Category Archives: Systems

Don’t Give Up! Backup…

As an avid tech person and “Google-r”, I have to say that persistence really does pay off. If I can’t figure something out, I’ll usually hit Google and start reading posts related to the issue.  It is astounding how many people post or comment to questions with just the most completely wrong advice on a subject.

My latest issue was very simple – Windows 10 wouldn’t let me do a Windows 7 image backup to my external Seagate drive.

I read a ton of posts with comments ranging from FAT vs FAT32 vs NTFS – I read about Basic vs Dynamic drives – I read about registry settings – I read about GBT vs  MBR – all seemed completely plausible, but I still couldn’t get Windows 10 to write an image to this drive.  I formatted, change types, partitioned – you name it.  Then I forgot about it for a month until I was worried about losing some files so I started digging again.

The issue came down to – get this – DISABLE WINDOWS DEFENDER REAL TIME PROTECTION for the duration of the backup.  It worked perfectly.  I’m not saying people are idiots or anything, just that everyone wants to help out and a lot of the posts are ‘Well, did you try this?  Or did you try that?’, when what you really need is to find someone who overcame the problem.

I’ve seen this time and time again for many situations – posts and comments where people “try” to help, but they repeatedly miss the mark.

So, my advice for those of you looking for help – keep looking and if someone says it can’t be done or you’re wasting your time – keep looking more.  It might just be possible.

 

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Explorer sort slow after Windows 10 Upgrade

This could be caused by Windows Search from the upgrade –

  1. Open services and turn off Windows Search
  2. Go to C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Search\Data\Applications\Windows
  3. Delete Windows.edb
  4. Turn Windows Search back on

This will let windows rebuild the search database

 

Windows 2012 – Sharing a folder

For some reason, sharing is more complicated on Windows 2012.  Well, not complicated, but it does require using a different attack method:

  1. START/RUN
  2. FSMGMT.MSC
  3. Create your share here, much like you used to do in the past

Publisher could not be verified!

I hate that message!  I have a batch file set to run via a timer and every day it stops because it wants to verify the publisher.

Here is a way to disable the message:

1. Click Start–>Run and type gpedit.msc. Click OK

2. Go to User Configuration–>Administrative Templates–>Windows Components–>Attachment Manager

3. Add “*.exe” to the “Inclusion list for moderate risk file types” setting. You can also add other file types.

This should disable the “Publisher Could Not Be Verified” messages from appearing for that file type in the future.

Good luck!

(Note, this is the second method I’ve used for this and I’m waiting to see how well it works.  I used a different method yesterday via IE to trust the directory where the batch file is located and it made absolutely no difference at all)

 

Vista BSOD ATAPORT.SYS hang on CRCDISK.SYS

What a nice cryptic name for a blog post!  If you found this via a search, then I’m sorry for you.  This was a really, REALLY frustrating problem.

Symptoms Prior: Browser would randomly bring up an ad filled website which is obviously a virus of some kind.

I treated the system with scans by Spybot, Microsoft Security Essentials (which was installed) and AdAware.  They said everything was fine.  I felt better.  Maybe it was just some script in Firefox?   I did find that my firewall was disabled, which was odd.  I turned it back on and shortly after, I had:

New Symptoms: a BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) relating to ATAPORT.SYS.  It cycled like this for a bit and I attempted to go into safe mode.  Safe mode hangs up everytime at CRCDISK.SYS.

After a few articles – everyone is convinced the hard drive is bad.  I took the drive out and put it on a USB/SATA adapter on another machine and ran chkdsk.  The hard drive appears fine – survived all five levels of CHKDSK.

I found this article: http://forums.techarena.in/operating-systems/1127074.htm

and followed it.  Removing the files isn’t easy since Vista protects them, so you have to use advanced security to “TAKE OWNERSHIP” of each file and then you give yourself permissions and then you can delete them.  Took a while, but I had high hopes.  (note if you are doing this from XP, you have to turn on ADVANCED Security.  I’d never heard of this option until running through this procedure). 

