Category Archives: Windows 7

Mysterious NET USE Drive Mapping Problem

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Filed under Troubleshooting, Windows 7

At some point recently, my workstation became unable to map drive M: to a particular server share.

If I tried “net use m: \\server\share”, I’d end up with an error stating that “That device name is already in use” or better “System Error 85 has occurred”.

But, if I then did a “net use” to list the active mappings, drive M didn’t show up in the list.

I tried rebooting, both client and server, as well as a few minor registry tweaks (under the advice from one site that mentioned Windows will cache drive mappings in some cases), but nothing worked.

Finally, I just happened to open up the Disk Management screen from “Computer Management” (Right click on “Computer” and select “Manage”).

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Notice the Drive M line and the “Removable” disk type. Ugh.

At some point, I must have inserted a new USB thumbdrive when I didn’t happen to have a connection (and hence a mapped M drive) to my server, and Windows just decided to map the thumbdrive to the empty M: slot.

But, when I got my server back up, even though the thumbdrive was long gone, that mapping was persisted and thus the slot was taken.

To fix it, I just right clicked on the highlighted line above, and selected “Change Drive Letter”. Remove the old M: mapping, and add a new W: mapping.

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and the problem is solved.

WindowsXP periodically disconnects from Windows7

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Filed under Networking, Troubleshooting, Windows 7

Very strange, and utterly frustrating issue recently.

After I got hit by lightning, I ended up replacing an Iomega NAS storage server with a simple Win7 box running 2 raided 2TB harddrives. It was a quick build and was a little cheaper than an equivalent 4TB Iomega unit, plus it’s running real Windows, so I can do more stuff with it.

But, I’ve got several XP Virtual Machines (under VMWare Workstation), that would, very consistently, disconnect from the Win7 “server”.

I googled for days, and tried at least a dozen different suggestions but none worked.

Essentially, if I rebooted the Win7 machine, the XP machines could connect to and work with the server for a while. But eventually, the WinXP machines would loose connection to the Win7 machine and the ONLY way to get them connected again was to reboot the Win7 machine.

The main problem was that the failure was very generic: something along the lines of “The server does not have enough resources to complete the request”.

Not much to go on.

On a whim, I happened to check in the event log at one point and came across this:

Source: srv
Event ID: 2017
Level: Error
The server was unable to allocate from the system nonpaged pool because the server reached the configured limit for nonpaged pool allocations.

Googling “srv error 2017” turned up a number of new suggestions I hadn’t seen before, but one in particular on Alan LaMielle’s blog looked very promising, though he was talking about connected via SAMBA.

The Bottom Line

In a nutshell, the problem is that if you use a “normal” version of Windows more like a server (lots a machines connecting to it for files), normal Windows installs aren’t configured for that.

You need to change 2 registry entries (on the SERVER machine, in my case the Win7 machine):

HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\LargeSystemCache

should be set to ‘1’, and:

HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanServer\Parameters\Size

should be set to ‘3’.

Then, either reboot, or use the Services control panel to restart the ‘SERVER’ service.

Since I’ve done that, I’ve connected several XP systems up, and run full backups overnight without a single hiccup.

NAS’s, The Gigabyte M68M-S2P Motherboard and gigabit Lan Ethernet speed

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Filed under Hardware, Networking, Windows 7

One small element of replacing all my equipment damaged by a lightning strike was to figure out what to do about my NAS.

image I’d picked up a sweet little Iomega StorCenter 1TB NAS server about 4 years back and it had served me well (despite having Seagate drives in it, ack!). But, after the strike, it was toast. What to do?

My first inclination was to just replace it. The Iomega units tend to be a little on the pricy side and Fry’s had a sale on Western Digital NAS boxes, so what the heck. I picked up a My World Book II, 2TB (Dual 1TB drives) box and came on home.image

Brought it up, restored my backup and all was well. Till a few hours later. The NAS just dropped off the network. I could still ping it, but couldn’t browse to it, connect via mapped driver letter, or anything else.

I powered the box down, and brought it back up, and all was well, for a few more hours. Then, same problem.

After far too long on the phone with WD’s tech support, I wrapped it up and took it back. After a few more false starts, I eventually decided that, heck, for the cost of 2 2TB drives, an Antec Sonata case, some ram, a Motherboard and CPU, and an OS, I could just BUILD a NAS box for about the same money.

imageSo off I went. Settled for the Gigabyte M68M-S2P motherboard with an AMD Athlon 64 X3 tricore. Pretty smooth sailing. Got the box running, hooked it up to the network, and then started copying files over to it.

