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Software - XP
Apr 01, 2012

Unable to delete corrupt ._Safari file

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Just been trying to clean up the ol’ P4 and had a problem trying to delete/rename a corrupt file.

The two files at issue were named -
._Safari 49K in size
Safari 0K in size
The files were in a folder named corrupt2.

The method used to remove these successfully was to remove the folder via the DOS command line -

rmdir /S /Q corrupt2

Software - XP
Mar 31, 2012

Dot Net Framework can’t be updated/uninstalled

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Tied in with previous post (67) - I noticed that Windows Update was failing on .net framework updates.

Tried to uninstall/reinstall the various Frameworks and it basically creates and endless vortex that will suck the life from the mortal body and make one wonder whether the product code for windows is actually 666!

msicuu2.exe was tried but didn’t appear to work so well on the Framework installs.

Anyway I found a good site that discusses these sort of issues ( ) and got links to a couple of good tools.

Cliwreg-x86.exe - used to clean out Framework 2.0 install.
Cleanup_tool.exe - used to select a Framework to clean out.

I found I needed to clean out all the Framework versions installed ( in my case - 2.0, 3.0, 3.5 and 4.0) and then restart the Virtual Machine.

After doing this I installed Framework 3.5 SP1 (which also installs 2.0 SP2 and 3.0 SP2 ) successfully and then Framework 4.0 installed OK.

Software - XP
Mar 31, 2012

Windows installed apps can’t be removed and updates won’t install

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XP Pro SP3 (32) on Parallels 6 VM on OSX 10.6.4

Seem to be getting a lot of aggro lately with Microsoft Installer problems so here we go (there’s a football song there somewhere!).

Note: mention is made of a MS utility no longer available from MS (msicuu2.exe) but some good copies exist elsewhere (I think I got mine from MajorGeeks). It has been superceded by FixIt utilities (KB 290301) but these appear to only cater for Office installs which is no good since the problem appears to afflict any MS app.

MS Office Professional 2003 :: Add/Remove uninstall failed.
I was having a problem with pre-MS version of Visio (Viso 2000) which was calling the MS Installer (looking for Pro11n.msi) and since the original disc had been lost the fun started. I think maybe an Office 12 app was installed (Expression Web 4) and this creates an erroneous link somehow between Office 11 and Office 12 apps anyway tried to uninstall Office 2003 but lo and behold Add/Remove Programs wouldn’t work.

Solution :
MS KB 290301 gives details of a new FixIt utility – this was downloaded, installed and Office 2003 was uninstalled OK (runs Fixit50416.msi).
The Office 2003 install needed to be run twice since the 1st time resulted in a –
“Please wait while the installer finishes determining your disk space” issue where the result never happens. Running the installer again generally avoids the issue.

Silverlight 3.0 :: Upgrade to 4.0 with Silverlight.exe from MS failed.
The installer returned an error relating to an install source not found (c:\temp\18866\) and advice on the MS web site suggested removing Silverlight and re-installing. However the Add/Remove feature returned the same error for the uninstall so right up a gum tree. The new FixIt utilities from MS only seem to do the Office suites. Had another go at using the obsolete msicuu2.exe and it worked well- installed OK and gave a list of all the Windows Installed apps. Silverlight 3.0 was listed and removed OK. Silverlight.exe was run and Silverlight 4.0 was installed OK.

Registry details ::

Silverlight 3.0 installed –

HKLM\SOFTWARE\Classes\Installer\Products\D73 14F9862C648A4DB8BE2A5B47BE100\SourceList\Net
SourceList - “LastUsedSource”=”n;1;c:\temp\18866\”

SourceList\Media - ”1”=”;1”
“DiskPrompt”=”Microsoft’s Silverlight Installation [1]”
SourceList\Net – “1”=”c:\temp\18866\”

Silverlight 4.0 installed –

HKLM\SOFTWARE\Classes\Installer\Products\D731 4F9862C648A4DB8BE2A5B47BE100\SourceList\Net
SourceList - “LastUsedSource”=”n;1;c:\2ef16a612bf20933c6dd12decbc8a1 \”

SourceList\Media - ”1”=”;1”
“DiskPrompt”=”Microsoft’s Silverlight Installation [1]”
SourceList\Net - “1”=”c:\2ef16a612bf20933c6dd12decbc8a1\”

