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Previous Page Page 3 of 18 in the General category(RSS) Next Page

ECS RC410L/800-M Motherboard BIOS Hell

Posted in General | Vista at Wednesday, November 29, 2006 1:03 PM Pacific Standard Time

My youngest brother-in-law Boogs has a computer that I helped him to build. We have been trying to upgrade it with Windows Vista since RC1 was released but we always ended up with a BSOD. Today I spend some time trying to troubleshoot it and figured out the problem was with the ECS RC410L motherboard. ECS has a BIOS upgrade available on their website so I downloaded it and installed it with their utility. Everything went perfectly, the utility said everything was correct, and we rebooted. After the reboot we were greeted with a message telling us the date/time was not set and to hit F1. I hit F1, set the date/time and other important options and hit F10 to save and exit. Nothing. Hmmm. Clear the CMOS, system boots up, date/time not set, try setting only the date/time. Nothing. Try setting 100 different options different ways. Nothing.

Looks like I'm not the only one with this issue: http://forums.hexus.net/showthread.php?t=83863.

So I contact tech support, tell them my issue, point out that other people have the same issue, and I get the same cut/paste response:

Dear Valued Customer:

If the system doesn't bootup normally after the BIOS flash, the BIOS might have been corrupted, flash with a wrong file or was unsuccessful. Try clearing the CMOS jumper for at least 10 second with AC source unplug, longer time will allow the current or the memory to drain completely, reboot the system. If the system won't bootup on a floppy to re-program the BIOS then you need to contact your vendor for help recovering the BIOS.

Thank you for using ECS products

ECSUSA Technical Support

Now I'm no hardware expert (I used to do a lot of system building, but like Scott those skills have atrophied and I haven't kept up), but how do you clear the CMOS with the AC unplugged? I tried doing this just to test it out and it does nothing. From my experience you need to set the CMOS clearing jumper and turn on the PC with power for it to be cleared (nothing visible happens until you remove the jumper). Anyhow, I already ordered a new motherboard from Newegg and it is not an ECS motherboard as I'm guessing they will not be replacing the board for me. You can bet that I'll never buy an ECS motherboard again nor recommend thier products to anyone based on this really poor customer service. So if you're thinking about buying an ECS product, think again.

Technorati Tags: ECS, Hardware

VHDMounting Vista Backups

Posted in General | Vista | Virtualization at Monday, October 9, 2006 7:35 AM Pacific Daylight Time

When I upgraded from Vista Pre-RC1 to RC1 I used the built in backup program to backup my files. It worked very well for me so when I was upgrading from the Sept CTP to RC2 I decided to use it again. I also put a little more confidence in it and didn't do a completely thorough job of backing up my files (besides the full backup that is). So when I realized that I forgot to back something up I fired up the backup program and pointed it to my Sept CTP backup. However, the tool complained that there were no backup sets on the drive. Hmmmm.

I wasn't able to get the restore to ever recognize the backup set, but I did find that Microsoft is storing the backup as a VHD file. Those of you familiar with virtualization will know that that is a Virtual Hard Disk. So with some help from the Virtual PC Guy I was able to mount the VHD using Virtual Server R2 SP1 Beta 2's VHDMount utility (yes that really is the product's name). So I now have a drive on my Vista RC2 machine that contains all the files from my Sept CTP machine and I can browse them and restore them at my leisure. Whoever made the call to backup to VHD, I owe you a beer. Great choice!

Technorati Tags: Vista

Server Core: Less Means More

Posted in General | Virtualization at Friday, October 6, 2006 3:17 AM Pacific Daylight Time

Wow, I'd never even heard of Server Core prior to reading this article today. Server Core is a new version of Windows that is "Windows without Windows" (kind-of, there are still windows, see below).

[Click on image for larger view.]

Server Core has serveral Core roles:

Server Core can only act as a file server, domain controller, DNS server or DHCP server. As such, it's far from being a full-fledged Windows operating system (although Microsoft is considering other roles for future versions). Besides these four core roles, Server Core also supports Cluster Server, Network Load Balancing, the Unix subsystem, the new Windows Backup in Longhorn, Multipath I/O, Removable Storage Management, BitLocker drive encryption and SNMP. Server Core also supports Remote Desktop administration, although you'll only get a command-line window when you connect.

What does this give you? Well for one, a lot less resource requirements:

Cramming Windows into a single gigabyte or less (down from Longhorn's 5GB to 6GB footprint) requires leaving out plenty of elements.

The article doesn't mention the memory usage, but in that screenshot it is only using 194 MB. Imagine what this gives you when you add in Virtual Server. You could easily host all your core infrastucture servers (DNS, Domain Controler, DHCP, etc) on a single host server without having to buy a really expensive host. I think this will be really cool for developers as you could easily add a domain controller that has good performance without needing 5 GB for the drive and 700 MB of memory just to host it.

I'm excited to see that MS is thinking outside the box and going windowless!

