Showing posts with label windows 7. Show all posts
Showing posts with label windows 7. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Add Custom Ringtones To Motorola Razr v3m

I recently purchased a Motorola Razr v3m phone. My previous carrier used the T-Mobile network (whose reception was iffy at best in my area), so my new carrier uses Verizon, whose coverage is far superior.

Unfortunately, though, the v3m is hobbled beyond belief! 

Aside from Verizon's typical anemic interface for its v3 series phones, the phone provides no easy way to add custom ringtones, for example, in my case from my Windows 7 desktop. The phone itself even has a slot for a micro SD card, but this card is completely inaccessible from the phone's UI. Motorola Phone Tools, the software that usually allows you to quite easily copy multimedia from your PC to your phone, had no such options available for the v3m.

A few phones back I'd owned a Razr v3c, and it at least allowed you to craftily send a text message with an attached MIDI file which you could then assign as a ringtone, but no such luck with the v3m. Verizon has gone out of its way to funnel customers through its online marketplace for the privilege of obtaining custom ringtones, wallpapers, pretty much anything.

After poring over numerous forum threads from people trying all kinds of workarounds, and trying some dozen different methods, I had no luck whatsoever. However, finally I found a solution which enabled me to not only add my favorite MP3 ringtone (which happens to be the "dying phone" one from the movie Crank), but also freely modify and transfer photos and wallpapers and other stuff.

First of all, let me spell out a few details of my particular v3m, which could determine whether you will be successful with these steps or not. These are found via Settings => Tools => Phone Info:
Software Version: 24.1_01.19.09
PRL Version: 59396
ERI Version: 4
Technology: dual800/1900 CDMA 1X-EVDO 

Now, before I outline the steps, here is a ZIP file containing all the utilities which worked in my particular case. Download this file, then follow these steps.

1. Click twice on MotorolaDeviceManager_2.4.5.exe. This will install the drivers for three devices which Windows 7 will need to talk to the Razr v3m, the Motorola USB Modem, Motorola USB Diagnostic Port, and the Motorola USB Compositive Device. Note that these devices will only appear in Device Manager when the phone is actually plugged into your PC via USB.

2. Now, run the file bitpim-1.0.7-setup.exe, which will install the BitPim utility.

3. Assuming you've successfully installed the Motorola drivers in step 1, connect your PC directly to your v3m via USB cable; some have reported problems going through a USB hub. Windows should recognize the phone and begin setting up the drivers for the hardware. Wait for Windows to successfully recognize the hardware before proceeding.

4. In Device Manager, right-click on the Motorola USB Modem, click Properties, click the Advanced tab, and then click the Advanced Port Settings button. This will reveal the COM port the device uses, which is important for the next step.

5. Open BitPim. If prompted that no phone has been detected, hit OK and ignore that for now. Click Edit => Settings, and first ensure that v3c is selected as the phone type (yes, v3c, not v3m).

6. Click the Browse button, and in the Choose a comm port screen, click on Motorola USB Modem (which should be listed as an option under Available Ports if it was detected successfully by Windows), and verify that the message about the port being selectable is displayed, and that the COM port number corresponds to the COM port in Device Manager identified earlier. Click OK assuming all of these check out.

After following the above steps, you should now have access to your Razr v3m's ringtones, wallpapers, and more. I refer you to BitPim's online help to get some tips on how to actually use BitPim to interface with your phone.

  • I've found with my phone that MP3 ringtones for the v3m must be less than 300 KB in size, and have a bit rate no higher than 192 kbps. Also, the length of the actual tone must be under 30 seconds. However, your experience may differ depending on your phone's firmware and options.
  • Upon adding custom ringtones to your v3m, you should navigate the phone's file system as illustrated below, first by clicking Filesystem in the left-hand pane, then clicking the forward slash at the very top (the "root" of the file system). If you don't see any folders or files beneath the root, you can right-click in the white space in that middle pane and click "Refresh Filesystem". Once you can see the files and folders, click on the root up top, and delete the file MyToneDB.db. Then, next chance you get, power the phone off and then on again. This will cause the phone to rebuild its ringtone index to include your custom tones.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Cannot Install Windows Updates

My Windows 7 install inexplicably began to have issues with installing updates.

