Solutions

Using SkyDrive as a Mapped Network Drive in Windows 7

During my recent time in class I needed a quick way to save some work and know it would be safe. People kept speaking of online backup and I remembered reading an article in Maximum PC I think about using SkyDrive as a mapped network drive. I did a quick search and found a page on How-To Geek that had a similar step-by-step method.

To do this you need a Windows Live ID (to have SkyDrive in the first place) and an Office 2010 application. Basically you link your Windows Live ID to your Windows 7 username. Then you create a blank document, spreadsheet, etc. and “Save and Send” to the Internet. When you do this Office presents you with the path to your particular SkyDrive that you can then use to map a network drive.

The instructions on the web page are simple and straightforward to follow. SkyDrive seemed a little slow to access this way, but it is certainly easier than going through a web interface to get to your files or save files on SkyDrive.

Kaspersky’s TDSSKiller

I read an article about this utility in PCWorld’s April 2012 issue. The timing was good because I had a computer that I had removed some malware from with Malwarebytes and AVG, but the browser was still occasionally being redirected. I was going to reload the computer, but when I ran across this article I figured I’d give the utility a try. I downloaded the TDSSKiller utility from here. It was a small zip file containing the utility and a EULA document. I extracted the utility to the desktop, ran it, and clicked Start Scan. After several seconds the utility found a rootkit and said I had to restart to remove it. I restarted the computer and ran another scan and this time nothing was found. If you have a browser hijaaking problem you can’t solve, try Kaspersky’s TDSSKiller and see if it helps.

Server Execution Failed

I lost my Internet service the other day so I installed a USB wireless adaptor and connected it to a MiFi device. Internet would not work with both my LAN adaptor and the wireless one, so I turned off my LAN adapter. About the second or third time of doing this I ran into a software glitch and could not go back into the Network Center to enable my LAN adapter. I rebooted Windows and when I tried to open Computer or Network there was a pause and I received the error “Server Execution Failed.” This is on a Windows 7 PC 64-bit with SP1.

I had this error before on another PC and had to create a new profile to fix it. I didn’t want to do that here so after some searching I found a web page that said it had a fix for this error. In my case I had to open Regedit and point My Documents and Favorites back to a local drive instead of a network drive. Luckily this fixed the problem and let me enable the LAN adapter again. I was then free to point the profile folders back to their network locations.

D-Link NAS Power Recovery

I have had a problem for a while with the different D-Link NAS devices we use at offices when there is a power failure. Although it does not occur often, I would have to worry about powering the NAS back on after power was restored. I recently found a setting in some of the NAS devices to have them automatically power on after power is restored.

The original D-Link NAS device I used was the DNS-321. This NAS does not have a power recovery option. However, the DNS-323 (like the 321 except it has a USB port for sharing) and the newer DNS-320 have an option to recover. For the 323 you go to the Tools menu on top, click on Power Management on the left menu, and set Power Recovery to “Enable.” For the 320 you go to the Management menu on top, then click the System Management icon, then click Power Management on the left menu, then expand power Recovery Settings and set Power Recovery to “Enable.” In both cases of course you click “Save Settings” where appropriate.

Hopefully now I will only have to worry about the couple of DNS-321 NAS devices I have if the power fails.

Enable Administrator Account from Command Line

In dealing with that messed up computer mentioned in my last post, I learned a command for enabling the administrator account to use to fix a problem. In this case, the user account was not working and Windows would boot into a limited account desktop from which you could do very little. There were no other accounts available to log into to address the problem and Windows now disables the administrator account by default. However, from the limited account I was able to open a command prompt and type the following command to enable the administrator account:

net user administrator /active:yes

Changing the yes to no will disable an active administrator account.

Yet another reason not to write off the command line.

Easy Dental – Network Update Does Not Work

For dental practice management software it is critical for updates to the system to filter to each computer on the network. In this way, staff can see what patients are present at the office, if patients have broken their appointments, or any other changes that can affect the office’s daily routine. Recently I had to deal with this issue at an office using Easy Dental. I had faced this problem before and knew the source of the problem was in the registry.

An easy way to tell if this problem is happening in Easy Dental is to go to the Reports screen and click on the “Practice Setup” icon at the top. This displays a menu whose last entry is “Network Setup.” This entry lets you specify how often updates should occur on this workstation. If this entry is greyed out, you have a problem.

To fix the problem, close Easy Dental on the computer. Then open regedit and go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Easy Dental Systems, Inc.\Easy Dental\NETWORK. Under this key you probably only see one value listed. You will need to create 2 more values: a string value called “NetVersion” (without the quotes) with a value of 1 and a dword value called “UpdateSpeed” (no quotes) with a Hexidecimel value of 15 (the default in seconds). You can adjust the update speed later in the program if needed. This fix was done on Easy Dental 2010, but the procedure should be similar on other versions. You may need to restart the PC for the change to take effect.

To check your fix, open Easy Dental, go back to the Reports section, and click on Network Setup under the Practice Setup icon. Network Setup should no longer be greyed out and should display on update value of 15. You can double-check the fix by making a schedule change on another PC then waiting to see if it updates to the PC you are checking.