[How to disable simple security in XP:

  1. Click Start, and then click My Computer.
  2. On the Tools menu, click Folder Options.
  3. Click the Viewtab.
  4. In the Advanced Settings section, click to clear the Use simple file sharing (Recommended)check box.
  5. Click OK.
    ]

Plugged the drive back into the laptop – no difference.  Exact same lock up at CRCDISK and in non-safe mode, gets almost booted up and I get a BSOD with ATAPORT.

After more articles, I found that it isn’t CRCDISK.SYS causing the problem, it’s whatever driver is loaded AFTER CRCDISK.SYS.  I tried a boot logged bootup and found that TUNNEL.SYS comes after CRCDISK.SYS.  I actually don’t know if the log I found was the one I just created because it always locked up right there and the log I found was from a complete bootup.  In any case, I researched TUNNEL.SYS and found it it sometimes infected with a virus.  I used the USB adapter again to locate TUNNEL.SYS and replaced it with another one on the drive.  Yes, probably dangerous – but did it really matter at this point since I was facing a complete reinstall (and trying to avoid that).  I booted in SAFE mode and TA DA – no difference. 

I booted the Vista CD again and was able to get to the command prompt and ran the SFC /SCANNOW (I’ve never used this).  It took a while and said it repaired some files.  I checked the log and it turns out, it corrected TUNNEL.SYS.  Now, did it just put the same one back?  I don’t know, but I rebooted into safe mode and it made it.  Unbelievable.

I had downloaded another scanner that looks for TDSS called TDSSKILLER which I had also come across in the 50+ articles I read.  I followed the instructions and I had the TDSS virus.  UGH!  But it all made sense.  It cleared it and now the system booted up normally – not in safe mode.

I ran Spybot again and it found a few random files which it fixed. 

So TDSS is the culprit – it was not a bad drive (which I read so much about) and it wasn’t the SATA interface (which I read so much about).  Just another old virus. 

What I learned:

  1. Download all the latest Virus scanners (including root kit scanners) before you need them – put them on a USB
  2. Make sure you have some method of reading your drives on another machine.  I usually have no problem with IDE, but I had to buy this SATA cable which was only $29 at BestBuy (you can get them online cheaper).  (honestly – I’ve had machines that wouldn’t boot and running a CHKDSK on my drives on another machine works 90% of the time.)
  3. Don’t stop reading after one article (including this one).  It’s certainly possible that your problem, while it looks JUST LIKE this one, might be different. 
  4. Learn how to take ownership of files and change security. 
  5. People who create viruses might be smart – but they actually suck.  The fact that SpyBot years ago used to search for about 45k issues and now it looks for 750k issues – I mean really – is this the future we were looking towards?

DropBox – Why it’s cool.

Contrary to popular belief, I don’t jump on all of the latest technology.  If I hear about a new site, I may run out and grab a free account just so I can claim my name for the future, but I don’t always start using the product.  A good example are a few of the Blackberry apps for keeping track of to-do lists, yeah, sorry – I still like a notepad for that.

However, I just started using a product called Dropbox which I love.  You can get a free account that allows you up to 2 gigs of space.  Dropbox installs on your computer and makes a set of folders under your My Documents area.  Anything you put into that set of folders gets copied to your internet Dropbox account.  This means you can access it anywhere, but that’s not all!  If you install it on another computer it syncs the files to the directories on that computer as well.

Basically, you drop a file into it at one computer and by the time you get to your other computer, the file is there waiting for you.  I’ve been using it to get all of my photos and downloads in one place.  Afterall, there isn’t a real point in downloading the same utility on every computer when you can download it just once and have it waiting for you on all of your systems.

Give it a try – it’s free!  They also offer 50 and 100 gig paid plans as well.

My Favorite Windows XP Batch File of All Time

My Favorite batch file for Windows XP ever only contains one line:

net stop wuauserv

When do you use it?  You use it when you are in the middle of trying to meet a deadline and every 5 minutes, the Microsoft Updater jumps up and says “You need to reboot your machine to complete your updates.”

These three words can take away as much stress as your manager calling to say that the meeting has been canceled and you should go home early to enjoy the rest of your day.

Now, I’m not suggesting you completely ignore updates, just ignore them when they are bugging the heck out of you.