Service pack 1 installed fine using an installer, but other incremental updates consistently failed, they would download but they'd be skipped by Windows Update and reported as having not been installed.

One fix involved deleting a folder and letting the update process recreate it, specifically this one:

This folder contains part of an internal Windows database which it uses to track updates, and a log file, dberr.txt, which was rife with error messages like these:

CatalogDB: 6:27:32 PM 2/1/2014: catdbsvc.cpp at line #3454 encountered error 0x8007000e
CatalogDB: 6:27:32 PM 2/1/2014: catadnew.cpp at line #1915 encountered error 0x8007000e
CatalogDB: 2:16:29 PM 2/2/2014: catdbsvc.cpp at line #969 encountered error 0x8007000e

Interestingly, the error 0x8007000e was frequently returned as a response in the failed attempts to update.

Based on this seemingly corrupted database folder, I decided to try deleting it and then have Windows recreate it by taking the following steps, and now updates are again able to be installed.
  1. Open a command prompt with administrator access.
  2. Stop the Cryptographic Services, which normally has a lock on the above mentioned folder, by typing this: NET STOP cryptosvc
  3. Rename (or, if you're brave, delete) the C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\catroot2 folder.
  4. Start the Cryptographic Services by typing: NET START cryptosvc
  5. Run Windows Update, and then have it download and install one or more updates to verify that it does so successfully.

After doing this I was able to download and install the latest updates successfully.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The "GenerateResource" Task Failed Unexpectedly

Shortly after setting up a RAM disk using the freeware version of Dataram RAMDisk to see whether Visual Studio 2010 might compile a huge solution faster, I began getting the following errors after relocating the system's temp files to the root of the RAM drive:
The "GenerateResource" task failed unexpectedly.
System.TypeInitializationException: The type initializer for 'Microsoft.Build.Utilities.FileTracker' threw an exception. ---> System.NullReferenceException: Object reference not set to an instance of an object.

I dug around and found numerous references to existing bug reports and a few workarounds. I tried unsetting the readonly file system attribute in my solution folder, setting the GenerateResourceNeverLockTypeAssemblies property in my project file to true or false to downgrade some security parameters, but ultimately it was the top answer here that did the trick.

I had set the environment variables for the RAM drive initially to just R:\, referencing the root of the drive. Apparently VS 2010 doesn't like this, so I simply created a new folder on my ram disk named TEMP, and then updated the environment variables accordingly:

Just to rule it out, and also because I hadn't rebooted Windows in a while, I also opened Control Panel => Programs and Features, and performed a Repair on Microsoft .NET Framework 4 Client Profile just in case the framework files might've gotten corrupted somehow, and then restarted.

Problem solved! Now on to see whether Joseph Fluckiger's experimentation which returned lukewarm results on performance of building to a RAM disk holds water for a solution with, say, dozens of projects.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Cannot Modify the Needed File

Upon restarting Windows, my StumbleUpon toolbar in Firefox seemed no more.

I went to the StumbleUpon site and tried to reinstall the add-on, but got this error:

StumbleUpon could not be installed because Firefox cannot modify the needed file.

My setup is a bit unusual in that I have a QSoft RAMDisk drive set up on my 4 GB system to utilize the extra 768 MB or so of PAE memory, normally inaccessible to Windows 7. I configured my system to use a folder on this drive, R:, named TEMP as a scratch space, and set up Firefox to use R:\ for its cache.

I discovered, however, that I'd forgotten to create a little script or batch file to create this TEMP folder on the R: drive. This meant that for some programs that might use the system's default temp space, it might fail, the folder R:\TEMP being nonexistent.

To get around this I simply modified my environment variables for TEMP and TMP to reference the root of the RAM drive, R:\. Now the StumbleUpon toolbar add-on installs successfully.