SSSSSSLLLLLOOOOOOWWWWWW……

What the heck!?

Checked the network adapter and it was auto negotiating at 10mbps! This is the onboard gigabit Ethernet port on the Gigabyte board. Googling came up with a number of people having similar problems but no solutions.

I tried downloading new drivers, installing WinXP 64, and Win7 64, you name it. I could never get the drivers to negotiate at 1gbps.

Finally, I happened to be in the Device Manager, and right clicked on the NVidia nForce Ethernet controller (again, I’d done this plenty of times!)

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I right clicked it, selected UPDATE DRIVER SOFTWARE, then clicked BROWSE MY COMPUTER FOR SOFTWARE.

Then, clicked LET ME PICK FROM A LIST OF DEVICE DRIVERS ON MY COMPUTER.

Lo and behold, I get this:

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The NVidia drivers were selected, since I’d installed them off the CD that came with the motherboard, BUT there was that “Microsoft” set of drivers. I selected it, let it install and rebooted.

Presto, the magic 1gbps connection speed!

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Windows 7 and Vista GodMode

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Filed under .NET, Vista, Windows 7

If you haven’t already checked it out, definitely head over to Tom’s hardware for their article on setting up “GodMode” in Windows 7 (apparently it works in Vista too, dang, wish I’d known that).

Basically, you create a folder somewhere, then rename it to

GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}

When you do, that folder becomes a “virtual folder” full of (on my system anyway) 278 links to virtually every administrator type function you might ever want to jump to on a Windows Machine. Here’s a sample screenshot:

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Very, very cool indeed.

That Annoying "The publisher could not be verified" Prompt In Windows 7

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Filed under Tweaks, Utilities, Vista, Windows 7

I’ve just finished paving my main machine with Windows 7 64 bit, and was working on tidying up some of the finer points of my installation.

One minor item I use is a batch file with a reference to the excellent Poweroff utility. The batch file basically powers down the monitor, locks the machine, then goes into standby/hibernate mode. I attach it to a Ctrl-f11 hotkey to make it a quick keystroke to powerdown my machine.

Anyway, I have that bat on my path, and I happen to keep it out on a network drive (a NAS array), not on my local machine. I generally keep data off my local machine, preferring to only have program installs and temp files locally.

But when I pointed my shortcut to the network path and hit Ctrl-F11, I’d get that annoying “The publisher could not be verified” prompt. Every time!

Well, a few googles later and I came across this tip on annoyances.com.

It’s for Vista, but it also works in Win 7 (even the 64bit version).


Run gpedit.msc 

Go to User Configuration >> Administrative Templates >> Windows Components >> Attachment
Manager

Add "*.exe; *.bat" to the "Inclusion list for moderate risk file types" setting.

I added *.bat to the list, as well as *.exe because, in my case, I keep a number of handy BAT files in folders out on my network drives and then include those folders in my path.

Works a treat. Be sure to read up on why to include this in the Moderate risk element and not the High Risk, though. Generally, if you have a reasonably good firewall/router, making this change should be safe.

Moving to Windows 7

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Filed under Troubleshooting, Windows 7

image My system had been getting less and less stable recently, to the point where I’d blue screen and crash the entire machine while just browsing the web in FireFox.

So, when in came up that I’d need to have access to a 64bit OS, I finally decided to pave this machine and lay down a bright and shiny new Windows 7 installation.

Of course, doing so meant a couple of things.

  1. I had to make sure I had my old system available, just in case I needing any config files or whatnot. I keep all my data on a network server so that’s never been an issue. I used wbadmin (the Vista backup utility) to create a full VHD image of my Vista installation to a USB drive for this purpose.
  2. I did not want to wipe out my current raid, even though I had the backup. So I picked up 2 1.5TB Samsung drives to form a new RAID1 array.
  3. My mobo is the Intel Bad Axe 2 (D975xbx2), so it actually has support for the Intel ICH7 Sata raid controller and the Marvell Raid controller. Both can control up to 4 drives, so I figured I’d install the two new drives on the Marvel controller, leaving the existing Intel raid alone for now.

