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Wednesday, April 09, 2014

System Restore Saves the Day!

Microsoft System Restore
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-SG/windows7/products/features/system-restore


This has been in system a long time ago, since XP perhaps. While most of the time, we only hear about how this feature waste space and cause delay during installation, we had totally forgotten when it would become useful.

In fact, for me, even in the days of Windows 8.1, this feature prove to be useful. What actually happened to me was that I was migrating one of my PC from a ATI (AMD) graphics card to a Nvidia one.

 

It is no surprise that ATI and Nvidia driver would not play nice together. The fatal mistake was however my own. I had forgotten to remove the old ATI driver before shutting down and plug in my Nvidia card. After testing, I wanted to change back to my ATI card and this time, even when I remember to uninstall the Nvidia driver, it just give me the famous "Black Screen of Death" at the Windows 8 login. I had tried reinstalling the ATI driver (but it won't install when the Nvidia card is in) and install-remove the Nvidia driver, but it just wont boot up when the ATI card is in, but perfectly OK on the Nvidia. I guess it could be a "feature" so that you won't switch back to your own card... LOL

Anyway, in the end, during the boot option, I click "Advance Option" and decided to try a System Restore, fortunately was just before the swap since the Direct X was updated. Guess, what? It solved all the issue and I got it up on the very next reboot (even though System Restore did took a while).

So, ask yourself is that little bit more of HDD space worth it? To me, definitely, since HDD space is cheap nowadays and System Restore actually manages itself not to overuse the space anyway. And one thing is for sure, I would add more restore point in the future. And lastly, Thanks Microsoft for implementing this nice feature! 

Monday, April 07, 2014

Uninstall Orbit from Chrome

I am sure at some point of time you may uninstall one of the downloaders such as Orbit:
http://www.orbitdownloader.com/


Don't get me wrong, I am not saying its a bad downloader, but it just happen that I could not use it effectively in office.

Anyway, what I am going to described probably may affect some of you out there. What happened to me was that during the installation, my Google did not exist completely. I had manually close Chrome, but somehow one of the instance must still be running during the uninstallation. Anyway, the result is that Orbit is not cleanly uninstalled. Whenever I tried to download something, it would still redirect to Orbit (and worse, it doesn't work anymore)

So, let's see how to clean up this mess.
1. Before you start, make sure Orbit is no more around (uninstallation from Control Panel)
2. Close all instances of Chrome. (Use task manager to check that here is no more instances running too)
3. Now, let's find the file "nporbit.dll". You can use search or under these directories:
%localappdata%\Google\Chrome\Application\Plugins
4. Delete the file.
5. Open up chrome and type "chrome://plugins/"
6. Find Orbit Downloader and disable it.

That's all you need to. Well to fully clean everything, you can always reinstall Orbit. Reboot and uninstall Orbit... But its just kinda of troublesome...


Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Agnitum Outpost Security Suite Pro v9.1

Ok, I promised I will be giving (technically, I am just linking) a 1 year free license to a paid AV. The good news is that, it is not only an AV, but a full Security Suite including the firewall and all. So, which one is it? Its Outpost Security Suite Pro v9.1.


So, how good do you think it is? Outpost had always been a really good firewall, and at a time, even the best FREE firewall around. It had also been winning awards from many popular polls such as VB100.

See the awards here:
http://www.agnitum.com/news/awards.php


Some of the features:
  • Anti-Malware module with greater detection accuracy
  • Two-way firewall for secure network connections
  • Proactive Protection module to preemptively block unknown and zero-day threats
  • SmartDecision technology to facilitate secure decision-making
  • Web control with fast web content filtering to protect your PC from web-borne threats
  • System and Applications Guard to keep installed software and OS protected
  • Self-protection technology to maintain continuity of protection
  • The 4th generation of SmartScan optimization technology for fast subsequent malware scans
  • USB virus protection to prevent malware which spreads via USB devices
  • Program activity tracker to review file and registry activity in real time
  • Entertainment mode (for games and video) and Auto-Learn 2.0 (for beginners)
Read more about Outpost Security Suite v9.1
http://www.agnitum.com/products/security-suite/

I hope that had gotten you excited. Now, you must be screaming how to get this free?
Thanks to Computerbild, visit this page in Russian:
http://www.agnitum.ru/promo/computerbild/

But not to worry, this is roughly what it translates to:


And this is the important part. You need to key in this Key (manually) :
8IJDI-G2KWK-4SG8S-8SWGS-GWG5X

I suggest you key in your email so that you would received support information from Agnitum.
Then in the next page you should get a key (with many alphanumeric letters). Make sure you copy and paste it into notepad and SAVE IT! It will not be send to your email again.