In case you encounter this error, make sure that you have sufficient space available in whatever folder you tell Windows to use as scratch space, and of course that it exists in the first place and is accessible.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Explorer.EXE Crashes and Restarts Constantly

After a reboot, Windows Explorer began to crash and restart constantly with an Event ID 1000 error. Windows Help was useless, so I opened Event Viewer and saw the following:

It's curious that a file which is part of the third-party Windows 7 Codec pack seems to be responsible:
Faulting module path: C:\Program Files\Win7codecs\filters\DivXMFSource.DLL

Fortunately, I got around this issue by simply uninstalling the codec pack as described here, by executing the file Win7codecs.msi in a subfolder contained immediately under C:\ProgramData\Win7codecs\, and then choosing Remove (the only option available via Control Panel \ Programs \ Programs and Features is to perform a "Repair", which didn't help in my case).

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Windows Wallpaper Woes

After installing Windows 7 service pack 1 (build 7061), I inexplicably was unable to change the wallpaper, it allowed me to only change from one solid color to another.

I found a fix that worked for me, it involved simply opening the following folder and deleting the TranscodedWallpaper.jpg file contained within. 

Once I did this, I closed the Personalize screen and reopened it, and then I was able to once again change wallpaper to something considerably less drab than one of the various solid colors.

Friday, May 20, 2011

"Unknown Hard Error" BSOD and CI.DLL

My Windows 7 64-bit laptop suffered a BSOD with "Unknown hard error". A reboot resulted in Windows immediately going into Startup Repair mode, and the log showed that the file ci.dll had been corrupted.

I tried booting into Safe Mode, tried a Last Known Good boot, neither option worked, each time the system jumped back into Startup Repair. Finally, I chose the option Disable Driver Signature Enforcement, and was able to successfully boot into normal mode. This option bypasses the functionality in Windows which checks for system or driver file corruption and thus far it seemed like perhaps some software or driver I'd recently installed or updated might've led to this boot issue.

Days prior I'd been noticing some strange behavior in Windows. I had been unable to access my GMail and Live accounts. GMail would forever remain at the initial progress bar, eventually timing out and asking if I wanted to use basic HTML mode; Live would load the initial screen showing my email but just sit there, any clicks on my Inbox or Sent Items or other folders did nothing. Once I booted in this Disable Driver Signature Enforcement mode though, a new twist; it appeared my Google search results were now occasionally being redirected to advertising sites.

It turned out to be malware, a rootkit to be specific.

I ran a full scan with the latest SpyBot as well as Symantec Endpoint Protection, installed on all our workplace PCs, but these found nothing.

However, in tracking down other reports of apparent ci.dll file corruption, I discovered Kaspersky's TDSSKiller tool. I downloaded and ran the tool, which performed a concise scan that took roughly a minute to complete. Lo and behold, a rootkit, a member of the notorious TDSS family.


I ensured the Cure option was selected, then clicked Continue, and allowed the tool to initiate a reboot and hopefully clean out the rootkit.

Following the removal, I could once again boot into Windows normally, and the anomalous behaviors described above no longer occurred.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Motorola Razr meets PCI Simple Communications Controller

I picked up a used Alltel-branded Motorola Razr v3b for $2 at a yard sale recently. After reeling for a moment that new this phone probably ran for $150+ and now lay abandoned among pots and pans and power tools and other discarded housewares, I decided to charge it up and see whether any ringtones and other crap were on the phone.

I installed Motorola Phone Tools in an effort to transfer the data to my PC.

However, upon connecting the phone to my PC with a compatible USB data cable, one new device appeared in my system's Device Manager, a "PCI Simple Communications Controller" whose driver failed to install.

I opened the Properties of the device and selected the Hardware Ids property from the Details tab.

I searched for hits on the top entry: 


This revealed that the device is the Intel Management Engine Interface, which lives on my Intel DP965LT motherboard. However, for whatever reason (perhaps just obsolescence) my Windows 7 Ultimate install couldn't find the appropriate drivers.

I downloaded the Intel® ME: Management Engine Driver for Intel 963/965 Chipset-Based Desktop Boards, but the installer supports XP and Vista, not 7. I found various forum posts that suggested working around this by trying to run the installer as administrator and in Vista compatibility mode, but this didn't work; the installer refused to run beyond copying the files to my PC at this location: 

     C:\Program Files\Intel Desktop Board\HECI_allOS_2.1.22.1033_PV 

I found another post that suggested attempting to update the drivers by having Windows search for drivers in the folder created above, and this did the trick. 

