Laptop Domain Member Oddity

This was the first time I ran into this, but found it odd... If you have a laptop that you want to have join a domain, you can do so while using a wireless connection (My Computer/Computer Name/Change...) and supplying domain admin credentials, just like you would expect. You'll get a message indicating you've joined the domain.

However, once you log off and try to log back on with your domain credentials, the log on attempt will fail with the system telling you that your domain isn't available.

The reason is pretty simple. You are attempting to use the wireless connection to connect and the wireless connection isn't enabled until the user is logged back in. Sort of a cart-before-the-horse problem.

The way around it is to log in the first time while attached via the wired network. Once you do that and you've been authenticated the first time and the user is set up in the system, the authentication processes is cached and you should be able to log on without a problem.

Attack of the Killer Hard Drive

We had the sound card go out on a Dell motherboard. After replacing it, and after a few days of use, all of a sudden smoke starts coming out of the Dell Optiplex 745. Dell said they would ship us some parts and had us swap the hard drive into another Optiplex so the user could keep working and the drive smoked it! We now have 2 dead Optiplexs and one killer drive.

So we wouldn't lose any data, we hooked the "killer drive" to a USB interface to copy some data off and, man, it really started making the external power supply squeal!

So, it looks like our Seagate ST380013AS will be going off to the data recovery center to be rebuilt while we wait for Dell to send 2 new systems. I smell a class action lawsuit (or it could just be the smell of burnt motherboard in the morning!)."

update: We bought some "tamper resistant" screw driver heads and used one to remove and swap the drive's unremoveable circuit board with a working one's circuit board and recovered the data (saving $300 to $1900 we had been quoted for data recovery services). After we got the important files off, we swapped things back and will be returning the faulty drive (really it was just the drive's circuit board that was the problem) to Dell.

Forwarding Email to External Addresses in Exchange 2003

I keep forgetting this because I don't do it often enough...

When you have an email address for a domain and all the mail for that address gets forwarded to an external account, you can create a contact for the external recipient that has two E-mail addresses.

The primary address would be the external address and the secondary address would be the internal address. When an E-mail is sent to the internal address Exchange will forward it to the external address.

It used to be that you had to create a user AND a contact, if you wanted this to work, but with Exchange 2003, you don't have to.

Critical Dell Latitude D620 BIOS Update (A08)

Dell has a critical BIOS update for the D620. I was experiencing problems with my trusty laptop where both processors where running at 100% and the system was acting very flaky. The unit was extremely hot and I didn't feel any air coming from the vents.

I upgraded from A04 to A08 as a matter of course (when there are heat/fan problems on a laptop, you can often solve them with a BIOS update). Since then, the system is cooling off and has been running at normal speeds again.

The update is highly recommended.

Peachtree 2006 Wants .NET 1.1

A client was getting a crash error in peachw.exe whenever they exited the program. It didn't seem to cause a problem with data, but was certainly annoying.

The error was "Peachtree Accounting for Windows. has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience."

Looking into the crash report, I could see the error code was 0xc06d007e.

XP Error 0x745f2780 and Problems with Services Not Starting after Booting

A client had a computer (one system out of several that are exactly the same) that kept throwing errors and failing to start services upon booting up. This caused problems because print sharing didn't work, sound didn't work, etc., but the system still booted up. The services were all set to start automatically. There was also a tendancy for windows update (svchost.exe) to throw an error like this:

The instruction at "0x745f2780" referenced memory at "0x00000070". The memory could not be "read".

Googling resulted in some advice about fixing it by running regsvr32 on some program components and disabling Windows update, but that doesn't fit our security strategy (it also didn't necessarily work).

It was looking kind of hopeless, but...

SBS Exchange 2003 Corrupt ESE Database Recovery

A client ran into a problem with a RAID5 array losing a disk. There was a hotspare, but apparently some data corruption occurred. This caused problems with the ESE database used by Exchange. Recovery was relatively easy, but very time consuming.

I was able to recover the primary database without a problem, but the public folders were problematic. I kept getting data corruption errors like these when I tried to use the eseutil program to repair the damage:

"Operation terminated with error -1206 (JET_errDatabaseCorrupted, Non database file or corrupted db) after 8.47 seconds"

"Operation terminated with error -1209 (JET_errInvalidDatabaseVersion, Database engine is incompatible with database) after 9.32 seconds."

"Isinteg cannot initiate verification process.
Please review the log file for more information."

So, I had to do a restore from a tape backup and that created new issues...

Download Problems with Adobe Reader 8.0

Ever had problems with downloading the adobe reader 8.0 installer using the adobe downloader? I hate adobe's downloader as it has given me endless grief. I kept getting errors like "You're resuming a download, but the file on the server has changed. Would you like to restart the download process?" No matter whether I clicked [Quit] or [Restart Download], it would crap out anyway. Then I'd get an error "The downloaded file is corrupt. Please try again later."

Resizing an Unresizable VMWARE Virtual Machine

I've been working with the SugarCRM Virtual Machine Appliance (sugarcrm-os-4.5.0f-x836) for software development and testing. I make changes to the Virtual Machine using a combination of subversion, eclipse, and vmware server. I currently use the free version of vmware, vmware server 1.0.1. Subversion and eclipse are both open source.

I ran into a problem, though, because the virtual machine virtual disk, as created by the SugarCRM developers was not allocated large enough for my use and would run out of disk space with very little usage.

I tried to use the free VMWare Converter 3.0 to convert it and increase the size of the disk, but I kept getting an error that it "cannot configure the source image".

So, my workaround for resizing an uncooperative vmware disk image is to use the vmware-vdiskmanager program that is included in the vmserver installation to increase the disk, then use a gparted live CD to increase the volume size to fit the new virtual disk size.

Here's how...

Windows Terminal Server 2003 Crash Problems

My client was having problems with Windows Terminal Server 2003 crashing after a week or two. The system had been running fine for 2 years.

The problem turned out to be a program ZSHP1020.EXE that installed as part of the driver package for a remote client's HP 1020 laserjet printer. There were about 77 copies of the program running in the task manager.

I reviewed the errors in the event log and they included:

EventID 333
An I/O operation initiated by the Registry failed unrecoverably. The Registry could not read in, or write out, or flush, one of the files that contain the system's image of the Registry.

EventID 1508
Windows was unable to load the registry. This is often caused by insufficient memory or insufficient security rights.

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