Just download one of the following installers here:
32 Bits Installer
64 Bits Installer
Do a installation and proceed to register your product. Paste in ONLY the bunch of alphanumeric letters, skip the name, email etc. I know its not straight forward, but just make sure no extra line break and such and you will get it right.

Enjoy your 1 year free of Outpost Security Suite Pro!
Please leave a thanks if you appreciate this. And do pick up a copy of Computerbild while you are in Moscow!

What AV Survey End


It had been a long time since I updated the Antivirus poll and I know its not fantastic, but at least it seems to me that people who voted made good use of FREE antivirus such as Microsoft or Avast (FREE version I presumed). Well, maybe that will guide my direction that more people actually wants to get hold of a good paid AV.

The results however does not tally with the real market trends out there, but of course that because its only for visitor on my blog. But don't worry, the poll is not a waste effort. In fact in the next 5 minutes, I would share a 1 year license of a paid AV with you!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Problem with HDMI Deep Color

Recall that life was very different after I had gotten my Onkyo Amplifier. Not just in terms of better entertainment, but I had to get in touch with lots of troubleshooting and face with new terms like HDMI, ARC, optical channels etc. Well, if you had read my previous posts, you will know I had a fair amount of problems with Diyomate. Well, to be fair, Diyomate is actually pretty goo, just that it does not play too well with my Onkyo.

So today, I am going to talk about a feature in the HDMI that is known as "Deep Color". A pictures says more than 1000 words, so here:



I think its needless to say that with an option like "Deep Color" I would not think twice to enable it. This is exactly what I did on my Measy X5.


Measy X5 is a fantastic 3D Player with a build in HDD bay and it really works very well. Except until I played with this "Deep color" feature. Normally, this would problem not cause a lot of issue. But it happens that Onkyo does not like the additional data in the video send by this "Deep Color" feature. What happened was that I often get video off (black screen) while the sound goes on (also carried by the HDMI cable). It is very irritating especially when I cannot even finish watching a 20+ anime without hitting this a few times. In addition, sometimes the Onkyo will display an error message that goes something about an incompatible video stream was detected...

So, I did my research and guess what? Almost nothing support the "Deep Color" feature. Not your common DVD or BLu-ray player. Not your common amplifier. Not even some of the TV! I wondered why I like to create so much problem for myself!

Anyway, in short, I finally switched it off and found out that this is indeed the option that had created the problem for me. So now, my Measy X5 doesn't output "Deep Color" and everything is working once again. I really hope this helps anyone who has a similar issue out there!

Smart File Advisor Crapware Removal


If you had come to this page, you are more likely than not to have installed a perfectly legit software which had bundled with this software known as "Smart File Advisor" also known as SFA. One known one is Alcohol 52% FE.

While what SFA tries to do is to keep track of your file associations, but in a very dangerous way. Instead of letting Windows manage it, it checks for a php online everytime a new file type is used. In addition, it messes around with your registry at:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Associations
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Associations
And this is where the real danger lies in. In theory (if it had not already been taking places) is that whenever you try to download a file, it would poll that php scripts and it CAN do really bad things like redirecting you to another file instead (and renaming it to be your original - Its not even hard), make you run some scripts which captures information form your PC, insert codes into your return pages which can do almost anything a page can do and more.

In short. SPYWARE. And its not just me doing all the bullshiting here! Even AVG backs me by flagging SFA as a virus!

So, if I have convince you to uninstall SFA. Good. But this is just the point where you find that if you try to uninstall it from the Add/Remove or "Programs and Features" (in Windows 8), you will either find that SFA will threaten to remove your other software as well and most likely it will fail to uninstall anyway.

So, is there a uninstaller? Yes, but after looking through the page I found, I find the "uninstaller" rather fishy by itself too, so I really won't recommend it. So, let's do it manually. You will need to make sure you close the stupid SFA program from the tray and in memory (Task Manager). Then you will need to perform the following which involve deleting of a folder (usually just 1, 32 or 64 bits). And then you will need to remove some registry entries away. I had it packed into a reg file for you to cut and paste into your editor and save it.