I right-clicked on the PCI Simple Communications Controller, clicked Update Driver Software..., then Browse my computer for driver software. I input the path to the drivers unpacked from the management engine package (C:\Program Files\Intel Desktop Board), then clicked Next:

The PCI Simple Communications Controller disappeared and in its place an Intel(R) Management Engine Interface device appeared instead under the System devices category:

When I again plugged the Motorola Razr v3b in via USB, this time the Driver Software Installation dialog reported success across the board, and Motorola Phone Tools could now properly communicate with the phone.

If nothing else, it'll serve me well as a spare digital camera, or maybe as a prop in some twisted video involving the destruction of formerly cutting edge electronics.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Dell Latitude E6410: SpeedStep, or SpeedSTOMP?

Recently on the Dell Latitude E6410 I use at the office, on several occasions Windows 7 would slow down and become completely unusable, necessitating a hard reboot.

Event Viewer revealed the following events in succession for each core of my laptop's quad core Intel i5 CPU:

The speed of processor 0 in group 0 is being limited by system firmware. The processor has been in this reduced performance state for 5 seconds since the last report.

Windows slowed down to the extent that I couldn't even open Task Manager, which normally comes up readily even if the system is otherwise sluggish. Interestingly, in this state it would enter Sleep Mode eventually upon closing the lid, but was otherwise unusable.

Several steps can avoid these slowdowns:
  • In your system BIOS, disable Intel SpeedStep.
  • In Windows 7, ensure your system uses the High Performance setting for Power Plan.
  • Ensure adequate cooling with a utility like SpeedFan to monitor temperatures.

However, based on at least one thread in the Dell support forum and another on a hardware forum, this could turn out to be an indication of a hardware problem.

Intel SpeedStep is triggered to activate, among other things, by heat. If the system is heating up and can't dissipate heat effectively, SpeedStep by default will engage and step down the CPU so that it generates less heat. Whether that heat is generated by the CPU itself as a result of a dead heatsink fan or the heatsink somehow being detached from the CPU surface, or the GPU overheating for whatever reason, or heat simply can't dissipate due to factors like lack of ventilation thanks to dust or covered vents, it will try to compensate by throttling down the CPU speed.

While this seems perfectly reasonable in theory, in practice it seems to not work as intended, at least in the case of my E6410. I've read reports in the very helpful Dell Latitude E6410 Owner's Thread that some have had similar issues which necessitated a mainboard replacement, while others were able to get up and running by just clearing dust out from the vents of their laptop. 

My particular situation, however, doesn't seem that common, which makes me wonder whether my GPU might be on its way out. Yesterday with the laptop on battery and without a lot of ambient noise, I noticed that when I would ALT-TAB from say a mostly white background to a vividly colorful one, a distinct whine would be emitted from my system, and the display wavered just slightly as if some interference were rippling across the video hardware (update on this, according to some info in this thread, this whine is characteristic of systems with Intel Core 2 Duo and newer CPUs).

For now, I've disabled SpeedStep and installed SpeedFan to keep an eye on temperatures, and cleaned out dust. Hopefully this will do the trick, but if not, given this and the sound problems which continue to plague my E6410, a warranty comes in handy. I added a link to my bookmark toolbar to the aforementioned E6410 owner's thread, it seems Firefox sympathizes with my plight based on how it shortened the bookmark title. Ow indeed, Dell!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Windows 7 Service Pack 1 Boot Failure

Windows 7 SP1 has been released, but upon installing it, I found my system no longer boots into Windows. I get the BLACK screen of death, with the cursor flashing helplessly in the upper-left corner and no hard drive activity.

The dreaded BLACK screen of death, complete with animated cursor!

There were no obvious issues during the installation of the service pack, so I'm going to try using the BOOTREC utility in the Windows Recovery Environment in case some aspect of the service pack install, or some weird twist of fate, decided to damage the master boot record rendering my system unusable, for now.