Technorati Tags: Server Core

URGE + Beta Cycles = Lost Music

Posted in General at Thursday, September 7, 2006 10:48 AM Pacific Daylight Time

When the WMP 11 beta came out I installed it and created an URGE account. I bought some music with the account and then each time I installed a new operating system I would restore my music library. Well I've gone through a laptop upgrade and several versions of Vista (now on RC1) and it appears that I've gone over my restore limit and if I want to listen to the music then I have to buy it all again. Thanks, but no thanks.

Bye bye URGE...

Technorati Tags: URGE

No Go on Vista RC1

Posted in General at Saturday, September 2, 2006 9:03 AM Pacific Daylight Time

Well I was very excited about the Vista RC1. I downloaded it, burned it to a DVD, and got ready to install it but instead I got:

Windows cannot be installed on this computer with the current system BIOS version. Contact your computer manufacturer for a BIOS update, install the update, and then start Windows installation again. OEM Name: TOSHIBA; OEM Model: TECRA M5; BIOS Version: v1.50 ; BIOS Date: 20060425000000.000000+000

What? I'm already running Vista. So I file a bug and here is what I get back:

Thank you for reporting this issue. This issue is By Design. The reason why is because Vista is functioning correctly by blocking the upgrade due to the older BIOS. Toshiba is supposed to be posting newer BIOSs that are Vista compatible soon.

What a pain. Now I have to wait for Toshiba before I can install Vista. It would be fine if there really was an update. There must be a way to override this behavior.

When did MS decide that I shouldn't be making this decision?

So now I'm stuck waiting on Toshiba which will release it whenever they feel like releasing it and in the meantime I'm running Pre-RC1. I used to being in this position when it comes to my SmartPhone, but not when it comes to my laptop.

Update: I was able to get RC1 installed. I guess the bios check only happens when you do an upgrade. So I had to back everything up and then do a fresh install which worked. I hope Toshiba comes out with the new bios soon so that I don't have to do this with each RC...

Vista RC1 Released

Posted in General at Friday, September 1, 2006 8:23 AM Pacific Daylight Time

via Neowin:

Windows Vista RC1 was just posted on Microsoft Connect. (~2:45 EST)

View: Windows Vista Blog Posting
Download: Windows Vista RC1 (Connect Users Only)

Pretty cool. I'm downloading it right now. I had heard that RC1 was going to be delayed, but obviously they got it out the door. This means that MS might actually be able to deliver this before the EOY. I really like the Pre-RC1 which I'm running on my laptop, so I expect this build to be even better...

Technorati Tags: Vista

Technorati Tags in Live Writer

Posted in General | Live Writer at Thursday, August 17, 2006 10:56 AM Pacific Daylight Time

Via Greg:

Feeds.com - Write a Windows Live Writer plugin using C#

However I didn't want to sleep without writing a plugin and tried to write a more useful plugin to add Technorati tags to blog posts.  Here I write about the process I followed to let others start coding for Live Writer.  I created a workspace on CodePlex to write plugins for fun and share them with others.

Very cool! Although I think I discovered a bug with trying to put spaces into a tag. I think I'll writer a plugin to add source code (so you don't have to change to HTML view). 

Technorati Tags: -

Update: Testing out the WMP now playing. Note: if you want to use this you must install the Blogging Plug-in for Windows Media Player 9 Series. You can get the WMP live plug-in from the CodePlex workspace.

[ Currently Playing : High - James Blunt - Back To Bedlam (04:03) ]

Testing Copy Source as HTML

Posted in General | WPF at Thursday, August 17, 2006 10:04 AM Pacific Daylight Time

How well does this work with Live Writer? (got the CopySource settings from here)

    public partial class Window1 : Window
        public Window1()
            TopPanel.MouseLeftButtonDown += new MouseButtonEventHandler(TopPanel_MouseLeftButtonDown);
        void TopPanel_MouseLeftButtonDown(object sender, MouseButtonEventArgs e)
        public void CloseWindow(object sender, EventArgs e)

Just some sample WPF code that I'm playing with. Seems to work pretty well with Live Writer.

CS Paperclip Theme Modifications

Posted in General at Thursday, August 17, 2006 8:54 AM Pacific Daylight Time

I decided that I would like to change the top graphic on the paperclip theme which I'm using as a skin on my blog. However, there doesn't seem to be a source file for the graphic and the only reference to this that I found was on Dennis's blog here. Dennis not only modifies the graphic but changes the width of the theme as well (I'm fine with the smaller width).

Anyone else have a source file for the graphic? I modified it but I definately lost some of the crispness on the note.

Live Writer Ping Servers

Posted in General at Thursday, August 17, 2006 2:55 AM Pacific Daylight Time

Via Greg:

OK, AQ - Ping Weblog Servers

"...Here is a list of ping servers to cut and paste into the form located in Tools > Preferences > Ping Servers :"

For a nice list of ping servers, check out the above post.

I've added those servers to my live writer, let the massive amounts of traffic begin now. :)

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