1. Delete away these directories if you have any of them:
C:\Program Files\Smart File Advisor
C:\Program Files (x86)\Smart File Advisor

2. Here is the "Remove SFA.reg":
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[-HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*\shell\sfa_checksum]

[-HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*\shell\!sfa]

[-HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Unknown]

[-HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Unknown]

[-HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\*\shell\sfa_checksum]

[-HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\*\shell\!sfa]

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run]
"Smart File Advisor"=""

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run]
"SFAUpdater"=""

[-HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\Smart File Advisor_is1]

Monday, March 10, 2014

Removing the "Special Offer" or Ads in Kindle Paperwhite


Recently, I just bought an Amazon Paperwhite device for reading. Unlike the normal tablets out there be it Android or Apple, this is not too bright and it is in fact very nice for the eyes when compared to the other tablets. The secret is in its special ink technology and therefore, you will also need to get a special type of screen protector for it too.

Amazon Paperwhite:
http://www.amazon.com/Kindle-Paperwhite-Ereader/dp/B00AWH595M

Well more on that next time. What I want to talk about today in about the "Special Offer" you might had mistaken opt in for during the purchase of Paperwhite or another Kindle device. In plain simple text, "Special Offer" = Advertisements. Yes, that is basically all to it. And you CAN actually pay additional $20-30 to buy the non-"Special Offer" edition. But I guess if you are reading this, its too late anyway.

Well, not really, if you live in USA, you can still pay the difference and have it removed. Or if you think you can convince Amazon that you are not in the USA, then you can have it done for FREE! Yes, I am not joking. Because all the ads are targeted for USA, non of them will work anyway even if you click on them! On this basis, there is an excuse to remove the ads since it is a waste of bandwidth (and precious reading space).

So, how would one go about with this? First, login to your Amazon account (which no-brainer should be a non-USA account). Then lodge in a request for support and select through the options ending up with something like "the advertisements link does not work". If not, just manually complain this. In any case, tell the support personal (nicely) that you are not in the USA and request them to remove the ads. They will.

Well, not to encourage everyone to use this exploit, but I think some of the offers are good if you can use them. But otherwise, I think this is a great idea to claim back some reading space (and USD$20) from Amazon.


HDMI Issues with Diyomate

It seems that the HDMI ARC control is really screwed up by a Diyomate device. Confirmed. In fact, I had gotten hold of yet another device - Diyomate X12 and a consistence behavior is observed.



Diyomate X12:
http://www.diyomate.com/productInfo.asp?PID=493

Without the device, my TV and Amplifier plays nice ARC controlling the sound. Once the X12 is plugged in, the whole ARC connection is screwed up and does not work anymore. So the big question is this. What does the Diyomate device do to the HDMI signal? Or rather what are they sending that is causing the rest of the device to be confused. That is something rather interesting to know, but not easily resolved unfortunately.

Meanwhile, I would still want to use my Diyomate here and then, but in order to make my whole Home Theater System works, I have to unplug the Diyomate's HDMI whenever I do not use it. Hope this helps some of you out there.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

ARC issue continued...

In a previous post, I talked about connecting my amplifier Onkyo TR-NX515 with my Sharp LC-60LE640X LED TV and having ARC control issue.

http://blog.90283600.com/2014/01/onkyo-tx-nr515-hdmi-with-arc.html

Well, just to follow up, the problem was resolved the moment I pull out my Diyomate K9 IPTV player:
It's definitely puzzling. At first, I suspected it was my HDMI 7 on my Onkyo because it was designated for the TV/OUT if I am not using the ARC HDMI 1, but it turns out that its ok when I plug in my Playstation on that port. So, it has to be the Diyomate K9:


http://www.diyomate.com/productInfo.asp?PID=483

I give up connecting it to the amplifier and uses HDMI 2 on the TV instead. But guess what? After a brief 30 minutes after I plug it into the TV, my TV Aquos Link went crazy again, switching off Audio SP to SP and back to where I started when my ARC did not work.

So, why did it not work? Does the K9 has some signal that it send back to the TV telling it to off the Audio SP? Or does it interfere with the HDMI signal such that it does not work. That is something I will need to find out. OF course, saying that means I have another solution in mind, but I shall keep it to the next post, while I wait for my cable to arrive from China.

