Posts Tagged ‘windows’

Ignore CRC Errors to Copy Damaged Files

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

As I type this, I am watching a new addition to my utilities toolkit copy damaged files from a hard drive with several bad sectors that is about to be replaced.

Trying to use most programs, like a basic drag and drop in Windows Explorer, or Robocopy, or XCOPY (remember that!) will fail when the filesystem kicks up a CRC error on the file.  I’ve also had this happen with scratched CD’s and DVD’s.

The new in my software toolbox is Unstoppable Copier, a freeware tool available here. I’ve tested it once, and it seems to work as advertised. It did more than Windows Explorer managed to do, at least.

There are also roundabout ways to do this with disk image software that can ignore errors – such as ddrescue – which I’ll be running on this same hard disk soon.

Problems installing the RDP Patch in Windows XP?

Friday, March 16th, 2012

If you’re in IT, and you are responsible for some Windows computers, you should have heard of the upcoming critical security issue with Remote Desktop.  If not, read about it here or here or any number of articles on other tech sites in the last week.

We have several clients using RDP and Terminal Server in various configurations. Usually, we’ve set them up behind firewalls that block by IP address or custom ports that make them a little less vulnerable. We’ve begun the process of making sure that the Windows Updates are current on these machines, especially those that have Remote Desktop enabled and connected to the Internet on the standard port of 3389.

Today, I ran into a machine that just could not run Windows Updates for some reason, and hadn’t for about 3 months. I tried many potential solutions, in which I won’t go into detail.

This post is not about fixing Windows Updates. This is about installing the critical security patch for WinXP SP3 for the RDP issue before the exploits begin.

The work around in my case was to manually install the patch.

This is Microsoft’s official security bulletin, Microsoft Security Bulletin MS12-020 – Critical Vulnerabilities in Remote Desktop Could Allow Remote Code Execution (2671387). If you read to the bottom, you see links to pages specific to various vulnerable Microsoft OSs. This is the one for Windows XP – Security Update for Windows XP (KB2621440).  On that page is a download link to get the patch! Just download and run it.

Sure, the right thing to do is fix Windows Update on this particular computer; however, installing just this patch is far, far better than nothing.

Windows 7 RAID-1 (Software Disk Mirror)

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Today, I learned more about Windows 7 and it’s built in software disk mirroring for hard drives than I ever wanted to know.

It’s virtually impossible to find this listed on an official Microsoft.com page (I can’t find it), but Windows 7 Professional has software disk mirroring enabled. In previous versions of Windows, software disk redundancy was limited to the server class operating systems, e.g. Windows 2000 Server, Windows 2003, and Windows 2008. Although, IIRC, Windows NT4 Workstation had disk mirroring, but I’m too lazy to look that up.

I spent several minutes today trying to find an official page that listed software RAID as a feature… and failed. Then, before starting this post, I tried again, and still failed. There are several 3rd party sites that mention software RAID being enabled in Win7. In the end, I had to set it up myself to be satisfied that it was true.

No, dynamic disk mirrors are not really the same as RAID1, but it’s close enough for me, and better in some ways – it should be possible to move a Windows mirrored drive to a completely different motherboard, for instance.

BTW, be careful with the entry level Dell Vostro 230’s, they don’t include support for Intel Matrix Storage anymore! Yes, that’s how this whole exercise started.

P.S. I just noticed that this is blog post number 101!

The Missing Menu Bar in Vista

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

A few weeks back  I discovered the missing menu bar in Explorer in Vista.  All you have to do is press and release the Alt key and the good old “File | Edit | View | Tools | Help” menu pops up.  I find this useful to get to “Map Network Drive” no matter where I am in the computer browser.  Otherwise, the only link was the  context sensitive button that shows up at the “Computer” level.

Only a few more Vista annoyances to go!  OK,  it would have been smarter to post this before Windows 7 launched; however, Vista will be running on this laptop until it dies of old age.

Using an Old Printer with Windows Vista – and other Vista issues.

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

So, I bit the bullet and got a new PC with Microsoft Windows Vista.

Yes, like every informed geek, I expect a few issues.  However, sooner or later I will need to support Vista at client sites; besides, XP is getting on in years.

Today’s post is mainly about getting my old, but reliable, Brother HL-1030 to work in Vista.  The Brother laser printer is shared over the network by a Windows XP machine.

Some inter-related problems when trying to map this printer in Vista:

Immediately after trying to map the printer, this error comes up: “The printer driver is not compatible with a policy enabled on your computer that blocks NT 4.0 drivers”.  The Microsoft KB describing this, with no real work around other than “find a compatible driver”, is KB931719. Honestly, given the error message, wouldn’t you expect the KB article to provide a way to change the local policy?

Vista has no built in driver for my old HL1030, nor are there compatible drivers on the web.

On the driver front, a quick Google search told me that the built in Vista driver for the Brother HL-2030 would work fine.  But how do I use it? Every time I try the add printer wizard, it tries to install the incompatible point-and-click NT4/2K/XP drivers.

* Update – 2009-04: I had some intermittent problems with the HL-2030 driver, once in a while a page would not print completely and would cause the printer to require manual intervention to get it going again.  A quick search turned up this page which suggested using the Vista built in driver for the Brother HL-1430.  I’m trying that now.

So, I used an old trick. I faked a local port for the printer. I don’t remember the terminology, but I do recall this mapping system being common in the past – maybe with Novell or DOS?

Anyway, create a new local port using the share name, e.g. \\server\brother. You will be prompted to pick a driver. In my case, using the Brother HL-2030 driver does indeed work fine.

Some other Vista problems that I’ve had to resolve:

I’ve disabled User Access Control.  I can’t officially recommend this to other people, but it just doesn’t jive with me.

I’ve removed all but the US keyboard from my keyboard settings. Canadian PC’s (maybe it’s dependent on the regional settings?) have English, French and a “combo” keyboard mapping installed by default.  That’s fine until you accidentally hit the hot-key to switch to the French format – for some reason you do not get a confirmation prompt (!?!).  It happened to me on day two with this computer.  I’ve previously helped others fix this too.  While you’re at it, those with Intel Graphics, disable the hot-key that rotates the screen – everyone stumbles on that one eventually.

I had issues with an Access “.mdb” database on a network share that I use for tracking stuff. The resolution for that was to add the “serving” machine’s host name to my Internet trusted zone.  Adding only the IP address did not work, despite a MSKB Knowledge Base article I found.

I’m sure more Vista issues will pop-up.  But, so far, it’s been manageable.  I quite like the new 3-D flip task thing and the search tool.