Archive for the ‘Computer Resolutions’ category

windows\system32\config\system error

March 5, 2012

“How to recover from a corrupted registry that prevents Windows XP from starting”

When you start up your windows xp system and instead of going to the XP splash screen it gives you an error message that a file needed for start up of the OS is missing or corrupt. Basically it’s a registry file that has been corrupted somehow. It happens.

You need to have a backup copy of this file to overwrite the corrupted one. Also since it’s a configuration file, whatever configuration you’ve made to the computer will be lost when it’s rewritten.

This is where updated backups of the registry come in handy. Because if you regularly back up the registry on your windows xp profile, you can simply overwrite the corrupted one with your backup and not lose configuration information.

For those that don’t, you can also use your Windows XP startup disk or OS disc that you used to install the OS on the computer the first time. As I said it will rewrite the file to the original settings and you will lose current information, but you will be able to get back into your computer and can then apply changes where necessary.

In the Knowledge Base article on the Microsoft website they recommend you back up some files before replacing them, then delete them, then write new ones.

When I got this error message, I simply started the computer with the XP OS disc, chose Recovery Console, which is a DOS based interface, and copied the corrupted file (windows\system32\config\system) into a temporary folder on the C:\ drive with the md tmp command.

Then I just copied the repair version to the system32 folder, thereby overwriting the corrupted file and typed exit.

(copy c:\windows\repair\system c:\windows\system32\config\system)

The computer restarted and I was able to get back in, no problem.

Of course the information that the file held was gone as it had been overwritten with the earlier file. But I could get back into my computer and I still had the drivers on another disc. No problem.

md tmp
copy c:\windows\system32\config\system c:\windows\tmp\system.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\software c:\windows\tmp\software.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\sam c:\windows\tmp\sam.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\security c:\windows\tmp\security.bak
copy c:\windows\system32\config\default c:\windows\tmp\default.bak

delete c:\windows\system32\config\system
delete c:\windows\system32\config\software
delete c:\windows\system32\config\sam
delete c:\windows\system32\config\security
delete c:\windows\system32\config\default

copy c:\windows\repair\system c:\windows\system32\config\system
copy c:\windows\repair\software c:\windows\system32\config\software
copy c:\windows\repair\sam c:\windows\system32\config\sam
copy c:\windows\repair\security c:\windows\system32\config\security
copy c:\windows\repair\default c:\windows\system32\config\default

Type exit to quit Recovery Console. Your computer will restart.


Change the settings when switching devices on your computer.

December 7, 2010

I use a paid software program on my computer called Total Recorder. Mind you, it’s an old version of it, but I simply love it.

It’s kind of like audacity, but for a fee. I purchased it a couple of years back and use it to record with my computer microphone. Then I take these sound and inject them into song that I make up in Mixcraft and GarageBand to make my own music.

So anyways.

On Total Recorder, in order to record, I have to set my sound card up to record through the Total Recorder mixer. Which is fine. I do that to record through Total Recorder and it works fine.

What happens is that, afterwards I forget to switch it back. Then I go to youtube and play videos and listen to audio at the same time through Winodws Media Player or RealPlayer and I can only play one audio channel at a time.

So if youtube is up, I can’t listen to Windows Media Player, and if Windows Media Player is up, I can’t hear youtube.

Why would you want to hear two different audio sources at the same time…you may ask?

Because I often switch between audio interfaces quite frequently. And I have to stop one source and let the other source play for a minute. For example, if I was listening to a playlist on Windows Media Player and my friend sent me a link for a youtube video, I’d pause Windows Media Player and check out the clip momentarily.

This was impossible before. Because I had my soundcard settings on Total Recorder.

I fixed this by simply changing the sound card settings back to the sound card drivers on my sound card and was able to listen to multiple audio channels at once again.

Seems like a simple thing, but for some reason I never picked up on it before.

So now I switch the settings on my sound card back to the sound drivers and my audio works again!

The lesson here? Remember to change the settings in control panel when you switch devices!

How to add more rows to your bookmark menu bar in FireFox.

November 4, 2010

A customer recently asked me a question about Mozilla’s Firefox web browser. They wanted to know if you could have multiple bookmark menu bars on Firefox.

At the time I had only ever thought about doing this once or twice before. Certainly not recently. So I spent some time, quickly as I was in the middle of something else, attempting to research more about this so that maybe I could give them an answer.

They actually came up with solution.

if you have a lot of bookmarks for pages you visit, you might notice that you fill up one line on the toolbar (bookmark menu bar), and then have to select the rest from a drop down menu.

