Saturday, May 21, 2011

Windows 7: EUBKMON.SYS Error: Driver Unloaded Without Cancelling Pending Operations

I was using Windows 7 Home Premium.  I tried to reboot into Safe Mode.  I got an error message:

A problem has been detected and Windows has been shut down to prevent damage to your computer.
I did a search and got the advice to put the driver (in this case, EUBKMON.SYS) out of action.  The mission was to rename it to be EUBKMON.OLD, so as to keep the file (just in case) but to prevent it from being used.  How to achieve that mission?  The advice in that case involved Windows XP, so they were recommending using the installation CD to get to a recovery prompt and rename it that way.  Another possibility would be to boot Ubuntu or some other Linux variant, or perhaps something like BartPE, and use that to rename EUBKMON.SYS.  Since the machine was willing to boot into Windows 7 Normal Mode, I started with that.  I found EUBKMON.SYS in C:\Windows\System32\drivers.  I was able to rename it in Windows Explorer.  I was not sure whether I would have been able to do so if I had not previously taken ownership of that folder.  While I was there, having just rebooted the computer, I got a dialog:
Windows has recovered from an unexpected shutdown.
Windows can check online for a solution to the problem.
I went with that, but after I clicked on it, it disappeared.  Maybe it found and installed a solution; not sure.  I also went into Control Panel > Windows Updates.  There was only one update, an optional one for Microsoft Security Essentials.  I installed that.  I also ran Glary Registry Repair.  Then I rebooted into Normal Mode, just to see what would happen with EUBKMON.SYS.  After I told Windows to reboot, I noticed that the shutdown screen said "Waiting for EuWatch.  A backup schedule is running!"  That "EuWatch" part got my attention:  it seemed potentially related to EUBKMON.SYS, and the "backup schedule" note reminded me that I had just installed Backup Maker and then had uninstalled it and installed Easeus Todo Backup in its place.  The hard drive was spinning, so I let the thing run; apparently Easeus was in the process of doing a backup before shutdown, for some reason.  A sourceDaddy webpage said that a message like my DRIVER_UNLOADED message (above) could be due to a faulty driver.  While I was waiting, I ran a search for EUBKMON.SYS but got no insight.  The search turned up only eight hits, so it seemed this driver was not a part of Windows 7 itself, adding to the sense that perhaps the problem was caused by one of those two backup programs.  By this time, the computer was prepared to reboot.  It ended up at a black and white screen:
Windows Error Recovery
Windows failed to start.  A recent hardware or software change might be the cause.
It wanted to Launch Startup Repair, so I went with that, but it wanted a Windows installation disc, and I didn't have one.  (I was doing this on an ASUS Eee PC, with Win7 factory-installed.)  The error message status was 0xc000000e and the "Info" statement was, "The boot selection failed because a required device is inaccessible."  I tried Ctrl-Alt-Del > Start Windows Normally.  But that failed.  I was back at Windows Error Recovery, except the top line was now "Windows Boot Manager."  I ran a search and decided to try Safe Mode (hitting Ctrl-Alt-Del to reboot, and then hitting immediately and repeatedly hitting F8).  That didn't work either, but this time it just went back to Windows Error Recovery; no BSOD.  I wondered if the inability to get back into Win7 was due to the renaming of EUBKMON.SYS to be EUBKMON.OLD.  I thought about re-renaming EUBKMON.OLD to be EUBKMON.SYS again; but if I had a bad driver, that wouldn't solve the problem.

I thought maybe I should copy EUBKMON.SYS over from another computer where I had also installed Easeus Todo Backup.  First, though, I thought I'd better just test whether that was the issue.  To do this, I would need a bootable USB drive of some sort.  I have addressed that issue in another post.  Basically, I used XBoot to boot Ubuntu from the USB drive, and then went into C:\Windows\System32\drivers and renamed EUBKMON.OLD back to EUBKMON.SYS.  I shut down Ubuntu, yanked out the USB drive, and tried to boot Windows -- with, of course, the need to adjust the BIOS settings first.  Sure enough, Windows now booted.  The EUBKMON.SYS file was the whole issue.  Instead of replacing it with a working one from the desktop computer, I decided I didn't really like the idea of having my whole system rendered nonworking because one file for one backup utility was not quite right.  There were other backup alternatives. 

So I uninstalled Easeus Todo Backup.  It wouldn't uninstall easily from Programs and Features; I had to hit Ctrl-Alt-Del, go into Task Manager > Processes tab, and kill EuWatch.exe.  But no, that wasn't enough:  I got the same message and had to go back into Task Manager, where a careful look at the Description column showed me that I would also have to kill Agent.exe, TbService.exe, and TrayNotify.exe.  So now I was able to uninstall Easeus Todo Manager.  I tried to send them feedback on why I was doing that, but their feedback agent required email to be set up on this computer, and Windows Live Mail 2011 was taking a long time to start.  Eventually I just scrapped that.  Anyway, with Easeus uninstalled, after a reboot, I took another look at C:\Windows\System32\drivers.  EUBKMON.SYS was still there.  I renamed it to EUBKMON.OLD again and tried rebooting.  The system started.  So without Easeus Todo Backup, EUBKMON.SYS was apparently no longer essential, but the Easeus uninstallation process did not remove EUBKMON.SYS or the other EU*.* files in C:\Windows\System32\drivers (i.e., eubakup.sys, eudisk.sys, eudskacs.sys, and eufs.sys).  Possibly this situation would have been different if I had used Revo Uninstaller.  I wasn't sure if I could safely delete those other files, so I left them.

So now, with all that sorted out, I tried again to boot into Safe Mode.  It worked.  Problem solved.

ASUS Eee PC: Booting from USB: First Cut

I needed a way to boot an ASUS Eee PC with Windows 7 installed.  The mission was to look at, and possibly replace or delete, a certain file in a particular directory on the Eee's drive C.  The Eee didn't have a CD/DVD drive, so it seemed that what I needed was a bootable USB drive with file management capabilities.  I knew the Eee was capable of being booted that way, because I had already successfully booted it with USB drives containing Acronis True Image and GParted.  Unfortunately, I had not succeeded in previous attempts to boot Ubuntu or some other program or operating system, so as to examine files and folders.  This post describes some more attempts along those lines, oriented specifically toward getting various programs to boot an Eee from a USB drive.

Hiren's Boot CD

More than a year earlier, I had made a similar attempt related to Windows XP.  In that attempt and previously, I had become familiar with various bootable USB jump drive packages, including the Universal Boot CD for Windows (UBCD4Win) and BartPE.  It now appeared that Hiren's Boot CD (HBCD) was an especially good option.  I noticed that it included DBAN, GParted, and other tools that I would like to have on a bootable USB thumb drive.  Following the instructions provided by Hiren and Pankaj (as also shown, somewhat confusingly, on a different website I found later), I took these steps:

  1. I plugged in my USB flash drive -- 4GB, though they said 512MB was sufficient.  I suspected that a drive larger than 4GB would fail due to their use of FAT32 formatting.
  2. I downloaded and ran their USB formatting program (changing no settings).  Then I downloaded and ran their grub4dos program as Administrator.  The device I selected was a Disk (not File).  It was a 4GB USB drive, so on my system that was hd3, which they described as "3851M" (i.e., not quite 4,000 megabytes).  I clicked Refresh next to Part List and selected Whole Disk (MBR).  I clicked Install.
  3. I downloaded the Hiren's BootCD zip file.
  4. I unzipped the BootCD zip file and found that it contained an ISO.  I didn't want to burn a CD in order to proceed with the next steps, so I tried using Virtual CDROM to position that ISO as a virtual CDROM drive. Specifically, in VCD, I clicked Mount, navigated to the ISO, selected it, and clicked OK. The mount failed.  I saw that Virtual CloneDrive (VCD) seemed to be more frequently downloaded, so I tried that.  When I started it, it gave me only a few options.  I adjusted those.  Now I had an icon in the system tray.  I right-clicked on that and got an option to mount drive G, which Windows Explorer was now showing as "BD-ROM Drive."  That opened up a dialog.  I navigated to the ISO.  That seemed to work.  The HBCD instructions said to copy everything from the mounted ISO to the USB flash drive, so I did.  There was some flaky behavior here:  at one point I basically had to restart Windows Explorer to see the contents of the mounted ISO again, but in the end I was able to copy those contents to the jump drive.
With those steps done, I plugged the USB drive into the Eee and rebooted.  I had to hit F2 repeatedly when it first started booting, because I had learned it did not remember boot settings.  I set the USB drive as the first drive to boot.  The USB stick did not boot.  The relevant error message seemed to be, "Cannot find GRLDR."  In other words, the grub4dos step seemed to have failed.  I looked at the directions and tried again.  This time, I skipped the formatting step -- the drive was already formatted -- and went directly to the grub4dos step presented on the alternate HBCD webpage that I had more recently discovered.  But everything seemed the same.  I tried booting the Eee again with the USB stick.  Same result.  I looked at the HBCD FAQs page.  It said this:
If you are getting GRLDR error, or if usb booting is halting with a blinking dos window, or if you are facing with smilar situations, try using syslinux to boot grub4dos. To do that, download (145 KB), extract its contents, run ‘RunMe.bat’ inside of the extracted folder and follow its steps.
Oy.  But, OK, I downloaded and unzipped and clicked on its RunMe.bat file.  It did copy files to the USB drive, as promised.  Now what?  I tried booting the Eee with the USB stick again.  That definitely worked.  I was now looking at a GRUB4DOS menu that listed a half-dozen programs.  Unfortunately, none of them was HBCD.  I tried a Google search for info on the HBCD "cannot find GRLDR" error.  Got a couple dozen hits, mostly in Vietnamese.  Bizarre.  I didn't like Bing, but an equivalent Bing search didn't have that problem.  Regardless, I didn't see a solution.  Back at one of the HBCD instructions pages, I noticed that they said I should have run grub4dos as Administrator.  I hadn't done that.  I was already logged in as Administrator, but maybe that wasn't sufficient.  I right-clicked on grubinst_gui.exe and clicked Run as Administrator.  That brought up the same Grub4Dos Installer dialog as before.

