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Posts Tagged ‘Fix’

HowTo: Fix DVD/CD with Live filesystem (Packet/UDF) on Windows

The other day I found how easy it is to use a Live CD/DVD (where packet writing occurs when adding stuff) instead of a Mastered one (where all is kept to be written when you close the disk) on Windows.

It feels more like using a USB flash disk and should be more safe regarding losing data in the long run if you want to keep some file archive. In theory at least, since there are cases the live disk last write operation may fail and it may appear as an unreadable disk after one, making funny noises when you insert it and freezing for long time periods Windows Explorer when you try to access it.

However, the UDF filesystem that it uses keeps multiple VAT tables for the blocks written to the disk, which means it can be restored to the last workable state of the disk (you might still lose data from the last block I guess, but you’ll have access to the rest of the files you had written to the disk). For any files you find missing, you can try file recovery software with deep search option, like ISOBuster.

To restore such a disk back to working state, on Windows 10 you can right click the Start menu button and from the context (popup) menu shown, you can select to run PowerShell as Administrator. Then you can write CMD and press ENTER. The classic command-line shell (DOS syntax) will open up, where you should type-in chkdsk /f e: (replacing e: with the letter of the drive where the problematic disk has been inserted – can find that one easily from Windows Explorer / My Computer) and press ENTER again.

The disk should be detected as being of UDF format and the disk checking (chkdsk) command will check for a valid VAT on the last written block and if it can’t will try to revert the media to a previous state, before the corruption occurred by placing at the the end of the disk the last valid VAT.

Windows PowerShell
Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

PS C:\WINDOWS\system32> cmd
Microsoft Windows [Version 10.0.17134.165]
(c) 2018 Microsoft Corporation. Με επιφύλαξη κάθε νόμιμου δικαιώματος.

C:\WINDOWS\system32>chkdsk /f e:
The type of the file system is UDF.
Volume Μουσική is UDF version 2.01.

Chkdsk is running on media that does not support writes in place.
On such media chkdsk operation is limited to verifying the presence
of a valid VAT on the last written block and if necessary searching
for the last valid VAT and placing it at the end of the disk.
This could revert the media to a previous state before the corruption
occured.

Chkdsk could not find a valid VAT at the end of the volume.

CHKDSK is searching for a valid VAT …

And after some ages (stayed at 0% for some time and then took around a day progressing slowly on my machine for a DVD) you’ll hopefully see something like:

Search for VAT completed.
Chkdsk is copying last valid VAT at block 1722719 to the end of the
volume. This will revert the volume to its state at 01:13 on
10/09/2018.

Windows has made corrections to the file system.
No further action is required.

   4595200 KB total disk space.
    222240 KB available on disk.

      2048 bytes in each allocation unit.
   2297600 total allocation units on disk.
    111120 allocation units available on disk.

Then type exit followed by ENTER key twice to exit the command processor (cmd) and PowerShell. This will close the console window.

C:\WINDOWS\system32>exit
PS C:\WINDOWS\system32> exit

Enjoy your disk with its files again, hopefully all of them… Plus you’ll be able to add more files to the disk, which could have even been near to empty when the corruption had occurred. Note that when you’re finished and don’t want to write anymore files to the disk, you can right click it and close the session, so that it can be readable on more systems.

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Fix: jQuery’s jqGrid search UI custom styling

Lately, I’ve got the task of maintaining/extending an ASP.net MVC web application that is using jQuery’s jqGrid for data grids on its UI. First thing I noticed was how confusing the search UI on the grid’s header was:

image

Those symbols on the left-side of each column’s searchbox are for the type of search (e.g. contains, doesn’t contain, equals, starts with, doesn’t start with, ends with, doesn’t end with).

Bit too many options and using programming-related symbols that probably intimidate several users in my opinion:

image

But the worse is the “x” button (that clears the searchbox) on the right of each searchbox, that combined with the search-type symbols makes the whole search bar look like some strange mathematical expression.

So using the browser dev tools (F12) and some CSS rules I quickly restyled that search bar to make it more appealing UI/UX wise:

image

Added a border around the “x” button that clears the searchbox and offseted using a negative margin so that the searchbox and it fuse together visually on their sides. Also made the search-type symbol (that opens the search-type selection popup when clicked) of lighter color. It may look a bit-like some disabled thing like that, but at least it should confuse average users less with its use of technical symbols like that.

Just need to add the rules above at the ASP.net MVC app’s Site.css (probably to be found at the Content subfolder of the webapp) and remember to press F5/Refresh in one’s browser in case the old styling still appears due to caching.

Update:

I noticed on older versions of Windows (other than Windows 10 that is) that bevels were showing at the text inputs, leading to this ugly effect:

image

So I had to add some more rules to remove the bevel borders and use a consistent border color.

Removing the bevels seemed to also remove the inner padding of the text inputs, so added a padding of 2px and some box-sizing rules to make sure the padding doesn’t affect the input’s size.

