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Topics - Carol Haynes [ switch to compact view ]

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Living Room / Stumped - can anyone help? Laptop drive issue
« on: June 23, 2017, 07:49 AM »

I have been given a laptop to sort out. It was crashing out during windows 7 pro startup to a blue screen.

The drive had surface errors which chkdsk repaired, on restarting Windows Repair loaded and checked the hard disk again.

It then starts windows but gets to a black screen with a mouse pointer and no further (same in Safe Mode). I have also tried last good configuration.

I decided the best approach was to rip out the disk - plug it into another computer and backup the data before putting it back and doing a factory restore.

This is where the real fun starts:

On my desktop Disk Manager assigns a drive letter and marks the partition healthy but when I try to open the drive is says Access Denied. I expected this on the data folders but this is the whole partition and gives no option to go further.

I plugged it back in the laptop and went into the recovery console command prompt and can read the partition fine.

I ran Paragon's Disk Management tools from CD and the drive shows up - I can see and copy the files - so the drive isn't bitlockered.

OK I plugged numerous USB drives into the computer and none of them show up in the BIOS or in Paragon - reloading the disk tables doesn't find the USB drives either.

Anyone any idea how to get a USB drive to be recognised - the BIOS has USB legacy enabled, I have tried USB 2 and 3 sockets, it doesn't have secure boote enabled or any other security measures that I can see enabled.

Failing that any idea how to access the drive via a USB adapter on my desktop?

I don't like giving up but I am stumped!!!

I 'had' a dual boot system of Windows 7 Ultimate on hard disk and Windows 7 Pro on an SSD!

Windows 7 Ult is my main OS on a large hard disk and I used the free period to install upgrade to Windows 10 on an SSD in dual boot mode to get the free license for future upgrade.

I use Windows 10 on my laptop all the time so rarely on my desktop PC which usually boots into Windows 7.

Dual booting has worked fine and I could use the system properties to set the default operating system (worked fine).

Stupidly yesterday I booted Windows 10 and decided to run Windows update and leave it over night. Because it had a Windows version update to do I switched to automatically boot into Window 10 so it could get on with it while I was asleep.

Got up this morning to a blue screen"DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION"

I rebooted and on restart got missing/damage \Boot\BCD error with error code 0xc000014c

I thought - no big problem and bunged in Windows 10 Recovery CD and booted from that - it failed to find Windows 10 - instead it found Windows 7 Ult (phew) and the legacy Windows 7 Pro folder (Windows.old which is still there from the Windows 10 upgrade).

After a lot of faffing, swearing and stomping around, and in the end using a windows 7 recovery disk, I finally managed to get Windows 7 Ult running again.

Anyone any idea how to fix the Windows 10 installation to dual boot again so that I can try to get it running and updated properly?

I am stumped - almost all the info I can find on dual booting is a mix of Windows and Linux.

To give a bit more description:

When Windows 7 was set as default the 'Select operating system' screen during boot up was the Windows 7 version, but when I switched to Windows 10 default it swapped to the Windows 10 version.

Also no I can find a Boot folder on either drive (hidden or not)

Adventures of Baby Cody / Where is Baby Cody
« on: August 27, 2016, 06:35 PM »
Last post about Baby Cody seems to have been in 2014

Anyone any idea where the little guy is now?

Living Room / Email problem
« on: February 15, 2016, 04:37 AM »
I am a bit stumped by a problem for a client - anyone got any ideas

She uses MS Outlook from Office 365 to deal with email via IMAP

It sends and receives email fine everywhere EXCEPT in her own home. At home IMAP syncing appears to complete normally without error but nothing is actually synced.

I visited her home and deleted the IMAP account and set it up again from scratch  and it all worked fine while I was there but next day it wasn't working again.

She has satellite broadband (remote rural area) with a supplied modem and a bought router.

She is using Windows 8.1 with built in MS antivirus and firewall

Given that nothing else is behaving oddly at home I have no idea what is going on.

I have suggested rebooting all the network gear but she says she has done that.

Anyone any ideas? TIA

General Software Discussion / Microsoft - Windows 10 aggression
« on: February 04, 2016, 05:50 AM »
It is official - now Windows 10 is part of the recommended updates for Windows 7


If you have the default Windows Update settings it will download and start the installation. Ok you can stop it but I can see my life getting busier over the next few weeks.