I went through the steps again.  In the process of abandoning the one HBCD instruction page for the other, I had also overlooked another step:  "Copy grldr and menu.lst (from HBCD folder) [actually found in the grub4dos\grub folder] to the usb drive."  I did that now.  The menu.lst (that's MENU.LST, with an L, not MENU.1ST, with a one) file overwrote the one that syslinux had placed on the USB drive.  I wasn't sure how this was going to work:  I hadn't removed syslinux from the USB drive.  But I gave it a try.  This time, I got a somewhat longer Grub4DOS menu.  Unfortunately, I didn't see most of the tools that had interested me originally; and after a moment, the computer went ahead and tried to load Windows 7, even though I had not to my knowledge issued any command of that sort.  I rebooted.  It seemed I must have left the cursor sitting on the option for "Custom Menu ... (Use HBCDCustomizer to add your files)," because that one was ready to boot automatically in just a few seconds.  Hitting Enter on that item opened a longer list.

What I wanted, in the particular situation, was something like Ubuntu, with which I could use a GUI to change files in a particular folder on the Windows 7 programs drive C.  I decided to try Eeebuntu 3.0.1 Netbook Remix.  It gave me an error message, and within 10 seconds I was back at the Grub4DOS menu.  I tried Ubuntu 10.04 Netbook Remix.  I tried Ubuntu 10.04 (GNOME Desktop x86).  All of these were giving me "Error 15:  File not found."  They seemed to be trying to load an Ubuntu (or whatever) ISO.  Was I supposed to have that on a separate USB drive, also plugged into the netbook?  I tried Eeebuntu again.  It seemed to be looking for eeebuntu-3.0.1-nbr.iso.  A search led to Aurora and Wikipedia webpages indicating that Eeebuntu 3 was based on Ubuntu 9.04, which at this point was two years old and outdated in a number of ways.  I wasn't that much more excited about the HBCD option to load Ubuntu 10.04, also a year old.

I had been thinking, or hoping, that HBCD would somehow miraculously combine all those dozens of CDs on one USB stick, but now that was just not materializing.  If I was going to be using HBCD just to boot Ubuntu, why not have the latest Ubuntu on a stick?  Make it simpler and more up-to-date.  I went to the Ubuntu download webpage and noticed that they were providing instructions that simply involved the Universal USB Installer and a downloaded Ubuntu ISO.  I ran my copy of Universal USB Installer and saw that it was willing to install Ubuntu 11.04 on a stick.  I was about to proceed with that, but then I wondered whether some other Linux distribution would be better for the Eee.  A search led to one webpage in which some people said that plain old Ubuntu was fine.  Another webpage suggested Leeenux.  I was familiar with Ubuntu, so I decided to try that (again).

When I had pretty much settled on the approach of using Universal USB Installer to download and install the ISO on my USB drive, it occurred to me that the advantage of HBCD was that I could have a bunch of ISOs on a companion USB drive, and could boot them all with the HBCD USB drive.  In this concept, I couldn't do it all with one drive, but I could do it with two, especially now that USB drive capacities were increasing:  my second USB drive could hold a dozen ISOs.  I revisited the option, presented in HBCD, of using HBCD Customizer (above).  I was thinking this might be a way to run Ubuntu 11.04 among others.  Thing is, I couldn't find it.  I didn't want to download it from just any random webpage -- it could be virus-ridden -- but it seemed like WOT-banned sites were featuring it.


Another search led to some indications that the UBCD4Win was also customizable, so I turned to that possibility.  This search seemed more promising.  On closer examination, though, it appeared that creating this device required a Windows XP CD.  I had one, but others might not.  That requirement would also presumably have prevented me from using it to install Ubuntu.  So I turned to its cousin, UBCD (not for Windows).  A search led ultimately to, where I discovered XBoot, which was yet another possibility (along with YUMI and the Linux-based MultiSystem. The XBoot instructions required me to download the latest XBoot as well as the other ISOs that I would want to use.  I decided to start with ISOs for GPartedUbuntu 11.04 (which, as I recalled, would not automatically contain GParted), Darik's Boot & Nuke (patched for XBoot), and Acronis True Image Home.  I had purchased a copy of Acronis, and would have been glad to recommend a freeware alternative, but I wasn't immediately finding one with an ISO.  There would probably be other ISOs I would want to add later, but this would do for now.  I wasn't as interested in some of the programs that were supposedly included in Hiren's Boot CD, for instance, because I was keeping a copy of my customized Start Menu (containing portable applications) on a separate USB drive, and many of the programs included in Hiren's were already on that Start Menu.  Many of those programs required an operating system (especially Windows) to be booted already, so I wasn't sure how or why I would be using them on a multiboot USB drive, though of course it could be handy to have everything on one large USB drive.

So anyway, I downloaded, unzipped, and ran XBoot.  It was a portable, which was nice.  I had created a folder for the four ISOs mentioned in the previous paragraph (i.e., GParted, Ubuntu, DBAN, and Acronis), so now I just dragged those ISOs over and dropped them on the XBoot program.  The instructions seemed to say I was supposed to do something with the QEMU and Edit MultiBoot USB tabs, but I couldn't quite figure it out.  I decided to start simply, by clicking the Create USB button on the first (Create Multiboot USB/ISO) tab.  This brought up a dialog giving me the options of using Syslinux or Grub4dos as my bootloader.  They recommended Syslinux, so I went with that.  The dialog automatically identified my USB drive.  XBoot then seemed to be copying my ISOs to the USB drive.  When it was done, it said, "USB created successfully!!  Check by running it on QEMU?"  I wasn't sure if that meant it was going to reboot the system into the QEMU operating system.  I wasn't in the mood to have my desktop system rebooted right then, so I said no.  Then I looked and saw that QEMU was just an emulator, so I probably could have tested it safely.  It wasn't too late:  the QEMU tab within XBoot allowed me (after a Refresh) to run the USB drive and, by golly, it seemed to work.

I plugged the USB drive into the Eee and rebooted it.  As in QEMU, it gave me the option to go into Utility, Linux, or Help.  The Utility submenu had Acronis, GParted, and DBAN.  I went into Linux in the main menu.  Ubuntu was the only option there.  I chose that option.  It ran.  I was able to access folders and go online in Firefox in Ubuntu.  Later, I discovered that, unlike the three other ISOs,  Acronis did not boot.  Acronis could be made bootable on a USB drive by installing the Acronis software and using its Bootable Rescue Media Builder.  I had already done that with another USB drive.  What I needed now was apparently not an ISO of the Acronis CD, but rather an ISO of that USB drive.  I used ImgBurn to create that.  Then I went back into XBoot.  There didn't seem to be an alternative to redoing the whole bootable USB creation process, so I did that.  This time, when the process finished, I tested all of the USB drive boot options in QEMU.  I saw that it had not deleted the previous options; I now had two Acronis entries.  One hung the system; the other successfully started Acronis.  I wanted to edit this menu, so I went to XBoot's Edit MultiBoot USB tab.  When I clicked the "Edit Syslinux menu file" button, I got an error:  "No application is associated with the specified file for this operation."  When I clicked Edit Grub4dos Menu File, it asked what program I wanted to use to edit it.  I tried Notepad.  That worked.  It opened menu.lst, which turned out to be in the root (top level) of the USB drive.  Menu.lst told me that the menu for the Utility section was on the USB drive too, in /boot/grub4dos/utility.lst.  My editing efforts were not too successful, so ultimately I just wiped the drive and started over.  I was not able to get Acronis to work, and in a subsequent retry the Ubuntu also stopped working.  I reformatted the USB drive (not Quick Format) and then redid the XBoot process without Acronis, and now the Ubuntu was failing to load.  I tried that twice.

Assuming I could get Ubuntu working again on the USB drive, the solution, so far, was to use XBoot, a Windows program, to load several program ISOs on a single USB drive.  The Eee would boot from this USB drive and would give me a menu allowing me to choose among those programs.  There seemed to be no practical limit on the number of ISOs that could be loaded this way.  The USB drive seemed to be capable of running just one ISO at a time, and Ubuntu loaded from the USB drive did not seem able to see the contents of the USB drive itself, so it did not appear that stray utilities added to the USB drive would be available to operating systems (e.g., Ubuntu) booted from the USB drive.


I wanted to try again to get a multiboot USB drive that would work with Acronis as well as with Ubuntu, DBAN, and GParted.  I found detailed instructions on using Grub4DOS in a way that seemed to meet this need.  The steps were as follows:
  1. Download and unzip the needed files.  These were Grub4DOS 0.4.4 (2009-06-20) and the Grub4DOS installer (
  2. In the Grub4DOS-Installer folder, right-click and run grubinst_gui.exe as Administrator.  (This was familiar from the steps described above.)  Select Disk, click its adjacent Refresh button, and select the drive on which you want to install Grub4DOS.  The size of the drive was a clue.  In my case, I was installing to a 4GB flash drive, so I selected the one that was 3812MB in size.
  3. Still in the Grub4DOS installer, click the Part List Refresh button.  This time, I got an error:  "Invalid partition table, if you still want to install, use the --skip-mbr-test."  This was presumably why Ubuntu had failed to boot on the last couple of tries with XBoot (above).  But I had already reformatted it!  Some advised using the HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool (HPUSBDisk.exe).  I closed down the Grub4DOS Installer and tried that.  I set it to do a quick format and not to create a DOS startup disk.  That did the trick; I was now able to go back in and select "Whole Disk" next to the Part List, as advised back in the Grub4DOS instructions.
  4. Unlike the situation above, the instructions this time advised checking the "Don't search floppy" box (but nothing else) and then clicking Install.  That succeeded.  I closed the Grub4DOS Installer.
  5. From the unzipped Grub4DOS download folder, I copied grldr to the USB drive.
  6. Skipping to section 3 of the instructions (since I wanted multiple ISOs on the USB drive), I ran Acronis True Image Home on the desktop computer, where I had installed it.  I went to the Main Screen > Create bootable media.  When I got to the Bootable Media Type Selection section, I chose ISO Image.  I saved it to the same folder on the hard drive where I had my GParted and other ISOs.
  7. I created menu.lst in that ISOs folder, so I'd have it in case I wanted to create another USB drive or retry with this one.  To create menu.lst, I started by copying and pasting this text into Notepad:
    timeout 10
    default 0

