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Topics - yksyks [ switch to compact view ]

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After a while I'm here again, this time with an urgent plea for help. On some of my computers and on my friends', too, began appearing the following problem these days:

After a long period of idle (usually overnight) the system crashes with several error messages "Delayed write failed..." The files involved are usually $Mft and C:\Windows\system32\config, but random others as well.

In this situation always stop working USB and the network card. Sometimes there's possible to perform a standard restart, sometimes a hard reset is necessary. The disk can be repaired using chkdsk with relatively no harm.

The computers are quite different, hardware-wise and software-wise, one of them even has an SSD. Needless to say the disks are in a perfect state, I even replaced two of them, but to no avail. This happened last night on three computers again. Some are in the same LAN, one is completely away.

I am now pretty sure it is not a hardware failure. As for the software, the only common things are that they all use Windows XP SP3 (but different language versions), and they all use BitDefender Free Edition. There are no others substantial similarities.

I spent a lot of time reading different forums, but the only outcome of this was that I'm not alone. No solution whatsoever, though. I read about some virus, but could that be true? I used MalwareBytes and Kaspersky's TDSSkiller for additional scanning, but they found nothing. I also heard rumors that MS put something in theirs latest updates to force XP users to upgrade, but I'm very skeptic regarding such conspiracy theories.

Anyone? This forum is my last resort. Please...

General Software Discussion / USB Disk Ejector
« on: November 19, 2011, 03:26 AM »
This freeware app was mentioned many times here, but instead of resurrecting old threads I'm starting a new one.

There's a brand new version with many improvements. I especially like the option to remove the media and quit the program immediately.


General Software Discussion / Windows Live Sync Alternative?
« on: November 24, 2010, 05:02 AM »
In the thread Synchronizing a few folders between two machines? I confessed that I'm using the Windows Live Sync. I'm still quite satisfied with it, but they are going to stop this service soon and replace it with Windows Live Mesh 2011. This service promises to be better, but it won't be available for Windows XP anymore. What a shame... I refrain from any comments.

So, at my 400th post here I'd like to ask this honorable community for advice about possible alternative. What I need:

1. Unattended bidirectional sync between pairs of folders on different machines (all Windows based — XP and Vista)
2. Resolving conflicts (when edited on both sides at the same time), either by report, dialog, or by automatic renaming of conflicting copies (WLS does the latter)
3. Working on LAN, and when not on the same LAN, automatically using internet without complicated VPN setup
4. No storage on dedicated servers or intermediate media, as this would slow down the process
5. Freeware

WLS does all this, and in addition it even allows remote access to files. After quite thorough research I'm still unable to find an adequate replacement. Is it really that unique?

Thanks in advance for any idea.

Living Room / Betamax (a VoIP company) — a large-scale fraud?
« on: June 13, 2009, 12:44 PM »
Since I praised the VoipBuster (one of the Betamax clones) some time ago here, I feel obliged to post an apology and a warning now.

I was quite satisfied with the service until recently. All of a sudden any attempt to make any call ends up with a "General Error (CODE:33) / The other party ended the call due to an unknown error". This happened simultaneously on two accounts. One of them was in use for a some time without any change. The other was okay until I topped it up.

I searched the web for an explanantion and all I was able to find is the result that the Betamax company turned to nothing but a large-scale scam. There are hundreds of affected users of different Betamax clients in quite similar situation. They all have the same experience: there's never any response from Betamax, be it by e-mail, mail or fax.

For details see for example:

It is still possible that some kind of technical problem is involved, but it seems more and more unlikely. I'd be happy to post an errata here. So, if you're one of the Betamax clone users, my advice is to use your credit while possible, and never top it up again.

I consider the following just a coincidence, but since Friday the Avira antivirus reports VoipBuster.exe as it "Contains a recognition pattern of the (harmful) BDS/Backdoor.Gen back-door program". I think this is just another false positive of Avira, though. I contacted Avira and submitted the file, but so far no response either.

Anyone else here?

EDIT: The VopiBuster forum is inaccessible since this morning. Doesn't add to trustworthiness...

Living Room / SSD File System Recommendations
« on: May 08, 2009, 06:01 AM »
Recently I got my wife an Acer Aspire One notebook with WinXP, 1 GB RAM and 16 GB SSD. It's surprisingly nice little machine, especially with regard to its price (I got it for free when buying a lawn mower).

It was pre-installed and I'm surprised it has FAT32 file system. I've read many diverse and divergent articles, but it seems that converting to NTFS would be a good idea to speed it up a bit. But what about the cluster size? The only thing those articles seem to agree is that it's quite critical value for an SSD, but they don't give any unambiguous answer.

Does anyone here have any experience or piece of advice? Thanks in advance.

TapTap / PhraseExpress Collision
« on: July 28, 2008, 04:18 PM »
This message is mostly addressed to Mouser, but maybe someone else could confirm or verify my discoveries.

