Reviving the Windows/Plus! Dancer Download Wizard?

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trashmaster76
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Reviving the Windows/Plus! Dancer Download Wizard?

Post by trashmaster76 »

IMPORTANT: read viewtopic.php?p=458624#p458624 first!

I recently started to play around with the Windows Dancer from MCE2005 and immediately noticed the lack of dancers in there. Turns out, you needed to download the dancers with a seperate programme that I was able to track down in the Wayback Machine
https://web.archive.org/web/20070312001 ... 7/wddu.exe

However, Microsoft has since taken down the Dancers from their server, but we can patch the Windows Dancer Downloader to make it work with a local copy of the files. I found this out by comparing the string tables from the ddu.exe from the Plus Superpack and from the wddu.exe with each other. Turns out, that you can set a custom url (and a local file path) as the download source of a "dancer.cab", which contains an xml file with metadata about the dancers with the actual dancer located in the same directory as the dancer.cab, in the string table using resource hacker (String 106). And so I set it to "./Content/Dancer.cab" (with content folder from Plus! DME and wddu.exe in the same directory), which allowed me to launch the Windows Dancer Downloader once more. Even the "installation" worked flawlessly, though the dancers of the two programmes use different file endings for the dancers.
.Dat files (Plus! DME) = .Da2 files (Windows Dancer)
.Dnc files (Plus! DME) = .Dn2 files (Windows Dancer)
These files, upon further inspection, were basically wmv videos with a different file ending, with the .dnc/dn2 files containing the name+size (large/medium/small) of the dancer as the video title in the video metadata.
Image
Last edited by trashmaster76 on Fri Apr 23, 2021 7:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Stay away, please

matti157
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Re: Reviving the Windows/Plus! Dancer Download Wizard?

Post by matti157 »

Thank you! My first "serious" pc was an HP Mediacenter m1290.it, it had Windows XP Mediacenter with dancers, but there was only one dancer pre-installed (Amanda) and with the 56K I couldn't download the others

alpha.burton
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Re: Reviving the Windows/Plus! Dancer Download Wizard?

Post by alpha.burton »

i have all the dancers i could find back in the day downloaded and saved,theres like a gig of them tho

Voyambar
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Re: Reviving the Windows/Plus! Dancer Download Wizard?

Post by Voyambar »

alpha.burton wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 2:54 am
i have all the dancers i could find back in the day downloaded and saved,theres like a gig of them tho
Could you upload them all to like MEGA or something?

ATeamInc
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Re: Reviving the Windows/Plus! Dancer Download Wizard?

Post by ATeamInc »

Voyambar wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 3:34 am
alpha.burton wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 2:54 am
i have all the dancers i could find back in the day downloaded and saved,theres like a gig of them tho
Could you upload them all to like MEGA or something?
There's a Plus Dancers pack in the WULOS update packages, with these. I have it downloaded by mistake (because I did not know what it was). It's about 500MB.

trashmaster76
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Re: Reviving the Windows/Plus! Dancer Download Wizard?

Post by trashmaster76 »

alpha.burton wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 2:54 am
i have all the dancers i could find back in the day downloaded and saved,theres like a gig of them tho
Windows or Plus! DME dancer?
Stay away, please

Voyambar
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Re: Reviving the Windows/Plus! Dancer Download Wizard?

Post by Voyambar »

ATeamInc wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 6:38 am
Voyambar wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 3:34 am
alpha.burton wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 2:54 am
i have all the dancers i could find back in the day downloaded and saved,theres like a gig of them tho
Could you upload them all to like MEGA or something?
There's a Plus Dancers pack in the WULOS update packages, with these. I have it downloaded by mistake (because I did not know what it was). It's about 500MB.
That's nice and all but you said yours was 1GB, this is 500MB meaning there's 500MB of dancers missing that you have. Gotta archive it y'know.

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Re: Reviving the Windows/Plus! Dancer Download Wizard?

Post by x010 »

Offtopic Comment
Surprisingly there are articles about it in the wiki, including probably non-working download links for updates.

trashmaster76
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Re: Reviving the Windows/Plus! Dancer Download Wizard?

Post by trashmaster76 »

x010 wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 7:59 pm
Offtopic Comment
Surprisingly there are articles about it in the wiki, including probably non-working download links for updates.
still all available in the wayback machine (and in a Windows XP nlite addon and USP4 ;))
Stay away, please

alpha.burton
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Re: Reviving the Windows/Plus! Dancer Download Wizard?