    title Acronis True Image Home 2011
    map --mem (hd0,0)/AcronisTrueImageHome2011.iso (hd32)
    map --hook
    chainloader (hd32)

    title CommandLine

    title Reboot

    title Halt
    The parts that could be edited were the title (Acronis True Image Home 2011), which could be anything I wanted, and the ISO's filename (AcronisTrueImageHome2011.iso), which had to match what I had actually called the ISO.  (Spaces in the ISO's filename would apparently have been a bad idea.)  I didn't change the (hd32) part of the "map" line.  The "--mem" part of the first "map" line was optional.  It apparently made the ISO load into RAM.  With 2GB of RAM on my Eee, I felt that I could do this with all of my ISOs.  If that had failed, I could have removed "--mem" from that line.
  8. I copied the finished menu.lst over to the root of the jump drive. So now the USB drive contained two files:  grldr and menu.lst.
  9. I copied the Acronis ISO over to the USB drive, so that menu.lst would be able to find it.  The instructions said I could have put it into a folder of its own, as long as the map command in menu.lst could find it (by referring to e.g., /subfolder/AcronisTrueImageHome2011.iso).
  10. While I was at it, I copied the other ISOs (GParted, Ubuntu, DBAN) as well.  I used the patched DBAN ISO mentioned above.
  11. I edited menu.lst so that it would include references to all four ISOs.  As just shown, it already had five lines referring to the Acronis ISO, beginning with "title."  So I copied, pasted, and edited those five lines for each of the other ISOs I wanted to boot.  Here, again, I was allowed to change only the title itself (e.g., changing "Acronis True Image Home 2011" in the copied "title" line to GParted, DBAN, or Ubuntu) and the name of the related ISO on the first "map" line.
  12. I changed the timeout from 10 to 20 seconds.
  13. Again, I made these changes to the copy of menu.lst that I had created in the ISOs folder on the hard drive, so that I would have a copy of it, and then copied it over to the jump drive.
I tried booting the resulting USB drive in the Eee.  It came up with a genuine menu.  First time around, it tried to boot Ubuntu automatically after 20 seconds' delay (that being the first item on my menu.lst), and failed.  Second time, I didn't let that happen; I arrowed down to Acronis (next item) and tried that.  That worked.  When I exited Acronis, it rebooted, and this time I tried DBAN.  That worked too.  Another reboot, another program:  GParted did not work.  It gave me a screenful of information, including this:
This Debian Live image failed to boot.
Please file a bug against the 'live-boot' package or email the Debian Live mailing list at, making sure to note the exact version, name and distribution of the image you were attempting to boot. . . .
Unable to find a medium containing a live file system.
BusyBox v.1.18.4 (Debian 1:1.18.4-1) built-in shell (ash)
Enter 'help' for a list of built-in commands.
/bin/sh: can't access tty; job control turned off
It seemed that the Ubuntu/Debian live images (Ubuntu 11.04 and GParted) were not working with Grub4DOS.  A search suggested that others were having this problem too.  One post suggested that changes involving "kernel" and "initrd" might help, but I was not sure how to configure them.  I wondered if the --mem option was screwing up the Linux items, so I edited menu.lst to remove that option from those items.  For GParted, that worked, to the point of giving me the initial menu, but then it led back to the BOOT FAILED! screen (above).  For Ubuntu, I wound up back at the same message as I had gotten first time -- similar to the one just quoted, but much briefer.  It said something about BusyBox but then said, "(initramfs) Unable to find a medium containing a live file system."

Grub4DOS:  Ubuntu

I was perhaps experiencing the problem that "Some linux distributions just refuse to boot from an ISO file on a USB drive."  Of course, Ubuntu could be booted from a USB stick; it was the ISO part that was causing the problem.  This was apparently "experimental."  It seemed that the "kernel" and "initrd" commands could be copied literally, at least for Ubuntu 10.10; I wasn't finding much advice for 11.04.  The approach shown in a couple of websites was like this:
title Ubuntu 10.10
find --set-root ubuntu-10.10-desktop-i386.iso
map ubuntu-10.10-desktop-i386.iso (0xff)
map --hook
root (0xff)
kernel /casper/vmlinuz file=/cdrom/preseed/ubuntu.seed boot=casper iso-scan/filename=ubuntu-10.10-desktop-i386.iso splash
initrd /casper/initrd.lz
I adjusted menu.lst to replace the previous Ubuntu entry with these lines, copied the Ubuntu 10.10 ISO to the USB drive, and tried that.  (Note:  the line beginning with kernel is long; it wraps.  The next line after "kernel ..." is "initrd ...")  This gave me "Error 60:  File for drive emulation must be in one contiguous disk area."  A search led to the advice to use either Contig or WinContig to defragment the ISO on the USB drive -- to defragment a single file, that is, not necessarily the whole drive.  I was curious whether this kind of separate tool was necessary.  In Windows Explorer, I right-clicked > Properties > Tools tab > Defragmentation.  I selected the USB drive and clicked "Defragment disk."  In seconds, it said, "0% fragmented."  I tried booting again.  Now it said "Error 15: File not found" for the Ubuntu 10.10 ISO.  I couldn't figure this out:  the file was right there.  I re-copied the ISO over from the hard drive to the USB drive and, this time, I defragmented it with WinContig.  It offered to run on the whole USB drive after all, so I went ahead with that.  Basically, I was wondering if there was some kind of magic about the WinContig way of defragmenting.  It took much longer than the Windows defragmenter had taken -- a couple of minutes, altogether, just for that little USB drive.  Eventually I realized that it was hung.  I tried to use Task Manager (Ctrl-Alt-Del) to kill it, but that didn't work.  I rebooted the system.

I tried booting the Eee again with the USB stick.  This time, I got "Error 27: Unrecognized command."  I thought that maybe the Ubuntu ISO could not be in the root folder, so I put it into a subfolder called ISOs, and modified the three references to it (in the menu.lst lines quoted above) accordingly.  (The final menu.lst is shown below.)  Since things were not going well, I went back and re-did the 13 steps listed above.  This time around, they were like this:
  1. Run the HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool on the USB drive.
  2. Run grubinst_gui.exe as Administrator.
  3. Copy grldr from the unzipped Grub4DOS download folder to the "MultiBoot" folder on the hard drive where I was saving everything that I would be copying to the USB drive.  That folder now contained grldr and menu.lst in its top level, and the ISOs in its "ISOs" folder.
  4. Copy the contents of the MultiBoot folder to the USB drive.
This time, we were back to the good old days, when the Ubuntu ISO would actually get as far as loading its splash screen and seeming like it was going to start.  Evidently it helped to start over and/or to put the ISO in a subfolder.  (I wondered whether properly ejecting the USB drive from the desktop, rather than just yanking it out, made a difference too.)  And then, woo hoo, we had liftoff!  Ubuntu was operational.  I fiddled with it for a minute.  Nautilus worked; Firefox worked.  Fantastic.  I quit Ubuntu and tried the other ISOs on the menu.  GParted, splash screen ... BOOT FAILED.  Rats.  Acronis:  Orbit!  Finally, DBAN:  no problem.

Grub4DOS:  GParted and Parted Magic

So how to make GParted work?  A search led eventually to some suggestions that Parted Magic (which evidently contained GParted among other things) or RIPLinuX (which evidently contained Parted Magic plus) might be the superior tool and easier to put on USB.  I was willing to use any of the above, as long as I could figure out how to put it on a multiboot USB -- preferably, at this point, using Grub4DOS.  I looked into Parted Magic, reasoning that, again, I probably wouldn't need all the stuff on RIPLinuX, and it might load slower.  The contemporary way to put Parted Magic on a USB stick by itself was to use Unetbootin.  But how to put it on a multiboot USB?  One webpage claimed that I could download and unzip a USB version, install its contents to the root of the USB drive, and it would run with a modification of menu.lst.  Sadly, that version was no longer available at the cited SourceForge link.  That webpage made similar claims for Memtest86+, BartPE, and UBCD, and I was tempted to experiment with those as well.  I found other webpages providing seemingly easy instructions for adding Hiren's BootCD and Memtest86+ as well.  Most tempting was the option of adding a Windows 7 Recovery CD.  I decided to return to these possibilities later, time permitting.

But continuing with the Parted Magic investigation, I began to find that I probably should have called the subfolder "images" rather than "ISOs" -- referring, there, to the folder on the USB drive where I had put the ISO downloads.  So I made that change in menu.lst and in the folder structure now.  Then I found a thread that seemed to offer a way to make Parted Magic 5.10 work with Grub4DOS.  I downloaded the ISO of that fairly recent version and put it into the images folder on the desktop computer.  I replaced the GParted lines of menu.lst; and when the Parted Magic 5.10 ISO was finished downloading, I opened it with 7zip, extracted the pmagic folder, and put that into the images folder as well -- because that's what they did in that thread, for what reason I had no idea.  I copied the revised contents of the MultiBoot folder on the hard drive to the USB drive and tried booting the Eee with it.  The Ubuntu ran (again); the Parted Magic ran too, though for a minute there I thought it was hung.  Apparently it was taking it a while to load itself into memory.  It really had a lot of tools in it -- not only GParted but also Ghost for Linux, Partition Image, etc.  I didn't think I would be needing much else in the near future.  This success with Parted Magic version 5.10 made it unnecessary for me to look further into other posts relating to versions 5.9, 5.8,, 5.5, 4.5, or 4.3.  Acronis still ran, and DBAN still ran.  I was nearly home.