Please feel free to share your own Windows 7 SP1 experience, whether good, bad, or ugly!

-= UPDATE =-

As I inserted my Windows 7 disc and rebooted, ready to attempt a repair through the recovery environment, I remembered something.

Before updating to Windows 7 SP1, I made a change on my system to enable AHCI (Advanced Host Controller Interface), which enables two of the best features of SATA, hot swapping and native command queueing. I'd just recently replaced the last of my old IDE hard drives and went full SATA.

To see whether this made a difference, I entered my system BIOS and changed the setting for "Configure SATA as" from IDE to AHCI, and then rebooted.

No more black screen
, my system successfully booted into Windows! 

Here are the steps I'd used originally to enable AHCI:
  1. Exit all Windows-based programs.
  2. Click Start, type regedit in the Start Search box, and then press ENTER.
  3. If you receive the User Account Control dialog box, click Continue.
  4. Locate and then click the following registry subkey:


  5. In the right pane, right-click Start in the Name column, and then click Modify.
  6. In the Value data box, type 0, and then click OK.
  7. On the File menu, click Exit to close Registry Editor.

I stumbled upon a Microsoft support article (922976) which is slightly different in that it specifies an additional registry key that may be modified in order to enable AHCI.


In my system's registry, the subkey value for Msahci I had changed to 0, but IastorV was still set to its default value, 3. I changed the latter so that both subkey values are set to 0, then rebooted, entered the BIOS, and this time changed the SATA setting from IDE back to the desired AHCI, saved changes, and rebooted once more.

Now, my system appears to be back to normal.
From this troubleshooting misadventure, it seems like the question of whether Windows 7 service pack 1 may want just ONE of those two registry subkey values set to 0 is no longer a question but a fact as far as AHCI goes.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

LogMeIn Laptop Screen Stays Blank After Remote Session

LogMeIn is an excellent online service which offers a free method of remotely controlling a PC via web browser. 

Recently I encountered a minor glitch, however, and whether LogMeIn or Windows 7 or nVidia are the culprit, I'm not sure.

I had remoted in to my Dell Latitude E6410 laptop using the latest free version of LogMeIn. It is equipped with Windows 7 64-bit and NVIDIA NVS 3100M display adapter, each with the latest updates and drivers available. 

All seemed fine via remote, but when I returned to the office I found that although my secondary monitor activated normally, my laptop display remained seemingly asleep and unresponsive. I tried using the key combination of the Windows key and P then clicked Extend to try to have Windows reinitialize the displays and wake everything up, but no joy.

I then tried just changing one of my Display settings, the Resolution, to a different value in order to have Windows enable the Apply button, and then clicked it. 

After doing this, my laptop screen was no longer blank.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Windows 7 to XP FIle Sharing Problems

Recently, I had serious issues with trying to enable file sharing between my newly-installed Windows 7 laptop and my Windows XP SP3 desktop.

Windows 7's Network and Sharing Center

I have a home wireless network, where my Windows 7 laptop, on wireless, normally shares files perfectly well with my Windows XP desktop. Inexplicably, one day the capability to share files via wireless ended; I couldn't even ping my XP desktop from my 7 laptop let alone browse its file shares, whether by computer name or IP address. And yet, over a wired connection, file sharing performed flawlessly!

Here's a list of what I tried:
  • Updated drivers for network hardware.
  • Disabled Windows Firewall on both machines.
  • Verified internet connectivity from the laptop.
  • Ensured both PCs share the same workgroup name.
  • Verified connectivity over wireless, from the laptop to the router.
  • Completely reinstalled the TCP/IP stack on the Windows XP computer.
  • Deleted and recreated routes using the ROUTE command on both computers.
  • Reinstalled the Link Layer Topology Discovery (LLTD) responder on the XP box. 
  • Followed Microsoft's docs on enabling File and Printer Sharing under Windows 7.
  • Verified that shared folders on both PCs had proper permissions.
  • Removed remnants of Norton Internet Security with the Norton Removal Tool from the XP box, which I'd long since uninstalled but remnants of which still remained.
  • Followed Microsoft's steps for sharing files among different Windows versions, including rerunning the network setup wizards for each respective operating system.