Meanwhile, at least some good news is that I got BPL on my IPTV. Yes, its amazing when you look wider and broader and the solution is actually right in front of you. Not that I am a big soccer fan though.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10152008125713375&l=7888317694320294621


Monday, January 20, 2014

Onkyo TX-NR515 HDMI with ARC Troubleshooting

Recently I had been playing around with amplifiers and sound systems quite a bit and to be honest, this is LIFE if you really want entertainment at home. All the previous 5.1 bundled with DVD/Bluray players system just doesn't come close to it.

This is the Amplifier which I got myself, the Onkyo TX-NR515.
Honestly speaking, this is the best model although its of 2012. On some of the newer models, the number of HDMI ports had been nerfed from 8 to 6. Anyway, what I want to talk about in this post is about the feature known as ARC or Audio Return Channel.

Imagine without ARC. You got x number of device connected to your amp and you have 1 that is connect to the TV or even your over-the-air tv programme for example does not go through the amp and as such, sound sux. Well, if you want to pass it through the amp, you can use a optical cable to link your tv out (if it has one) to your optical in in you amp. Not so good, because 1 extar wire and good optical audio cable is expensive.

With ARC, what happens is that it could use the HDMI connector from your amp out to tv in and use that very same cable to send audio from the tv to the amp in the reverse direction. According to some people, as long as its a HDMI 1.4+, it suppost ARC, but to be on the safe side, you can buy one that explicitly says it support ARC. All you need to do is to make sure you plug it into the ARC support HDMI port (tv, amp all have some designated ARC HDMI port) and then your speakers will be linked. You will have tv sound muted and output to your amp and no more double sound problem, if you know what I mean.

That is if ALL goes well. I have the following TV and it is one of the started model that fully support ARC.

Sharp LC-60LE640X LED TV
http://www.sharpmea.com/cps/rde/xchg/ae/hs.xsl/-/html/product-details.htm?product=LC60LE640X&cat=111



The whole HDMI and ARC link has different name in different company. Anynet for Samsung and its Aquos Link for Sharp. However, recently when configuring the amp with my devices, eventually I hit a wall. This is what should happen if the AquosLink and ARC is working:

  • TV turns on the AMP automatically
  • TV links speaks to amp. It will default output to amp and mute TV speakers
  • TV off turns off the AMP automatically
Well, I do not have any of the above. In fact, even the ARC light did not turn up despite all the configurations done on both the amp and the TV. I had tried to reset both to factory and it doesn't help. I had tried to powered down and unplug wall socket. No luck there too.

Eventually, this is something rather unique I do not see on the internet AT ALL. What I did was to disconnect ALL devices. That means all the HDMI. And I start to reconnect the TV one first with ARC. Jackpot. We got Aquos Audio SP. Then I add in my devices slowly one by one, xbox, playstation etc... 

The point is eventually I found 1 device that, after adding its HDMI in, disabled by HDMI links and ARC. That happens to be the new IPTV box I had gotten from China recently. But I need to stress that its neither the HDMI is not working or there is something wrong with the box either. It works perfectly connected to my TV directly. 

Diyomate K9 IPTV


I still have not found the reason why it failed, but my suspicions is from the HDMI cable provided along with the box. I am not sure if it is the official HDMI, but it is a white flat HDMI like this.


I had read somewhere that flat HDMI cables are not as good as the fat ones because of the cables space is smaller, but I am not sure if that is the problem. I guess, there is only 1 way to find out. Just change the cable and see if it works!

I will update again on the results.



Friday, October 18, 2013

Install Chrome Offline


Ever had a problem trying to install Chrome on a new PC which does not have Internet set up yet? Or trapped in a client site with limited access?

The first question most people asked is : Is there even such a thing as a Offline Installer for Chrome.
Well, apparantly there is:
https://support.google.com/installer/answer/126299?hl=en

You will need to choose the one which suits you. I think the main differences is where Chrome is installed. So for most users, you would want to choose to install only for yourself, while Integrators will want to install for everyone using that PC or laptop.

Grab your Offline Chrome today!

Friday, July 19, 2013

VMWare Failed to lock the file...


Although I had switched to Virtual Box for a while, I still have no choice but to open up some older VMs in VMWare to migrate or retrieve information from them. One such VM gave a similar error as above and in fact, it is not even a persistence VM. The very thought that I have to rebuild this VM strike horror in my heart, but luckily the good news is that I did not need to do that to resolve this issue.

It turns out that this usually happens after you had not power up the VM for a while and over a few version of VMWare upgrade. Somehow the lock file just get corrupted. Go into your VM Machine's directory and you will see some directories with *lck* and maybe 1 or 2 tiny files inside. Well those are are source of the issues.