Grub4DOS:  Windows 7 Recovery CD

That discovery (above) of the possibility of adding a Windows 7 Recovery CD to my multiboot USB stick was just too good to pass up.  The instructions said that I would need to start by downloading Microsoft's Windows 7 System Recovery Disc.  This gave me a small torrent link called "Windows 7 32-bit Repair Disc.torrent."  I had already installed uTorrentPortable, so I used that to run that link and download the 143MB recovery disc.  When that was downloaded, I had an ISO that, once again, I could mount as a virtual CD using Virtual Clone Drive.  I downloaded and ran WinSetupFromUSB.  It looked like this might be destructive of my hard-won success on the USB drive, so I did this with another, blank USB drive.

In WinSetupFromUSB, I clicked Refresh to see the correct USB drive.  I clicked the Bootice button.  A dialog popped up.  I selected Process MBR and then Grub4DOS and clicked Install/Config.  I checked "Don't search floppy for GRLDR" but otherwise left everything else as it was, and clicked "Save to disk."  That seemed to be the end of Bootice, so I backed out of there; but then the Bootice dialog returned.  I killed it again, and this time it stayed dead.  Back in the main WinSetupFromUSB dialog, I realized I was suffering from a dearth of guidance.  The webpage I had been loosely following really wasn't cutting it.  Back to the previous one.  It seemed I should have formatted the USB drive while I was in Bootice, so I did that now:  USB-HDD, single partition, FAT32.  Now redo the Process MBR - Grub4DOS step just mentioned.   Now, back in the WinSetupFromUSB dialog again, I clicked the Vista / Win7 option, navigated to the virtual CD drive, and clicked GO.  A minute later, it was done.  I clicked Test in QEMU > GO.  It said, "Windows is loading files ..."  That took a while.  Then QEMU produced a BSOD.  This, I decided, was a project for another day.  A worthy one, if it worked, but a whole new undertaking, by the time I got all these other tools (Parted Magic, Acronis, DBAN, Ubuntu) working on that other USB drive.


It seemed that WinSetupFromUSB might be a good place to start, for someone who was beginning a voyage of discovery, on the way to creating a multiboot USB drive, and had some time to spare.  WinSetupFromUSB allowed the same Grub4DOS tool that I had found useful in the approach I took.  My approach is summarized in the four steps enumerated above:  run the HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool on the USB drive; run grubinst_gui.exe as Administrator; copy grldr from the unzipped Grub4DOS download folder to the "MultiBoot" folder on the hard drive where I was saving everything that I would be copying to the USB drive; download the relevant ISOs to the "images" subfolder in that MultiBoot folder; and then copy the contents of the MultiBoot folder to the USB drive.  Those contents included the menu.lst file, which in the end looked like this:
timeout 20
default 0

title Ubuntu 10.10
find --set-root /images/ubuntu-10.10-desktop-i386.iso
map /images/ubuntu-10.10-desktop-i386.iso (0xff)
map --hook
root (0xff)
kernel /casper/vmlinuz file=/cdrom/preseed/ubuntu.seed boot=casper iso-scan/filename=/images/ubuntu-10.10-desktop-i386.iso splash
initrd /casper/initrd.lz

title Parted Magic 5.10
root (hd0,0)
map --heads=0 --sectors-per-track=0 (hd0,0)/images/pmagic-5.10.iso (0xff) || map --heads=0 --sectors-per-track=0 --mem (hd0,0)/images/pmagic-5.10.iso (0xff)
map --hook
chainloader (0xff)

title Acronis True Image Home 2011
map --mem (hd0,0)/images/AcronisTrueImageHome2011.iso (hd32)
map --hook
chainloader (hd32)

title Darik's Boot and Nuke
map --mem (hd0,0)/images/dban-2.2.6_i586-fixed.iso (hd32)
map --hook
chainloader (hd32)

title CommandLine

title Reboot

title Halt

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Windows 7: Video Programs Don't See the Camcorder

I was trying to download video from a digital video (DV) camcorder via Firewire (IEEE 1394) cable.  This particular camcorder had no USB option.  Unfortunately, the computer was not seeing the camcorder.  The device wasn't showing up in Windows Explorer, and my video editing program was reporting "No DV camera detected."  I ran a search and saw that others had a similar problem.  I'd had this problem previously, on Windows XP, but since then I had successfully downloaded video to this computer running Windows 7.  I wasn't sure why things had suddenly changed.  The solution, previously, had been to boot into Ubuntu and use dvgrab.  I no longer had an Ubuntu installation on this computer.  My exploration of alternatives led to the possibility of creating a custom Ubuntu boot CD, using Remastersys, to include dvgrab.  Before reaching that point, though, a look into Win7's Device Manager > Imaging Devices > right-click on the camcorder > Properties > General tab generated this error message:

Windows cannot start this hardware device because its configuration information (in the registry) is incomplete or damaged.  (Code 19)
That led to a different search.  Like others, I did get the Windows sound indicating that a device had been plugged in; I just didn't get recognition of the device.  I had tried uninstalling the item from Device Manager, on the theory that the camcorder should have been appearing in the "Sound, video and game controllers" section of Device Manager, not under "Imaging devices," but it came back as an imaging device again.  In Device Manager > right-click on the camcorder > Properties > Driver tab > Update Driver > Search automatically, I got the reply, "The best driver software for your device is already installed."  I thought maybe I could double-check that by visiting the camcorder manufacturer's website for the latest driver.  But now I wondered:  had I not completely uninstalled the Firewire driver in my previous try?  I also recognized, at this point, that I had not included a specific reference to "Code 19" (above) in my previous search, so I tried again.  A page at listed a number of troubleshooting steps.  One that I had not tried and that seemed especially relevant was to delete the UpperFilters and LowerFilters values in the registry via Start > type Regedit > HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class, as indicated in an tutorial.  At that location, as indicated by a table showing device class GUIDs, it seemed I was looking for the GUID for either "Imaging Devices" (which was where Device Manager was actually showing the camcorder) or for "Sound, video and game controllers" (which was where the other source, above, said the camcorder should have been appearing).  The GUID table did not have precisely those same options.  Instead, it had entries for Video Adapters, for the IEEE 1394 host controller, for Cameras and Scanners, and for Audio and Video Devices.  I decided to start with the IEEE 1394 host controller.  The table said the GUID for that was 6BDD1FC1-810F-11D0-BEC7-08002BE2092F.  I looked for that number under the Class registry location (above).  I found it and clicked on it.  The tutorial said that I should now see UpperFilters and LowerFilters values.  I didn't.  In that case, the tutorial said, this wasn't the right solution for me.  Just in case, I tried clicking on the Properties item under that GUID.  This produced an error:
Error Opening Key
Properties cannot be opened.
An error is preventing this key from being opened.
Details: Access is denied.
So, hmm, that could be either part of the same problem, or yet another problem.  I backed up and tried checking the GUID for Cameras and Scanners.  According to the table (above), that GUID was 6BDD1FC6-810F-11D0-BEC7-08002BE2092F, almost the same as the one just examined.  Under that one, I did see a LowerFilters entry, but nothing for UpperFilters.  The tutorial said that was OK, just delete whichever one did appear there.  So I clicked on the LowerFilters item and hit the Delete key.  I got a warning asking me to confirm, and noting that this could cause system instability.  I went with it and then, as advised, I closed down everything and rebooted.  Before rebooting, just for good measure, I right-clicked on the item in Device Manager that had the yellow triangle and black exclamation mark next to it -- that is, the camcorder entry under Imaging Devices (above) -- and selected uninstall.  On reboot, that returned there; but this time, its Properties reported, "This device is working properly."  I tried downloading video from the camcorder again.  This time it worked.

So the solution, for me, this time, was to delete the UpperFilters and/or LowerFilters keys in the registry and perhaps also to try again at deleting that erring entry in Device Manager, and then reboot.

With that solution in place, it became unnecessary for me to pursue other leads I had identified.  These included another guide to delete the necessary registry keys in Windows XP and Vista, complete with a script to do it automatically; a guide to delete a different registry key -- in Vista, but apparently also applicable to Windows 7, with an alternate eHow presentation

Monday, May 16, 2011

Recommended Firefox Extensions

This is a list of extensions that served me well in Firefox 3.  At this writing, I was just in the process of switching to Firefox 4, having allowed a bit of time for the worst of the early incompatibilities and bugs to sort themselves out.  I was not sure how many of these FF 3 extensions would persevere in FF 4.  But this was, anyway, my starting list of important extensions to try to perpetuate.

A fast way to view these extensions, incidentally, would be to install something like the Snap Links or Multi Links extensions, drag a right-click boundary around the following links, and allow them all to open in separate tabs.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

ASUS Eee PC: Windows 7, Acronis True Image Universal Restore, and Partitions

I put my laptop up for sale and got an ASUS Eee PC 1215T-MU17-SL.  Got it on sale for $359, reasoning that if inflation kicked in and/or the Japanese earthquake/tsunami damage affected equipment production, prices may not continue to drop as rapidly as they have in recent years.  Operationally speaking, the theory, not yet tested, was that I would be able to go running with this in my Deuter Speed Lite 20 backpack, and then just sit down and go to work, out in the woods or wherever.

First, I had to configure the Eee the way I wanted it.  Its hard drive, at around 300GB formatted, was big enough for a lot of material, but they had devoted 100GB to the Win7 Home Premium partition.  Then there was another 15GB partition, apparently containing a backup of the original Win7 installation, as well as a tiny program partition at the end.  It seemed advisable to squeeze out some disk space, if possible.

