Archive for January, 2013

Screen flickering and horizontal lines when coming out of standby on Windows 8

I upgraded my Dell Latitude E6510 with an Nvidia NVS 3100M  to Windows 8 a short time ago, and noticed something fairly quickly: Whenever my display came back on after being powered off from power saving mode, or the laptop came out of sleep mode, the screen had a very noticeable flickering and some distinct horizontal lines. The best way to explain it was to say that there was something very wrong with the display refresh rate.

The effect would gradually diminish with time, but wouldn’t completely go away. I updated the graphics drivers from the built-in Windows 8 drivers to the latest ODE graphics driver for Windows 8 64-bit (310.90) — that didn’t fix it. I also noticed that putting the display in 40hz mode and then back in 60hz mode didn’t fix it either. I even would have the problem if I shut down completely and powered the laptop back on a few moments later.

I later found this blog post from someone having the exact same issue. He even indicated that he’s had hardware replaced on his notebook, and that didn’t fix the issue. He did, however, find a fix: Dell’s A08 drivers for the NVS 3100M graphics chipset. He posted links to a Dell search for A08 drivers and two drivers that specifically worked:

nVidia Quadro FX 880M – Win7/Vista 32-bit Graphics Driver

nVidia NVS 3100M – Win7/Vista 64-bit Graphics Driver (this is the one I used)

So I uninstalled my existing Nvidia drivers and installed the 64-bit driver linked to above. You know what? It worked. The flickering went away immediately, and it continues to work correctly resuming from standby.

I also recall speaking to someone who had a similar issue, albeit on Windows 7. I’m guessing it was probably related to the drivers as well.

UPDATE: After doing some more testing, I found this: I took a clean install of Windows 8 where the screen flickering was there, reformatted and reinstalled Windows 7 64-bit. After booting into Windows 7, the screen flickering was still there! It would seem that the driver is manipulating the graphics controller to produce this flicker. Installing Dell’s recommended NVS3100M driver for Windows 7 did fix the flickering issue.

Further reading:

Anyone else having the same issue? Have the drivers above worked for you? Please feel free to share your experience in the comments below. 

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SymformContribution share getting recreated after reboot on Synology NAS after uninstalling Symform

A reader (M.R.) contacted me asking about running Symform on his Synology DS3611xs. He later uninstalled it and found that the SymformContribution folder was getting recreated at every reboot.

After a number of email exchanges, he was able to get Symform to confirm it was a bug:

Thank you for contacting Symform support. I understand that you are having an issue with the SymformContribution folder being re-created after you have un-installed Symform, and rebooted the DiskStation.

I have been able to reproduce this issue, and found that it is re-created due to the folder listed as a Shared folder in the Synology Shares section.

I have sumbitted an internal bug ticket to my developers to look into this issue. From what I found, it is just re-creating the folder, and the Symform services are not present, or running.

The commands to fix it follow, but I’ve updated step 3 to an absolute path:

1. Here is the command to view the Synology shares table:

/usr/syno/sbin/synoshare --enum ALL

2. If you see the SymformContribution folder listed, enter in the following command:

/usr/syno/sbin/synoshare --del TRUE SymformContribution

3. Then, to remove the folder from the Volume1 folder, enter in the following:

rm -rf /volume1/SymformContribution

Adjust the path in step 3 if your contribution folder is on another volume.

Thanks again to M.R. for the information and legwork getting this resolved!

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Performing a clean install from a Windows 8 upgrade media

If you purchased the Windows 8 upgrade from Windows 7, but would rather do a clean install, here’s a method that I’ve found that has been reported to work.

First, obviously, delete all partitions during the Windows install, supplying your key when requested.

After Windows 8 installs, and if Windows won’t activate, do the following:

Run regedit, and set:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Setup\OOBE\MediaBootInstall to 0 (zero)

Open an administrator-level command prompt, and run the following:

slmgr /rearm

Then reboot and run activation again.

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Windows 8 error code 0x807800C5 during Windows 7 File Recovery backup

The following error appears if you try to include a system image in your backup using the Windows 7 File Recovery backup tool.

0x807800c5

There was a failure in preparing the backup image of one of the volumes in the backup set.

Details: The mounted backup volume is inaccessible. Please retry the operation.

Error code: 0x807800C5

According to this forum

For Win 8 only: The Win 7 back up program included with win 8 does not support backing up a image file to any kind of NAS device (UNIX, Linux) . Internally the program gives an error that the NAS device has an incompatible sector mapping type. You can backup to a hard drive that is attached to a different windows machine and then back up that file to your NAS. Convoluted, but it works.

