A passionate programmer’s findings in the world of internet.

Archive for the 'Troubleshooting' Category

Windows XP: Troubleshooting Blue Screen (c0000218)

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

If you work as computer support at any place, blue screen is inevitable. Haven't seen any blue screens on Windows 7 yet, but having more than ten Windows XP's in the company, I'm keep getting complaint calls.

The initial problem reported:

The computer cannot go past the Windows start up logo screen, then it restarts automatically. After restart, the computer asks whether to go into Safe Mode or to start computer normally.

In my case, the computer hangs or reboots automatically no matter which option I choose.

To get actual problem:

Keep pressing F8 on start up to get into Windows Advanced Options Menu. Then select Disable automatic restart on system failure.

By doing so, the computer will continue to load until the blue screen shows up. That's the place where you could get the error message.

The error I found:

Stop: c0000218 {Registry File Failure} The registry cannot load the hive (file): \SystemRoot\System32\Config\SOFTWARE or its log or alternate

The solution for all kinds of registry problem, in short:

Format the damned PC.

The solution for registry recovery, in long:

The five registry files to be recovered are:

  • system
  • software
  • sam
  • security
  • default

Procedures to copy all registry files from C:\windows\repair\ folder to C:\windows\system32\config\ folder:

  1. Using Windows XP installation CD, get into Recovery Mode.
  2. Go to C:\windows\system32\config folder.
  3. Backup the 5 registry files to a temporary folder.
  4. Copy the 5 registry files from C:\windows\repair\ folder to C:\windows\system32\config folder.
  5. Enter exit to restart to computer.

Procedures to get into Safe Mode to copy last known good registry files to be restored:

  1. Upon start up, press F8 and select Safe Mode to get into Windows Safe Mode.
  2. Get into C:\System Volume Information\_restore{XXXX}\RPXX\snapshot\ (Rule: Check the properties of the folder to get the date of the backup. Always take the latest version.)
  3. You will find these files:
  4. Copy the files to another temporary folder, preferably to be in C:\Windows folder.
  5. Rename all the 5 files to its original name, e.g. _REGISTRY_USER_.DEFAULT to default.

Finally, get back to Recovery Mode to replace the files you have found from System Volume Information to registry original folder (C:\windows\system32\config).

Done. You should now be able to start your computer normally.

This same procedure will help you recover all kinds of registry corrupted problem that you ever get.

I am trying to keep this guide simple and short, for myself, because I found that the guide provided by Microsoft is too lengthy. You may refer to the Knowledge Base page if this guide does not make any sense.

Apache Error: winnt_accept: Asynchronous AcceptEx failed

Friday, July 17th, 2009

Recently, there are some complains about Apache server hang in the middle of data entry. It's something frustrating because after the user entered all data, clicking the submit button failed to submit the data. An experienced user will know that a page refresh resubmits the data, but not a novice user.

For your information, my PHP-MySQL system is running on Apache HTTP server version 2.2 in Microsoft Windows XP environment.

I see the following errors repeating in the log file:
[Fri Jul 03 15:20:52 2009] [warn] (OS 121)The semaphore timeout period has expired. : winnt_accept: Asynchronous AcceptEx failed.
[Fri Jul 03 15:20:52 2009] [warn] (OS 64)The specified network name is no longer available. : winnt_accept: Asynchronous AcceptEx failed.

If you are not sure where's the log file:
C:\Program Files\Apache Software Foundation\Apache2.2\logs\error.log

Solution that works:

As recommended by the Apache documentation, I added Win32DisableAcceptEx directive to the apache configuration file.

Apache configuration file can be found at:
C:\Program Files\Apache Software Foundation\Apache2.2\conf\httpd.conf

I am expecting this to be a Windows specific problem that should be mentioned in Platform Specific Notes for Windows, but it didn't.

Anyway, I solved my problem.


But... on another installation of my system, I encountered a different error in the log file.
child process exited with status 3221225477

It also causes the httpd.exe process to die off suddenly and the user is experiencing the same problem when submitting data. Every result in Google shows a different problem. It seems like the error is a generic one. Do let me know if you have any idea on how to fix this.

Microsoft Office Reactivation after Hardware Failure

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

I write PHP systems for companies. To keep the disaster recovery process easy, I always suggest to buy multiple computers with the exact same configuration. So, when the internal server that runs the PHP program failed, they can recover it by unplug the hard disk and plug in to another PC. Within minutes, the system is up and running again!

With few of my clients running on this same configurations, the actual disaster only happen few days ago. The lightning strike hit the server computer and it failed. Totally dead. Replacing the power supply didn't help.

So, I had to do disaster recover by moving the hard disk to another computer. I didn't realise that Microsoft Office 2007 actually detects what hardware it is running on.

This morning, the Microsoft Office didn't work. It says something like:

The Microsoft office systems detected hardware changes on your computer.

The PHP script that called Microsoft Excel COM failed. It requires reactivation. Reactivation is easy, can be done with just 2 clicks of mouse. But would Microsoft disable the license and ask me to buy another new copy?

A sane mind will agree that evil Microsoft will force me to do so. The office has spent more than RM10,000 on Microsoft licenses. They will definitely find more ways to squeeze more money from us!

Unbelievably, the reactivation was successful.

Although it good for now, I'm not sure whether I will get another message like "You are running a pirated version of Microsoft Office, please get a genuine version" tomorrow.

Troubleshooting Streamyx

Monday, December 15th, 2008

I spent 17 minutes talking (and listening to commercials) to a Streamyx technician because she insisted me to do some silly troubleshooting.

My settings: A few computers connected to a D-link router modem. I'm able to access the router page from my PC.

My problem: ADSL/Link light blinking, which is obviously a problem with the line.

The silly troubleshooting instruction:

  1. Do direct connection from the wall socket to the modem, then restart the modem. (Acceptable)
  2. Open your PC, open up command prompt, type: ipconfig, then check the IP address, subnet mask and default gateway is correct. (Why should I do so when I'm able to access to router page?)
  3. Ping your own IP. (???)
  4. Ping your localhost. (...)
  5. Ping your own the default gateway. (.........)

I was wondering how the troubleshooting instructions would help her identify the problem. Finally, she restarted the port at their side and the internet works again.

So, what you should really do, is to ask them whether there's any outage at your area. If there's none, tell them you have done the above then ask them to restart the port.

Other tips:

  1. Make sure you paid your bill. You can check by calling their billing department.
  2. Call them on your handphone or cordless phone, so that you can walk around to do what is needed to be done.
  3. You can save money by calling 100 from your home line, but you will need extra line to do so. Else, you will either get noise (if you have extra extension) or disconnect your own phone.

Enjoy troubleshooting...

How to Recover Corrupted Excel File?

Friday, November 28th, 2008

When you an try to open a Microsoft Office Excel file, you get an error message that sounds like:

The file you are trying to open, 'XXX.xls', is in a different format than specified by the file extension. Verify that the file is not corrupted and is from a trusted source before opening the file. Do you want to open the file?

Most of the time, when you get that message, your Excel file is corrupted. Here's a way to get data from your corrupted file.

  1. In office 2007, click on the round office button, then 'Open' (in older versions, go to File > Open).
  2. Select the problematic Excel file. Then, click on the small triangle on the right of the 'Open' button.
  3. Click on 'Select and Repair...'.
  4. Then, 'Extract Data'.
  5. Try both 'Convert to Values' and 'Recover Formulas' ('Convert to Values' works for me).

The small menu at Open button if you can't find it:
Open Button in Excel

Of course, you are going to lose some formatting or data, but at least you still have something.

Hope this helps.