/* OS-independent styling for input and textarea borders */
textarea,
input[type="text"],
input[type="password"] {
    border-style: solid;
    border-width: 1px;
    border-color: gray;
    padding: 2px;
    -webkit-box-sizing: border-box; /* Safari/Chrome, other WebKit */
    -moz-box-sizing: border-box; /* Firefox, other Gecko */
    box-sizing: border-box; /* Opera/IE 8+ */
}

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Fix: Temporary or Local roaming profile message after Windows login

  Researching how to solve a “You have been logged on with a temporary profile” message on a system set up to use a roaming profile (and after I had first checked/fixed the filesystem for errors which is the classic cause for that when using local profiles) I came across this article:

http://www.grouppolicy.biz/2011/07/how-to-reset-a-roaming-profile-in-windows-7

Near the end of the article they mentioned a registry trick from

https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/windows/en-US/5ec0b949-effa-4e30-ba09-dc948a4c7a8b/windows-7-starting-with-a-temporary-profile?forum=w7itprogeneral

So I tried just the registry trick without even logging into an other admin account (it was an admin account that had the problem, although I know people suggest to avoid roaming for those), that is I renamed the account’s profile key under HKLM\Windows NT\Current Version\ProfileList with an appended .bak extension (instead of backing it up externally and then deleting it) and then did log off and log on again.

To find the correct child key to rename, just check each one there and see which one has the ProfileImagePath value for the profile you’re interested in. If for the login you’re using a Microsoft account instead of a local or ActiveDirectory based one and you’re not sure which name it uses underneath, then you can type the text %userprofile% at Search on the taskbar and press ENTER to see which folder path it opens.

  All was then fine on that machine, but then the rest of the computers that were fine before started complaining that due to some problem with loading the roaming profile they loaded a local copy of it instead.

The fix I devised for that issue was to log into those computers with the problematic account, rename the key for the profile again there (adding the .bak extension), log off and log on again, then rename the key back to normal and log off and log on again. That stopped the complaining (simple log off/log on without that renaming wouldn’t fix it).

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Guess what that did was to not load the roaming profile, but keep referencing it while using the local copy instead and the log off after the renaming of the key to correct value again uploaded the correct profile (from the local copy) to the server.

Note that to open regedit and restore that key’s name after logging in the 2nd time (start menu and taskbar’s search wasn’t working anymore) I had to use CTRL+SHIFT+ESC (was on a remote desktop session) and at the task manager select to see more details, then use its File/Run… menu and give regedit as the command to execute.

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  Btw, I’ve also seen the Reprofiler tool being mentioned, probably it can copy the roaming profile over a local copy or vice-versa if needed – https://iwrconsultancy.co.uk/reprofilerhttps://sourceforge.net/projects/reprofiler/ without having to resort to registry hacks to trick the respective service into copying in the direction one wants.

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Fix: Windows 10 laptops with AMD graphics adapter going really slow

Quoting my comment from a discussion thread on the AMD Community website

Actually the drivers back from 2015 that Microsoft serves for AMD laptop graphics adapters seem to make Windows 10 crawl (at everything, not just in graphics stuff). Installing the newest ones from AMD (in this case the beta driver) makes laptops work decently again.

This doesn’t occur only with the legacy adapters like HD 7310, but also with a bit newer supported adapters like AMD Radeon HD 8600M (have one combined with Intel HD on a Dell Inspiron laptop)

Also note that at every Windows 10 feature upgrade, it seems to replace the newer driver with that older one and then you have to replace it with the newer one again (assuming you had the newer installed before, can do it by right clicking Start menu, selecting to see Device Manager, opening display adapters, right clicking the AMD adapter and selecting Update Driver, then selecting to use one on the computer and then select to pick from list and choose the one with the newest release date or the one with bigger version [those two don’t always seem to be "matching"])

This thing makes both Microsoft and AMD look very bad and wonder when they’ll realize it

So if you have a graphics adapter like AMD Radeon HD 7310 grab the Radeon Software Crimson Edition Beta that contains a beta driver from 2016 (don’t get the WHQL one that comes with the older Catalyst Software Suite or the old one coming from Windows Update) from the AMD legacy drivers page:

https://support.amd.com/en-us/download/desktop/legacy?product=legacy3&os=Windows%2010%20-%2064

And if you have a newer graphics adapter like AMD Radeon HD 8600M that is still supported, get the latest AMD driver using https://support.amd.com/en-us/download/auto-detect-tool

Do not use the old back from 2015 driver that Windows Update installs and make sure you replace it with the newer driver again every time manually after you do a Windows 10 feature upgrade (the periodic major update that Microsoft releases). That is till Microsoft decides to fix this issue and install a performing graphics driver (e.g. have AMD get that legacy driver out of beta) and moreover to not replace your graphics driver with an old problematic one that makes your system crawl to its knees.

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 (https://www.skype.com/en/get-skype/), 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 http://noeld.com/programs.asp?cat=video (and also try webcam with the classic Win32 AMCap application provided there to see if it does show a video feed or not).

image

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: 

image

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 (http://stefanstools.sourceforge.net/grepWin.html) 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: 

  image

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:

image

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

image

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

image

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:

http://www.wpseeds.com/documentation/docs/wp-database-backup/

by searching for “Backup” at

http://somesite/wp-admin/plugins.php

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:

http://somesite/wp-admin/tools.php?page=wp-database-backup

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

http://somesite/wp-admin/update-core.php

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

http://somesite/wp-admin/update-core.php

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.

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