Category Archives: Windows

Where Did “All Users” Go?

Recently I was having a problem getting some software installed on my laptop running Windows 7.

The software (IBM’s Rational Developer for Power Systems) has a custom installer.   When I tried to run the installer, it was complaining about some internal version number.   Problem was, I couldn’t find any trace of the installer or it’s data.

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Hard Drives Hell

Oh boy … talk about a bad day for hard drives.

Thursday evening I noticed my laptop was getting REALLY sluggish … I ran uptime (part of the MKS Toolkit, which I can’t do without) and found out my system had been up for 15 days straight without a reboot. Almost a record for a Windows machine, I think. So I decided to reboot the system.

I started the reboot process and noticed it was taking a VERY long time to boot … so I powered off again and ran diagnostics. The hard drive was failing. Unfortunately, because this hard drive was an upgrade I purchased from Dell, it was not covered under my laptop’s warranty. And, even though Hitachi offers a 3 year warranty on the drive, Dell only gives a 1 year warranty.

Oh well, hard drives aren’t that expensive … so I figured I would swing by Frys after work on Friday. I was confident that I had a solid backup of the system, that was only a few days old.

During the day on Friday, someone told me that the archive server was very very slow. I checked it out and saw that that system (gondor) was showing disk errors on the 2nd hard drive. Oh joy, another drive to buy at Frys.

I went to Frys to get replacement drives … I wasn’t super happy with the selection (although they had a huge quantity of the drives they had available). I ended up getting a 100gb, 5400 rpm, Seagate PATA drive for the laptop and a 300gb, 7200 rpm, Seagate SATA drive for gondor.

Getting gondor restored wasn’t a big deal … it gets backed up on a daily basis to a usb removable drive.

The laptop is a different story … as Windows doesn’t really have the best backup mechanism I rely on Norton Ghost. It’s always worked OK for me in the past.

It’s in the process of restoring right now … it’s VERY slow going, but I have high hopes.

Luckily I keep the Quicken data files on a LAN drive, so I haven’t lost anything there.

Update … 5:30 pm … oh boy, talk about a long day.

I had to do the restore from the Ghost image 4 times … I couldn’t get it to restore the image and allocate the extra 20gb to my primary Windows partition.

I ended up just restoring the partitions with the same size they were before the failure. I’ll have to get a partition resizing utility in the next week or so so I can resize the partition to allocate the new space.

[tags]Windows, Hard Drives, Backup, Norton Ghost[/tags]

Restart Required


Sometimes I hate Windows (more than sometimes, actually)!

Of course, I also hate software installers … especially those that require you to restart Windows after installing something … but don’t tell you before hand that it will (or may) be required.

What I hate even more than that … is installers that require a restart … but don’t give you an option to NOT restart after the install.

I just had to re-install the PocketPC “ActiveSync” software … and, after it finished the install, it informed me that a system restart was required … and I should click the “OK” button to restart.

Of course there was no way to avoid doing the restart … so my options were to let it restart (interrupting my work) or let the installer sit there for a few hours until I could take a break and do the restart when I was actually ready to. The 2nd option ran the risk of me accidentally clicking the OK button when I didn’t mean to.

Software vendors … GET A CLUE … only require a restart when it’s really necessary … and ALWAYS give the user the option of restarting later.

Phew, glad I got that off my chest. I’m better now.

[tags]Windows, installers, software, restart[/tags]

Cannot stop device right now

Whenever I try to use the “Safely remove hardware” option in windows to remove the hard drive installed in the modular bay of my laptop, I get the following message:

As far as I could tell, nothing was actually using the drive. I’m only using it to backup files on at the present time.

I disabled Windows indexing, thinking that a system process had the device in use, but that didn’t make a difference.

So I downloaded Filemon for Windows from hoping I would be able to see what file was open on the device.

Well wadda ya know … turns out Norton Utilities “Protected Recycle Bin” had the doggone thing open.

When I turned OFF the Norton extensions on the recycle bin for drive D:, I was able to stop the device and safely eject it.

Windows XP Desktop Grid

Note: I found this somewhere on the internet … but I can’t remember where.

Sometimes there just isn’t enough room for the all the text underneath those icons. Or, you maybe you are having some kind of overlapping problem. You can fix this by adjusting the space between your icons.

There is an invisible grid on your desktop the computer uses to place icons and associated text in to. This grid sort of looks like a checker board. You can adjust the size of the boxes. Here’s how:
Right click on any empty spot on your desktop. Click Properties, and then click the appearance tab. Next click the advanced button and you should find yourself in the “Advanced Appearances” window. Click on the pull-down window under “Item” and select “Icon spacing (horizontal). Note there is also an “icon spacing) vertical too. Click on the size arrows to adjust icon size. Do the same with Vertical. You will need to work at this some until you get the size/spacing you want. Click ok.

Note: You may have to uncheck and recheck the “Align to grid” option before your icons will move into place. Here’s how: Right click on any empty spot on your desktop. From the menu select “Arrange icons by” and click on “Align to grid” to uncheck it and then click to option again to recheck it. Once you do that your icons will move to your new grid settings.