Posts Tagged ‘Fix’

HowTo: Install Skype desktop on Windows 10 (for older webcams)

On Windows 10, Microsoft (they’ve acquired Skype some years ago) provide a Windows Store app for Skype, however Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps like that one don’t support older webcams (even the ones embedded in not-that-old laptops).

Unfortunately, Microsoft hasn’t bothered to provide some frame grabber driver to bridge with DirectShow-based etc. older webcams that would allow modern UWP apps to work with such older webcams that do function fine with classic (Win32) applications, provided their classic Windows drivers are installed.

What’s worse though is that although Skype provides a Windows desktop application download at their website (, when that one is launched on Windows 10 (probably that is the can on Windows 8 too), it just shows a message that one should use the respective Store app and takes one to the respective Windows Store webpage. They haven’t bothered to consider all those users that don’t have a supported webcam on UWP and force them to move to the Skype UWP-based Store app. Note that they could have placed the classic (Win32) Skype application on the Windows Store too (which now supports deployment of such applications via a technology called Desktop Bridge), but I don’t think they’ve considered providing that option to the user either.

So a workarround I had to do on my laptop was to trick their desktop application installer into thinking it was running on Windows 7. To achieve this can right click the .exe file of the installer and select “Properties” (should be the last option at the popup menu shown).

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Then, from the “Compatibility” tab select to run in compatibility mode for “Windows 7”. Press OK to close the dialog and just run the installer again, this time it will proceed fine to install the desktop application for Skype which should work with your older webcam, provided you’ve installed the camera drivers at your system. If it still doesn’t work, checkout the webcam diagnostics tool from (and also try webcam with the classic Win32 AMCap application provided there to see if it does show a video feed or not).



Fix: Windows Update 0x8e5e03fa, 0x800703fa errors

Sometime ago, I was receiving errors 0x8e5e03fa and 0x800703fa on several pending updates at Windows 10’s Update pane (found at Settings / Updates & Security / Windows Update from the Start menu).

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The updates history wasn’t showing many more details, but could see Knowldege Base article numbers (KBxx) for some pending cummulative updates.

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Trying to update some graphics drivers from the Device Manager (can access that by right clicking the Start menu button and selecting “Device Manager” from the popup menu shown on Windows 10), by right-clicking respective devices and selecting to update their drivers, was also failing.

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So it did look like a systematic issue, not some issue with some specific update item.

Looked up the error code 0x8e5e03fa via Google and found this article mentioning a JET (database engine) error. That’s the same engine used in Access if I remember well, interesting that it’s getting used by Windows Update too (probably to maintain some private database).

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The suggested fix didn’t work since the file mentioned in that article was not existing, but at that folder (%windir%\system32\catroot2) I found a dberr.txt file that obviously was holding some error log.

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Printing out that file (can use TYPE dberr.txt | more to wait after each “page”), I couldn’t help but notice that it was writing JET error all over it.

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I renamed that file (think it was then recreated again automatically) and also renamed the two folders there (using the move command – e.g. can type move, press TAB till the name of the folder appears and then add a minus sign and press TAB again till the same folder name appears and press ENTER). Did that while having the cryptsvc service stopped (using net stop cryptsvc command) as that article suggested. Then started the service again (using net start cryptsvc). 

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After doing this, all failing updates (some extra driver updates had been found using DriverBooster, but were also failing to install) eventually installed fine and Windows 10 started bringing more updates:

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Fix: WordPress administration UI content area showing up blank

Some time ago, at a WordPress 3.3 blog, a friend was getting a blank main area at the administration UI (just the menu was showing up there) when they visited the classic URL of the form http://somesite/wp-admin/. Here is a writeup of some notes I had kept while troubleshooting that issue and then upgrading to newer WordPress, with updated theme and plugins.

Visiting the problematic admin UI page online, I right-clicked and selected View Source in the browser and browsed to the bottom of it where it was showing: 


That div tag wasn’t not closed with a matching closing div. Obviously some PHP code that was outputing that tag failed at that point.

For starters, I copied all files via FTP (with the FireFtp Firefox plugin) from the remote server locally (into my Dropbox). Useful for backup too in case I messed up something.

Could use grepWin tool ( to search all locally copied php files for “contextual-help-sidebar” and see which one was outputing this (if that string was assigned to some variable could then search again where that variable was being used).