Reloading PC without Hardware Driver Disc

I have had occasion over the years to have to reload computers for one reason or another from a standard Windows disc. Recovery discs can be nice because they reload the PC with all drivers and apps installed. But when the owner does not have the driver disc and its a company like E-Machines which don’t always make it easy to find old drivers, you can run into problems. In the past I have done it the hard way looking at the motherboard or expansion cards for a manufacturer and model. Sometimes this works, but with more stuff integrated into the motherboard this can become difficult at times.

The method I have switched to recently is using a USB NIC to connect the PC to Windows Update to see how many drivers I can get from there. I came up with this method because I had a customer with a computer that used to be on dial-up but they switched to DSL. There was a NIC card in the computer but no drivers. I think the computer was supposed to have Vista but had XP on it. So I connected the USB NIC, loaded the driver, and downloaded the internal NIC driver from Windows Update.

The NIC driver is the minimum I like to get from Windows Update because then you can at least remove the USB NIC from the PC. Video drivers are usually easy to get because there are only three main companies to look at. Sound drivers are sometimes a pain though, as well as modems (no one really uses these so you can usually just blow them off), and motherboard drivers.

Another method to use if you just can’t find the driver is to go to driveragent.com and have it scan the PC and tell you what drivers you need. Of course you need an Internet connection first to get to the site so that NIC driver is really crucial to getting the rest of the drivers for the PC. That is why having a USB NIC with drivers handy can help you out in a bind with getting hardware drivers for a computer.

iPhone Backup Extractor

My son recently had a problem with his iPhone. Between too many drops and plugging it into an incorrect power source he rendered the phone inaccessible. The only thing on the screen was a message saying the phone needed to be restored. When he plugged it into his PC to restore it, iTunes said the phone had a passcode and could not be restored. Through research I found that in this case you can power off the iPhone then power it on again while simultaneously holding the power and home buttons. Then you should receive a message that the phone is in restore mode and you can restore it through iTunes. Unfortunately my son’s phone’s power button was broken through a drop so I could not perform this procedure.

Getting him another iPhone was not a problem, but he wanted his contacts and pictures. Unfortunately he had not setup an Outlook storage file and his contacts were not synced with Outlook. I did more searching and I found some software that could extract his data from a backup. It is called iPhone Backup Extractor and is available at www.iphonebackupextractor.com. A limited version of the software allows you to extract 4 contacts total and 2 other files at a time. I used the limited version to see if his backup was good, but was surprised that some of his contacts had no phone numbers. I paid $24.95 to register the software (it is only good on one PC and is tied to the hardware). With the full-featured program I extracted the Address Book SQL file from his backup then exported it to an Excel spreadsheet. I then saw that he had many phone numbers styled incorrectly (with +1 or 1 in front of the area code but bracketed with the area code (1234)). After I corrected some of these in Excel and imported them into Outlook, I had contacts which could be synced back to a new phone.

iPhone backup Extractor is a powerful program and can retrieve your iPhone data from a backup if you lost or broke your phone. The trial version is nice because it let’s you see if the program will work for you before buying. Check out this software if you need your data, your iPhone is unusable or unavailable, and you have good backups.

XP computer won’t boot, reinstall gets me Stop Error 7B

I was working on a Dell Optiplex 760 that starting having software issues, and before I could look at it it stopped in the boot process with a blinking cursor. I tried going to the XP Recovery Console, but I received a blinking cursor on reboot. I tried repairing the XP installation and received the blinking cursor again. Finally, I wiped the drive completely and did a clean install of XP. Everything was looking good until the installation finished and the computer rebooted. I was then greeted with a BSOD and a Stop Error 7B. I did a little research and found a page on Tom’s Hardware Forum that discussed this issue. A nice anonymous user posted this:

“go into the bios and change SATA settings from AHCI to ATA
As if by magic!!!-)”

Sure enough, like magic, the computer booted into the post installation setup process. I remember having to change this setting when purchasing Dell laptops which came with Vista that I downgraded to XP. But I don’t know why this computer worked fine until the reload – maybe Dell’s putting an image on the computer bypasses this problem. In any event, I found my solution (thanks Anonymous!) and the computer is operational again.

File Copy Error 0×80070052

I have been having trouble for a couple of months doing a full office backup of a specific folder on the server. This folder has 30,000+ files in it and I am trying to copy it to an external hard drive. After copying about half of the files I receive an error 0x80070052 unable to create file or directory. I thought it was a problem with the files on the server, but another backup drive I have attached to the server does not have this problem. I tried copying the files from that backup drive and encountered the same error.

I remembered the FAT limit of files in the root folder so I thought maybe there is a file limit in any folder. I checked my external drive and it was formatted FAT32 so I reformatted it to NTFS and tried again. Not only did the backup work this time, but the speed increased about threefold! Afterward I did a little research and there is a limit of 65,536 directory entries in FAT32 drive folders; each file and subdirectory can use a few to several entries depending on things like long file / folder names. So like me you can run into this problem even if you don’t have 60,000 files in a folder.

Therefore, if you are going to backup folders with thousands of files and don’t need to access an external hard drive from Mac OS or Linux, format the drive NTFS. You may save yourself some headaches.