Not sure if this isn't actually criminal - I have some programmes that are not Windows 10 compatible that I rely on for work - an automated update would really mess with my business!!! Wait for the law suits

If you want to block Windows 10 upgrades altogether create these registry keys (you can create a .reg file in notepad and cut and paste the following - then double click the file and add the entries automatically):

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00




Living Room / Very slow internal network speed - any ideas
« on: January 22, 2016, 11:10 AM »
My main desktop computer has started accessing the internet slowly - other devices on the network don't seem to be affected.

My laptop gets 14Mbps via wireless but my desktop is getting 1.7Mbps via ethernet.

As far as I can see the driver for ethernet hasn't been updated (well there isn't a roll back option).

I did a bit googling and someone suggested disabling AMD QuickStream but I can't find that on my system (AMD processor, mobo and graphics though)

Anyone got any ideas what is going on or how to fix it?

System Windows 7 x64 - loads of memory and fast CPU graphics

Living Room / Website hacking - tools to help spot issues
« on: May 20, 2014, 10:35 AM »
I have been building websites for a few years now using Joomla but recently my server seems to be under regular attack.

The attacks seem to be of the form that a php script is injected into a folder and used to pour out spam.

The trouble is with a lot of websites it isn't practical to wade visually through dozens of folders regularly to look for scripts.

The data centre has scanned the server for malicious scripts but I have already spotted and deleted a few that were missed.

Life currently feels like a war of attrition - I am spending so much time dealing with issues I now either need to pack it all in and give up or find a way to monitor user accounts to ensure I catch scripts and deal with them efficiently.

I am not sure how these scripts are even getting there - it isn't the clients I have. Even websites that are running the latest build of Joomla and a few well known and trusted extensions seem to be plagued.

Has anyone any suggestion where I can start.

One simple solution is to find a way to get the server to report when files are added to user accounts (preferably by email so that I can constantly monitor what is happening - with a couple of a notable exceptions most of the websites only change occasionally) - does anyone know a way to do this?

Any help or suggestions would be gratefully received.

The server is running Apache and WHM/CPanel.

I am not particularly technically minded when it comes to Linux - I just want to set up and maintain a few small local business and individual websites and not be driven batty by constant annoyances.

Living Room / ImgBurn - full of OpenCandy and other crap
« on: April 24, 2014, 08:18 AM »
Really sad to say I won't be recommending ImgBurn any more - my go to app for disk burning.

Just downloaded the latest version and it is full of crap - and even if you take the long install route and deselect everything except ImgBurn it STILL install multiple crapware apps (including the very annoying Conduit SearchProtect).

Very sad development!

(PS that was the download direct from the ImgBurn server so no one else had added the crap)

Anyone else find this hilarious?


Samsung kindly just upgraded my tablet.

In the process they cleared my Home Screen apart from the standard icins.

I can easily restore my apps but it is particularly annoying that I had a second screen of useful internet shortcuts (which weren't in the shorcuts in my browser). Some are relatively old and unlikeky to be in my browser history.

Anyone got any idea if it is possible to recover these webpage shortcuts?

Living Room / World's fastest WiFi @100Gbps
« on: October 24, 2013, 03:25 PM »
German researchers have combined photonics and electronics to create a world-record-breaking wireless network that can send and receive data at a heady 100 gigabits per second (Gbps). This beats the same team’s previous world record of 40Gbps. At 100Gbps, or a transfer rate of 12.5 gigabytes per second — ten times faster than Google Fiber — you could copy a complete Blu-ray disc in a couple of seconds.

Living Room / Expanding WiFi coverage in difficult buildings
« on: September 27, 2013, 06:05 AM »
A couple of years ago I installed some wifi expanders in a local hotel. They worked but were not brilliant and only provided coverage for parts of the building.

The building is a ramshackle amalgam of very old buildings with thick stone walls internally and externally, on mutliple levels and multiple floors so lines of sight are difficult and wall are thick and difficult to drill.

The problems are the main telephone socket and router are situated away from most of the guests parts of the building on the ground floor.

They don't want the mess or to spend a fortune on having ethernet cables installed and because of the history of the wiring mains networking only works in parts of the building.

Anyone got any other ideas on how to expand wifi coverage to the whole building and get good quality in awkward buildings?

Living Room / iPhone 5S fingerprint system easy to fool
« on: September 23, 2013, 03:32 AM »
OK - not really a surprise but the iPhone 5S fingerprint reader is not proving tough to be cracked.

Who ever thought it would be - its a scanner for heavens sake so if you can find something to scan (like a residual finger print) and perform a pretty trivial photoshop operation you have something to unlock a phone and read your partners secret sexts.