However, WordPress also has debugging mode, so I edited wp-config.php and uploaded the edited version to the server replacing the old file. I changed WP_DEBUG setting to true below: 


At the problematic admin UI online page again, I right-clicked and selected View Source in the browser and browsed to the bottom of it, this time reading:


This led to indentifying the exact place in the PHP code that was causing this issue:


So, I commented out the buggy PHP code, converting it to an HTML comment block instead of a PHP block:


and the admin UI was working again after I pressed ENTER at the address bar again to refresh the admin UI (http://somesite/wp-admin/) and it was not showing up fine (F5 function key didn’t seem to really refresh the site when using Firefox btw, probably some caching issue).

Then installed (the free version) of the WP Database Backup plugin for WordPress:

by searching for “Backup” at


and evaluating the different backup plugins listed there (judging from both their votes and by checking out if WordPress wasn’t saying at the details page of a plugin that it hasn’t been tested with that [old] 3.3 WordPress version that was on that site) and backed up from Tools/WP-DB Backup menu:


Then Downloaded the MySQL backup (.sql) file, so now I could update Themes, then Plugins, then update WordPress to new Core from


Did keep copies of the wp-content/themes and wp-content/plugins folders before and after updating them of course.

After WP updated, it asked to update the DB, all went ok

Then did backup up again the database via the WP-DB Backup tool and went again to


and installed an update for one of the plugins (can also do update per-plugin from http://somesite/wp-admin/plugins.php)

Then backed up again every file (db not included there) via FTP and done.

Fix: Delphi error MSBuildToolsPath is not specified for the ToolsVersion …

This is my answer at:

for the issue of Delphi showing on build the error

MSBuildToolsPath is not specified for the ToolsVersion “12.0” defined at “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\MSBuild\ToolsVersions\12.0”, or the value specified evaluated to the empty string

note that in my case it was also showing underlined unit names in the code editor at uses clause with “Cannot resolve unit name xx”

It is a known issue, documented here:

This error is caused by incorrect values in the registry. On a 32 OS, run regedit and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\MSBuild. On a 64 bit OS, run regedit and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\MSBuild. First, backup this registry key by selecting File | Export. Next, look at the numbers below the ToolsVersions key. Delete any number not found at the MSBuild level. … There is anecdotal evidence to suggest this registry key imbalance is caused by uninstalling some versions of Visual Studio, but it has not been confirmed at this time.

Since I’ve been installing/uninstalling various Visual Studio versions (including previews), guess it has indeed been caused by that

Error “A default tools version “2.0” was specified, but its definition could not be found.” may appear then if you deleted the 2.0 key following the 1st article’s advice. Solution for that one is to edit each value under MSBuild key in the registry locations mentioned for x32 and x64 and change DefaultToolsVersion to 14.0 or other highest MSBuild tools version that is installed

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Note that on x64 machine you need to fix these two issues for both x32 and x64 registry locations, since the IDE is 32-bit process and if you fix x64 location only it will fail internally, underlining all Standard units at uses clause in your source code at uses clause and showing “Cannot resolve unit name xx”

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Also it may be useful to install this:

This may also be useful to know (copying from

Order of Precedence

The order of precedence, from highest to lowest, used to determine the ToolsVersion is: The ToolsVersion attribute on the MSBuild task used to build the project, if any.

The /toolsversion (or /tv) switch that’s used in the msbuild.exe command, if any.

If the environment variable MSBUILDTREATALLTOOLSVERSIONSASCURRENT is set, then use the current ToolsVersion.

If the environment variable MSBUILDTREATHIGHERTOOLSVERSIONASCURRENT is set and the ToolsVersion defined in the project file is greater than the current ToolsVersion, use the current ToolsVersion.

If the environment variable MSBUILDLEGACYDEFAULTTOOLSVERSION is set, or if ToolsVersion is not set, then the following steps are used:

The ToolsVersion attribute of the Project element of the project file. If this attribute doesn’t exist, it is assumed to be the current version.

The default tools version in the MSBuild.exe.config file.

The default tools version in the registry. For more information, see Standard and Custom Toolset Configurations.

If the environment variable MSBUILDLEGACYDEFAULTTOOLSVERSION is not set, then the following steps are used:

If the environment variable MSBUILDDEFAULTTOOLSVERSION is set to a ToolsVersion that exists, use it.