Mouser, I understand you're quite busy these days with FARR development (thanks a lot, by the way!), but I finally managed to identify my old problem I have with TapTap and PhraseExpress. Almost always when PhraseExpress enters a text string the TapTap gets invoked. After some experimenting I realized that it is always the first item in its configuration file, regardless of what it contains (frankly, I tested just DLC, DLA and DLS).

I tried to ask the PhraseExpress team, but I only received a standard response that they cannot fix collisions with some other's programs, and they also deleted any references to TapTap from my post.

In the meantime I noticed that TapTap sometimes does the same under different occasions which I'm unfortunately unable to reproduce systematically. So, maybe they're right that the problem is not on theirs side.

At the moment I'm using an ugly workaround--I mapped the first item in TapTap configuration to ScrollLock key, which I'm not using at all and which I can easily monitor on the LED on my keyboard without any side effects. It continues to randomly switch on and off when using PhraseExpress.

I noticed this behavior on both the WinXP and Vista.

Do you need more details? Or is there a better way to fix this?

Thanks in advance.

Living Room / Waking up after power failure
« on: July 21, 2008, 04:30 PM »
There are several recent threads discussing remote or scheduled PC waking up, but I have seemingly simpler question, which I'm unable to find solution to, though. My problem is: how do I wake a PC (ATX motherboard -- MSI 925X Neo) automatically after power failure? I have an UPS, but if the PC hibernates due to longer outage, is there any simple trick to start the PC unattended? The BIOS doesn't have the "always on" option.

Thanks for any ideas.

General Software Discussion / Install updates and shut down
« on: June 23, 2008, 01:20 PM »
This started to appear some time ago among the listbox items on the Shutdown dialog. At first I thought it’s something pertaining to Vista, but appears on XP Pro as well now.

I’ve read some articles about this new “feature”, but does anyone know what the reason behind this is? Is it really necessary to physically turn off the PC instead of rebooting? I know it’s safer and sometimes necessary because of some peripherals that cannot be reset by software, but I absolutely hate three things:

  • I don’t know what’s this update and how do I get rid of it eventually.
  • It’s not installed and not even offered along other updates that require reboot.
  • It’s never notified anywhere, unlike other “regular” updates. Just now I realized that this appeared a week ago and as I didn’t have time to perform the operation, I forgot it completely. In the meantime I rebooted my PC twice, but this item silently resides in the Shutdown dialog. If it’s really so important, how do I know about it, when I never switch my PC off?

Living Room / Am I too demanding, or are they all cheating?
« on: March 23, 2008, 03:51 PM »
I'm starting this thread because recently I came across three different events that have something in common and I'd like to know someone else's opinion.

Here they are:

1. I bought a Logitech VX Nano mouse. The mouse itself is excellent, precise, elegant, reliable, etc. To my unpleasant surprise I found out that its wheel doesn't click. In fact, it clicks, but nothing happens. When pressed with more strength, it toggles the ratchet-scrolling mechanism and smooth scrolling. Perfect, by the way. There's also a button just below the wheel. It's by default assigned to "One-touch search", which is not a bad idea, but if you don't redefine it to middle click (or wheel click), you can't control some programs that are dependent on it (Google Sketchup, Google Earth, and auto-scroll in many applications). Even if you do, you're losing some productivity, because pressing the wheel is something different than moving the finger to another button and you have to think of it all the time and you make mistakes. Yes, it's true Logitech nowhere mentions that the wheel is clickable. But I believe this is the only mouse in the world, including all other Logitech mice, that lacks this feature.

2. I purchased Dell Inspiron 1720 laptop. Again, it's excellent in all aspects. During the customized ordering process I noticed under "Sound cards" that I can have for a small supplementary charge "Integrated SoundBlaster Audigy ADVANCED HD Audio". What a surprise when I realized that I have some poor SigmaTel Audio card. Okay, I thought, they made a mistake. Nope. Look what I've found: "It is not a sound card. It is a CD with software." Well, I have the CD. Yes, it's true Dell nowhere mentions explicitly that it's hardware.

3. I bought a Stagg PA System (PA4/200), with the specification of "2 X 100W RMS" output and it comes with two speakers. And again to my surprise I realized that despite it has two outputs, they are connected together. So this is not stereo. It's not even a dual channel amplifier. The both outputs are the same all the time, no way to split them. And again, yes, it's true Stagg nowhere mentions that this is a stereo or dual channel amplifier. It just has two outputs. Does it have two outputs? Yes, sir.

I can imagine one day buying a perfect car and the next morning realizing that I can't leave the garage, because the car lacks a reverse gear. But the manufacturer never mentioned it has a reverse gear...

There are some things in life I'd call reasonable assumptions. I believe that all cars can reverse. I believe that wheel mice have wheel-click. I believe that sound-card is a piece of hardware. And I believe that amplifier with two outputs is at least dual-channel. The common principle in all these three cases was that my assumptions were apparently wrong, let alone reasonable! However, I feel cheated. It's just impossible to study all the features and read all available reviews.

And now tell me: Am I too demanding, or just naive when I'm buying things based on evidently wrong assumptions? -- Anyway, you've been warned at least.

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