Did anyone really think this was secure technology? I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone argued this technology was revolutionary (apart from Apple's usual marketing hype and the fanboys brain dead response) - it has been around for years on cheap domestic laptops from a number of manufacturers (not that I have EVER seen anyone actually use it),

Sheesh ...

Further details on Gizmodo - and probably half the internet by the time you see this.

Living Room / Nonplussed - Windows 7 random BSODS
« on: August 26, 2013, 11:02 AM »
Totally confused ... asked to fix a Dell computer which is constantly crashing with BSODS and pretty randomly.

It is a Dell desktop running Windows 7 x64.

Tried all the usual things and gave up and reinstalled the factory image. Everything seemed OK but next day the BSODS started again.

Had the computer in my house:

1) Reinstalled factory image again
2) Removed crapware/ Norton etc.
3) Updated from Windows update and all drivers/BIOS/software updates recommended by Dell
4) Installed MSE  and other common tools
5) Ran stress tests and memory tests for 48 hours.
6) Produced Image Backup of system

No logged errors and no BSODS throughout.

Took it back to owner and BSODS start again almost immediately.

Removed everything except screen keyboard and mouse and BSOS continue to appear at random.

Anyone got any ideas?

The commonest STOP codes are 0x1e, 0x7d and 0x3b but they all seem to be random. Most hint at driver issues but they are factory drivers and don't seem to cause issues in my house. All very odd!

Living Room / Build your own 3-D printer!
« on: July 22, 2013, 03:17 AM »
Wonder how log it will take prices to drop to inkjet proportions?


Fun video at the bottom of the page.

Next stage will be to print your ow 3-D printer ;)

Living Room / Interesting Amazon MP3 development
« on: June 27, 2013, 10:21 AM »
Not sure if this is only new to the UK but I got a surprise today when I purchased a CD at Amazon.

They have added most of the CDs I have ever purchased from Amazon to my Cloud account and I can download the MP3 versions of those and also listen to them by streaming if I want.

This was new to me.

It is an interesting development because I have found it irritating that sort of things I like to purchase are often cheaper in CD format than MP3. Where is the incentive now to buy MP3s at all when purchasing CD gives you physical and digital copies?

Another question that is less obvious is what is the legal situation if you then sell the CD version you purchased? Since Amazon has added the digital content to your account presumably it belongs to you - there doesn't seem to be any way that Amazon can possibly police whether you still have the CD. Surely this will mean some people will buy the CD, download the MP3 files and then sell the CD and effectively get the music for free ???

It doesn't really affect me too much because I listen to classical music mostly and hate MP3 versions so I will be keeping all my CDs (hell I still have hundreds of vinyl records and cassette tapes that I can't bring myself to part with).

Just use the code 35THBDAY at the checkout until 28th May 2013

Living Room / MySQL hacked
« on: May 20, 2013, 03:36 AM »
Yesterday my server was hacked.

The behaviour was malicious and basically went through every database on the MySQL server and changed all user names to admin and all passwords to a single password.

This must have happened via the MySQL server directly because it affected all databases on the server for all client accounts.

As far as I can see no other damage was done.

Does anyone have any idea how this could have happened and how to prevent future attacks?

Currently a backup is being restored from before the incident but I don't want to have to go through this again if I can avoid it.

Living Room / Anyone know how to look up .tv domain names ?
« on: March 27, 2013, 11:44 AM »
I have a client who has a TV domain name. The person responsible for the website has gone missing without leaving any details of where it is registered etc.

How do you look up .tv names?

I have tried the usual WHOIS sites but they either come up with nothing at all or just that the name is registered and no details!

The domain is

Anyone got and ideas?

Living Room / Amazon creepy ...
« on: March 09, 2013, 06:10 AM »
OK I have a customer that needs Office 2003 SBE reinstalling but the disk has gone missing (I extracted the license key from the system that died).

Searched to see if I can find a legitimate ISO to download in Google.

Went Amazon to check on an order - first item on the home page Office 2003 SBE

How did they do that? And how do I stop it.

I know it is something to do with cookies but I didn't think all websites could access all your cookies or Google Search - but does Amazon actually have instant access to my Google seeach history!

Living Room / Here is an odd windows service problem
« on: March 07, 2013, 12:13 PM »
How do you remove a service that isn't listed in the registry?

I have been trying to get rid of a bunch of logged errors for a service that won't start because a SYS file is missing.

I thought OK : SC DELETE xxxxx

No go  - it reappears on every boot.