My plan for disk space was to start with a backup of the existing program partition, copied to an external USB drive in case everything went south.  I used Acronis True Image for this purpose.  I was able to get Acronis loaded onto a USB flash drive, which was necessary since (a) the Eee didn't have a CD/DVD drive and (b) I didn't have an external USB CD/DVD drive to connect to it.  I wasn't taking notes at the time, but in my recollection the process I used to get Acronis onto the thumb drive was, first, to install Acronis on a desktop and then use that program's Bootable Rescue Media Builder to install the program onto the USB drive.  If I hadn't already bought Acronis, I probably would have started with a highly rated freeware imaging program.  CNET listed several -- Easeus Todo, Macrium Reflect, and Paragon Backup & Recovery Advanced -- that would have been worth trying.  Getting them onto a USB drive might have entailed the use of Unetbootin or Universal USB Installer.  In all events, booting from a USB flash drive was a hassle:  the BIOS on the Eee would not reliably remember its previous settings, so that it was necessary to reset the BIOS to boot from the jump drive each time.  The essential first step, there, was to hold down F2 as soon as the machine started to boot.

I really wanted to move if not delete that 15GB original backup partition.  I'd be glad to keep an image of a virgin installation offline, on a hard drive on the desktop, where space was cheap; but in the field, if I was limited to one backup image, I'd prefer that it would be an image of the program drive in its current configuration.  In other words, if I had to restore Windows 7, I would ordinarily try first to restore from a drive image that included a fairly recent collection of the various programs and settings that I would be using from day to day.  And I wouldn't store this image in the middle of the hard drive; I'd put it on a partition at the end, where it would be out of the way.

I gathered, from various comments, that if you moved that backup partition, the machine would no longer be able to restore it quickly using the built-in backup setup.  I wasn't too concerned about that, but it was a thought to take into account.  I was also concerned that messing with the partitions would somehow invalidate the warranty.  I didn't explore that question extensively, but as far as I could tell at a brief glance, that was not the case.  So it seemed that I could go ahead and adjust the partitions to taste.

My first step, after making an image of the original installation, was to delete the drive C partition.  I did this with a copy of GParted, installed on a UHSB drive using Universal USB Installer (above).  That step gave me 100GB of unallocated space at the start of the drive.  Now, ideally, I would use the Universal Restore feature of Acronis Drive Image Plus Pack (my reason for buying an Acronis update) to restore a previous Windows 7 installation to what they called "dissimilar hardware."  That is, I wondered whether I could save myself a lot of program installation and tweaking time by restoring a copy of my desktop computer's Windows 7 installation to the Eee.  Apparently I'd have to either uninstall Win7 from the desktop or buy a second license if I wanted to use Win7 on both.  Either way, it seemed like it would be a lot easier to use the Acronis approach than to manually recreate all of the steps I had gone through to tweak my Win7 system the way I liked.  In my previous experiments with the Universal Restore capability, it had seemed that it would be crucial to obtain the drivers for the Eee's hard drive controller or chipset.  The Acronis procedure asked me whether I wanted to include such drivers but, alas, I was not able to detect exactly where the desired drivers were located.  I tried running the restore without them, but got this message:

Device driver 'PCI \VEN_1002&DEV_4391&SUBSYS_11171043&REV_00' for 'Windows 7' cannot be found.
The driver for the device cannot be found in the operating system or in the additionally specified drivers.
I tried searching my desktop computer and online for various forms of that specified driver, but no luck.   I clicked "Ignore" and got no further error messages, but also got a system that would not start.  It would get to the point of giving me a choice of booting into Safe Mode or Normal Mode, but neither went anywhere.  One problem was that I was working with current Eee drivers in the downloaded .exe format, whereas I was supposed to extract the .inf, .sys, or .oem drivers from those exes.  There seemed to be drivers for both the SATA and the chipset, with no explanation as to which I needed.  I decided to extract them both, put them into one folder on another USB drive, and let Acronis choose which one it needed.  But I really had no idea what to extract.  The SATA download, for instance, contained no files in any of those three formats.  It did contain two .cab files, but neither WinRAR nor 7zip was able to extract anything from them.  The Acronis forums seemed to contain a number of messages from frustrated users, but I thought I should probably post a question myself.  But I hated to burden the system with a question that had already been asked and answered, so I searched againOne thread advised that I should extract from the .exe, not from the .cab, so I tried that; but that, too, gave me the "not a supported archive" error in 7zip.  That was when I used the right-click 7zip option in Windows Explorer.  When I went at it from inside 7zip, the recommended "Open Inside" command did nothing.  Another post clarified that the single thing I most clearly needed was the driver for the hard drive controller -- but even then, it still sounded like I also needed chipset drivers.  HackerJoe in that same thread suggested that perhaps I should have installed the latest hard drive controller while I still had the system running, and then keep a copy of the C:\Windows\Inf folder and point Acronis to that.  Well, but at least I had an old copy of that folder, in the drive image that I had already made.  I hooked the backup drive to another computer, opened that image, and copied its C:\Windows\Inf folder to a new folder, INF, on the external drive.  I reconnected the external drive to the Eee, re-ran Acronis, pointed to that inf folder, and told it to restore both drive C and the MBR.  This time, it ended with a different error message:
File 'amdsata.sys', that is required for installation of device 'AMD SATA Controller (ID: AMD)' in Windows 7, cannot be found.
It seemed to me that this message should have come up during the first try, when I clicked "Ignore" instead of "Ignore All."  Anyway, a quick search on the desktop computer suggested that amdsata.sys came in different versions, but that for the last two years its size had not changed.  I added a copy of that file to the INF folder on the external USB drive and clicked Ignore.  Now I got another error:
File 'AtiPcie.sys', that is required for installation of device 'AMD PCI Express (3GIO) Filter Driver (ID: Advanced Micro Devices Inc)' in Windows 7, cannot be found.
I was grateful that, this time, I did get more than one error message, so as to remedy multiple problems before trying again.  On the other hand, I was concerned that a message relating to PCIE did not really seem to be relevant to the the hard disk controller -- that, in other words, the advice from Acronis to focus on the hard drive controller did not seem to cover the entire situation.  On the desktop machine, atipcie.sys was in C:\Windows\System32\drivers.  That was also where amdsata.sys (above) had been.  It seemed that I might be able to anticipate most if not all Universal Restore errors by adding the contents of that Drivers folder to the INF folder on the external drive.  I did that.  The INF folder now had 1,912 items, but they took only 146MB of disk space -- less, if I had deleted the subfolders contained within it, where I doubted the Acronis process would search.  Then it occurred to me that these desktop versions of these files -- of amdsata.sys, AtiPcie.sys, and so forth -- might not be what was needed on the Eee.  It seemed, in other words, that I should have copied C:\Windows\System32 from within the previous Acronis backup, not from the desktop.  So I went back, wiped out the INF folder, and did it over again, this time copying everything from the C:\Windows\Inf and C:\Windows\System32\drivers folders contained within the Acronis backup of the original Eee PC's drive C installation.

With that done, I clicked Ignore again. This time, it said, "Recover operation failed."  Before attempting another recover process, I tried booting the Eee in Safe Mode.  It got as far as listing AtiPcie.sys.  There, it stalled and, after a minute or so, it rebooted.  Seeing AtiPcie.sys at that location suggested that the list of .sys files shown when going into Safe Mode might be the complete list of what was needed in order to make the Acronis Universal Restore process work.  What I should have done, in that case, was to boot the Eee in Safe Mode in the first place (while I still had the original drive C partition), videotape the list of files that it was loading, and make sure those were present in the INF folder on the external drive.  But it seemed the list might change, and anyway it would take time to write it up and verify it, so I hoped this simple step of copying over these files from these folders would do the trick.  I went back into Acronis on the Eee, pointed toward the INF folder on the external drive as the source of drivers, and went through the steps of recovering the full Windows 7 installation from the desktop machine.  This time, I got "Recover operation succeeded" without any error messages.  So it appeared that the approach of pointing Acronis to a whole folder full of .inf and .sys files was on the right track.  I rebooted the Eee and got a "Starting Windows" screen.  Success!

Now there was a problem of making sure Windows 7 from the desktop was actually going to run.  It was trying to load all the things that the desktop version would load, and some of those were not relevant.  I restarted in Safe Mode by hitting F8 repeatedly as soon as it rebooted.  There, I went into Control Panel (using Small Icons, not Category view) and went into two different areas.  First, in Programs and Features, I uninstalled programs that I would not be using on the notebook (e.g., video editing).  Second, in Device Manager, I looked for inappropriate hardware.  The only item marked as dysfunctional was the ethernet device, probably because I had chosen Safe Mode without networking.  I rebooted into Normal Mode.  No, there was an Ethernet Controller problem here too.  I right-clicked and chose Uninstall.  Also, since there did not seem to be a need for the 15GB partition mentioned above, I went into GParted and deleted it, and also rearranged and added partitions as desired.  The desktop installation used one of these new partitions as drive X (called BACKROOM) to hold the paging file, caches, temporary internet files, and other items that did not need to be on drive C, where they would bloat any backup drive images I might make, so now I imitated that layout on the Eee.

Unfortunately, at this point I began running into problems.  It seems that my first step should have been to delete my user profile and create a new one, or perhaps to include some kind of generic or blank user profile before making the drive image that I was now restoring.  Win7 was trying to load all kinds of stuff that wasn't going to work, and many of its settings were wrong.  In both Normal and Safe modes, I wound up getting stymied by "Server execution failed" errors.  A search led to suggestions that the problem was due to the registry looking for partitions that did not yet exist -- that I had not yet had time to create or re-letter using diskmgmt.msc in the new installation.  That may have been related, also, to my attempt to set up a paging file on one of those other partitions before re-lettering it.  Specifically, the desktop machine had the drive X (BACKROOM) partition just mentioned, as well as an INSTALL partition as drive W, containing my customized Start Menu.