Expression Web 4 :: Tried to install EW4 Service Pack 1 and the install failed with an error 1612 - The installation source for this product is not available. Verify that the source exists and that you can access it.
Tried to uninstall EW4 from Add/Remove Programs and got –

Unable to find the specified file
Search Paths :
C:\Program FilesMicrosoft Expression\Web 4\Setup

Used the MSI Clean Up Utility (msicuu2.exe) and listed all the installed apps. Removed the MS 2007 Proofing Tools (not sure why they were there since I use Office 2003) and also EW4. This utility seemed to take EW4 out of the install database but left the app installed however the EW4 installer (download edition) ran OK and said app had been installed OK (was still registered OK). At this point the EW4 SP1 installer worked OK and updated EW4.

Bibble 5.2.2

This failed giving –

The feature you are trying to use is on a network resource that is unavailable. Looking for vc_red.msi

Used msicuu2.exe utility to clean out old install and re-installed OK.

Software - XP
Mar 31, 2012

Installing Legacy screensavers on XP SP3

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Tried running some old favourite screensavers on XP SP3 and they didn’t work – although I thought I might have had them running on an earlier install of XP.
Sometimes case is important as DOS was rather anal about case and file name length so I try to keep that in mind. eg: PROGRA~1 is a classic example which equates to Program Files folder (legacy of short file names in 8+3 format) so when doing install specify this format.

When troubleshooting if the .scr file is double-clicked the saver should run, if not maybe a data path is missing from an ini file or a file needs to be in the same folder as the .scr file.

Some savers I have tried :::

Pink Floyd PULSE (Earls Court Shows)
Johnny Castaway
Jordan F1
Newcastle Broonale (2nd version with bouncing balls)
(Note: seem to remember an original version with a spinning bottle falling off the table but can’t locate anywhere!)
Toshiba Flying Laptops
Pulse :: OK
Downloaded a good copy from a Pink Floyd site ( and installed. It happens to install FLOYD.EXE into C:\FLOYD folder and Floyd.SCR into the Windows folder. (win.ini file is edited with an entry for [FishScreenSaver] C:\FLOYD\FLOYD.EXE - Does not work!

Two methods do work –

1 Use ssDruid which is a freeware screensaver runner app.
2 Rename Floyd.SCR as ssPink Floyd.scr and place it in the C:\Windows\System32 folder.
The screensaver will now appear in the Desktop Properties under Screensaver options. The C:\FLOYD folder is required (maybe there is a method of moving it to Program Files but I have other things to do!)
Note: Pink Floyd as the name can be seen in a hex listing of the .scr file against Screensave and it seems that XP usually places the screensavers in the System32 folder with prefixes of ss.
Update: I found that modifying the win.ini file (windows folder) allowed the exe folder to be altered eg:
Johnny Castaway :: OK

Used a copy for XP from and installed.

To get it going OK I needed to –

Rename .scr file in the Windows folder to ssScreenAntics.scr and place into C:\windows\system32 folder.
Check scrantic.ini in C:\windows folder – all of the settings are written by the Settings button in the Desktop options for the screensaver however the SourceDir must be in the file to begin with.
It will be noted that the SIERRA folder can be moved to the Program Files folder by specifying it in the .ini file. If the SourceDir reference is not in the scrantic.ini file then the Preview in Desktop Screensaver Properties will error saying it can’t find necessary data files.


Jordan F1 :: OK

Still had a copy of this and ran the install. The installer will put all the files into the windows and windows\system folders.

Changes done –
CNCS.dll moved to system32 folder
DIB.drv moved to system32 folder
Jordan.cca renamed to ssJordan Grand Prix.cca and moved to system32 folder
Jordan.scr renamed to ssJordan Grand Prix.scr and moved to system32 folder
raceloop.wav moved to system32 folder