Simply delete all those directories with the tiny files with the lck extension or keyword in them. That fixed my problem and the VM is back booting up happily. If you want to be safe, you can always make a copy of the VM or a copy of those directories before you go ahead with the deletion.

It is a simple problem, but VMWare seems to make it into such a big issue that your VM no longer starts. But luckily the fix is just as simple.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Windows Update Unlocked and Manual Trigger


Ever seen this before? Well, this is an old version of Windows, but it would look somewhat similar when you have policies that preset and prevents you from doing a Windows Update. Usually there is nothing you can do about it and hope that you will eventually get the patch, thanks to your company, but if you are the owner of this machine and has admin rights, then read on.

Usually this is caused by GPO or similar policies preventing you from updating. Or you are not in the administrator group. To solve the GPO, you will need to fire up regedit.


  1. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Policies \ Microsoft \ Windows \ WindowsUpdate \ AU. 
  2. Delete the keys AUOptions and NoAutoUpdate.
  3. Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Policies \ WindowsUpdate.
  4. Delete the key DisableWindowsUpdateAccess.
Alternatively, you can also use the Group Policy Editor. 
  1. Fire up GP Editor by running "gpedit.msc" in command prompt.
  2. Go to Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Windows Update.
  3. Set "Configure Automatic Updates" to "Not Configured".
  4. Got to User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Windows Update.
  5. Set "Remove Access" to All  and "Windows Update features" to Not Configured.
On server, you may be able to run "gpupdate /force" to restart the policies, but a reboot is one sure way to get it done.

Next, we sometimes wants to fire up Windows Update and do a on demand update. But in a company wide deployment, often you will get a no access page at Microsoft because the Windows Update Server is set to local. So, here is the way to get it done, via script of in command prompt.

You can skip this steps sometimes, but I find that the sure way to trigger the update is sometimes to shutdown and restart the Windows Update Service like this:

net stop wuauserv
net start wuauserv

After this, you can start the actual trigger to Windows Update:

wuauclt /detectnow

This should make the yellow shield at the tray pops up. You may want to see a update status by:

wuauclt /r /ReportNow

This will communicate with the update server and takes a few minutes. 

And when something does crap out, there is always a very detail log in %systemroot%/WindowsUpdate.log. You will find all your problems inside be it wrong server, connection timeout etc.

Now, the above can definitely be put into a script to be run by schedule and you have your own "Automatic Update" so to speak. Have fun updating Windows (and other Microsoft Products)




Friday, July 12, 2013

Patch Tuesday July 2013


Usually I do not talk much about Patch Tuesday from Microsoft, but this time round, it totals to about 30 or so updates on most system with Windows and Office. I think that is would the mention. Not only that, there are 6 rated CRITICAL and many which does not have full details on what and how it is exploited as Microsoft got the vulnerability in private. Doesn't that worry you? It should. For all you know some of these vulnerabilities had already been used in the wild, so I suggest you roll in these patches as soon as possible. (How about NOW??)

So, what are fixed in this round? Here is a summary of it:

  • Kernel driver bug due to TTF (yes, I know your WTF look, why would a TTF font be injected into kernel...?) This allow escalation and there is full source code available.
  • Several .Net Framework and Silver patches 
  • Vulnerability in GDI+. Seriously, I think they will never get this fix since it comes back every time.
  • IE. For once, IE 10 is badly hit. Usually most vulnerability would not affect IE 10 (on Win8 especially). Well, this is really the patch you need to install ASAP since IE will be your first point of contact.
  • Directshow with GIF files. Makes you think how a simple file format thing like PDF, PNG (oh yes, last month we just had one), DOCX or sort. It does seems to have a trend of attacking file formats nowadays.
  • Windows Media Format. WMF. There we have it, just to prove my previous point.
  • Windows Defender. It's a path transversal. Well, even the big giants has faults sometimes. But the scary part is Microsoft does patch it... Do you see other AV vendors patching their main program much (I know you get updates, but those are AV signatures, they are different things)?
And other patches involving SD card removal, new camera models, language pack and fonts. 

So, you can see its going to be a busy busy week. And whoever is using those exploits will probably be sweating or trying their last strike to make good use of it before you patch your computer. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

DVDFab and BD-RE

I had just recently gotten a Blu-ray write finally. Now, say goodbye to my DVD writable, or so I thought. While Data and other files has absolutely no problem with a BD-R or BD-RE (Yes, I do not know why, but they decided BD-RW doesn't sound good), it becomes a complication when it comes to the media like music and movies.

