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March 15, 2005

disconnected shares

Here is another trivial annoyance of Windows that (over the period of a day) can really slow down your work-flow or train-of-thought. The symptom is that whenever you are trying to open a file via an Open-File dialog, the application just hangs on you for about 5 minutes before returning the focus to you. This happens when you have some network shares previously established. The full condition is that Windows automatically disconnects network shares after some period of time. Invoking the OpenFile dialog from any application forces it to reestablish each of the shares and this can take a very long time.

The short of the solution is to modify a parameter in the registry:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\lanmanserver\parameters\autodisconnect

Just change the value to ffffffff. Here is the official Microsoft details

February 10, 2005

Carly leaving HP

I once worked for HP in the NetServer division in Cupertino back in 1996. When Carly came in and made major changes, I was very opinionated about the changes she made to HP. As an employee, there was a lot of pride in the credo: "no employee layoffs, ever". This is a news link on her departure. Too many people are already talking, it is just better to remain quiet on this one.

December 21, 2004

Pervasiveness of OS'es

Most of the world uses and are familiar with the Windows operating system. Folks here at Cisco claim that IOS is so widely used that it comes in as the second most widely used. Additionally, there is CatOS which is the precursor of IOS and is still in used in much of Cisco's existing equipment. I guess most of the world doesn't muck with networking but the other networking companies seem to be rushing to micmic IOS (or at least, implement the established command set). Furthermore, most of the equipment is hidden in back-offices that only techie types will have need to access and use these operating systems. So as pervasive as they may be, the OS'es are still underwater as far as the known world is concerned.

November 19, 2004

Getting Data from CUE/BIN files

I have had the hardest time trying to extract data from ".bin" files. These are disk images which have been extracted and can be stored within your hard-disk. For some reason, every CD program seem to support only their own format and getting compatibility between formats have been quite difficult. The ones that are more familiar are .iso, .nrg, etc. You can use the
Virtual CD-ROM tool
to extract ISO files, however ".bin" files are a bit trickier. Previously, I have been trying to use WinImage to do the extraction from ".bin". However, those have (at various times) resulted in corrupted files. Something that works intermittently can't really be relied upon.

I currently have Nero installed. Here is a silly trick to get at the files embedded in those pesky ".bin" images.

  • Use the image recorder to burn the ".bin" files into ".nrg" files
  • Mount the ".nrg" file using Nero Image Drive. This will let you access the embedded files as a new drive.
  • Once you've copied the files you need into your hard-disk, it is easy to delete the ".nrg" file that you don't need anymore.
Posted by Hoang at 10:59 AM | 5 Comments | TrackBack | Technology

October 27, 2004

Accessing Windows Share on a remote computer

I got caught with this little problem a couple of times with Windows XP. Every time it happens though, I recall that it would cost quite a bit of frustration. Each time after researching the problem and having figured it out, I would move on to something else until next time when I have to install a new machine. Then the frustration process happens again.

The problem: unable to logon to share files with another machine on the same domain. The error message is "Access Denied. System error 1326". This happens eventhough the user/password provided is correct.

The solution: go to gpedit.msc from the command-line. Under
Computer Configuration/Windows Settings / Security Settings / Local Policies / Security Option / Network access: Sharing and security model for local accounts

Change this value from "guest only-local users authenticate as guests" to "Classic - local users authenticate as themselves".

As of the release of Windows XP, Microsoft has changed the default value of this setting and have caused a sore source of frustration. I hope this bit of info can help someone else.

Posted by Hoang at 06:42 AM | 4 Comments | TrackBack | Technology

October 21, 2004

Windows Remote Control

I have been using the Windows Remote Control feature more often recently and have to admit that it is surprisingly good. Back in my experience with HP, I had negotiated an OEM deal with the Symantec PC Anywhere team for their product to be included in HP's Remote Assistant card. PCAnywhere was the premier product of its category back then and the folks charged a premium for each copy. Having met the development group in Long Island, NY, I recall that they were quite proud at the substantial revenue stream it created for Symantec.

Times have changed and Microsoft have packaged Remote Control into Windows XP. Considering that it is part of the OS, the feature is effectively "free". I can't imagine how the "remote control" space will survive after this. It is the nature of the Microsoft business. They have done it with the TCP/IP stack (winsock), web browser, media player, & many other areas. I have yet to see a product retain its dominant position after Microsoft has decided to seriously pursue and compete in the product line.

Posted by Hoang at 05:07 AM | 1 Comments | TrackBack | Technology

September 10, 2004

Links to share

Just some links to useful utilities and resources:

- Adam Nathan's PInvoke center (if you have to write PInvokes into existing Win32) . PInvokes are just very error prone so if someone else has got it working, why not just stand upon their shoulders?

- Virtual CD-ROM Control Panel for XP

- Outlook add-in for creating backups

- Outlook add-in for video email

August 31, 2004

SP2, the new scapegoat

I observe a whole slew of complaints, rants, and grumbling from many people about Windows XP Service Pack 2. Many problems are legitimate and are caused by the automatic turn-on of the built-in firewall. The rest, whether you choose to believe it, are not. It could just be that your new-fangled program isn't working. However, it is human nature to migrate to a catch-all scapegoat. For the next month or so, I expect SP2 will be the scapegoat for all computer related problems.

Posted by Hoang at 05:37 PM | 2 Comments | TrackBack | Technology

May 09, 2004

Preventing viruses from starting

For the past week I have been helping some internet users reclaim "lost performance" from their windows desktops and laptops. The lament of the users were pretty much the same: "when I first bought it, it ran pretty quick, now the computer is just so slow. Did I contract a virus?"

The answer to this question would not be just "yes", but rather "how many viruses did you contract". As users traverse the internet, it is most likely that they will contract many viruses over a span of time. A common mechanism in which many virus writers exploit is to inject their executable into the startup area of your machine. There is a registry entry which lists all the executables that Windows should execute everytime you boot the machine. The registry path is this:

\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

When you look into that registry key, you will find many valid executables as well as lots of questionable ones. The viruses hide themselves here and get executed as your machine reboots. By running, they eat up your processor cycles, memory, as well as any other resources required for them to run. This is the cause of your machine's slow-down. By changing this list, you will definitely reclaim much of your machine's performance.

Caution: If you do decide to remove some entries, make sure that they are not system services. Stopping system services will affect the way your machine operates. Additionally, you should jot down the names and entries of the ones you delete just in case you make a mistake and have to restore those registry entries.

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