So I started again.  Second time around, restoring again from the Acronis backup of the desktop, I was back to getting the first error reported above:  "Device driver 'PCI \VEN_1002&DEV_4391&SUBSYS_11171043&REV_00' for 'Windows 7' cannot be found."  I wondered if this was because I had allowed the contents of the C:\Windows\inf folder, copied to the external USB drive, to be overwritten by the contents of the System32\drivers folder.  So now I connected the USB drive back to the desktop computer and copied just the inf folder to it.  That is, I did not again copy the drivers folder.  But this was not the solution:  I got the PCI device driver error again.  Puzzling!  After I clicked "Ignore" on that error, it again reported that the recovery operation had succeeded.  I tried to boot the machine into Safe Mode.  It stalled momentarily at the line referring to CLASSPNP.SYS and then restarted itself back to the boot menu.  Second time, I let it try to go into Normal Mode, but that failed too.  Same thing when I selected the Last Known Good Configuration option from the boot menu.  I verified that the INF folder did have a copy of Classpnp.sys.  It hadn't been bad previously.  A search led to the suggestions that this could involve a problem with hardware or a corrupted master boot record on the hard drive.  Someone at Microsoft suggested that Classpnp.sys problems could stem from many sources, including a corrupt registry or a missing or damaged system file or device driver.  It occurred to me that, of course, I had been rewriting the external USB drive with the contents of the inf and drivers folders on the desktop PC, not from the backup of the Eee.  In other words, I had deleted the INF folder, thinking I wouldn't be needing it anymore, and now that I did need it, I had been recreating it the wrong way.  Dumb mistake.  I started over, making sure this time to populate the INF folder on the external drive with drivers and system files from the Acronis backup of the original Eee installation.  I copied both of those folders to the INF folder at the same time, paying no attention as to which would overwrite which.  I tried again with Acronis.  This time, I did something a little different from before.  I had not previously noticed the Options option in Acronis, but now I selected "Validate backup archive before recovery" and "Reboot the computer automatically if needed for the recovery."  But as I saw after five or ten minutes, the validation step was going to take an estimated hour or more, so I clicked Cancel and tried again without that option.  I had already validated the backup when I had made it, so that step did not seem vital.

This time, the recovery process was successful.  Now I had to see about a more cautious way of proceeding.  It seemed that the first task was to create those drives W and X, before something in the registry could try to refer to them and get itself confused.  I wondered if the DISKPART command-line tool would provide a solution.  A search led to a Microsoft webpage telling me basically to go to Start > Run > cmd, here on the desktop machine, and type "diskpart" and then "commands."  The information provided there wasn't very helpful, so I tried a search and concluded that the sequence was, first, to type "diskpart" to get to the DISKPART prompt, and then use LIST and SELECT commands to find the right partition, and then use ASSIGN commands to assign the drive letters.  So the sequence I actually used, after booting up my new Win7 reinstallation (and now it did boot), was to start by ignoring error messages produced by Win7's attempt to identify all the ways in which this Eee PC is so different from the desktop machine where the Acronis drive image came from.  Instead, when the hard drive mostly stops searching, go directly to Start > Run > cmd > DISKPART.  Doing this, while there was still an hourglass prompt, gave me a message, "Windows Explorer is not responding."  I opted to close the program.  The keyboard would not let me type "cmd" -- it was giving me "c0d" instead -- but fortunately there was a drop-down cmd option.  Apparently the installation remembered that I had run cmd on the desktop machine.  So I arrowed down and hit Enter on that.  But this was no solution:  it was not letting me type "diskpart" at the command prompt either.  So now there seemed to be a choice between rebooting or trying to run diskmgmt.msc.

Rebooting seemed like sure death, so I tried Start > Run > diskmgmt.msc.  Here, again, the keyboard was noncompliant; the drop-down option saved me.  It hadn't worked to reletter INSTALL as W first, so this time I began with relettering BACKROOM as X.  That worked.  I was tempted to reboot now, but I thought maybe I should try to clean up as much as I could before taking the risk that the system might never wake up once I let it go to sleep.  The first step, I thought, would be to create a new Administrator profile.  I went into Start > Control Panel but, alas, "Server execution failed."  The keyboard was still noncompliant.  Stuck!  Rebooted into Safe Mode.  Attempts to get into Control Panel from the Start Menu produced "Server execution failed" error messages here too.  I tried to start Control Panel > User Accounts in a cmd box by typing nusrmgr.cpl.  The keyboard was still screwed up, so I tried typing it using ASCII codes:  hold down the Alt key, type the three-letter code, and then let go of the Alt key and repeat for each letter.  So, for instance, from the list of ASCII codes, I saw that the code for the letter U (the first one that was giving me trouble) was 117, so I hit Alt-117.  The Eee PC didn't have a separate numeric keypad (essential for this purpose), so I actually had to hold down Alt-FN and then use the double-purpose keys, which in this case happened to be jj7.  So it was Alt-FN-jj7 to get a "u" on the command line.  This ultimately gave me nusrmgr.cpl, but that wasn't the answer:  I got "nusrmgr.cpl is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file."  Another webpage made me think that what I should have been typing was "control.exe nusrmgr.cpl."  I tried that, using the Up arrow and the Home key to recycle the previous command instead of having to retype it.  The command worked, in the sense of giving me another "Server execution failed" error.

Drawing on another source, I tried typing lusrmgr.msc at the prompt and, woo hoo!  that actually opened something.  Under "Local Users and Groups (Local)" I clicked on Users.  Then, from the menu, I selected Action > New User.  I created a new user, Admin2, and then closed out of that.  I right-clicked on Admin2 and went into Properties > Member of (because it only showed "Users") > Add > Advanced.  It defaulted to "Groups" as the object type, so I clicked on "Find Now" and selected Administrators > OK > OK.  Now I seemed to be seeing Administrators as a group that Admin2 was a member of.  In the General tab, I indicated "Password never expires" > Apply.  I restarted the computer in Safe Mode.  It went right in without asking for a password, so I figured I must have previously set Administrator to be the default login.  I went into Start > Shut Down (the little button next to it) > Switch User.  I logged in as Admin2.  No errors!  Control Panel available!  I went into Control Panel > User Accounts > Change your account type.  It wouldn't let me change Admin2 to be an administrator.  I went to Start > Run > controluserpasswords2.  There wasn't actually a Run option, and that command yielded nothing in the search box.  I switched back to Administrator account and tried controluserpasswords2 there.  Ultimately, I wound up back in the Local Users and Groups dialog.  This time, I decided to make Admin2 have the same groups as Administrator, so I used the same procedures to designate Admin2 a member of Administrators, Debugger Users, and HomeUsers, but not of just plain Users.  Then I tried deleting Administrator.  It wouldn't let me delete a built-in account.  I switched into Admin2 and remembered that I could use Start > cmd even if I couldn't use Start > Run.  So in cmd I typed "controluserpasswords2."  But that didn't work either.  David Candy said the command-line equivalent of controluserpasswords2 was "rundll32.exe netplwiz.dll,UsersRunDll." He was right.  There, in the Users tab, I clicked "Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer." That ungreyed the "Properties" option for Admin2, where the Group Membership tab gave me an option to name Admin2 as an Administrator.  Apparently the previous attempt to do that hadn't worked, but now I selected that and went Apply > OK and then unchecked that same "Users must enter a user name and password" option.  Then Apply > OK > logoff.  Now it asked me who I wanted to log in as.  So I wouldn't be automatically out of luck if the Administrator account went south.  I rebooted into Normal Mode and logged in as Admin2.  Still good, but now it was logging that user in automatically.  Turns out I was using the wrong command:  I should have been typing "control userpasswords2" as two words, not one.  OK, so it worked now.  I didn't really want to have to construct a whole new Admin2 account, so I thought I'd try again to fix the Administrator account, now that I was confident that the machine would probably work for me in some sense even if that particular account was fubar.  I logged in as Administrator.  But attempts to do anything still gave me "Server execution failed."

It occurred to me that possibly I could help the situation by going into Task Manager (Ctrl-Alt-Del) and killing programs that might be causing related difficulties.  I basically closed every program that was shown with the Administrator (as distinct from SYSTEM or Admin2) user, except for taskmgr.exe itself.  Then I restarted a session of explorer.exe (using File > New Task right there in Task Manager) and tried again to get into Control Panel.  I still got "Server execution failed."   I could have proceeded on to close system programs in Task Manager, but the situation seemed futile.

In short, I had made some progress and had learned some things, but in the end I had not achieved a superior result over the default installation on the ASUS Eee PC.  It would have been, and was going to be, faster and more reliable to start with the pre-installed Windows 7 on the Eee and build a new user profile -- a copy of the built-in Administrator account, it seemed -- than to attempt to bring one over from the existing desktop computer's Windows 7 installation.  I restored the original Win7 installation to the Eee, arranged my partitions to suit, and began painfully working through the tweaks that I had developed on the desktop computer.  This process, on the Eee, is described in another post.

ASUS Eee PC: Windows 7 Tweaks: First Cut

As described in a previous post, I had altered partitions on an ASUS Eee PC, and had tried to replace its factory installation of Windows 7 Home Premium with a copy of Windows 7 Ultimate that I had installed on a desktop computer.  The reason was that, as detailed in a series of previous posts, I had tweaked that desktop installation in a number of ways, and I didn't want to have to do that all again manually.  But while I appreciated the advantages of Windows 7 over Ubuntu, in this particular regard Ubuntu installation was vastly superior:  you could preserve your customizations when you upgraded your operating system or installed it on a new computer.

But this was the reality of Windows 7, and there seemed to be no alternative at this point but to bite the bullet and plod through the re-doing of all those tweaks -- or, more precisely, of the tweaks that would be useful for the Eee.  My particular model was the ASUS Eee PC 1215T-MU17-SL.  The manufacturer's webpage reported that it had an Athlon II Neo K125 1.7GHz single-core processor, so it is not as though I expected to be doing video editing on it.

My first step was to set up the partitions as I wanted.  I had already started this process.  I had bought Acronis True Image Home 2011 partly to experiment with its Universal Restore feature, which was allegedly able to restore to dissimilar hardware; but as noted in the previous post, that had not worked.  If I were starting over, I would have replaced Acronis with one of the several positively rated freeware drive imaging programs mentioned near the start of the previous post; I would have used one of those programs, as I had used Acronis, to make a backup image of the Eee's factory Win7 installation; I would have used GParted (since I was able to get it to boot from a USB drive, as described in that previous post; my Eee did not have a CD/DVD drive) to arrange partitions; and then I would have restored the factory Win7 installation using that same imaging program.