Lets leave the AudioCD part out of these, since its still in the legacy CD format. Take a look at DVD. I had always used DVDFab to "squeeze" DVD9 into DVD5 and it works like a charm. Lose some sound quality, but the video is usually 100% well kept. (Yes, don't we all hate the FBI notice delay and ads and to be honest, I think DVDFab should sell this as their prime point. Not sure if the FBIs are so happy about it though.

OK, this is where I am finally going to talk about why we can't do without DVDFab for Blu-ray. I had check out many (Yes, about 10 or so) who claim they can squeeze a Blu-ray without (much) loses. WEll, before that, let me stress that most Blu-ray out there simply are dual layers. Well, not that you get great quality or something, there are usually about 29GB (Single layer only houses 25GB) and I can't help thinking, they had done it on purpose so that people cannot copy it 1-1. And for me. BACKUP is a must. Especially when you own a Blu-ray, you would share with friends (and god knows, maybe even their dogs) all over. I do not want to have to pay almost USD40 and then, well own a very expensive coaster. So I insist on backing up my Blu-ray.

Well, why not buy a BD-RE DL? Yes, why not? It's just about 8X the price of the single layer! This is where DVDFab comes in. In most of my "test" (I own the Blu-ray by the way!), most of the "Extra" bytes comes from the previews or additional language tracks. And in Blu-ray, audio track is crazily large, especially when they are in 7.1 Digital or something. It's crazy! And I don't really care about the Russian language, for example. So these goes and all done nicely by DVDFab. In fact, I do not really even need to give up on quality on most of the movies. So its like 1080p, without some audio and definitely without FBI warnings and previews (by the time I watch these preview, the show is probably out anyway). And all this via DVDFab.


The current DVDFab comes with 2 major version, version 9 comes with the newer interface, but I prefer the old interface more like the above. There is a trial version which you can try for 30 days and decide for yourself if you want to buy it.

Check it out at:

Last, but not least, DVDFab does not require AnyDVD or other decrypter to decrypt the content of the DVD or Blu-ray! So, that's a bonus!

Well, I do not work for DVDFab in case you are wondering and there is no referral bonus or anything from my link. 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

SDXC exFat Problem

After you had finally gotten your very first 64GB SD card, you will eventually hit this problem sooner or later. Yes, everyone, unless you are the type who is not concern that your tablet just doesn't work with your card or simple could stand how slow the card is somehow.

The major problem with exFat is that its a more Windows format and it's teh default format for formatting SDXC card anyway, even from the official SDCard.org:

https://www.sdcard.org/downloads/formatter_4/

But most tablets are Android based and as such more towards *nix and somehow exFat just doesn't play well there.The problem will start anytime from not detecting the SDCard at all to very slow performance especially when many files are involved. In some extreme case, its even because there are 2 partition created and it start to seriously confuse the OS. Just search "SDXC exFat Problem" and you will know what I mean.

I know its probably not right, but I recommend to keep your 64GB SDXC on Fat32. And Microsoft definitely does not agree with me because they had disable such a feature on their default format utility. You can only format it to exFat or NTFS, which neither works well on Android. But of course there is a easier way here:

http://www.ridgecrop.demon.co.uk/index.htm?fat32format.htm

Make sure you read through and decide on whether you want to use the DOS utility or the GUI one. Just format it to Fat32 and suddenly many of your problem is gone.

Remove the Hidden Partition


Don't you always hate it when your laptop or PC comes with a recovery partition which you may not actually need anymore because you had upgrade your OS or not? Well, you will also find that inside Windows (normally) you will not be able to remove this partition safely. Well, the worry is over because under the administrator command prompt there is a way to do so.


