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January 15, 2006

Good old Microsoft

For a moment before posting this, I had a feeling I'd written about it before, but Google revealed nothing... So here I present to you the results of trying to update a PC using Windows Update:

"Security Update for Windows (KB839645) Could not be installed because of an unknown error."

Perhaps they'd care to elaborate?

Also on the subject of broken stuff, my PC crashed earlier on today. After rebooting, I found that Mozilla's FireFox and Thunderbird had both completely lost their settings. Not only that, but Thunderbird had completely lost all of my email. The mail was, I'm glad to say, still on the disk, but the configuration file which told Thunderbird where it was was snafu. This appears to be because Thunderbird keeps the file permanently open while running, and it wasn't closed properly during the crash.

Fortunately I was able to recover the data and get my email back, but I doubt the average user would be able to do that.

Posted at 9:37 PM | Comments (2)

December 4, 2005

Are monitor scratches repairable?

I cleaned my monitor earlier because the amount of dirt had been bugging me, only to discover that some of the dirt was not dirt at all. There are a number of fairly nasty scratches on the screen of my monitor. I'm not sure how they got there, but suspect that they might have been caused by me when I was putting the cover of my PC either on or off.

It's a CRT 19 inch ViewSonic monitor. Googling didn't help much, other than to instill a fear of imminent monitor implosion in me, so I may have to ask at stores tomorrow...

Posted at 5:49 PM | Comments (0)

June 3, 2005

Wireless networking problem - sorted!

The problem we were having with the wireless network previously turned out to have a simple solution - changing the channel which the network was running from eliminated the interferance from the microwave oven. Excellent!

Posted at 8:40 PM | Comments (1)

April 24, 2005

A wee wireless networking question

If you've got a wireless network set up, and your microwave oven causes interferance with it, is that normal? Or should we be worrying about radiation leaks and suchlike? Enquiring minds wish to know.

Edit: Sorted.

Posted at 2:13 PM | Comments (0)

April 18, 2005


I've dumped TabBrowser Extensions, as it was just too buggy for my liking. On the last update it appeared to have killed something to do with Javascript, so that bits of sites (the link to empty the spam folder in Yahoo mail, for instance) no longer worked.

Instead I'm using TabMix, which duplicates a lot of the same functionality but with less code bloat. It's not perfect either, of course - I've found at least one bug to do with closing tabs - but hopefully it won't provide any unplesant surprises like TBE did...

Now, if only the makers of GoogleBar could fix its tendancy to duplicate all the controls when you upgrade Firefox.

Posted at 10:37 PM | Comments (0)

February 5, 2005

WinFast 2000XP part II

Continued from here

I removed said card from my PC. On reboot, WinXP still detected the devices and attempted to install the drivers. Utilising Device Manager, RegEdit and System Restore, I aggressively removed said drivers and devices from my system.

Unfortunately after a reboot, Windows XP no longer recognised my CD/DVD ROM drives, and the Sound Blaster Live wasn't working. They appeared in the device manager, but were listed as not working. I right-clicked on each and chose "Uninstall", removing them from the list, then rebooted. Windows detected the devices on bootup and reinstalled the drivers for them, then asked me to reboot again. Tada! Everything fixed.

Now, I don't care whether it was Microsoft's fault or LeadTek's fault, but removing drivers for one device should not frell the drivers for another.

Posted at 11:31 AM | Comments (3)

So much for that idea

I went to reinstall my Leadtek TV capture device. When I tried to install this the first time after installing XP, attempting to load the driver would reset the PC. I assumed this was for the same reason that Unreal Tournament 2004 would make my computer reset (IE, the CPU was kaputski), but I've just tried to reinstall the thing, and it still resets the computer while trying to load the driver.

XP attempts to install the driver for "WinFast TV2000 XP WDM Crossbar", reports the driver has "not passed the Windows Logo testing to verify its compatibility with Windows XP", and promptly resets the PC if I tell it to install anyway. I even downloaded updated drivers from LeadTek's web site and the same thing happened. These are specific XP drivers too.

This card worked fine under Windows 98. *sigh*

Dear LeadTek, two things:

1. If you put Windows XP drivers on your site, make sure they actually work with Windows XP. Like actually testing them.

2. Adding the drivers to the "Add or Remove Programs" program is all very well, but having it launch the installer to install the drivers instead of the uninstaller to uninstall the drivers is Not. Helpful.

Posted at 10:08 AM | Comments (2)

January 26, 2005

Back in Action

I now have my computer back. The problem turned out to be that the CPU had gone bad, causing it to superheat whenever a load was put on it, and subsequently reboot. That CPU has been replaced with a newer CPU of the same make and speed (AMD Athlon 2000).