At the start of this present post, I had just used Acronis to restore the factory Win7 installation, and was now ready to start tweaking.  There was, however, a slight problem.  The Acronis restore had gone without a hitch, but now Win7 was extremely slow in starting up.  In its first boot after restoring it, I found that it took the system perhaps an hour to show the taskbar.  At that point, it gave me an error message:  "The Recycle Bin on F:\ is corrupted.  Do you want to empty the Recycle Bin for this drive?"  I said yes.  Then I rebooted into Safe Mode.  It functioned well there.  Back in Normal Mode, it now seemed to be better.  I proceeded with my tweaking.  In this first cut on the Eee, I was combining notes from several previous posts with the unique Eee environment, so I took the following steps as listed.  I expect that subsequent installations, and any accompanying blog posts, will be more organized.  That said, the basic process succeeded.  The steps are as follows:

  • Create and label partitions using GParted (already done).  Drive C (which I labeled as PROGRAMS):  70GB.  Drive D (DATA):  150GB.  Drive W (INSTALL) (purpose explained below):  18GB.  Drive X (BACKROOM):  60GB.  Drive letters were installed via Win7's Start > Run > diskmgmt.msc or via Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Computer Management > Storage > Disk Management > right-click on drives and change letters.
  • Apparently Win7 Home defaulted to having the user run as Administrator, or possibly I had already changed that in Start > cmd > control userpasswords2.  It was thus not necessary for me to delete all other accounts and insure that I was running as Administrator.  This step was based on the conclusion that aspects of the Windows security system were largely effective in preventing me from getting work done when the need was most urgent.
  • In like spirit, to turn off User Account Control (UAC) I went into Start > type "UAC" > pull the slider to the bottom > OK > reboot.
  • I ran the Win7NewInstall.bat and Win7RegEdit.reg files that automated a number of tweaks.  This time around, these files did not run perfectly.  I would have to revise them at some point.  They did seem to have achieved what I needed at this point.
  • With that done, I now had a "Take Ownership" right-click context menu option in Windows Explorer.  I right-clicked on the top-level folders, for each drive in my system, and selected that Take Ownership option.
  • Enable the computer to download updates and defragment itself overnight without beeping or going to sleep when the lid was closed.  Start > Control Panel > Power Options > Balanced Power Plan > Change plan settings > Advanced.  Also FN > F10 to mute speaker.
  • Install router software.  This would ordinarily need to be done at this point.  My router was unavailable at the moment, so I actually did this step later (see below).
  • Start > Control Panel > Windows Update > install updates.  Keep rechecking and reinstalling until there were no more.  Also, change settings so updates were downloaded but not installed, so as to avoid nag screens and unintended reboots for newly installed updates.  Right-click on unwanted updates to get an option to hide them.
  • Install updates from the ASUS website.  When attempting to install the AHCI SATA driver, I got an error:  "This computer does not meet the minimum requirements for installing the software."  I started to update the BIOS using the downloaded BIOS Updater but then thought better of it; the system seemed to be running OK without it, and there were dangers in that process.  The (Atheros) Wireless LAN Driver identified a previous installation, and offered to update it; but I suspected this was a reference to the Broadcom (below), which was working OK, so I didn't proceed with that.  Other downloads were likewise already installed, either from the updates or from the factory, including the ASUS Update Utility, the CapsHook Utility, parts of the Chipset Driver, the ECam Utility, the Atheros LAN Driver, the Super Hybrid Engine Utility, the Update Install Program, and the (Broadcom) Wireless LAN Driver NB047.  In the end, I wound up installing only the Audio Driver, parts of the Chipset Driver, the Elantech Touchpad Driver, the KB Filter Utility, and the Synaptics Pointing Device Driver.  Then I went through Control Panel > Windows Update again, to see if these installations themselves had been updated since I had downloaded them.
  • Start > type "Disk Defragmenter." Set schedule to run in the daytime, when the Eee was likely to be on; set it to run daily, so it would interrupt me only briefly, in a series of small tasks, rather than in a large weekly one.
  • Set up the SDHC memory card that I  plugged into the SDHC slot (left side of Eee) for ReadyBoost.  Rather than rely on ReadyBoost, far better performance improvements would come from having a 7200 RPM drive and 4GB of RAM (or more, if running 64-bit Windows 7).  I did not plan to upgrade from the Eee's 5400 RPM, 2GB factory installation, so it seemed ReadyBoost (apparently much improved over Vista's version) might help, though perhaps only slightly.  At least there did not seem to be much risk that it would do any harm.  I had no other use for the SDHC slot at this time, and did have a spare SDHC card (though not the largest or fastest available).  To set up ReadyBoost, I went into Windows Explorer > right-click on the SDHC card (formatted as exFAT for performance) > Properties > ReadyBoost tab > Dedicate this device to ReadyBoost.  (Possibly something like the Windows Experience Index or the ReadyBoost Monitor would have clarified the actual benefit of this step for me.)
  • Bring over the customized Start Menu from the desktop machine.  As described in more detail in another post, I had created a Start Menu that combined the usual shortcuts (i.e., links to installed programs) with the full contents of portable programs.  In other words, going into this Start Menu, I might encounter a link to program files installed on drive C, or I might encounter the actual executable program (in the case of a portable program).  Where possible, I opted for portables, so as to reduce the numbers of programs to install on a new system.  I copied this customized Start Menu into its own folder on drive W (INSTALL).  Other copied-over folders on drive W included Technical (containing PDFs and other user guides and reference works), Saved Settings (for e.g., Firefox extensions that allowed configuration and then exporting of the configuration file for backup purposes) and Installed Programs (arranged in sequentially numbered folders (e.g., "01 Motherboard Drivers"), so that I would know which ones to install first on a new system).
  • Set Windows to create a System Restore Point every day.  The instructions were to download the Instant_Restore_Point.vbs script, whose contents were as follows:
  • If WScript.Arguments.Count = 0 Then
    Set objShell = CreateObject("Shell.Application") objShell.ShellExecute "wscript.exe", Chr(34) & WScript.ScriptFullName & Chr(34) & " Run", , "runas", 1
    GetObject("winmgmts:\\.\root\default:Systemrestore").CreateRestorePoint "Instant Restore Point", 0, 100
    End If
    and put that script into C:\Program Files, and then call that script from within Task Scheduler.  For that last step, I went into Start Menu > Run > taskschd.msc > Actions pane (on the right side) > Create Task.  In the General tab, I called it Daily System Restore Point, clicked "Run with highest privileges," and said "Configure for Windows 7."  In the Triggers tab, I set New > Daily > 3 PM.  In the Actions tab, I clicked New > Browse > C:\Program Files\Instant_Restore_Point.vbs.  That writeup was how it looked on the desktop computer; to achieve all of those steps on the Eee, I had to open Properties at the end.
  • Adjust Windows Explorer.  Organize > Layout > turn on Menu Bar and Details view.  Tools > Folder Options > General tab > turn on both Navigation Pane items.  In the View tab, show hidden files, empty drives, extensions, protected operating system files; launch folder windows in a separate process.
  • Right-click the Recycle Bin icon on the desktop > Properties > uncheck "Display delete confirmation dialog."
  • To make Windows remember size and position of a window, I found two solutions mentioned near the end of a very long thread on the subject.  What worked for me:  right-click on the title (top) bar of a Window.  Choose "Size."  Drag the window and its edges around.  Even if it's exactly where you want it, move it somewhere else and then back, all in one motion.  Then click on the top right X to close the window.  If that technique hadn't worked, I would have gone on to try ShellFolderFix.
It appears that I should have begun with a tour of Control Panel (Small Icons view), since some of the adjustments that I would have made during this tour were necessary for other steps (above).  Regardless, I took that tour now, making a number of changes:
  • Action Center:  I had already set my Windows Update settings.
  • Administrative Tools:  drive letters already changed (above).
  • AutoPlay:  turned off for all devices.  Defaults set to "Take no action" for all items except audio and video CDs and DVDs.
  • Backup and Restore:  not used.
  • Device Manager:  check any items showing exclamation marks in yellow triangles.  I had one next to Teredo Tunneling Pseudo-Interface.  Right-click > Update Driver Software did nothing.  A search led to the suggestion to right-click > Uninstall > reboot.  It did not come back.  I did not seem to need it.
  • Display:  experiment with small and medium text size.
  • Folder Options:  settings already described in "Adjust Windows Explorer" item (above).
  • Indexing Options:  do not index anything.
  • Internet Options:  best done by starting Internet Explorer.  There, open all desired home webpages in separate tabs, signing into each as needed.  Then, in Tools > Internet options > General tab > Home Page > Use current.  Also in General tab:  Browsing history > Settings > Move folder > drive X (BACKROOM).  Also in General tab:  Search > Settings > adjust as desired.  Also in General tab:  Tabs > Settings > adjust as desired.  Next, Security tab > Custom Level > Scripting section (near the bottom) > Allow programmatic clipboard access > Enable.  Then I navigated to and played a video, so as to trigger the process of installing Adobe Flash Player if needed.
  • Notification Area Icons:  Check "Always show all icons and notifications on the taskbar."
  • Personalization:  Windows Classic theme.  The Home version of Win7 did not seem to allow the further options of Windows 7 Ultimate to go into Window Color > Adjust at least Active Title Bar, Inactive Title Bar, Menu, and Desktop.
  • Power Options:  already changed (above).
  • Programs and Features:  Turn Windows features on or off.  Features to turn off:  Games, Indexing Service, Tablet PC Components, Windows Gadget Platform.