  1. Open a command prompt as administrator.
  2. Run Diskpart application by typing Diskpart in the command prompt.
  3. In the “Diskpart” prompt, enter rescan command and press Enter key to re-scan all partitions, volumes and drives available.
  4. Then type in list disk and press Enter key to show all hard disk drive available.
  5. Select the disk that contains the partition you want to remove. Normally, with just 1 hard disk, it will be disk 0. So the command will be:
    select disk 0
    Finish by Enter key.
  6. Type list partition and press Enter key to show all available and created partition in the disk selected.
  7. Select the partition that wanted to be deleted by using the following command, followed by Enter key:
    select partition x
    where x is the number of the EISA based recovery partition to be removed and unlocked its space. Be careful with the number of this partition, as wrong number may get data wipes off.
  8. Finally, type in delete partition override and press Enter key.
Once the partition has been deleted, exit from Diskpart, and now users can use the much familiar and much easier Disk Management tool in Windows (diskmgmt.msc) to manipulate the freed unallocated partition. Users can create a new volume (partition) with this space, or simply merge it to existing partition by extending the size of the existing partition.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Evernote v4.6.4 Upgrade Issues

Evernote allows you to easily capture information in any environment using whatever device or platform you find most convenient, and makes this information accessible and searchable at any time, from anywhere. Use Evernote to jot notes, create to-do lists, clip entire Web pages, manage passwords, and record audio. Everything added to Evernote is automatically synchronized across platforms and devices and made searchable. Evernote will even recognize printed or handwritten text in photos and images.


Due to a recent bleached, all users are advised to change password and upgrade to the latest version, but however to some specific users of v4.6.3 (maybe more, but I won't know first hand), the upgrade process seems to failed in every way possible giving MSI error codes.

I tried upgrade inside the application or even downloading the standalone version, but no success. In the end, I figured that they probably omitted a certain version in the upgrade path, so I uninstall v4.6.3 completely. And I reinstalled. And it works!

Well, I guess this is a typical example of a upgrade management issues in software, but at least it didn't need a formatting or Windows Refresh to save the day. If you are having problem with Evernote, try this and hopefully you will still be a happy user of Evernote like me.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Adobe Photoshop Flickers in Windows 8

Did you encounter flickering or basically image not staying put inside Adobe Photoshop CS6? Well, I guess that's the reason you are here in the first place. But fundamentally, the problem neither lies with Adobe nor Microsoft. I can bet you are almost 100% using a AMD graphics card!

Basically its the AMD graphics driver for now. As of today, its still not fixed and to temporary fix this, Adobe actually recommend to disable graphics acceleration inside Adobe Photoshop for now.


Change the GPU Drawing Mode to Basic:
  1. In Photoshop, choose Edit > Preferences > Performance.
  2. Select Advanced Settings.
  3. Choose Basic from the Drawing Mode pop-up menu.
  4. Click OK to close the dialog boxes.


While its not the best way to do it, I guess everyone will have to live with it until AMD fixes this or get a Nvidia card to replace it.


Who Reset My Password

Today I am going to talk about yet another simple and effective hack. This time, we are going to go into the scenario of grabbing password from forums, portals etc. Imagine this scenario. You are user A and you want to get into user B's account. We can safely assume that User B's email is inaccessible, otherwise, we all know we do not have a problem then.

Suppose as A, I decide I wanted to go reset my password instead. More often than not, it will be sent to A's email address, a link that enable user A to reset my password. In other times, they may even allow other means as well such as mobile phone or messenger, but the concept is still pretty much the same, except it just complicate the trace hiding part sometimes.

Now, after A check the email and a link will appear. If the link is embedded in HTML, uncode it and look for something like this:


uid=12314800&uname=xxxxxxxx&mail=yyyyyyyy


Now. isn't that cute. But what we are interested is the UID most of the time. And I don't need to point finger at what sort of program usually have this type of parameters. Now comes the interesting part. I have a link for A to reset A's password, but what if I CAN reset B's password instead? OK, this is where the complication may or may not help. Basically what you are interested is to obtain B's UID. To my surprise, it's something more easy than you think. Some portal, you will even be able to get that from the "reset password" page, while others, its just a matter of keying in the password incorrectly once on the login page.

Now, lets UID replace. Note that if the site uses some sort of hash check on the URL, this is probably not going to work. But then again the hash is usually going to be a combination of the parameters plus some unique identifier, with some luck, you might even be able to break the hash. In one case I encounter, the hash is basically the whole URL excluding the hash=ZZZZ parameter right at the end.

Assuming its not, replace B's uid with A's uid and you are sent to the password reset page. Go ahead and don't be shy about it. After which, go back to the login page and log into B's account successfully. And B may or may not even know the password had been changed.

You may laugh and think the hack is silly. 10 sites I saw and 10 I entered within last 3 days is not so laughable. If you maintain a portal, I think you should re-look at your password reset workflow seriously.




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