Post by alpha.burton »

Voyambar wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 6:53 pm
ATeamInc wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 6:38 am
Voyambar wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 3:34 am
alpha.burton wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 2:54 am
i have all the dancers i could find back in the day downloaded and saved,theres like a gig of them tho
Could you upload them all to like MEGA or something?
There's a Plus Dancers pack in the WULOS update packages, with these. I have it downloaded by mistake (because I did not know what it was). It's about 500MB.
That's nice and all but you said yours was 1GB, this is 500MB meaning there's 500MB of dancers missing that you have. Gotta archive it y'know.
the ones i have are 479MB zipped up with 7zip and 1.13GB uzipped. like i said they were saved from back when Microsoft released them.

ATeamInc
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Re: Reviving the Windows/Plus! Dancer Download Wizard?

Post by ATeamInc »

alpha.burton wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 11:40 pm
*snip*
the ones i have are 479MB zipped up with 7zip and 1.13GB uzipped. like i said they were saved from back when Microsoft released them.
Image

Image


I have already posted the link of the folder above, for those interested.
EDIT: Direct link, for lazy people.

xpclient
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Re: Reviving the Windows/Plus! Dancer Download Wizard?

Post by xpclient »

There are a total of 26 Dancers so 52 files, 26 each with .dat and .dnc. I had downloaded only the Large sizes back in the XP days. They are 562 MB (if you count only Large sizes, Large is also too small for today's resolutions even with DPI scaling). If you use NTFS compression on them, they become 374 MB. :D

I wasn't aware they would be WMV videos - just renamed them and indeed they are. :o Looks like they shot the dancer videos with chroma key compositing (green screening), so one version of each dancer is with a black background.

I have Plus! Digital Media Edition working on Windows 10 or any version of Windows you want, with a patch for activation - of course I won't share the patch publicly as that would be warez and against the rules.

I don't know if XP DME 2005 Dancer app is modified from Plus! but on Plus! DME at least, you can just copy-paste the dancer files in
..\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Plus! Digital Media Edition\Dancer\Dancers directory and the Dancer EXE picks them up.

ImageImage
xpclient
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I did the testing and feedback for Classic Shell.

trashmaster76
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Re: Reviving the Windows/Plus! Dancer Download Wizard?

Post by trashmaster76 »

xpclient wrote:
Fri Apr 23, 2021 6:46 pm
There are a total of 26 Dancers so 52 files, 26 each with .dat and .dnc. I had downloaded only the Large sizes back in the XP days. They are 562 MB (if you count only Large sizes, Large is also too small for today's resolutions even with DPI scaling). If you use NTFS compression on them, they become 374 MB. :D

I wasn't aware they would be WMV videos - just renamed them and indeed they are. :o Looks like they shot the dancer videos with chroma key compositing (green screening), so one version of each dancer is with a black background.

I have Plus! Digital Media Edition working on Windows 10 or any version of Windows you want, with a patch for activation - of course I won't share the patch publicly as that would be warez and against the rules.

I don't know if XP DME 2005 Dancer app is modified from Plus! but on Plus! DME at least, you can just copy-paste the dancer files in
..\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Plus! Digital Media Edition\Dancer\Dancers directory and the Dancer EXE picks them up.

ImageImage
the .dat/.da2 videos are actually microsoft rle videos, while, as i stated before, only the .dnc/.dn2 videos are actually wmv.

tl;dr microsoft digitally signed the files that the dancer download utility needs and we need to theoretically patch out the signature checks inside ddu out to get at least a little further.

also, regarding the dancer download utilities, i have to explain how they work first:
the dancer download wizard first downloads a dancer.cab from a location hardcoded into the executable (string 106 in its string table to be precise) This dancer.cab was located on the microsoft servers or in the case of MS Plus! Superpack, on disc 2 in the content folder.

the dancer.cab contains a dancer.xml with urls/paths to the actual dancers (also packaged in cabinet files)

these cabinet files are then downloaded/copied and unpacked into the dancer directory.

however if you look at the properties of any cabinet file in the Content on the MS Plus! Superpack disc 2 for more than a second, you will start to realise that all of them have a signature by microsoft corporation. and ddu and wddu refuse to work with any cabinet files that are not signed (which makes hosting the dancer files in a custom location impossible unless we find out a way to patch out the signature checks)
Stay away, please

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