If DefaultOverrideToolsVersion is set in MSBuild.exe.config, use it.

If DefaultOverrideToolsVersion is set in the registry, use it.

Otherwise, use the current ToolsVersion.

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Fix: Windows Phone update error 80072f8f

I was setting up a new Lumia phone (with Windows Phone 8.1) and neither phone update, nor the (Here) maps downloads were working. When trying Settings / Phone Update, it was showing error 80072f8f and was pointing to to read more info. However that error code wasn’t listed there. Wonder if there is any page listing all the possible error codes. I find it silly if they have error codes that aren’t documented anywhere officially.

I looked it up on Google (sorry Bing!) and found, which was saying this was related to time/date discrepancy between the phone and the windows update server. Obviously the maps also get their updates via the same system, although the maps update was showing the misleading message that it couldn’t connect to the maps library at that moment.

Although I had set correct timezone, it had wrong date/time, it was set to autoupdate date/time, but forgot that it had no SIM card in it yet. Obviously it doesn’t get these updates from a time server, but from the mobile phone connection provider. Hope Windows 10 phone fixes that and gets the date/time from time server like the one from NIST or from Microsoft that Windows uses on the desktop.

Fix: Keyboard shortcuts Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V, Ctrl-Z, Ctrl-A not working in Word

For some time now, I was getting very annoyed while copy-pasting content from other software into Microsoft Word 2010. I would press CTRL+C at some other software and then would press ALT+TAB to go into an open Word document and press CTRL+V to paste, but it would not. So I had to move my fingers far away to SHIFT+INSERT to paste.

Today had enough so after some Google search on it, found the best fix by Moshe Eschel at:

To "restore" word to the way you remember, you need to go to, File->Options->Customize Ribbon On the bottom there is a label "Keyboard Shortcuts" and a button "Customize…" – click it

On the Categories box, scroll until you find "All Commands" and select it. Now, from the right box select the following Command: EditCopy Look at the "Current Keys" Box you will see "Ctrl+Insert" which is the NEW mapping now put your cursor in the "Press new shortcut key" and Press Ctrl+C, a button on the bottom named Assign will light up, and you click on it.

Do the same for all the shortcuts you like, such as EditPaste, EditUndo, EditRedo, EditCut, SelectAll etc.

Wonder why Microsoft didn’t add both the old and new shortcuts there, since it seems the dialog does support it. What a huge oversight, having Microsoft Word try to impose a shortcut from Macs (as it seems) to longtime Windows users (especially when other software the user works with use other set of shortcuts for copy-paste).

Moreover, the option to reassign the shortcut keys was very deeply hidden, hard for the average user to find it by themselves (couldn’t find it either and I don’t consider myself an average user).

Even more pathetic was the default shortcut key for Select All (usually Ctrl+A). It was Ctrl+5 and Ctrl+Clear (Numeric keyboard 5). What the heck Microsoft?

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HowTo: Reinstall a new Windows 10 build after reverting to older build

At it writes:


If you previously had a new Windows 10 build installed in your computer and then reverted back to an older build, you’ll lose access to the new build and it’ll no longer be offered as an upgrade option. Deleting the number for that build from the list at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\
  Microsoft\WindowsSelfHost\Applicability\RecoveredFrom key in Registry Editor seems to restore the ability to upgrade. Thanks to our reader "thedicemaster" for this info…

This is useful to know and unfortunately it means that some users may get stuck to an older Windows 10 version. Unless Microsoft has it set like that so that they’ll get automatically the next Windows build (ship the one they were trying to install hoping it fixed the issue they were having). Of course this will work if Microsoft keeps on pushing new builds often, not if they end up updating the OS build once a year or more rare in the future as Windows 10 matures.

To open Registry Editor you can click the Search icon (next to the Windows Start menu icon) at the Windows 10 Taskbar and write RegEdit.exe, then it should offer you a result that says “Run command” that you can click to launch it.

Screenshot 2015-11-23 13.44.22

After that, expand the respective tree nodes (that is HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, then SOFTWARE, then Microsoft, then Windows, then WindowsSelfHost) from the side pane and right click and delete the “RecoveredFrom” node.

Then try Windows Update again from State menu / Settings / Update & Security and tell it again to check for updates. In case it still doesn’t offer the updates, wait for 1-2 days and try again.

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