To celebrate, I bought Paint Shop Pro 9. I've been using version 6 for ages, so 9 is a pretty big leap. Now I just have to work out what everything dones and I should be set. :)

Posted at 12:10 AM | Comments (0)

January 4, 2005


Every time my computer resets when I have FireFox open, FireFox completely wipes its history. This is only a minor inconvenience to be sure, but still an annoyance.

I can only guess that FireFox keeps the history file open while it's running, and the computer resetting therefore corrupts the file. If so, that's a bit of a sloppy way to do it.

Posted at 4:57 PM | Comments (0)

December 28, 2004

I killed Windows Media Player!

I noticed there was an update to Windows Media Player, and promptly told my computer to fetch it. Of course, partway through the installation, the CPU hit 100% usage and reset, hosing WMP...

The only thing stopping me from taking this heap in to get fixed right now is the fact then I'd be stuck at home without a PC for a week or so. :P

Posted at 4:49 PM | Comments (4)

December 24, 2004

That's Just Prime

I installed Prime 95, which includes a "torture test", running your CPU at 100% and testing a number of the functions.

My computer reset by itself after approximately 40 seconds of running.

I tried installing ITE Smartguardian, which came on the disks for my motherboard. I think it's broken - it displays "Temp 1" as 201°C all the time. "Temp 2" is a slightly more realistic 48°C, but it doesn't seem to get any hotter while the stress test is running.

I rang the shop from whence the PC came, and they said they couldn't pass a diagnosis without the machine there to run tests on, so I will probably have to bite the bullet and take it in after work starts in the new year.

Edit: Oh, I should add that after my previous entry, I also downloaded a piece of memory testing software from Microsoft's site, and that checked my memory out as fine.

Posted at 12:24 PM | Comments (0)

December 23, 2004

My Crappy PC

I have occasional problems with my computer just up and resetting in the middle of doing something. This is, naturally, hugely annoying and I worry that one of these days a reset is going to kill something.

I'm pretty sure it's not the AGP/PCI cards I've got installed, so I guess that leaves the memory, motherboard, CPU, power supply, and two of the four storage devices installed.

Theory #1 is that the CPU is overheating, which is why I usually operate the PC with the side cover off. However doing so hasn't stopped the problem.

The resets most often happen specifically during the process of loading a level in Unreal Tournament 2004. Last night I had one occur while playing a Shockwave Flash file. I've also had one while sending an email in Pegasus with a particularly large attachment. This could suggest some arcane problem with the single hard drive in the machine.

Theory #2 is something wrong with either the CPU (an AMD Athlon XP 2000+) or the motherboard. Perhaps some instruction UT2004 executes during the level loading triggers a bug in the Athlon chip which causes the reset. It's hard to say, because sometimes a particular level will work fine, sometimes it will crash the computer when it's loading.

Posted at 2:46 PM | Comments (8)

December 22, 2004


A while ago I kept finding a DLL in my temporary directory, an odd place to store a DLL, and mentioned it in my LiveJournal in a post titled I have a strange thing. So far that's proven to be the most popular post there in terms of comments, simply because there isn't a lot of information about the DLL on the web.

The library appears to be installed with a number of games. I got it most recently from Rollercoaster Tycoon 2. It may be created by other games, and may well be something to do with copy protection which requires you to keep the CDROM in the drive while you play. One person thought it might be preventing the copying of games altogether. CmdLineExt03.dll is likely to be a variant of 02, though so far no one has reported a CmdLineExt01.dll. The file is recreated on bootup if it's deleted.

Other games which may install it include Unreal Tournament 2003 (possibly only before the patch which removes the need to keep the CD in while playing), Grand Theft Auto Vice City, Nascar Racing 2003, Diablo 2, and quite probably some non-game software.

The latest anonymous comment suggests creating a directory with the same name as the file in order to prevent it coming back. Cunning!

Posted at 8:07 PM | Comments (30)

December 21, 2004

Wireless Networking

So after a bit of messing about with configurations, we now have a wireless network set up here, and the computers can see each other and surf the net via broadband. It's not perfect though. There's a lot of noise along with the signal and a lot of dropped packets. I suspect much of the noise is from the appliances in the kitchen. Is there any reliable way of determining the source of radio noise?

At least now we can transfer files around and possibly even play games...

Posted at 9:43 PM | Comments (0)

December 19, 2004

Adventures with XP

For various reasons, one of these being Windows 98 was becoming increasingly unstable (e.g. halting the system when I attempted to create directories (or Folders, if you were introduced to computers after about 1995 (but I digress))) I went about installing Windows XP on Saturday. This went OK, and before long I had most of my software reloaded.

Unfortunately, after that, it all went a bit pear shaped.

Continue reading "Adventures with XP"

Posted at 10:45 PM | Comments (0)

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