Install log was –
*** Installation Started 12/7/10 20:53 ***
Title: Jordan Screensaver Installation
File Copy: C:\WINDOWS\cnc.ini
File Copy: C:\WINDOWS\jorsetup.EXE
File Copy: C:\WINDOWS\Jordan.cca
File Copy: C:\WINDOWS\Jordan.scr
File Copy: C:\WINDOWS\jordan.ini
File Copy: C:\WINDOWS\jordan.wri
File Copy: C:\WINDOWS\Jordan.ico
File Copy: C:\WINDOWS\Jordanr.ico
File Copy: C:\WINDOWS\raceloop.wav
File Copy: C:\WINDOWS\JUnwise.exe
File Copy: C:\WINDOWS\jordangp.exe
Icon Group: Jordan Grand Prix
Icon Name: Jordan Notes
Icon Group: Jordan Grand Prix
Icon Name: Jordan Quick Setup
Shell Link: C:\DOCUME~1\ALLUSE~1\Desktop\Jordan Quick Setup.LNK
Shell Link: C:\DOCUME~1\ALLUSE~1\Desktop\Jordan Quick Setup.LNK
INI Sect: setup
INI Item: grmode
INI Val: 1
INI Old: 0
Newcastle Broonale ::

Toshiba Flying Laptops ::

Heineken Bottle Cap :: OK

Rename Heineken.scr to ssHeineken.scr and move to system32 folder.

Software - Apps
Mar 31, 2012

Installing Canon ImageBrowser onto OSX 10.6 (Snow Leopard) using Updater

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Being too lazy to find the original CD I found that it is possible to use the latest Updater file download to install the ImageBrowser app.

Download file : IBX_UPD_6_4.dmg.gz (ImageBrowser 6.4 for Intel OSX)

Open up the dmg file to obtain UpdateInstaller file.

Use Show Package Contents –

Remove the update.plist file
Run the UpdateInstaller file and it should all happen!

Software - XP
Jun 24, 2010

Thunderbird RSS feed does not update

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RSS handling on Thunderbird 3.0.5 appears to be a crock of brown steaming stuff!

The problem I had was a feed not updating. It worked fine in RSSOwl and Firefox.
I tried to delete the RSS account and recreate it to no avail - it just seemed to pick up the old feed file (67 items at the time instead of 79).
Next I deleted the RSS account and then went into the profile folders -

Documents and Settings>user> Application Data>Thunderbird>Profiles>l9jei9sf.default>Mail

where I deleted the Feeds folder and the Feeds.msf (both in Mail folder) , I then restarted TB and recreated the RSS account - again the old 67 item feed was picked up!
Getting desperate I fossicked around a bit and found a Cache folder under -

Documents and Settings>user>Local Settings>Application Data>Thunderbird>Profiles>l9jei9sf.default>Cache

I duly deleted the RSS account,all the files in the Cache and restarted TB.
On creating the RSS account again the new feed (79 items) was indeed picked up - it looks like TB was always going back to old data in the cache instead of checking the website for the new feed.
I actually confirmed this prior to finding the cache by using Wireshark - the other Feed was doing the GET command OK

::::::::::::::::::: Update :::::::::::::::::

Line 1 above still valid - the brown stuff is still steaming . . .

Had two feeds and wanted to keep one intact so reinstall the WH feed I had to -
1 Remove feed from RSS using Manage Subscriptions
2 Delete folder from RSS using Right-Click + Delete
3 Close TB
4 Goto the Cache under Documents and Settings and clear files
5 Goto Feeds folder and edit feed.rdf and feeditems.rdf (need to remove description references relating to the feed that you wish to remove - this is tedious for the latter file since there may be a lot of entries!

An alternative would also be to archive the untouched feed, clear the cache, close TB, and then delete feeditems.rdf - when TB is started the the feeds should update with all items (note: I think that some feeds will have a time expiry on them so that is why archiving would be important).

OS - Virtual Machine
Jun 24, 2010

Installing Parallels Tools into a Kubuntu 9.10 guest VM

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Kubuntu had installed quite nicely into a VM but as is the way with Linux the user is inevitably drawn to the wonderful experience of the command line which is about as friendly as a lawyer shaking hands with a shark.

A lot of advice casually tells the user to mount the cd and type in a string of commands - good stuff, that is why Windows makes money and Apple make the GUI so good that the terminal is not really needed.

Anyway after having success in resizing my Windows VM I decided to revisit the Kubuntu VM and install the Tools.

At this point I had just upgraded the Parallels 5.0 to the latest build 9344 and the Kubuntu was still the 9.10 release.

