HP all in one fails sound driver & webcam driver installation on Windows 8.1

Nothing taunts a systems administrator like a yellow exclamation triangle in device manager.

After an HP all in one computer had been worked on to remedy another issue, the only problem that remained was no sound & no webcam. And that stupid little yellow symbol. This appeared after Windows Updates had automatically updated the operating system from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1.

I tried all the usual suspects – disable the driver, uninstall the driver, try to update the driver (already the latest version), install the Realtek High Definition Audio driver directly from the Realtek website, disable the anti virus software etc etc.

Every time, after each reboot, device manager taunted me with that little yellow symbol.

Then, on a whim, I did two things:

1. Bumped the User Account Control setting right down to the bottom.

2. From a command prompt running as administrator, executed an sfc /scannow

Uninstalled sound & webcam drivers, rebooted …. no more triangle. Tested Windows sounds to heard those glorious little noises!

sfc (system file checker) is a magical utility that fixes some system file issues. It’s as magical as chkdsk /r

And because I don’t like dumbing down security protection, I reset the UAC level back to what it was by default, rebooted and re-tested successfully.

Who would have thought that sfc would fix a sound driver problem?

-SCuffy

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Reckon Accounts Pro 2013 error Error 1920. Service QuickBooks Database manager Service (QBCFMonitorService) failed to start

Today I upgraded my laptop to Windows 8.1 Pro. By ‘upgrade’ I actually mean backed up, formatted & installed Windows cleanly. It went surprisingly well and was pretty fast. The only Microsoft glitch I had were some updated that failed to install until after I rebooted, then away they went (though they gave me no indication that a restart was needed).

I’d been running QuickBooks Pro 2012/2013, so it was time to install the new version – Reckon Accounts Pro 2013. And this is where I went around in circles.
The product is supported on Windows 8, but the installation failed with “Error 1920. Service QuickBooks Database manager Service (QBCFMonitorService) failed to start.” The installation would then roll back.
This kb was hopeless:http://www.quicken.com.au/kb/issue_view.asp?ID=4906
And another kb was hopeless that told me to delete a bunch of folders (that hadn’t been created) and try it again. It mentioned that my installation was having trouble connecting to the company database file, which made no sense seeing as I’d pick the stand-alone client option (as our company file is on our file server, no my laptop).

My laptop had no anti-virus software on it (yet) and no previous versions of QuickBooks.

Unfortunately the error is a bit generic and had to search for, because 1920 is the standard windows error code for any service failing to start.
But the solution actually wasn’t that complicated after all. Compatibility mode!

Here’s what worked:
Browse to the contents of the DVD and find the autorun.exe file. If your ‘file extensions are hidden’, you’ll see a few autorun files listed, but only one of them will say Application in the type column:
Capture2
Right click that file & choose Properties. Then put the tick on to run in Compatibility mode as Windows 7:
Capture

Click OK and run the autorun file. My installation then completed successfully, without any errors.

So far I haven’t needed to run the program in compatibility mode, just the installation.

And there you have it. After my lost productivity/time to figure this one out, I hope it saves somebody else! It’s just a shame that solutions like this aren’t easy to find, especially in the software maker’s own knowledge base.

-SCuffy

Fixing Code 19 error in device manager for CD/DVD drive – configuration information (in the registry) is incomplete or damaged

Windows XP laptop with a DVD writer not working – can’t see or play CDs or DVDs, not even appearing as a drive letter.

Device manager shows the drive with an exclamation mark and the error:
“Windows cannot start this hardware device because its configuration information (in the registry) is incomplete or damaged. To fix this problem you should uninstall and then reinstall the hardware device. (Code 19)”

The troubleshooter suggest uninstalling & reinstalling the device, which gives exactly the same error. Updating drivers & windows etc didn’t help. It was hard to find any information on this message that actually related to the registry.

Until I found an article with a link to this Microsoft support article: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929461
The article had the fix – remove the UpperFilters registry entry and hey presto, we’re back in business.

It’s a pity that this support article doesn’t actually include one of the common symptoms (being the above error message) which makes it very hard to find when searching for the error message. Posting this here to help link the two, in case anyone else is pulling their hair out or thinks they have faulty hardware.

-SCuffy

P.S. Most common cause? Unclean uninstall of DVD writing software.

When business & IT collide.

I had the pleasure of showing a team the features of their new CRM software. Have I lost you yet with how boring that sentence is? Fortunately the reality was far from boring.

