Every PC user has a few favourite utilities they stoically stick with for years, despite not being the latest or best, simply because they work. The problem is that as operating systems improve and hardware configurations change, these tools could be causing issues without you even realising — so ingrained have they become as a "part" of your setup, they elude suspicion even when all other avenues are exhausted.
During the development of Zafehouse: Diaries, I ran into an issue where the game would crash when trying to initialise Direct3D. After spending hours debugging every step of the renderer, I finally had the good sense to run the game on another machine. Surprise, surprise, it loaded just fine.
It was then I started investigating the configuration of my main development PC and after shutting down a number of stay-resident utilities, I came across the culprit: D3D Overrider.
D3D Overrider is a small app that makes sure games using Direct3D as a renderer have both vsync and triple-buffering enabled. Yes, these settings appear in the likes of the NVIDIA Control Panel, but as users of AMD graphics cards know, these options only affect OpenGL and not Microsoft's API. As such, a separate program is needed to enforce these settings when a game or 3D-accelerated program doesn't do it itself.
I continue to use D3D Overrider as I've yet to find a good alternative and while it's been the source of grief for a few other games, for the most part, it doesn't interfere with my day-to-day activities.
Still, today might be a good time to take stock of the applications you've been running on your PC for years and haven't updated, either because they're no longer supported or you just haven't felt the need to check for a newer version and make sure they're not conflicting with more recent software or hardware.