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Posts Tagged ‘Windows’

Fix: make ownCloud installer display in English language

OwnCloud is an interesting solution for setting up a file sharing cloud for a group of people.

However,one issue I’ve found with its Windows desktop client’s current version (which looks clean of any viruses since I always check first) is that if your Windows 10 is configured with a preferred language that the desktop client’s installer doesn’t have localization support for, then it doesn’t show up in English as you’d expect, but in Czech or someother language that most of us don’t know how to read.

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So I tried running it’s MSI installer (ownCloud-2.6.1.13407.13049.msi) with –? parameter from the command-line and the /g languageCode parameter mentioned there looked promising, but trying /g en for English didn’t work. I guessed it needed some specific language code number (and not double-letter language code like en for English), since the help text was mentioning to see Windows Installer SDK for more help.

After a quick search I found an article that suggested passing the parameter Productlanguage=1033 to an msi installer on the command-line for it to ALWAYS show in English. And indeed it worked.

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To open a command window one can click the Search icon on the windows taskbar and type CMD then press ENTER.

Then they can drag-drop the .MSI file of ownCloud installer onto the black command-line window that opens up and type an extra space char and then Productlanguage=1033 before pressing ENTER to launch the ownCloud installer in English. After that they can close the command-line window at anytime.

Since many users may be uncomfortable with such instructions, one could provide an msiEnglish.bat file that just contains

%1 Productlanguage=1033

User could drag-drop the .msi they want onto that msiEnglish.bat file and it would run the msi installer being displayed in English language, irrespective of any preferred language settings at the Windows operating system.

Of course the best thing would be if ownCloud fixed their desktop client installer to fallback to the Engish language (set it as default) if it can’t find localization strings for the currently prefered language of the user. Have filed an issue at https://github.com/owncloud/client/issues/7825

Fix: Buildbox activation issues on load

Buildbox is a wonderful game authoring tool (that spans the whole nocode-code continuum, including the low-code aspect). It now has a free version too with nice templates and tutorials included.

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I had an issue with the Windows version (it also has an indentical MacOS-X version since it’s a Qt-based app) where it was complaining about activation issue at startup and couldn’t proceed.

To solve that you can remove activation info (which won’t be removed if you just do uinstall and reinstall) by deleteing the com.eightcell.buildbox subfolder at:

C:\Users\YOUR_PROFILE_NAME_HERE\AppData\Local\eightcell\Buildbox\

Next time you run Buildbox.exe it will show activation dialog and you can enter your registration key (even the free version has one that you can download from your free account at http://buildbox.com)

With the latest Buildbox 3 there seems to exist an extra com.eightcell.buildbox3 subfolder that you could delete or just rename the main.iblicense files in there to main._iblicense. The launch Buidlbox again to see the activation dialog.

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There probably exists some bug in Buildbox that causes one to repeat this action often.
So you could add a RESET_BUILDBOX_LICENSE.BAT file to your desktop with the following commands to delete the license file:

del "%AppData%\..\Local\eightcell\Buildbox\com.eightcell.buildbox3\main.iblicense"
@pause

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.

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 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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Redirecting output of batch file from the inside

Calling a label in a batch file is useful to redirect (for logging) the output of the batch file to a file from inside that same batch file, without needing to author a separate batch file to do the redirect of standard output.

@echo off

call :process > update_cxml.log
goto :EOF

:process

(Revised previous version of this post)

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Suggestion: Add Fullscreen and Pin buttons on Titlebar of Windows

Here are some suggestions I’ve sent via Windows Insider feedback app for Windows 10:

1) Add the Fullscreen button to titlebar of ALL windows, not just the ones of Windows 8.1 Store apps. UWP (Universal Windows Platform) apps don’t seem to show zoom button on their titlebar (to make it and any borders autodisappear and take up the whole screenspace) – this is very inconsistent and limiting compared to Win8.1 Store apps.

2) Add a Pin button next to zoom/minimize/restore/close buttons on titlebar of a window to make the window stay on top. User should be able to click a pinned window to bring it to front if there are several ones pinned to top. Currently some tools apps (e.g. task manager) have such functionality, but it is in their menus. It would be handy if all apps had this.
 
Take care though that any windows that are children (modal or not) of a pinned window also appear on top (pinned) and not behind the app. So a user should be able to pin a child window independently, but when a window is pinned, all its child windows should become pinned with the pin button disabled on them till the parent window is unpinned, or instead better make the pin of the child window be linked to the pin of the parent so that the user can pin/unpin the parent and all child windows from the titlebar pin of anyone of them.

An issue may occur with some programs like TeamViewer that add an extra button on the titlebar of Windows, but they could easily fix their code to see what other buttons there are on the titlebar to not overlap with them (or some compatibility code of Windows could move such buttons a bit more to not overlap in the case of legacy software that has an issue when more buttons than they expect are on the titlebar)

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