Problem 1

Unfortunately, idea 3 was my first problem. I couldn’t get Win 7 to see the Marvell raid. I spent the better part of a day fiddling with it, before I took the chance and disconnected the drives on the Intel raid. Sure enough, suddenly, the Win 7 installer could now see the Marvell raid.

Problem 2

My joy quickly soured though, when, about 20 minutes into the install, I got a message that the installation was “unable to read installation source files”. That’s it.

Hmm.

Could the CDRom image I burned be bad? Nope: a verify confirmed it was fine.

Maybe the raid array had problems? I reattached my Intel raid, booted Vista, and I could see the Marvell raid drive just fine. I scanned it anyway. Not a single problem.

Maybe I didn’t have the right F6 drivers for the Marvell controller? Some googles turned up that there was in fact, problems with the version of those drivers that Intel makes available, but even the older drivers direct from Marvell resulted in the same error.

Maybe my bios needs an update? Mine was several years old so I pulled the latest and uploaded. Still no dice.

With most of weekend gone, I decided to through a hail mary and try connecting the 2 samsung drives to the Intel raid controller ports. The concern was that, if I disconnected two of the existing raid drives on that controller, would I be able to boot back to the old raid if things still didn’t work? Or would the old raid be toast?

Deep breath, unplug the old, plug in the new, fire up the install, and…

It worked!

Problem 3

Way back, the main issue with 64bit Vista was I had no way to connect to our companies Cisco VPN with it. Well, I still couldn’t find Cisco 64bit drivers, and the 32bit versions won’t install into Win7 64. But, I’d come across the Shrew Soft VPN client before, so I thought I’d give it a shot.

I did need to dig up my Cisco configuration file, but once I found and imported it into Shrew Soft, I was connected first attempt. Pings to servers worked. Connected!

Problem 4

Toolbars. Little thing, granted, but I have run with a toolbar auto hidden on the left, as well as the taskbar at the bottom for ages. It’s comfortable and it put everything I typically use right there.

And Win 7 dropped that feature!

Yep, a feature that’s actually useful and MS drops it. Sigh. In reality, that decision seems to be getting quite a lot of bad blog, so I’m not alone in my sentiments anyway.

Fortunately, a feature in a program I’ve used for quite some time came to the rescue. The program is True Launch Bar from Tordex. I’ve written about TLB before, actually. It’s come in handy for a variety of purposes. For the past few years, when I’ve needed a handy gizmo and thought I’d have to download yet another widget, 9 times out of 10, TLB could already do the job.

This time, I used their “Standalone” version (included with the base package) to duplicate the functionality of the disconnected side toolbar, even though Win7 doesn’t support it directly.

If you like having a highly configured taskbar/toolbar, I (again) highly recommend True Launch Bar. It’s not free, but it’s cheap, and well worth the price.

Taming my Desktop Icons

One last note about my configuration. In the process of setting things up, I came across Fences by Stardock. It’s free. It does one thing, but it does it very well indeed.

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Essentially, it allows you to “group” your desktop icons, and they stay in those groups, unlike under normal circumstances, where changing desktop resolution, or other things will tend to scramble your carefully arranged icons quite often.

It actually works on OS’s from Win 7 back to XP. Check it out.

A Minor Incompatibility

I’ve use DiskMapper by MicroLogic for ages. It’s a wonderful way to visualize your disk space usage. Yes, there are similar alternatives out there (like Zero Assumption’s Disk Space Visualizer), but I always seem to come back to DiskMapper.

Well, I tried the install and got an “incompatible application” error. Something about being a 16bit app. Yikes! 16bit!

Well, I pulled my DiskMapper installation files (post install) from the backup image I made, ran the app itself, and, after a quick paste of my registration details, I was up and running. So it would appear that the incompatibility was with the installer and not the app itself. Good news. And another good reason to make sure you have a full backup of your original system before making a switch like this.

And What About Win 7?

I’ve only been using it for a few days, so I’ll reserve some judgment for now. But I will say it feels a bit snappier, plus having the full 4gb ram usable (as opposed to only about 3.4gb under a 32bit os), is definitely a plus.

The ability to mount VHD files directly via the Logical Drive Manager is great. It’s my understanding that you can actually boot the machine into a VHD as well, but I haven’t tried that out yet.

Other than that, it really feels more like Vista SP2 than a really new OS.