In spite of all these steps, I still couldn't even ping the XP box from the 7 laptop, and I couldn't see the XP box from the 7 laptop in the network, although I could see, but not access, the 7 laptop from the XP box.

The solution turned out to be unexpected.

A few years ago, I replaced the factory firmware of my venerable Buffalo WHR-HP-G54 wireless router with DD-WRT, a free, open-source, Linux-based firmware which can be applied as a drop-in replacement for the manufacturer firmware, and can expand the features of your router to boot.

The firmware, as with most anything in IT, is evolving, and it'd been some months since I'd last updated the version of DD-WRT; it was v24 SP1 from around August, 2010, whereas the newest version is v24 pre-SP2. Some other DD-WRT users had reported issues sharing files on their own networks. DD-WRT itself has an option under Wireless => Advanced Settings called AP Isolation, which allows you to prevent wirelessly networked devices from interacting with one another, and presumably with wired clients, via the router (in my case, this option has always been disabled).

At this point, my options were exhausted, so I took the plunge and updated the DD-WRT firmware. Even though the latest version is technically still in beta, it seemed worth a shot; I've never had trouble since first installing DD-WRT, and the fact that it allows you to preserve your existing settings without wiping the router's NVRAM made it even more appealing.

The result? It worked! Suddenly, rather than being met with the dreaded System Error 53 when attempting to map a network drive letter from the laptop to the desktop or trying to browse to a shared folder via Windows Explorer, I got a prompt asking me to authenticate to the XP box using my credentials, and finally regained access!

If you haven't updated your router's firmware in a while, it might be worth a shot, particularly if you use DD-WRT as I do and have perhaps encountered what might be a bug in your current version of the firmware. 

If you still have the factory firmware, I'd strongly suggest you consider replacing it with DD-WRT or another like Tomato, which can not only offer your router and network more stability and performance, but also unlock features that the manufacturer might not even offer in their own relatively anemic firmware. 

Monday, January 3, 2011

IE8 Process Priority in Windows 7

I wanted to bump up the process priority of Internet Explorer 8 under Windows 7.

There are at least a couple of ways to do this. If the app is already running, you can open Task Manager, right-click the app on the Applications tab and click Go To Process, then right-click the process name on the Processes tab and Set Priority to one of the levels above the default, Normal.

I chose a relatively quick-and-dirty method to create a batch file to boost the process priority of IE8, in conjunction with the START command, which can be tested via the Command Prompt.

Generally, the syntax is as follows:

     START /Priority ProgramName

Where /Priority is one of several values (Low, BelowNormal, Normal, AboveNormal, High, RealTime), and ProgramName is the name of a particular executable (EXE) whose priority you wish to boost.

I began with a simple batch file as a proof-of-concept to instantiate a High-priority instance of Notepad.


start /HIGH notepad


Success! Now I wanted to do something similar with Internet Explorer 8, and have it run with High process priority. The result wasn't quite what I wanted.


start /HIGH iexplore.exe

I'm running the 64-bit version of Windows 7, and have both the 32- and 64-bit versions of Internet Explorer 8 installed. Ideally I would've liked the 64-bit version to run, but it looks like by default the 32-bit one comes up via a command prompt if I omit the path (as I have lazily done here). That's no big deal, nor is the fact that there are two processes named iexplore.exe (see this article on Loosely-Coupled IE [LCIE] by Microsoft's Andy Zeigler regarding why IE8 creates two processes for itself instead of one). The problem is that neither iexplore.exe process has the desired High priority. I got around this by saving the batch file in the 64-bit version of IE's program directory, which by default lives here: 

     C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer

Now when I execute the batch file, START properly starts up one of the iexplore.exe processes at High priority.

But wait, why did it start only one process at High, and the other at Normal?? I'm not sure. I do notice, though, that unfortunately the process which appears to represent the default tab of IE8 that opens is the one set to Normal priority, which isn't exactly what I wanted. I can tell that this seems to be the case when I keep an eye on that process' CPU usage as I try browsing, as shown below.

