Windows Windows 7 Windows Live

Windows Live Writer doesn’t work well under Windows 7 beta x64

I’ve tried to run Windows Live Writer under Windows 7 beta today. It runs but it can’t upload pictures through FTP. There are two indications of the problem:

  • when you configure FTP connection it will yield this warning
  • The remote server could not be contacted to verify the settings. Do you want to continue anyway?

  • Publish or save draft to server will yield an error:
  • Error occurred while transferring file [picture name here]

    (Publishing Error) A publishing error occurred: The source of the error is unknown.

I wonder whether this bug is related to x64, Windows 7 beta or to both.

Virtualization VMWare Windows

VMWare Workstation’s Easy Install

When you think that [VMWare] invented everything they push the innovations even further. These days I’ve finally accomplished Windows 7 beta download and since I don’t have a spare computer right now I’ve though of installing it under Workstation 6.5. I have to admit that I didn’t install any new OS for a while now (thanks to Workstation’s excellent snapshot management system). So I created a new typical configuration and entered the path to the Windows 7 beta x64 iso file. Workstation recognized it as Vista (W7 is enhanced Vista after all, but I am sure Workstation will be updated to reflect the proper name in the future) and notified me that it will be installed using Easy Install.


I didn’t know about Easy Install and I was pleasantly surprised about it. It lets you enter all the required data for the installation in the next next dialog:


and that’s it. After you put in all the required configuration data Workstation will install the OS for you, no interaction required whatsoever. That’s right, after some time you’ll be greeted by running OS. A huge timesaver even if you don’t install a lot.


Lost Windows Live Writer

Today I lost my Windows Live Writer. I was doing a Windows Live update of installed WL applications. The update performed an uninstall first and install after. But the install failed and fails with an error 0x80070643. Of course it didn't rollback the original installation.

Quick googling for the solution doesn't help as well. Great error message and hidding installation log file is a great feature, [MS]. Damn, I'll just use Sysinternals to figure out what goes wrong.


Windows 7 beta at MSDN Subscriptions

In case you didn’t notice Windows 7 beta is available at MSDN Subscriptions. The web site looks like under pressure so keep trying if you get errors.

Hardware Windows

Two computers, one scanner

I have an USB scanner I bought a while ago. It is attached to my computer and it is working fine. Occasionally my wife has to scan pictures for herself. She works on her computer but when she has to do some scanning I have to do the scanning for her even though she could scan the pictures by herself – if the scanner was attached to her computer. This sort of scanner doesn’t know client-server mode, they work directly on the computer where they are attached. I don’t mind scanning, but when you have work to do and 50 pages to scan it is an annoying process: feed the page, go through Acquire Image menu, save the result, etc.

One solution to the problem would be to manually switching scanner between the two computers. It isn’t very pleasant to crawl under the desks, pinpointing the right cable (among tenths of others), detaching it from one computer and attaching it to the other. And the reverse when the other person requires the scanner. Not an option for me since I am not a hardware specialist, I am a software developer after all and I refuse to solve the problems with hardware manipulation 🙂

Perhaps I could use an USB switch of some sort, but then again, this solution would increase the amount of (USB) cables and the switch would have to be in the reach to operate and it will consume a bit of power.

So I went with USB over Network solution that enables the client-server scenario for USB devices. And not only scanners, the work with all sort of USB devices. Their solution is actually a redirection of USB data flow to network computers and the other way round. A server application has to be installed on the machine (Windows and Linux are supported) where the USB device is attached. Once this server application runs you can decide which USB device to share. In my case I’ll share the scanner:

USB over Network server, shared

(it states the name of the device before sharing: ScanJet bla bla)

Once the device is shared it isn’t available anymore to the host computer – USB over Network Server takes command of it. On the host computer you can still use a shared device in two ways: either you un-share it or you do it like you’d do it on client computers – install USB over Network Client. Once client is installed you have to add server’s address to the list of available servers. The thing communicates over port 33000 by default, so make sure your firewall lets the traffic through (you do have a firewall, right?). Once the connection with the server is established you are given the list of shared USB devices on that server. Just find the scanner, right click and select Attach.

