corner of SofTutor are replaced by larger icons.

This is a bug with one of the custom controls that we use. The manufacture has been notified and they have said that they will provide an update after Windows `95 has been released. We will post the new driver on our FTP server as soon as it is available.

While other icons appear on top of our window the function of our icons is the same, the right most icon will enlarge the window to be full screen and the second to last icon will cause the window to be minimized. The third icon from the end has no effect on the window.

This problem has been fixed in SofTutor version 1.4.

SofTutor in Windows 95 and Windows NT will not transition between video clips.

There is a bug in the current video driver for Windows NT and Windows 95 and as soon as there is a fix we will allow transitions to occur between video clips. We will provide all fixes on our FTP server.

This problem has been fixed in SofTutor Version 1.4.

Pulldown selection does not stay up.

This is only a problem on Windows 95. We hope this problem will go away when Visual Basic 4.0 comes out. The work around is to pause the video before selecting the pulldown selection.


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Sometimes there are images left around in the SofTutor control buttons.

This too has been noticed using some video controllers. This usually happens when the video is resized to be larger than 100%. Try resizing SofTutor to a different size or reset SofTutor to be 100%, this should clear up the problem. You should note that, while images may appear in the control button area the buttons still function properly. This may be a problem with the drivers for your video controller, or it may be our problem.

We will continue testing this and see if it is our problem. If so, we will post put an updated driver on our server and you can down load it. Our server is on the internet and can be reached by anonymous ftp at login as anonymous and use your return email path as a password. You can also download the over the WWW by accessing our server at

Five of the labs have a white background and everything else has a black background, how come?

Mike Arroyo recorded around 100 hrs. of instruction for our first 3 projects. We have almost 75 clips that were edited out for one reason or another. While this lab was in white, it was unique and contained information that we found valuable, if you listen carefully in the first part of the lab Mike will show you how to set the background to white.

If you listen closely you will also find that one of our staff members had to re-record the audio portion of two clips.

I have an Evaluation Copy and I cannot get the search feature to work.

If you are using an evaluation copy you will have full functionality of SofTutor Chapter 1 through 4. Table of Contents, Bookmarks, Search and Search History will work. If you are doing a search only indexes from Chapter 1 through 4 will work. If you want to try the search out here are a few of the keywords from chapters 1 through 4 to try: basic, camera, cone, cylinder, design cube, working units, dx, dl, locks, menus, overview, slab, sphere and tentative point.

Is there any online help for SofTutor?

Not at the current time! We wanted to make SofTutor easy to use and when we polled users we found that very few used online help. If you feel that we need some online help please let us know (use the suggestions form). If enough users will use it we will certainly add an online help. We did discuss the possibility of adding video help but it was not added in version 1.4. If enough people want it we will add some in version 1.5.

I got a sharing violation when I tried to run SofTutor.

Fixed in SofTutor v 1.4.

SofTutor requires that share.exe or vshare.386 is loaded on the system that it is running from. If your system does not have share.exe or vshare.386 running on it SofTutor Install will add share.exe to your autoexec.bat. It will save a copy of your original autoexec.bat file to another name and tell you what the name is at installation.

When I try to run the MDL sessions I cannot get them to work on my system.

Four MDL's are explained in SofTutor for MicroStation. Some of them are found on the bulletin board, or . Others like are only available with the Bentley CSP program. We chose to show them cause they enhance design in 3D.

When I pause the video it takes a while on my system.

It may take a few seconds to pause the video on slower systems when the video is playing at full screen resolution (maximized (larger than 100%)). If you notice this problem on your system. We recommend not playing the video at maximized. Click on the SofTutor reset window size icon. This problem was only notice on systems slower than 486/66 running windows 3.1. Upgrading memory, processor or operating systems may solve this problem.

In SofTutor v 1.4 we re-optimized the video compression routines for playback on 486/33's hopefully this problem is fixed. If you notice it please open a trouble report.

Bubble Help gets pulled off of SofTutor.

We have noticed this when running Windows NT using certain video drivers. The bubble help will usually disappear within a few seconds. If we get a driver to fix this we will post it on our internet server.

Bottom controls seem to flash.

On slow systems this flash is more noticeable. The scroll bar and time remaining in the current video clip gets updated every second or longer on slow systems. This update may cause the tool bar to shift up and down slightly or pulse on slower systems.

The time remaining seems to jump more than 1 second intervals.

The speed of your system will determine the interval on fast systems the interval will be closer to 1 second and on slow systems it could be 5 seconds.

Adjusting the Volume or Speed doesn't seem to work.

This function runs on while the video is playing. If your running on a 486 class machine you may want to pause the video before you make these adjustments. Increasing the speed of playback will make slow machines work harder. If you have a 486/66 and are adjusting the speed or volume you need to click on the arrow and wait a few seconds before your click can be processed.

Sometimes video plays on top of controls.

Sometimes the top of the video will overlap on the functions and controls. This can be corrected by minimizing the window and restoring it to its original size.

On some systems there may be CD-ROM Tracking Problems.

During testing we found some CD/ROM drives that had problems running SofTutor. At first we thought the problem was in our program or with our CD-R writer, however, continued testing proved that some of the CD/ROM drives from the Manufacture were slightly out of spec. We found a bad drive and ordered the same CD/ROM drive from the same manufacture. We installed it on the same system that we had problems on and everything worked fine with the second drive. To insure that our CD-R writer is not out of spec we are having our Disk Manufacturer (DMI) re-premaster our CD on their systems.

This problem appears to be fixed in SofTutor v 1.4. If you notice a problem log a trouble report .

What systems have you tested SofTutor on?

We tested SofTutor on a variety of systems with different configurations and operating systems. We tested 12 computers from 386/25 with 4 MB of RAM to a 586/90 with 40 MB of RAM. We tested each series of computers with 4 MB to at least 16 MB, Windows 3.1 to Windows NT, 2X CD/ROMs to 4X CD/ROMs, various video configurations from VGA 3.0 (16 colors) to accelerated video with 16.7 million colors and screen resolutions from 640x480 to 1600x1200. SofTutor is not supported on systems with less than 8MB of RAM or on system slower than a 486/33. 1X CD/ROM drives are not supported either.

Contacting New Vision Software, Incorporated

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At New Vision Software we want to be responsive to our customers needs and if you have any comments or suggestions we'd like to know. Please feel free to send us feedback at any time. You can contact us one of the following ways:

Internet Email:
World Wide Web server:
FTP server: login as anonymous and use your return email path as a password.

Snail Mail (U.S. Mail):
130 S. Kainer Ave.
Barrington, IL 60010
(847) 382-1532 Main
(800) 561-2789 Sales Only
(847) 382-1944 Fax

Technical Support:

You can get technical support from New Vision Software at (847) 382-1532 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (CST) Monday - Friday or by email at or from the Technical Support Form on our WWW server at .

If you need technical support you will be asked for your serial number so make sure you keep it in a safe place.