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?



Storage in the Australian SMB Space

Day 2 of the New Zealand Computer Troubleshooters conference was full of very talented kiwis highlighting open source, retail shops/service centres, and job management systems.  James Caldwell didn’t have to try very hard to remind us why we love AVG (especially when they sponsored the Friday night mini-golf/spit roast dinner/drinks/prizes & more drinks).

But the topic that really made me think was Storage Management, presented by Jeff Maslen.  With credentials including HP, IBM and Ingram Micro, it’s great to see someone of that calibre at our conference.  He was such an engaging speaker, that a lot of people walked out of the room saying ‘I don’t know what he was talking about, but I want one’.  With Jeff warning that the days of direct attached storage (e.g. hard disks inside servers) are numbered, he advised us to get onboard with technologies such as iSCSI SANs etc, even in the SMB market.  Now, I’ve always understood the reasons for SANS, Blade servers etc in the corporate world (where data volumes are huge and floor/rack/data centre space is limited AND expensive … but for SMBs?  And when we talk SMB, we talk less than 30 PCs … more likely less than 10 PCs.  Jeff has enough experience and knowledge for me not to dismiss his ideas completely, but instead make me interested enough to find out more and see just how SMB owners can be sold on the value of $10,000+ storage solutions.  Not to mention the fact that I know his name from somewhere and it’s driving me crazy trying to figure out from where! 


Is your critical information really deleted?

Title=thought provoking question that came from our friends at Kroll On Track during day 1 of the New Zealand Computer Troubleshooters conference – delete or even disk format does not permanently remove data.  Kroll’s fancy data recovery program can get some very interesting data (i.e. credit card numbers etc) of ‘blank’ hard disks … just like you find in second hand computers being sold on eBay.  Of course it was also a shameless plug from their data erasure software, which even they cannot recover data from.

Colin delivered a brief session on demystifying search engine optimisation (=copy Colin’s site/tags etc! … gotta love being part of a ‘share and share alike’ franchise group of talented individuals!).  And if you came here looking for SEO tips …. sorry, you’ll just have to join Computer Troubleshooters.  Actually, I may ask Colin for some ‘end customer’ type tips that I will blog at a later date, so watch this space.

This was my 2nd CT conference as a presenter, not just a ‘passive observer’ (as passive as you can be at one of our conferences).  Just a 10 minute presentation this time (and it was a lot harder to structure than my 1 hour slot!) but so very, very, important … the inaugural Trans-Tasman Spin Doctor competition!!  Pitted against Dennis Jones, we each had a 10 minute BNI/Chamber of Commerce/business networking event presentation to do on our B.E.S.T. Managed Service plans …. *drum roll please* …..

We WON! … well, ok, I won 🙂 So, like many great sporting trophies, the cup travels will us back to Australia (after being won by a kiwi).  The New Zealanders will get a chance to win at back at the Australian conference in Sydney in mid-march.


P.S. Rather tame evening involving lots of alcohol followed, left at midnight before turning into a pumpkin … no stories, sorry, not that I’m telling anyway.      

Save, save, save

Save – of the critial “protect your data” type, not the “look how much money I saved in this sale today type” (though arguably they are just as important as each other).

Normally my favourite rant is regarding backups (and, more importantly, testing your data restorations), especially where small business is concerned. And I’m talking real small business (1 – 20 users). But I’ll save that for another day.

No, today’s rant is about saving your progress as you go. Though the concept was made famous when Microsoft Word crashed during that business report/university paper you had nearly finished .. and hadn’t saved .. and couldn’t be recovered … saving as you go is important for other applications too .. and not just software applications.

When building a standard computer software image (thanks Ghost or Acronis or dare I say it, Microsoft) to be applied to multiple computers with identical hardware, it also pays to save your progress. Most importantly, take a full image of the completed software build BEFORE you sysprep, then you’ll have a fallback if it fails – which it did.

Windows Message:
The system is not fully installed.
Please run setup again.

Microsoft does provide a registry edit to reproduce the problem (why would you want to?), or it can be fixed with a registry edit after a “parallel installation” of Windows (yuck).
In my case, it was far quicker to reapply the completed, working image, then “ensure that the Use Mini-Setup is checked when you use the Reseal option in Sysprep”.

Saving – one of the most simple yet underrated things you can do on your computer.

And I work in I.T.!!!

I’m afraid I’m starting this blog with a technology drama, involving my shiny new iPod Shuffle (2nd generation) and Windows Vista.  “Ah yes, Vista” you say knowingly.  But at Microsoft’s defence leaps the voice of my dear friend who pointed out that the vendors had the Vista code for 2 years prior to the release, so surely they could have sorted out their device drivers by now and what more does Microsoft have to do?

Anyway, following the somewhat limited instructions that came with my birthday present, I downloaded and installed iTunes 7.5.something (the latest and greatest).  Only problem was, after running the installation I was presented with a “Please wait while Windows configures iTunes” message .. and finally an error stating it couldn’t stop the iPod Services service.  Yuck.  No help from the Apple support site either.

OK, I’m in I.T., I can figure this out.  Everyday, millions of people buy these things and get them working. OK, maybe not millions. 

Google at the ready, it’s becoming more apparent that what seems like a problem with iTunes may in fact be a problem with Quicktime.  Enter Gerger’s suggestion re a handy dandy tool for fixing associated registry entries (http://research.gerger.com/?view=lab&aID=1006#h2:4) – didn’t work for me but I sensed it was on the right path.  Delved into regedit myself, reset the permissions under HKEY Local Machine / Software / Classes and added my user name with full control (even though it was already a member of the listed Administrators group). Tried the reset.cmd tool again and this got Quicktime working!  Victory 1!

Now, back to iTunes 7.5, which will now start but is displaying rather weirdly and gives up (freezes) whenever it feels like it.  Trying to sync one song, I get a lock up when I try and eject the iPod (after a sync completed message), and no songs on the iPod to play 😦

At this point in the story I must confess to my husbands helpfulness when installing Vista.  I inherited his laptop, which had a dual-boot XP and Vista partition (of which the XP partition was subsequently removed).  This has left Vista as V:, which causes a lovely driver installation issue with anything you install (as it’s not finding the operating system on the C:).  It’s been one of those things which is annoying but not annoying enough to completely wipe the thing and start with a fresh install.  Only, my new iPod has come along and grabbed the first available drive letter .. so it wants to be C:.  Thinking this is not such a good idea, I change it to Y (as in Y am I having so many problems with this damn thing).  And hey presto, all is well in the world!  iTunes is playing happily, syncing etc, no problems.  Also, the high disk and CPU usage I was seeing since the start of this epic journey have miraculously settled down.

Case closed.  What a mission.  It’s midnight and I have one song on my Shuffle.