I've been without the net for about a week, and was agitated to notice that many of my games would not launch immediately, at first i thought it was my display drivers but more digging and watching the activity of Rundll upon a game launch, (and the fact
that games not registered in the game exporer worked fine).
This has brought to light some issues in Windows 7 in regards to Gaming.
As we all know, Vista introduced the Game Explorer (GameUX.dll) which incorporates update checking and game information.
What most on't know, is that the instant a game is launched, Rundll.exe is spawned with the GameUX.dll,gameshim parametre and constantly polls the dns, network and domain functions in the OS.
The problem here, lies in the fact that if this process does not receive a response, the Game's process will sit frozen until a response is recieved.
Now the Rundll process actually acts as a mask for the games executable until the response from the servers is received, that said closing the rundll.exe prior to the handover being made will also close the Games executable.
You can work around this in a way by killing the actual game executable, which will keep the rundll open, and then opening the game executable again. However as it is polling the net api's (Wininet), Rundll will consume a full core (13% for my i7), until you close it. which can cause a number of issues in single core games, and the like.
I don't have anyway to directly contribute this, but its an issue in windows 7 which needs to be addressed, im sure it didn't occur in windows Vista, and i've reproduced it on multiple windows 7 installations, including my mothers home premium laptop and my brothers windows 7 ultimate laptop, as well as my own gaming pc. A lack of an internet connection SHOULD NOT, interfere with games that are registered with the Game Explorer.
It seems to have something to do with the Last Refresh timing, as modification of this value in the games information values (Registry) would modify the behavior, such as launching immediately as expected it should, or not launching at all with the rundll process consuming a full cores worth of cpu usage.
Just to note, after my net was restored, Rundll no longer chews through 13% of the cpu as it isn't constantly polling the network functions, (verified with processmon) and disappears within moments to launch the game.