Looked int he registry and deleted xxxxx under Services for all users and Legacy stuff with the same name. Scan the registry now for xxxxx and it is not listed anywhere.

Restart the computer - and service is still trying to load!!! It isn't listed in the registry anywhere and it isn't listed under devices or the services applet???

Seems to be a common problem on this particular ancient Dell - it was installed by Dell but not removed when a device driver was updated. It is now redundant.

Anyone any idea how a service not listed anywhere in the registry, devices or services can still be trying to start and logging errors (and slowing down boot in the process)?

The only work around I have found it to put the registry stuff back and mark the service as Start=4 for each user. That stops the problem but I am mystified why I can't just delete the beggar?

Brilliant Stardock. First there was Start8 to bring back the start menu to Windows 8 and NOW

<trumpet fanfares loudly>

ModernMix ...

Briliiant name for a brilliant idea to get Windows 8 under complete control!!!


Run all the metro apps in windows on the desktop - and start them from the dekstop.

I love the idea of ModernMix - really it should be called RetroMix but an even better name could have been F**KMS

Next question: how long before MS either sues them or offers to buy them out?

Living Room / Yahoo email servers hacked
« on: March 04, 2013, 02:28 PM »
Had a deluge of calls from customers today panicking about spam sent from their email account to everyone in their address book.

The common factor was that the email service was provided by the UK telecom BT, which in turn uses Yahoo mail for its none business customers. All of them had their accounts accessed from Yahoo! Mobile in various parts of the world (S. Korea, Vietnam, Netherlands, El Salavdor and more) over the weekend so it looks like either Yahoo's account, email or mobile services have been compromised.

In their usual style BT are claiming it is customers not providing good passwords or leaving them lying around (though how someone in Korea could guess both an email address and the corresponding password in the UK beats me) and Yahoo are conspicuous by their silence on the subject.

Hunting round the internet I found this article:


seems it has now spread to other areas.

If you have a Yahoo email account (or a Yahoo powered account from a partner) check you login history via this link:

using your normal email account details.

As a precaution you might want to change your password as a matter of urgency !!!

I have always found Yahoo's mail servers to be particularly irksome, only rivalled by the amount of crap and irritation delivered by Hotmail.

I use BT myself and gave up with the email address years ago as I had spam in it before I even logged in on day 1.

Yahoo's spam filter is total rubbish letting loads of spam through and blocking loads of genuine mail. If sensibly you use POP to access you account the default setting block all perceived spam so you don't even see you mis-classified genuine mail - and most customers don't know how to fix that.

Every iteration of their awful webmail system just seems to get worse and worse, even to the point of needing ActiveX controls in IE to attach files.

If you use Yahoo I would thoroughly recommend setting up your own email address and give yourself control over it. The advantages are portability, not having to use bug ridden and security flawed systems and control. OK you will probably have to pay for a domain name and some hosting but it doesn't cost a lot and is a hell of a lot more predictable and flexible!

Living Room / Website under attack ... help needed
« on: February 11, 2013, 04:10 PM »
A website I set up and host has been compromised but I am not sure what to do.

I can restore a backup before the attack but I really want to avoid it happening again.

The sits is based on Joomla. All frontend (public) pages redirect to random websites after about 15 seconds. In the backend this does not happen.

Anyone got any idea where to look for how this is happening?

I have looked at index.php and .htaccess and can't see any obvious changes in the code. Only two of us have admin rights on the website and the forum is not available without logging in. Even then normal uses are restricted to BBCODE and can't use any scripts or HTML. None of the site is open for comments.

The site is hosted under a CPanel account on a Linux server.

All passwords are long and random and the backend of the website uses a non-standard URL to get access with a 20+ character pin code just get to the login form.

Panicking a bit as I am a bit out of my depth with this sort of stuff.

In the current Windows Secrets newsletter EFDD can crack popular encryption, even with tough random passwords:

Conventional wisdom has been that files protected with good encryption can’t be cracked.

But a new, $300, wizard-driven app can unlock BitLocker-, PGP-, and TrueCrypt-encrypted files, folders, and drives — no matter how strong a password you’re using.

It’s the sort of story that could keep you up at night. Last month, Elcomsoft released the Elcomsoft Forensic Disk Decryptor (EFDD; more info), a program that opens encrypted files without trying to guess your password or attack it with brute force (Wikipedia info). In fact, the actual password is effectively irrelevant. A long, random string such as bS2f#[voIT+?@=Uq3a,.B provides no better protection against EFDD than would "password" or "12345."

See http://windowssecret...tion-systems/#story1 for the full story.

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