Blinking Cursor after Fresh Win7 Install : Solved

black-screen-with-flashing-blinking-cursor

The issue was the install was not replacing the GRUB loader correctly on the HD, even though the install process should have been…. heres the story and fix.

I replaced a hard drive in a computer, and tried to install windows 7pro 64 on it. The install copied/expanded files and did its thing… however after it rebooted to finish the last piece of the install… i saw the manf. splash screen as expected, then it just went to a black screen blinking cursor… for ever

~~In before you say did you…
-made sure the DVD was out
-rebooted multiple times
-made sure bios boot order was to HD first
-reinstalled OS again, deleting partitions and fresh formatting
-tryed F8 to boot into safe mode after install… nothing

So then I figured out if I hit F12 as prompted to change the boot order I saw the HD, DVD, etc… but also windows boot manager… if I did that it finished the last leg of the install… .but upon further reboots it does the same thing… so overtime I rebooted I had to make sure I hit F12 and select windows boot manager.

Technically thats a fix, but its not very user friendly, especially when you power it up and forget to hit that.. The issue was the GRUB loader on disk was not being overwritten correctly, so I did some more digging on the inter webs and found you can manually scrub the GRUB loader during install, and that worked….

The fix required me to reinstall again… but whatever at this point… what’s one more wipe and install

-boot from DVD/CD and start reinstall of windows process.
-@ the second install window hit Shift+F10 to get cmd prompt
-type the following commands… waiting for each one to complete before you go to the next.
diskpart
list disk
select disk 0
 <– if only one drive
clean
exit
exit

I then went through the rest of the install and the fist worked.

Although, i should mention I also did not partition / format the drive this time though. The command above deletes all portions, and this time I just selected the unpartitioned space for the install and let windows auto create the portions it needed .

If your here reading this… hope the fix works for you.

Microsoft Virtual CD Drive… it exists

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Ever download an .Iso image file of a CD… sometimes manufacturers provide these “virtual CD” files with instructions on how to pop in a blank CD so you can write the file to the CD for use…

well you actually can skip that step and mount it directly in a virtual CD drive… eliminating the time to burn and wasting a blank CD. You could always do this with virtual drives, I often used Virtual Clone Drive, but found out today that Microsoft actually makes one available as an update to the operating system of windows XP, Vista, and 7.

I haven’t used it yet personally, but found it looking for something else on Microsofts website… you can download it here… I probably will at some point.

 

How do I get NCARB software on my computer

practice_software

How… Easy… just go to the NCARB site and download and install it… oh wait… you get some 64bit errors?… it’s only compatible with windows XP or other 32bit operating systems?… and your computer is post 1984 and/or even a Mac… bummer.

Well, actually… fret not as you have two options (…if you have internet where you study).

Option #1 | Pay NCARB more money than you already do,  and add their “cloud based” practice software. Technically, a virtual machine running windows XP somewhere in the world and the NCARB practice software pre-installed on it. If you do this option to get the testing software, your essentially  paying for remote access through the internet to this virtual machine they assign you somewhere in the world so you can use their practice testing software. Its the easiest option to getting the NCARB software installed but its $10 a year, and you will not be able to modify / install any alternate tests you see on various websites or ARE study forums.

Option #2 | Install your own virtual machine on your Mac OS or Windows 7 or 8 that runs Windows XP 32bit in the background, and once thats up and running you can install the NCARB practice software til’ your heart’s content, add various alternate practice files, and even run it offline sans the internet in your cave or wherever you study that doesn’t have internet.

For those that don’t know, a virtual machine (or VM) is software that emulates another computer running in the background of the computer your actually sitting in front of. An example would be say your sitting in front of a computer running windows 7 (64bit), which is incompatible with the NCARB software. As an option you can setup and run a virtual windows XP computer that runs in the background. Once this winXP VM is running in the background you can install any software on it like it was its own little computer inside your computer… including the NCARB practice software running on it.

Check out how to install a VM of windows XP on a mac… post to follow, link will be updated

Check out how to install a VM of windows XP on a windows 64 bit machine… post to follow, link will be updated

MS office 2013 activation error

Screen Shot 2013-08-20 at 12.02.15 PMThis pissed me off.. but most computer things do now-a-days, as I don’t have the time to “fiddle with them”. Scroll to bottom to see solution.