If you go to the Firefox website. It will have a blue banner menu at the top of the page. It will say mozilla to the left. In the menu,  click on “ADD ONS“.

Search for Multirow in the search box to the left.

It will be called Multirow Bookmarks Toolbar. In order to install it you will need to verify it by clicking okay and it will automatically install it onto the Firefox web browser.


So if you have a lot of bookmarks and don’t want to click on the bookmark button in order to start scrolling, this is a great option!

Credit goes to Dweebcentric! Good job!

How To : Find a wireless network when it won’t show up automatically in Windows

March 18, 2010

Today’s computers are built for easy access. Everything out of the box should work without being setup or configured or anything.

Shouldn’t be a problem. That’s just to make sure things work of course. You’re going to want to setup and configure security and protocols and things for your network, whether it’s wireless or wired.

But since today’s society is used to plug it and use it ease, some routers and access points may be difficult to configure
because they’ve been setup differently. For security.

How do i go about finding networks that the SSID doesn’t get broadcasted? How do i manually input security keys into
my wireless properties for my laptop so I can authenticate with my other equipment?

If you have wireless routers, wireless access points, and other wireless intersections of virtual traffic in your home
that allows you to connect with everything, here’s some steps to follow to manually configure your wireless
devices out of the package pretty quickly.

Windows Vista:

1. right click on network icon on your desktop. if it’s not on your desktop, click on the start menu. choose properties.

2. when the box pops up, on the top left pane will be options for network configuration. to manually set yourself up, choose Manage Network Connections.

3. choose the first option of the three that will show up.

You must know your SSID, keyphrase and type of authentication that your equipment is assigned to use. if you don’t have this information, i suggest contacting your network administrator, the person who configured your equipment and have them walk you through this.

Backing up Windows Product Activation file

January 26, 2010

What is Windows Product Activation?

Windows Product Activation is an anti piracy alpha numeric key
used to validate an installed copy of Microsoft Windows Operating System.

It was introduced with Windows 2000 because of the
rise of piracy with software.

What it does is, it makes sure the copy of Windows installed
is legal. That the copy is not pirated. Basically.

Every time you reinstall the operating system you must re-validate
your copy.

If you install more hardware, you must re-validate.
by hardware i mean, other than optical drives and RAM and peripherals (keyboard mice, etc)
If you switch the Motherboard, Video Card,
Sound Card, etc. Big items.

If the file that maintains it gets corrupted,
you must re-validate it.

The point is, you can back this file up manually
when you get ready to install more hardware
or uninstall hardware from your computer so that
you don’t have to keep validating.

You can do this for going back and forth.
Or testing hardware.

WPA.DBL – The Keeper of the Keys (windows product activation database log)

You’ll need to locate and backup the wpa.dbl file
that sides on the local primary hard drive, in the
\Windows\system32 directory.

This file holds the hardware configuration information
and activation state of the current Windows installation.
The WPA.DBL file is actually an RC4-encrypted database
of the expiration info of your installation, the confirmation
of activation, the hardware configuration at activation time,
and the current hardware configuration.

WPA.DBL – The Keeper of the Keys (windows product activation database log)

When you first install Windows, this file is approximately 2K in size.
When you activate Windows, this file grows to approximately 12K-13K,
recording the hardware status of your machine.

At each boot, Windows analyzes your current hardware and
compares it to the stored configuration information it has to see if it
has changed. When you make hardware changes, Windows makes
a note of the changes in the WPA file, but keeps the original
configuration for reference. If you make too many changes, Windows
will reset the WPA.DBL file back to its original non-activated (2K file size)
state, and you have to reactivate.

As mentioned above, the WPA.DBL file can be backed up to permit
activation if you reload Windows. You can also experiment with
different hardware configurations. You would back up WPA.DBL for
each configuration change, so you can roll back whenever desired,
similar to what developers may do frequently, as mentioned above.
If you save a copy of the WPA.DBL file at each change of hardware,
you can roll back to almost any state.

I mention this because if the file does become corrupted
or reset or deleted, using Windows System Restore will not
restore the wpa.dbl file to it’s validated size (12-13k).

So manually backing up this file to a safe location is
an easier method if you will be doing multiple configurations
with your computer.

NOTE: If you have a valid legal copy of Microsoft Windows,
validating it over the internet is real easy these days.
If you have no internet and must use the phone, validation is
still easy, as long you have the Certificate Of Authentication key
handy. You will get an automated voice to guide you through
the process and validate your copy. Shouldn’t take long.