So, backing up a system image to a Samba share is out of the question. To work around this, disable the creation of a system image in your backup.

I haven’t tried backing up to an NTFS-formatted iSCSI LUN, which might work. If anyone has tried that, I’d be interested to know the results.

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Error code 0x80070544 when attempting to back up Windows 8 onto NAS over Samba

If you use Windows 7 File Recovery to attempt to backup your system to a NAS device, you may receive the following error:

0x80070544: The specified network location cannot be used.

Verify the path points to a correct network location and that the supplied credentials can be used for write access to the folder.

The validation information class requested was invalid. (0x80070544).

The solution to this is rather simple. You have to prefix your username with the name of the machine where the Samba share is located. So, if you are backing up to diskstationbackups, prefix your username with diskstation.

In my case, my username on that device is mike. So instead of using mike as my username, I had to use diskstation\mike.

It works now. Enough said.

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Get smBIOS UUID using wmic

Microsoft Windows 8 online activation requires that the smBIOS UUID be non-zero.

Here’s a wmic command to check the value of the smBIOS UUID.


wmic path win32_computersystemproduct get uuid

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Can’t add reminders on iPhone with iOS 6

I ran into an issue where I went into the iOS Reminders app and there was no plus button to add a reminder. Fortunately, I found a fix.

First, go to Settings > iCloud and turn Reminders on.

Now, go back into the Reminders app, and the plus sign should appear.

After this, you can go back and turn the iCloud Reminders setting back off if you’re concerned about battery usage. The plus sign will remain.

Another potential solution is to tap the list icon in the top left corner, then search for a list. The results will come up empty, but then you can tap the edit button and create a new list. This will also fix the Reminders app.

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How to fix “Test mode Windows 7 build 7600” message displayed in Windows 7

Microsoft KB2509241 explains Windows Test Mode a little more, and what causes it, but if you’re seeing it and don’t know why, here’s the easy way to fix it:

Open an administrator-level command prompt and type the following commands:

bcdedit.exe -set loadoptions ENABLE_INTEGRITY_CHECKS
bcdedit.exe -set TESTSIGNING OFF

That’s all.

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Migrating password data from 1Password to KeePass

I’m compelled to write this because I migrated some password data from 1Password to KeePass and it wasn’t as straightforward as it should have been, and the KeePass 1Password importer didn’t work for me.

Mind you, this will only migrate data from your Logins, not Wallet, Accounts, Software, Secure Notes, Identities, or Generated Passwords. You’ll have to move this data over manually.

So, here goes. This was done with 1Password 1.0.9.305 and KeePass 2.20.1.

Open 1Password and unlock your database.

Click File > Export, and export All Logins as Tab-delimited text.

Save your exported file somewhere where you’ll be able to find it.

Now open KeepPass and create a new database (File > New…)

After creating your database, click File > Import.

Select Generic CSV Importer, and select the file you exported previously, then click Ok.

On the importer screen, click the Structure tab and change only the settings as follows:

Under Syntax

Change Field Seperator to {Tab}

Check Ignore First Row

Under Semantics

Move the fields in the following order:

  • Title
  • Notes
  • User Name
  • Password
  • URL

Here’s a screenshot as a visual aid:

1p_kp_csv

You can click the Preview tab to verify things are in order.

Click Finish, and your items will be imported under the main group (which was called NewDatabase in my case).

Comments are welcome below. Thanks for reading!

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Disable Thumbs.db creation on network drives in Windows

Windows Thumbs.db files can cause a great deal of annoyance when they’re placed on network locations. Not only can it cause extra resource consumption, but can inadvertently lock files and folders that otherwise need to be manipulated.

However, it’s easy to turn off the generation of these files. To do so, just follow these steps:

  1. Click Start, type ‘gpedit.msc’ and hit enter.
  2. Go to User Config > Admin Templates > Windows Components > Windows Explorer
  3. Locate ‘Turn off the caching of thumbnails in hidden thumbs.db files’ and double click on it to edit the policy
  4. Set the Policy to ‘Enabled’ and click Apply, then ok.

That’s it. I don’t remember if it requires a reboot to fully take effect, but Thumbs.db files will not be created or used.

Questions, comments, or suggestions on the above? Please leave them in the comments section below. Thank you!

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