Furthermore, as I opened additional tabs, which in turned spawned additional iexplore.exe processes in Task Manager, each of these too had only Normal process priority. Only the first process (note that the process with PID 87996 is High, while the second with PID 89476 is Normal).

The end result of this is that despite having set the priority of iexplore.exe to High via the START command in a shortcut, it seems to set this priority only for the "base" instance of iexplore.exe, not the instance which actually seems to be dedicated to browsing; not much help if your goal is to have browsing take precedence among the other activities of your applications. 

It looks like I may need to find some Windows settings specific to Internet Explorer or process priority elsewhere, whether by hacking the registry or some other means.


I stumbled upon a post on AskVG which links to a utility, Prio, which extends Task Manager to include among other things a Save Priority option, as shown below:

However, according to some of the comments in the article, some users of Windows 7 64-bit have reported problems getting their changes to process priorites to "stick" between reboots. 

I've installed the utility in a manner suggested by one of the commenters, woodburyadpost, who suggested the following installation steps:
  1. Install. DO NOT REBOOT. 
  2. Uninstall. DO NOT REBOOT. 
  3. Reinstall (and, presumably, reboot).

Curiously, the very first time I installed the utility, I received no prompt asking me to reboot, whereas after following the above steps, the installer did suggest a reboot. Perhaps this indicates the installer is missing something the first time through whereby a component isn't getting copied or installed on the system properly?

At any rate, we'll see if this works, and if so, it'll be a handy utility to have!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Windows 7 Haunted Command Prompt??

I encountered a weird situation on my Windows 7 x64 machine where the command prompt window couldn't be closed.

I'd logged on to my domain account, and out of (admittedly bad) habit, I tried to right-click on the command prompt in the taskbar and close it. Usually, it goes away in moments, but this time it decided to hang around, and it was impossible to remove. 

I looked in Task Manager, and although I could see the instance of the command prompt in the Applications tab, and even right-click on it and choose Go To Process, when it shifted me to the Processes tab, it selected nothing, or if I'd clicked on any other process in the list, it prompted me to end that process rather than whatever process remained which maintained this errant command prompt.

I would've liked to use a utility like PSKill to terminate the process (as described here), but if I can't find the process ID, that isn't an option.

I did notice one thing unusual in the list of processes, there were three separate instances of an executable named conhost.exe (Console Window Host). When I selected the first instance and clicked End Process, the command prompt finally closed. 


I also ended the other two instances, as these don't normally hang out in my process list. I'm guessing that I might've thrown a monkey wrench into whatever this command prompt had been executing when I tried to close it, causing some process it might've been waiting to close to hang out in limbo.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Long Live the Classic Start Menu!

At work, I have finally received a brand-spanking new Dell Latitude E6410 laptop, complete with Windows 7 Pro.

I'm certainly loving the speed so far. As you might expect, stuff that seemed to take ages with XP goes blazingly fast under 7.

But, what's this?? Where's my beloved CLASSIC START MENU???

Apparently, Microsoft believes that since time marches on, all Windows users shall march in cadence with it. Some fanboys, too, wonder why all us holdouts don't simply drop the crude old Classic start menu altogether.


While I'm certainly happy for those who've enjoyed the new start menu, I for one would much rather keep the venerable Classic menu. I'm accustomed to it, I'm comfortable with it, and frankly, I don't really see a real need to switch.

works for me.

Along those lines, I've found ClassicShell. The creators of this add-on compatible with Windows 7 allows users to once again have their Classic start menu available.

Please, don't get me wrong, I'm certainly all for innovation and efficiency. However, is it truly more efficient to force users to become accustomed to a new start menu, and eliminate one that a significant number of users have been comfortable with for years? 

Isn't it more innovative to allow users to maintain their own customizations and preferences, despite changes in the underlying operating system? Personally, I'd like to keep my grubby paws on the Classic start menu as long as I can, because frankly I don't care to explore the new start menu which Microsoft slaps upon Windows 7 users.

In my humble opinion
, Microsoft would do well to ensure that their underlying OS works like a charm, and leave users to enjoy the preferences that they have come to enjoy, nay, expect, from their products.