USB over Network client

Server application shows that scanner is in now use:


That’s it. The client computer now sees the scanner as attached to it and you can use it as such. Note: you’ll need the device drivers installed on the client computer – remember, the client sees the device as attached to it. Actually, you need drivers installed only on computers where device is used, i.e. you won’t need drivers on the server if you don’t use the device there.

The drawback of this approach is the ownership of the device – only one client can own it at same time (you can specify whether new client can take possession of shared device even though somebody else is already using it).

Does it really work? With the version 3.4.6 I installed initially it didn’t work when the host computer was running Vista. However it worked if I run VMWare Workstation with Windows XP as guest OS and routing scanner from host to guest OS and from there through USB over Network. It was a temporary hack and an experiment. I notified the Fabulatech support, they acknowledge the problem and fixed it in the current version 3.5.1. Now it works just fine. While this way of sharing USB devices isn’t perfect it does elegantly solve issues when you want to share an USB device amongst many clients. It isn’t free, the server part is licensed based on the amount of the device you want to share while the client is free.

.net 3.5 Windows

Can’t start World Wide Web Publishing Service because of Windows Process Activation Service

Recently I had to check out an application on my workstation and found out that the "Default Web Site" is stopped for some reason. After trying to start it I've got this message:


So I've tried to start the mentioned services only to get a new error message (WWW PS):


The mentioned dependency is the other stopped service: WAS or better Windows Process Activation Service (the original message has left out the Process word). After trying to start WAS I've got another error message:



And here the error path comes to an end. Which file? I could have used Sysinternals' FileMonitor to find out what file the service is looking for. Rather I've decided to Google first as it is faster. After experimenting with search string a bit I've found this blog entry which points to this solution. After creating the mentioned folder and applying proper security settings IIS started to work once again.


Windows Home Server just saved my day

[VMWare] Virtual Server 1.0.5 … free

[MS] Windows Home Server (running under VS)… $~170

750GB disk used for storing backups … ~120€

Recovery from WHS backup … priceless

I’ve been running Windows Home Server for quite some time now. I use it exclusively for doing nightly disk image backups for all computers of mine. WHS’ storage mechanism that minimizes the disk space required for backups and its speed are just amazing. Briefly: it doesn’t store duplicate data – IOW, if you have two computers with same OS, only one file per computer will be stored as long as they are exactly the same.

And like my bicycle helmet I hoped that I would never actually use it for real (to restore a computer). However, I had to restore my production machine yesterday. An odd thing happened yesterday – my Vista x86 just froze, at least so it seemed but the music from Winamp was still playing thus I deduced there are problems with graphics and the OS is still running non-graphical operations. I tried to connect using Remote Desktop without success. The remote shutdown command didn’t help either. The only action remaining at that point was hardware reset switch, which should be used as a last resort. I crossed my fingers and reset the computer. Then, during the boot time (which was kind of slow) Vista started checking NTFS integrity on my disk. Ouch, not a good sign. After a while I was able to log on just to find that there is no network connection anymore and there is a problem with my event log service: “There is a problem with Event Log service. Check event log for more details” – funny, isn’t it. Catch 22 by all means. At this point I was left with three options:

  1. Format the disk and reinstall
  2. Try to repair Vista
  3. Restore from most recent nightly backup

Option 1. is not that bad as it seems. Reinstalling from scratch from time to time isn’t a bad idea after all – a lot of mess gets cleaned. The downside is the amount of time required – a day or two at least and constant attention.

Option 2. is more tricky. When there are such problems that I was experiencing the repair is doomed to fail.

So I opted for the most appealing option 3. After few clicks on “Next” button, 10 hours and 400GB files restored, my computer was working like it was the night when the backup was taken. The restore was straightforward and relatively quick – copying 400GB takes time regardless of how you are doing it (my restore was doing something like >11MB/s) So, big kudos to Windows Home Server – it spared me a lot of work and time.

One mystery remains though. My BIOS was downgraded (sometime before restore) somehow – it was version F10 (I upgrade it form time to time) and after computer crashed it was F3. Truth is that I am not sure when it was downgraded, this is first time I noticed it (I noticed because F3 misspelled word RAID to RIAD).