Basically, I was getting an error 0xC004f017 or 0x80070005 every time I tried to activate a new office 2013 product at my office. They give you an alternative to online activation by calling an automated number, but its one of those voice activation bull shit systems that piss you off even more because it takes forever and a day longer than just entering some f’ing numbers quickly… As you can see… i’m still pisssed off after doing this to a few machines, until I finally sat down and figured out how to get the f’ing internet activation to work.

 

Solution: right click on word (or excel, or whatever office program) and select “Run As Administrator” 

It will launch the program as normal, and the activation menu will eventually pop-up as normal, but now it will not give you that error, and succeed in activating your office suite software.

how to RDP restart… with a mac keyboard

So I remote into various windows machines often… when I needed to remotely restart one after an install or driver setting I would simply do the ctrl+alt+end click trick… only problem now is my mac does not have an end button and I could not figure out the equivalent… but I did find this new trick which is just as easy… and actually a little easier in my opinion

 

1. Open a command terminal – Start menu run and type cmd or just type cmd in the  search program and files if you have windows Vista and later.

2. Type shutdown -r in the command line… hit enter and wait 30 seconds… you’ll get a message saying your about to log off and if you don’t click anything it will restart the machine.

note: make sure the -r is at the end of the shutdown -r command… without the -r your machine will simply shutdown… screwing you out of remote access until you or someone can get to the remote machine and physically power it back on.

 

 

 

How to add Additional 32bit Drivers on 64bit print server

I’ve had this problem with our print server in my office for a while and just figured out the solution…. and I’m sharing it here. Essentially when I share a printer on a network, I can not install additional 32bit (x86) drivers on my 64bit (x64) printer server. Every time I try to load the additional 32bit drivers on the printer… it error’s out. The solution I found out is you have to load the additional drivers on the server from a 32bit client… I’ll semi-spoon feed you if you still don’t understand, as admittedly i did not til’ I figured it out on my own… I’ll assume if you got to this page your semi-familure with sharing printers on a server and connecting them to clients.

THE TRICK…

Install the printer on your server…

Go to the printer properties by right clicking it in your devices…

Click the “sharing” tab, and at the bottom you will see the button “Additional Drivers”

—This is where you usually have problems… after clicking the x86 box and browsing to the 32bit drivers, it usually gives an error. If it doesn’t… then why are you still reading… if it does as continue

The solution is to now go to a 32 bit client and browse to your print server and double click to install the the printer… it will say it does not have the correct driver, and in which case should prompt you to install it manually. You should follow the prompts and manually install the driver, but just for this one machine… once its installed on the 32bit machine… from the 32 bit machine

Go to the printer and devices

Find the network printer shared by your print server you just installed…

Go to the printer properties by right clicking it in your devices…

Click the “sharing” tab, and at the bottom you will see the button “Additional Drivers”

— Now from the 32 bit client you should be able to push the 32bit drivers to the printer on the server. Now the next 32 bit client you want to install the printer on, you should be able to just double click the on the server’s shared printer and the 32bit drivers will automatically install like it does on the other 64bit machines.

 

_____UPDATE______

So I’ve gotton some emails and comments asking for step by step… i thought it was above, but after reading it I realize it is a bit confusing. I don’t have time to re-write the post above, but here are more or less the same step re-written that may help, or atleast be a little clearer.

Basically you can’t install 32 bit driver from the 64bit print server, but you can install it on the 64, map it to the 32, then from the 32 add (“push”) the 32 bit driver back to the server for future 32bit installs.

1. So what you have to do is install the printer mapped thru your 64bit print server on the 32 bit machine.
2. It will prompt something about not having correct drivers and you will have to manually locate and install them this once on the 32 bit.
3. Once the mapped printer is installed on the 32bit, goto printers -> printer properties -> Sharing Tab (at top) -> Addtional Drivers button (lower right of menu)
4. The Additional Drivers button will give you popup window… check off the x86 option and click OK.
5. After you click OK it will push the 32bit driver from the machine you just installed it on to the 64 bit server.
6. Now any future installs of this printer on 32 bit machines will go faster because the 32bit drivers were pushed to the 64bit server and it won’t prompt for a manual install of the 32bit drivers.

mirror volumes

Ever wonder what a volume mirror or drive mirror was?… or better yet wonder how do I backup my hard drive automatically?