  • System:  Windows Activation > Activate.  System Protection > Hardware tab > Device Installation Settings > Yes, do this automatically.  Advanced tab > Performance > Settings > Advanced > Change > Uncheck automatically manage paging file size for all drivers and set No Paging File for all drives, with one exception:  set a paging file of 2000 MB (minimum) to 4000 MB (or more) (maximum) on drive X (BACKROOM), where it will not be added to any backups.  (It is necessary to click the Set button after each change.  After exiting this part, go back in to see if amounts recommended or allocated have changed.)  System Protection tab > Configure > adjust Disk Space Usage as needed.
  • Taskbar and Start Menu:  Start Menu tab > Customize.  Adjust various items to taste.  Turn on Run command.  Save and close.
  • User Accounts:  see above.
  • Windows Defender:  turn on.
  • Windows Firewall:  verify that it's on.
  • Windows Update:  after installing desired updates, highlight all unwanted updates (e.g., foreign language packs, right-click, and select "Hide updates." 
I then began to install programs, working down through the list of executables that I had saved in the Installed Programs folder (above).  I almost always installed to the default location.  Doing so meant that the shortcut to this program, contained in the customized Start Menu, would come alive (i.e., would detect the existence of its corresponding executable.  In other words, the icon associated with that shortcut would take on color and shape when it became operational.  So then it would be easier to prune the Start Menu to remove nonworking or unneeded shortcuts, or to detect a reminder that I had not yet installed some program.  The programs I installed were as follows:
  • Google Chrome.  Fast alternative browser.  Also installed recommended extensions by going into Chrome's Tools > Options > Personal Stuff > Sync.
  • Microsoft Security Essentials (already installed along with other downloads, above).
  • Router and printer software (when such hardware was available to connect to the Eee).
  • Classic Shell.  Provided a Windows XP style Start Menu appearance.  After installing this, I right-clicked on the Start button > Settings to configure this appearance.
  • Ultimate Windows Tweaker.  In this utility, I selected Additional Tweaks > Show "Open Command Window Here."  I also selected the Show "Take Ownership" option for drives and used it to re-run the ownership step described above, so that ownership would extend to new folders on those drives.  I also set a number of other items while I was there, making sure to click Apply and then Restart Later before changing to the next tab; and then I actually did restart the system after finishing with those tweaks.
  • LockHunter.  This very useful bit of freeware would unlock files and drives that did not seem to be in use, but that Windows would nonetheless refuse to move or delete.
  • QuickTime, needed by some other programs.
  • Shellstyle.dll.  I had acquired this file, with instructions to myself to put it into C:\Windows\System32.  My previous notes did not explain its purpose.  But I complied with my self-command.  Despite taking ownership of the System32 folder, I still had to take ownership of the Shellstyle.dll file within it, in order to replace it with this other Shellstyle.dll file.
  • Adobe Acrobat 8 Professional.  There were many apparently good freeware or cheapware PDF editing alternatives, but I already had this one.
  • Beyond Compare.  At this point, there were apparently good freeware file comparison tools, but perhaps not many as good.  Anyway, here too, I had already purchased a license and had gotten familiar with how BC worked, so I just went with that.  The purpose of this program was to see how data on the hard drive might differ from data on a backup drive or other source, rather than just assuming that the backup software or copying procedures were doing the job right.
  • Bullzip PDF Printer.  Actually my default PDF printer, despite having Acrobat.  Simple, fast, reliable.
  • WinHlp32.exe.  Enabled old Windows XP (and earlier) program help files to run in Win7.
  • Cool Edit 2000.  For audio editing.  Not available anymore:  bought up by Adobe.  Audacity was a good freeware alternative.
  • Copernic Desktop Search.  For my purposes, this was the best program for searching file contents.  Configured to store cache on drive X (BACKROOM).  Complemented by Everything (below) for fast filename searches.  A potentially burdensome program, but essential for my purposes.
  • Firefox and recommended extensions and preferred themes (Modern Modoki, Office Black, and Past Modern for me, though these were not all available in Firefox 4).  One adjustment:  I didn't use Tabgroups Manager on the Eee because it took up too much space.
  • Microsoft Office 2003.  The Eee came with Office Starter 2010 preinstalled, and with ads to purchase the full version, so I felt confident that it could handle the copy I already had.  The option to check for updates after installation no longer worked, but Windows Update through Control Panel did, though it took several rounds of checking for updates to get them all.  I ran the Office 2003 Save My Settings Wizard to restore previously saved settings.  These, like the settings for some Firefox add-ons (above), were saved in a Saved Settings folder on the INSTALL drive (X).  I also ran the Auto-Correct macro to restore Autocorrect entries.
  • Freeware PDF Unlocker.  Primarily because some PDF authors put security on their PDFs that prevented me from adding a note indicating where I got the document, and other information needed for academic citations.  Also Systools PDF Unlocker, for the same reason, though what I got was a demo version; I hadn't used it and wasn't sure how effective it would be.
  • Glary Registry Repair.  I put a link to this in my Start Menu > Programs > Startup folder so that it would start automatically whenever I started the computer.  In perhaps a year's use, it had seemed to be a highly rated, non-destructive registry cleaner.
  • Google Earth.  I expected it to be handy out on the road, but was worried that it would impose a serious load on this little computer.  In a test run, though, it did surprisingly well.
  • ImgBurn.  Reliable CD/DVD burning program.
  • iRotate.  To allow easy access (in system tray) to screen rotation, for reading etc.
  • Oxelon Media Converter and Plugins.  Context-menu conversion of many audio and video formats.
  • Recuva.  Undeleter.
  • Skype.  For free or inexpensive telephone service.
  • TClockEx.  To provide customized date and time readout in the system tray.  My preferred format:  ddd, MM d, yyyy - h:mm:ss tt
  • TweakNow PowerPack 2010.  I had previously used it for tweaks that now seemed to be done in other ways.  I decided to keep it as a backup cleaner and general-purpose utility.  I enabled the Virtual Desktop option for purposes of experimentation on the Eee.
  • WinRAR.  I had 7zip as a portable, but was beginning to like this more than that.  Its warnings said it was only good for 40 days, and I hadn't yet been using it that long, so I wasn't sure what would happen at that point.  But it sure did have a lot of people downloading it.
  • SetFileDate.  Handy self-explanatory utility.
  • Easeus Todo Backup.  There wasn't much space to work with, but I thought at least I could schedule a daily incremental backup of changed files from drive D (DATA) to a specified folder on drive X (BACKROOM).
  • BinManager
  • CesarFTP.  Highly regarded FTP server.  Just in case I needed it.
  • I started to install software for my digital camera and other hardware from which I might want to download files on the road.  Then I realized that I might be able to see and download their contents in Windows Explorer, without installing their sometimes bloated, sometimes frustrating user software.  I decided to proceed with these as needed.  I set up a "Programs to Install Maybe" folder and put this stuff there.  Likewise the Microsoft Visual Basic 5 Runtime:  I wasn't sure any of my installed software would require it.
  • Revo Uninstaller.  I installed this hesitantly.  I had almost never used it.  Then, recently, I had used it to uninstall a program.  It uninstalled more than that program.  Too aggressive.  It seemed wiser, most times, to use the Win7 build-in uninstaller (in Control Panel > Programs and Features, followed by a reboot and a scan with Glary Regisry Repair (above).  But I decided to install Revo anyway, just in case.
  • Shortcuts to copy into C:\Windows.  As noted in a comment following a previous post, I had discovered that putting shortcuts to programs would make them available for easy reference in batch files.
I also had to uninstall a few programs in Control Panel > Programs and Features.  These included:
  • Adobe Reader, which must have been pre-installed by ASUS.  I didn't need it, with Acrobat installed.  The attempt to uninstall gave me "Error 2203 Database."  I tried again, and this time it worked.
  • AsusScreensaver.  This was one of a number of things that ASUS installed.  It really wasn't hurting me; I just wanted fewer items in Programs and Features, plus whatever extra disk space and fewer things that could possibly go wrong.  Ditto ScreenSaverPatch, ASUS VibeGame Park Console, Chicken Invaders 2, OOBeRegBackup, Skype Toolbars, Windows Live Essentials, and Windows Live Sync.
  • Live Essentials did not want to uninstall.  Likewise for Bing Bar.  When I tried to uninstall it, I got "Error.  We can't remove the Bing Bar right now.  Try to uninstall later."  I got that again later.  I rebooted and tried again.  That didn't work either.  I rebooted into Safe Mode to try to delete these troublesome items there.  But I couldn't get into Safe Mode:  I got a BSOD (Blue Screen of Death), with a message about eubkmon.sys.  Oops.  It seemed I had uninstalled something that I shouldn't have uninstalled.  I've described that repair process in another post.  The essence of it was that I fixed that problem by uninstalling Easeus Todo Backup and renaming a related .sys file.  Unfortunately, even when I was finally able to get into Safe Mode, I couldn't uninstall Bing Bar; I got the same message as before.  I tried Live Essentials, leaving Messenger and Mail and just uninstalling the other parts.  That didn't work either.  Following a thread that contained several suggestions, I rebooted into Normal Mode and went into both Firefox > Tools > Add-ons and Internet Explorer (IE) > Tools > Manage Add-ons > Search Providers and removed Bing if I found it in either such location.  That, sadly, was not the answer; I still couldn't uninstall it.  Another suggestion in that thread was to make sure I had another search provider installed in IE, but in this case Google was the only search provider I had installed.  Another post offered a registry hack that I could just run on faith.  I did.  It didn't help.  For the time being, I was stuck with Live Essentials and Bing Bar.
  • Boingo Wi-Fi.  There seemed to be a lot of complaints about Boingo.  The idea seemed to be that they would try to sign me up for their wi-fi even in free locations, and that it would be hard to discontinue their service if I wished.  When I tried to uninstall it, I got "The feature you are trying to use is on a network resource that is unavailable" and "The installation source for this product is not available."  Taking a chance, I just deleted C:\Program Files\Boingo and ran Glary Registry Repair.
These changes put me in good shape for most of the things I needed or wanted to do on the Eee.