With the VM working use the Virtual Machine>Install Parallels Tools option. This has the effect of inserting the Tools ISO into the CD device and then a message talking about terminals,command lines, etc.
At this point rather than go straight for the terminal I double-clicked the CD/USB device icon in the tray which proceeded to give a box showing 'Devices recently plugged in' (as it happened the CD was also mounted automatically).

The Tools ISO was showing so I clicked it and selected 'Open with File Manager' (it is called Dolphin in this distribution).

A window opened titled 'cdrom0-dolphin' and showing the root folder of the Tools ISO which happened to have an file in it.

I then went to Menu>Tools>Open Terminal and the terminal opened titled 'cdrom0: bash'. The command line showed - blatman@blatkubuntu: /media/ cdrom0$

At this point I tried -

sudo -s sh install

and lo the Parallels Tools Installer opened. ( I felt I was winning at this stage!)

Hit the NEXT button and it went off and downloaded some missing components , did the install and gave a fine SUCCESS message. Just hit the REBOOT and the VM rebooted perfectly and the mouse worked fine between the host/guest.

Bloody marvellous!


The Kubuntu allows for an online update from 9.10 to 10.04 LTS release so I tried this - what a joke.

It all worked just fine and then the reboot - yup you guessed it I was left with the LOGIN prompt at the stupid command line.

The Answer:

Download the full ISO and load it into the VM CD and set the VM to boot from the CD.

Install 10.04 from the ISO - need to answer a few questions (Language, Partition, Time-Zone, Password, etc).

Interestingly the default option is to manually LOGIN but I selected AUTO-LOGIN (maybe this was the problem with the online install/update). Anyway, the new install worked fine but the Parallels Tools needed to be re-installed.

Things happened slightly differently this time.
When Parallel Tools Re-install was selected the CD was not automatically mounted so I opened Dolphin (the file manager) and selected Parallels Tools from the lefthand Places menu which gives the Parallels folder.
Again use Menu>Tools>Open Terminal and the command line read -

blatman@blatman-kubuntu: /media/ Parallels Tools$

At this point I did -

sudo -s sh install

and all was well again.

I must admit that the Linux distributions are getting better (fonts still a bit rough to my eye) and maybe in a decade or so will catch Apple . . .


Also tried installing Parallels Tools on a Mandriva One 2007 VM without success.

I think the problem may be down to the ONE being a tailored install of Mandriva and it doesn't allow the install of required components. The procedure tried below may very well work with a standard install of Mandriva 2007.

Run Command - kwrite Options - Run As Different User Username - root PW - your root pw RUN

Browse to /etc/kde/kdm/ and edit kdmrc file (this allows root login from the KDE GUI)


The above may not be necessary since I didn't use the GUI in the end but that is how you do it anyway.

Do Install Parallels Tools from the Virtual Machine menu - this will load the CD.

Run Command - konsole (as root)

mount /dev/cdrom /mnt/cdrom

cd /mnt/cdrom ( can do ls to list the files)

sh install (this opens up the installer as above)
NEXT is pressed in installer and a message about missing components appears.

Components missing - gcc, make, kernel services

This is where the Mandriva ONE fails since the components can't be downloaded whereas with Kubuntu it just worked OK. Again, I suspect a standard install of Mandriva ONE 2007 would work OK.

Software - OSX
Jun 23, 2010

Resizing a Parallels VM hosting Windows XP

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VM Details:
Parallels 5.0 Build 9308
XP Pro SP3 (Guest OS)
C: 33GB with 700 MB unused formatted NTFS

Decided to try and increase the ol' XP VM (a bigger whale. . .).

Two basic steps are required -
  • Resize the Parallels VM
  • Resize the Windows XP partition within the VM

To accomplish this task I downloaded GParted ISO image from sourceforge which allows the resizing of the Windows partition within the VM.
I suppose the Acronis tools that are supplied with the Parallels could do this but I haven't tried that yet.

What I did (with a bit of messing around of course as is the way with Windows, etc) -

  • chkdsk /f done on the XP VM - all OK
  • Duplicated the VM in OSX (Finder>user>Library>Parallels>Blat XP.pvm). Also took the opportunity to copy the VM to an external USB drive which took c. 17mins for 33GB.
  • Used Parallels Image Tool to resize the VM image (Applications>Parallels>Parallels Image Tool)
    Browse to winxp.hdd
    Gets info for disk
    Increase size (I went for 40 GB)
    Get Operation Succeeded message

    At this point the Parallels VM has been resized to the 40 GB desired.
    If the XP VM is started at this point the XP size will still be 33GB.