Well Windows 7 has some cool features to setting up whats called a volume mirror really, really easily… which is what you want to do if your looking to automatically back up a hard drive… Doing this is also called Raid 1…

Essentially all you will need is another hard drive the same size or bigger than the one you want to back up…

1. Open up your computer case and install the additional hard drive as the instruction that came with it tell you.
2. Right click on the “my computer” icon either on the desktop or in the start menu… then click “manage” in the menu that pops up
3. Now go click on the “disk management” icon in the left hand menu and you should see all your disks available… including the new one you installed (probably black or olive in color) and the existing disk you want to backup (probably blue in color).
4. The Disks have to be “dynamic”… which you can do by right clicking on the disk# button and selecting “convert to dynamic disk”… follow the prompts until its converted.
5. Now you can click on the older existing drive with all your data on it (the one you want backed up that says D: or whatever letter) and select “add mirror” option from the right click menu.
6. Some menus will pop up and you should eventually see a menu and will probably see the new disk # you just installed as an option, which is what you want to select… it will then go about creating a mirror with that disk you selected.

and that is it… now all the data on that drive will be “mirrored” to the new drive… so if your main drive fails… you will not loose any data due to drive failure because you have the mirrored drive.

Some general notes:

  • Doing this will actually speed up your performance as well… because now when you tell your computer to access or execute a file on these drives it will have two hard drive needles (access points) to find it on your drives, rather than one access point to the file.
  • Both drives will show up as 1 drive letter in windows explorer/my computer. etc…
  • If the “add mirror” option is greyed or ggrayed or out, make sure the newer disk2 is larger in size… I had (2) 1 tb drives that i could not get this to work becuase one drive had 0.2 megs more than the new drive i wanted to back up too… if this is the case than just right clickthe original drive #1 and select “shrink volume”…follow the prompts  and make it a little smaller than the new drive that will be the backup… once its done the “add mirror” option should no longer be greyed out.
  • After you do this (depending on how big your drives are) the drive colors will be red as they are syncronizing… basically meaning windows  is automatically coping all your data to the new drive your backing up too… you should still be able to access all your files while it does this in the background.

Let me know if anyone has any questions or comments in the comments below.

how to get harmony remote out of safe mode

The Harmony remotes from Logitech are some of the best universal remotes available… when they work that is… I had some trouble with mine and I figured I would share how i got it working… scroll to the bottom of this post to get the answer without hearing my associated story and reason for having a harmony remote.

With today’s home enthusiasts array of various media devices hooked up to the TV a house can easily have 10 or more remotes for DVRs, game consoles, netflix enabled devices, cable boxes, BlueRay, etc… The only downside of them is the somewhat over simplified setup and their price, but once you get past that their activities buttons are god sends for grandparents that might be at your house alone watching your kids. If they want to watch TV… they hit the “watch TV” button… if they want to “watch a movie”… they hit the “watch a movie” button… after the initial setup the remote turns off and on the devices that need to be for that activity and changes and master buttons like play, pause, menu, etc… to the master device for that activity… easy as pie… when it works.

Today I was watching something on netflix, and after the show was over I grabbed the remote to see the screen at the top was blank… I just changed the batteries a couple of weeks ago, so I popped open the case removed and reloaded the batteries only to have the screen on the remote say “SAFE MODE”. No matter what buttons i pressed no command was issued to any devices.. not even power. So I hooked the remote to my computer to try and reload the software to it hoping that would fix the issue, but it only got to about 17% before giving me an error saying the software could not be updated.

This is the solution I came up with to get the remote out of “safe mode” and working again.
After some trial and error I came to the conclusions that I basically i needed to remove the batteries from the remote then plug it in to the computer. Then i started the Harmony Remote software, went to the top of the window and clicked on “Downloads”. Ten I clicked on “Firmware” and followed the prompts to update the remote firmware, then I clicked on the other button above that “software” and followed the promts to update the remotes software and all my device settings.Once that was done the remote was back to the way it was before i got the “SAFE MODE” error.

Hope this post helps if anyone is having trouble with their harmony remotes. Let me know in the comments.

How do I add a network folder to a Windows 7 library

Windows 7 has some neat little features… one of them is the libraries folders you can see on the left side bar when you open up windows explorer or my computer. You can set up your own too, but i kept getting an error when i wanted to add a folder that was on a network share on my home server.

…however I kept getting an error when trying to add my network shared folder about not being able to add “non-indexed” files. After doing some searches I kept getting stupid answers about making offline files… which is pointless on a machine with 320GB hard drive and a network folder over 2TB of pictures and movies on my server… I did find a few another solutions that did work though and was painlessly easy and took under 30 seconds to do with 3 simple steps.

Click after the break to see the working solutions to this problem. Continue reading “How do I add a network folder to a Windows 7 library”