To me – the CRM system is a plugin to a Joomla website. There are some bits I can configure & some bits I can’t (especially as I’m not the Joomla site admin nor do I ever ever want to be.
To the business owner – the system means no more monthly fees to a Cloud CRM system. This one off purchase will last her for at least 3 years and will handle the growth she is expecting. It’s also one place to see how her sales pipeline is looking & to get instant access to the conversations had with & information that’s been provided to her customers & prospective customers.
To the team members – this is a ‘central console’, one place to get a picture of what they have on the go and what others are working on too.

So you see, I’m the only person who views this system with technical eyes.

The business owner sees the results she can get from it and the capability it will give her.
The team members see how it can track the work that’s being done & how it will help them organise their next move.
THIS is the value of I.T. This is truly ‘information technology’ at work, delivering business benefits.

The session was purely run by demonstrating how to create & edit information & how to report on it. It was filled with ‘what happens when’ and ‘if we do this, what would enter into the system’ type questions. 99% of the answers actually had more than one way of doing things and were solved by refining the business process or drilling into more detail about what they actually do right now, without this system in place. As nervous as they may have been about learning a new system, they walked away with lightbulb ideas about how they would be using it.

Bliss.

Now they’ve been sent their logons. Even more importantly, they’ve been given a test Person and a test Company to play with. Change details. Create, edit & delete deals. Play. Try. Do.

This is not the Rolls Royce of CRM systems. It’s also not the prettiest web-based software I’ve seen. But right now, it suits them. It’s functional without being overly complicated. And sometimes that’s all you need.

Don’t be distracted by new, shiny things. Be inspired by how it will actually help your team to do their jobs (and help you to do yours).
When business & IT collide, in a good way, it’s actually pretty exciting.

-SCuffy

Vodafail by another name: 3 Mobile demands payment during overseas trip.

Brace yourselves – this is a rant.

In my opinion, mobile phone companies are right down their with real estate agents and used car salesmen. But let me lay out the facts and you can decided for yourself.

After receiving a wedding invitataion, we decided to pack up the kids and head to Wellington for a 10 day holiday. We’re self-employed with clients who rely on us, so by ‘holiday’ I mean ‘time away from the office’. We accept that our lifestyle means our phones come with us and so does the laptop. Then again, we didn’t have to get annual leave approved.

As bad luck would have it, someone’s server decided to have an inexplicable brain fade on the first business day of our holiday. This meant a number of phone calls and SMS messages over a 48hr period. A big number. Fine, that’s the cost of having your own business and deciding to go overseas, without staff back home to handle it. I was expecting to pay a premium for it.

Our first contact from 3 was an SMS asking us to contact them about our bill, currently $338.  No biggy, I thought, I knew why the charges were high. Great customer service that they are warning me that there might be something dodgy going on, or I may be unexpectedly be racking up mobile data charges by putting my happy snaps on Facebook.

The next day, Tony missed a phone call then I received a call from a blocked number. The Indian call centre wanted to talk to me about the large bill. But because I couldn’t remember the PIN number I had set on the account 9 years ago, though I could tell them a million details about the account, they refused to talk to me about the account. I explained the situation to them but they refused to listen.

Two minutes later, we both receive an SMS stating we needed to call 3 urgently about our $883 mobile bill or our account would be terminated. W T F ?

So, Tony calls them and explains the situation, to be told the following: 3 Mobile are allowed to demand immediate payment of a large overseas roaming spend or terminate our account. Note, we are on a business post-paid account here. And apparently this little clause is in the terms and conditions (not that I can find them on their website). So, we’re out sightseeing with our family, with no access to the internet and facing termination of our mobile service WHICH IS ESSENTIAL TO OUR BUSINESS.

We asked for them to extend the deadline until close of business the next day, still extremely unhappy about the whole thing.

Once we’ve returned to our friend’s house, I jump on the internet and can find no way to pay our account. Being post-paid, it’s normally taken out by 3 via direct debit, so I have no BPAY history to them. I could do a new BPAY payment if I had the reference number off my bill .. which hasn’t been sent to us and I don’t have last months because it’s back in BRISBANE. It’s not even viewable on the ‘My 3’ website.

Rock, meet hard place.

I’m not a young backpacker who doesn’t know how global roaming works. I still think it’s a complete rort that telcos get away with such huge roaming charges. I understand there’s extra admin between the visited country and the home country, to get your costs back to your home bill. But the extra amount they charge for that is ridiculous. This is Australia & New Zealand we are talking about, 3 & Vodafone (or should I say Vodafone & Vodafone).

But to demand that the phone user pay that amount immediately or be disconnected is complete bullying tactics. And to point out ‘it’s in the contract conditions’ is a complete waste of time and a cop-out. I’m still yet to find this clause, by the way.

