[HOME]8:22 AM February 22, 2016

Resetting A Screwed Up Vista Laptop

A woman bought me her Vista laptop today. First there was a BIOS password that she wanted removed. Since she knew the password that was no problem. Just go into the BIOS look for the password options. Then reset them by leaving them blank.

Then there was a update screen. The system kept rebooting at a screen that read Configuring updates stage 3 of 3. 0% complete.

In this case I had to go to C:\windows\winsxs and rename a file called pending.xml. You could just delete but it would be better to just backup by renaming it like pending.old. When the computer started up the update screen blinked on a few seconds but then it booted directly into Windows.

It stalled for awhile before the desktop showed. I decided to boot down in Safe Mode to run a few scans. It had a lot of Malware crap installed on it. She mentioned something about a popup in Chrome the kind that tells you that your system is infected and they are even nice enough to give you a number to call. Don't ever call, by the way.

Anyway, usually Malwarebytes is my first choice, but for some reason I decided on Superantispyware instead. Maybe because I originally was just going to do a quick scan instead of a full scan and Malwarebytes doesn't give you that option in their free versions anymore. Also there was an internet connection issue. In these cases Superantispyware has a portable version that includes all their updates to the date that it's posted on their site.

  • http://www.superantispyware.com/index.html
  • https://www.malwarebytes.org/

    Then a scan with Adwcleaner and TDSSKiller.

  • http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/download/adwcleaner/
  • http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/download/tdsskiller/

    Then I started up the computer normally. The wireless wasn't working. So I tried every trick in the book to get it to work. Resetting, renewing, re-installing. Nothing worked. I didn't find out till much later when she called and told me that it never worked. So I finally decided to finish this off by restting the browsers. And then retarting one last time to make sure everything was OK. It wasn't.

    I had just about every program crashing with the error The application was unable to start correctly (0xc0000022). Again tried a number suggestions online with no luck including SFC and a hard drive check. System restore didn't work either.

    It was activated, system restore, that is, but my guess because of the lack of hard drive space it didn't have any restore points available. She had one of those laptops where they partition the drive, one for the OS and one for DATA. I always hate it when manufactrers do this mainly because most users are not aware of this or how to take advantage of it. So they got a C drive that keeps filling up and a D drive that remains empty.

    I clicked on the Start button, then right-clicked on Manage and in the Computer Management box that opens click on Disk Management on the left hand menu. My goal delete partition D and expand C to take up the free space. It's usually just a matter of right-clicking and deleting but the swap file was on D and I couldn't delete it. So I had to move that first back to C. Then I was able to delete it and then by right-clicking on C I was able to extend it. Lack of hard drive space solved.

    note: screen shots from my own computer

    And a then a component called WMI keep crashing on top of that. To fix this part I did the following in Safe Mode in a command prompt:

    I typed this and hit enter: net stop winmgmt

    Then I went to the folder c:\system32\wbem to find a folder called repository and I renamed it repository.old. Then at the command prompt typed the following: net start winmgmt. This stopped the WMI problem but not the other.

    So I decided to create a new user profile. I cleared out one computer like this before but this time it didn't work because now all the Network components had disappered off the system. Enought. I'm going to try a system reset.

    I tried booting up and pressing Alt + F10 that is supposed to put an Acer computer into recovery mode. Guess what didn't work. But installed on this system was a program called Acer Empowering Technology wich included a backup and restore utility.... that kept crashing with the error The Acer Framework has crashed.

    For this problem and the "The application was unable to start correctly (0xc0000022)" error issue, when I ran a program with Administrative privileges it did not crash. So I right clicked on the component title Acer eRecovey Management and took the chance of reseting this laptop.

    I reset the laptop. To give the updates a boost I have Vista SP1 and SP2 on DVD so I installed both of these. It is a Acer Aspire 5315 with only has 1GB of memory so I checked what's running in the background and disable anything unnecessary, like the bloat-ware from Acer. Changed the Visual Effects settings as I always do my my own.

    Control Panel > System > Advanced system settings > Advanced tab > Settings button in Performance section > your choice from their.

    It took me three days to finally get this thing going again. In fixing computers we got to try something and if that doesn't work we have to try something else. Trial and Error. I've had more than one person come to me who wanted to fix their computers with an hammer. I understand them sometimes and I think I could make more money selling hammers than fixing computers. I swear if I had the money I would of just bought these people a new laptop. It would of been less stressful.

    Recording Sound From A Webpage

    Trouble seems to come in waves. Sometimes it feels like I'm fixing a computer one after the other then there is a calming off point and I could go a whole month or more before it starts all over again. Sometimes I think I must of angered the computer gods or something. :-)

    My Uncle recently asked me to download some songs for him off a certain website. He then wanted them burned of on a CD. Usually when I download music it's through Youtube. I download the videos through an extension. Some extensions will allow you to automatically convert to mp3. Otherwise use a third party program to download and convert the videos. Then of course it's just a matter of burning of the mp3 files to a audio disc.

    But in this case there was no videos and a download option that didn't seem to work. It just streamed the music. So I decided to try and record the stream directly by using Audacity - https://sourceforge.net/projects/audacity/

    I found this page with some helpful info on how to do this: http://manual.audacityteam.org/o/man/tutorial_recording_computer_playback_on_windows.html

    Here are my settings: In the third bar down in the first choice I had to choose Windows WASAPI. Then Speakers (High Defininition Audio Device), then 2(Stero)Recording Channel. In the final choice it was the same as the Speakers (High Defininition Audio Device), but the gave a very destorted feedback sound so I switched to Speakers (Apowersoft_AudioDevice).

    Keep in mind this is from my setup, yours is probably different. You might have to experiment with the different options avaiable for best results.

    The it's just a matter of playing the music from your web site and clicking on the Red record button. If you get the sound waves look then you know audacity is recording something. If not it will be flatlining. After recording clcik the yellow square Stop button. The you have to export the audio as mp3 by clicking on File then Export Audio and put in a name and chose file type as MP3.

    The only downside to doing this is I let the 27 songs on the web site play and ended up with one 74MB file. I wanted to break them up in separate tracts and decided to use a program called MP3split - https://sourceforge.net/projects/mp3split/

    This program can automatically scan a large mp3 file and after every song if there is a brief period of silence split it automatically. And this time it was perfect because there where brief periods of silence where the songs changed from one to the next one on the playlist.

    Then it was just a matter of taking all the mp3's and burning them of to a audio CD.