Bottom line: always have a backup handy.

.net Windows

Visual Source Safe 2005 over web problem 0x80072F19

Did you ever try VSS 2005 Internet connection? I did once just for testing.

I need it now for real, to connect to a client of mine. The client set everything up and I tried to connect. I tried to connect and got a connection error. This was easy to pinpoint – I opened the web service (VSS uses web services when working over Internet) page in IE7 and it wouldn’t open as client’s certificate wasn’t trusted by me. So I started trusting it and page opens just fine now.

So I retried with Visua l Studio (the only VSS over internet client – no, the VSS client won’t work over internet) and this time I got this error:

Add SourceSafe Database Wizard
The SourceSafe Web Service cannot be accessed at the specified address.

Address: https://[clienturl]/SourceSafe/VssService.asmxThe server returned the following error:  (0x80072F19)

The plug-in advanced settings for SourceSafe Internet require SSL connections. Please, verify that your server can be accessed using secure connections or change your plug-in advanced settings.

Google says that error 0x80072F19 is linked to certificate problems. Yet, there were no problems for me, at least so I thought at the moment. So I tried connecting from within Windows XP running in [VMWare] Workstation and it opened just fine. Go wonder. Thus, it has to be something with Vista. Well, no exactly. Just to be on the safe side I’ve tried with firewall off and NOD antivirus disabled, too. It didn’t improve the situation.

After more intensive googling I’ve came across this article which was not obviously related. It solution to error 0x80072F19 is:

  1. Open Internet Explorer and go to Tools > Internet Options > Advanced
  2. De-Select Check for server certificate revocation.

Miracle, this solution works. I am not sure why it doesn’t work with Check for server certificate revocation option enabled in first place, though. Isn’t exactly safe to turn this option off? Odd. Anyway, turning it off did the trick and VSS is happily working over the Internet now.

Hardware Windows

SpbBackup – a must have PocketPC application

SpbBackup is my MVP (most valuable program) for PocketPC. To be more precise, a backup application (such as SpbBackup) is a must have for anybody using a PocketPC device.

What is good about it:

  • it backups your data (entire data on PocketPC if you want to)
  • doesn’t require ActiveSync to do backups (that’s history anyway)
  • supports compression
  • supports encryption
  • supports scheduling
  • creates an exe file

My (very) old PocketPC/Phone was Qtek 2020 (Himalaya). Cool device by any mean, however it had a very nasty problem. Sometimes (perhaps once per two months) it would freeze and only hard reset would bring it to life again. Meaning that data in primary storage is gone. And even worse, usually the contacts (and other) data stored internally was corrupt (WTF?). The oddities won’t stop here. This freeze was almost certainly to happen when I was abroad (looks like it was an intelligent bug) and left me without telephone numbers and e-mail addresses. Unless I had my laptop handy (restore through ActiveSync restore functionality, assuming I was doing backups, which was an annoying process by itself – or manually configure everything from the scratch), I was in the dark.

This was a huge problem until I found SpbBackup. This backup application is practically fire and forget sort of application (you can do backups manually, too) – just schedule it to run periodically and you are protected. But what really shines is the ability to restore PocketPC from within PocketPC – SpbBackup creates executable files. When (if) PocketPC crashes hard and looses all the data, you just run the latest executable backup and bum, you are where you was at the time of when backup was created. No hassles, no laptop required, just run the last backup.

So that makes backup applications a first application everybody should install. And SpbBackup is a great backup application.


Reasons why I prefer (Windows) PC over Apple computers

When I talk with Apple enthusiasts they often question me why the heck I prefer crappy PC over super cool Apple computers. My main reasons are the freedom of choice, developer tools and the fact I can make money with PCs (update: read Windows).

Perhaps I will write more about the three reasons later, but for now, check out this article that describes a part of mine first reason. I don't know whether one can buy a non-Apple memory module or not, but the price of the Apple's (slow) 2GB module is insane (smaller modules are overpriced, too). And if you have no other choice the situation is errr…ridiculous. But hey, one gets free shipping and an Apple logo on the memory chips (or not, who knows)!