So, that’s the first part of the saga. I’ll update you when I have more to add. Right now I’m starting down the barrel of another phone call back to 3 to hand over my credit card details presumably to pay the bill that I’ve just incurred. So much for monthly post-paid.

Let this be a warning, all you business owners. If you ever go overseas and, heaven forbid’ actually need to use your mobile phone for business purposes, you better keep your credit card handy and stand by for the call from the accounts department. Because, like me, I’m guessing you won’t have read all of the fine print of the mobile service you signed up for 9 years ago.

-SCuffy.

Facebook just made your old private messages public – or did it?

The latest scandal to hit Facebook is from users reporting that old private messages (circa 2007-2008) have now been made public on their timeline.

Facebook is denying this, saying they aren’t private messages at all, just old wall posts.

Despite Facebook engineers knowing what they are talking about with their own software (or do they?), users ‘saw it with their own eyes’ so it must be a privacy breach.

Let’s back the truck up for a minute and find some evidence. Remember that? Facts that may help explain what has actually happened and an prove or disprove a theory?

So I checked out my own timeline and this is what I saw – shock, horror, a list of ‘messages’!

Image

But hang on a minute – if I scroll down further, these actually appear as wall posts as well:

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Now, if I actually go into my Private Messages for the same time period? Well, none of those on my ‘wall’ are in my Private Messages. And private messages that are there from around the same time period have not mysteriously appeared on my wall:

Image

But hey, if you can actually show me some evidence where ALL of your private messages from that period are on your wall, then go for it.

Remember, we didn’t have a timeline in 2007.

I’m fairly certain that the messages I’ve shown you on my timeline were never sent as actual private messages and there has been no privacy breach. But I don’t work for Facebook and I can’t prove what’s happened here. I also don’t have access to your account so maybe I just have to take your word for it if you are really, really sure that some of your messages have magically transferred themseves out of your Inbox and onto your wall.  And if Facebook spends some more time investigating and proves, with evidence, that there really is a problem, I’ll accept it. But for now, based on the evidence I can see in my own profile, I’m really not worried.

-SCuffy

Hands up if you need a Smartphone Pledge!

Over the last few days, a few articles have come my way (including one I wrote myself) about smartphone addiction and the impact of our ‘always connected’ society. My favourite so far has been this fromm Joe Kraus at Google Ventures: http://joekraus.com/were-creating-a-culture-of-distraction

Hi, my name is Sonia and I’m addicted to my smartphone. Except it’s not my phone itself per se, it’s that feeling of knowing what is going on right now and what my internet friends are talking about. I’ve reverted to my teenage self and I don’t want to miss out, on anything, even for an hour.

The problem is that I am missing out. I’m missing out on the present. And yes, as new agey as it sounds, with the background of all of those talks that tell us to ‘truly be in the moment’, I’m missing out on what is going on in front of me. That’s kind of important when you have a family.

Don’t get me wrong – I still love to reach for my phone to look up the opening hours of a store or find a recipe or check if a TV program is on tonight. But I don’t need to constantly check it to see who’s posted what on Facebook and Twitter.

So I think someone needs to start up a website with a Smartphone Pledge. You could then sign this ‘contract’ and commit to it for a certain period of time (start with one day if you are seriously addicted, or one week, one month, or even until further notice?).

I’ll start with a few Pledge condition ideas:

– I pledge to not check my Smartphone before I’ve had a shower and eaten breakfast.

– I pledge to not have my Smartphone within reach during mealtimes.

– I pledge to go to the bathroom without my Smartphone.

– I pledge to not have my Smartphone when I am a passenger in a vehicle.

Is this all a bit much? Are we going to far here, or not far enough?

Today I discovered that my parents do not have email on their iPhone. It’s distracting. If somebody wants them urgently, they’ll call them or SMS. They don’t feel it’s necessary to check out what their friends are doing today or to share their day online. I don’t think that our teenagers or most Gen Xers even could cope with that.

We are the generations that have embraced technology. I know and share with a great bunch of people online that I would never have met in real life and I feel richer for it. But now I have another thing to add to my juggling act of balancing my life, to ensure I’m truly present for my kids and to show them have to squeeze the joy out of the present moment. If I don’t, they’ll grow up glued to their phones too. So you see, there is a lot at stake here.

Pass me that pledge to sign, please.

-SCuffy

P.S. If it’s the ‘meal out with friends’ that sees all of the smartphones in hand, check out the Phone Stacking game http://www.news.com.au/technology/smartphones/phone-stacking-game-to-get-friends-off-mobiles-at-meal-time/story-fn6vihic-1226247534506