NOTE: The WPA.DBL file was not protected similar to other system files.
If you delete the file, you need to reactivate.

NOTE: The WPA.DBL is not included in Windows XP’s system restore utility.

How to stop the Disk Checking utility from initiating on every boot up.

January 13, 2010

I had a customer recently bring their laptop to me and complain about a disk checking utility that continually scans their hard drive before the computer boots up.

I asked the obvious questions first before running my own disk check on their hard drive to confirm or deny and false alarms their utility may be giving them.

I thought at first, they downloaded something and it corrupted some part of the hard drive and so the disk checker would be checking it every time it loaded up.

That is it’s job.

Well, upon further investigation and process of elimination, i found their hard drive to be fully functional and working properly.

So I suspected maybe the utility was corrupted or something was just giving off false alarms.

It happens, data gets corrupted all the time, you have to reload operating systems, reload software programs, reinstall drivers. It’s quite common. No big deal.

The big deal comes when the hard drive is physically corrupted, or damaged. Then that’s another story.

Typically BIOS disk checkers use small simple utilities like FDisk or the linux alternatives to quickly scan important sectors of the hard drive when it detected a problem on last shutdown.

An easy way to get this to stop uselessly scanning the hard drive is to stop a scheduled disk check.

Note: You must be the administrator of the computer you wish to perform this task on.

When you attempt to scan your hard drive for errors using Check Disk it might schedule a disk check during the next boot because of open files on the drive you want to check.

If you later decide you don’t want Check Disk to scan your hard drive during the next boot you can run a command to cancel the scheduled disk check if you’re not going to be around to press any key right before it starts scanning to abort the scan.

Stop a Scheduled Disk Check

1. Boot the computer up, bypassing the Disk Checking scan by pressing the any key.

2. Once inside Windows, open the command prompt with administrative privileges by typing cmd in the search box in the Start Menu, right-click cmd.exe in the search results, and then select Run as Administrator.

2. Type chkntfs /x d: (where d: is replaced by the drive letter of the hard drive you want to cancel the disk clean on)

So what’s going on here?

Basically the command your giving is saying that you want the check NTFS utility to exclude a particular drive (d:) from the default boot time check.

NTFS is the file system on the hard drive if you have an operating system more recent than Windows 2000 and a hard drive bigger than 30 G. Since that’s most of world today, NTFS (New Technologies File System) is the format your hard drive is in.

The /x is saying to exclude drive: d:. Or whatever drive letter you have issued it to exclude.

Another command prompt screen will appear and disappear.

And it’s done.

To check the results, simple restart the computer. If done correctly, or if that was the only problem, you shouldn’t see the utility display before the login screen.

I performed it on my customers machine, and it did just that.

Unable to Record Sound in CamStudio?

December 20, 2009

Some of my customers do a lot of work with Microsoft PowerPoint.

They do a lot of power point presentations. They don’t always like to bring along their laptops, when a simple stand alone DVD will do just fine.

So I told them about a software program that I ran into a while back called CAMSTUDIO. It’s an open source free to download and use streaming video program. Meaning it can record in real time what is happening on your computer screen. You can either add music later on, or record your voice for instruction on a microphone while demonstrating visually on the screen.It’s a great little program for instructional videos.  A lot of people use it on YouTube for this purpose.

Well, recently I build a brand new computer for a customer of mine. It now has 5.1 HD audio, which their previous computer did not have. Well, it had been quite a while since they used CamStudio to convert their powerpoints into .avi files so they could simply burn them onto a standard DVD and take them anywhere, ready for presentation.

They came to me with a question about the sound. CamStudio was recording the visual just fine. But there was no sound.

Well, I also hadn’t used it in a while either, so I had to get on their computer and see what was going on.

A good starting point to troubleshooting PC questions is to search online support forums. For this problem, I went to the  the CamStudio support forums.Here is where I saw that others were having similar issues, but there was a solution.

On this page, I saw there an option to record audio from speakers, but my customer didn’t have this option on their version of CamStudio Turns out, that there was an option to configure other sound devices through audio options.

My customer only had record from microphone selected. And they wanted the sound from their power point presentation and not the microphone. So I went into audio options underneath record from microphone and selected audio options for microphone. In here, there was an option to select the audio capture device, recording format, volume… you name it.

On my customer’s computer, the default input device was selected as their Audio Capture Device. Instead, I changed this to their sound card device: RealTek HD Digital Input. Then, I recorded the same presentation they were having trouble with to see if this made a difference. It worked.

They got their sound with visual working together, just as before.