  • Select XP VM in Parallels and use Configuration to set CD/DVD source and Boot order
    CD/DVD source set to gparted-live-0.5.2-9.iso
    CD/DVD set to 1st in Boot order
  • Just use the default settings of the GParted Live
    The GUI info showed -
    /dev/sda1 ntfs 40 GiB used: 30.75GiB unused: 9.26 GiB flag: boot

    With a bit of messing around I got a task to execute something like -
    shrink /dev/sda1 from 40.00 GiB to 39.99 GiB

    This seemed OK and it took c. 40 seconds.

    At this point the Windows XP partition within the VM has been resized to the 40 GB desired.
  • Closed the VM (tried to shutdown Linux but got all sorts of arcane messages)
  • Set the Boot Order in the VM to the HDD
  • On start the XP VM does a chkdsk and then restarts

Well, what do you know -
the XP VM booted up and the sweet dulcet tones of Win95 wafted across the room.
(Yes, I have set the startup tune to the venerable old tune - The Microsoft Sound.wav from Windows 95. This is the Number One hit after many years of Windows reboots and of course Number One on the video charts has to be the BSOD!)

Of course Windows being Windows the anal passages could not yet relax -
A message was displayed saying 'Windows has finished installing new devices' so a restart was required.

Fortunately the reboot proved good and the full 39.99 GB was now available to XP.

Original reading for this exercise was here - sk+size+xp

Hardware - Windows
Jun 22, 2010

Using LG BE08LU20 BluRay drive with Abit IS7 motherboard.

Close ...
Well - another interesting little endeavour with the old PC that I got in 2003. I just obtained an external BluRay Writer that will use either USB 2.0 or e-SATA. As it happens e-SATA is apparently quite quick so I thought I wonder if the SATA will work on the IS7 motherboard - it does!

The LG BE08LU20 comes with an e-SATA plate that installs into the case slot and it plugs onto one of the SATA terminals on the motherboard.

Installing the software went OK and the XP appeared to detect the hardware however when reset the drive operated (open/close) initially during boot but absolutely dead once windows had loaded.

Looking at the BIOS updates on the ABIT site I noticed that some of the later updates indeed had improvements for SATA, etc so I did the big Kahuna and upgraded the BIOS to the latest issue (the existing was IS7-16 and the latest was IS7-24).

Most of the time taken was finding a good floppy to use as a boot disk. Once found it was formatted in XP SP3 as an MS-DOS startup disk and the 5 BIOS files copied on.
I used the runme.bat and the flashing completed OK. Downpowered and then reset the CMOS with the motherboard link then re-programmed the BIOS (digital cameras are so useful for recording the old setup).

The reboot worked fine and the XP found the hardware and this time recognised it as BE08LU20 DVD-RAM drive.

The drive was allocated the next drive letter which happened to be P: (there are a lot of drives in this ol' PC).

The biggest disappointment was discovering that Abit no longer make motherboards - not surprised really since they were very good and last well.

I am amazed that with an old motherboard (2003) and XP that I can still run most stuff ranging from a Brilliance monitor (1996), Microtek E6 scanner on SCSI (1996) to a BluRay drive (2010).

Jun 22, 2010

PHP code doesn't execute - shows in webpage

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Had a situation where PHP code was no longer executing and was just appearing on the page with attendant errors.

Specifically an error was caused by using the <? xxx ?> short tag format rather than <?php xxx ?> format.
As it transpired later versions of PHP set the short tag format to OFF by default so in the php.ini file the following line needed to be set -

short_open_tag = On

As a further trap for amateurs (as I am) I had installed a standard version of PHP for Windows on my machine and this install of course wrote the PHP folder into the Windows Path so when I installed the PHP5 tailored for Abyss the Path remained incorrect.
The Abyss PHP installed into PHP5 and didn't update the Path so when my web app used PHP it went to the PHP folder and of course the php.ini file was still at default for the short tag format.
Uninstalling the standard PHP fixed the problem since the web app then used the PHP5 folder that had the short tag set to ON.

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