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  1. #1
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    LANGALIST PLUS

    Sometimes, changing software is the only option


    By Fred Langa

    Even world-class troubleshooting may not be enough to salvage software that just won't work right on your system.

    It's a hard decision when you've paid good money for software, but sometimes the only rational decision is to toss the software into the bit bucket.

    The full text of this column is posted at WindowsSecrets.com/2010/06/10/04 (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.
    Last edited by revia; 2011-01-19 at 15:51.

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    The latest version of Shadow Protect Desktop makes it very easy to restore an image backup to a VM in Virtualbox. I run Windows 7, but needed to get some registry settings from the XP installation that was running prior to the upgrade. Cool!

    In passing I am surprised that Shadow Protect gets such little publicity. I have been using it for years and have it installed on 4 machines. It has saved me countless hours when I need to recover files.I keep all my "software" on the C: drive and my "data" on the D: drive. Shadow protect takes in incremental backup of my D drive every hour, so if something gets corrupted, I will never loose more than an hour's work

  3. #3
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    I had similiar experience in trying to start a restored image in MS virtual PC. Even after letting it finish trying, it still did not run good enough to be useful.

    Finally, in frustration after trying to fix the errors that kept popping up, I reloaded the image and started over in safe mode. I then deleted all drivers for all devices, shut down windows and then restarted it in normal mode. It quickly added the appropriate drivers for the emulation software and then worked with none of the previous problems or errors (other than possibly having to call Microsoft regarding authentification).

    Hopefully, it would work for you as well..

    Bob Sobotik

  4. #4
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    For an av/antispyware program I'd suggest Sunbelt Software's Vipre software for various reasons - none the least of which they give you a 15 (or 30) day fully functioning copy of their software - plus it's lighweight on the system and the support is excellent and US based among other positives. They have a version that includes a firewall also. I use it on all 3 of my pc's. Also, some ISP's now offer 'free' security software to their customers. I put free in quotes because you are paying them a fee for Internet and/or cable so you're sort of paying for the software already. Unfortunately if your isp is Comcast they offer Norton internet security 2010 - which may not solve your problem, but who knows it just might and there'd be no extra money out of your pocket.

    Good luck
    Rick

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Sobotik View Post
    Finally, in frustration after trying to fix the errors that kept popping up, I reloaded the image and started over in safe mode. I then deleted all drivers for all devices, shut down windows and then restarted it in normal mode. It quickly added the appropriate drivers for the emulation software and then worked with none of the previous problems or errors (other than possibly having to call Microsoft regarding authentification).
    Shadow Protect Desktop does all this for you with no hassle at all if you want to load a backup image into a Virtualbox VM

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    Re the need for a Line-In port: I've been using a 6-channel USB sound solution on a Windows 7 desktop for several months now and it meets my needs just fine. An example is the "PPA 1455 USB 6 channel External Sound Adapter" available from Amazon.

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    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    If the Symantec/Norton/NIS Mail Scanner is causing problems, it is not necessary to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Like nearly all AV suites, it is possible with a single settings change to disable the mail scanner. This will eliminate the e-mail time-out issue without switching security suites. Also works for AVG (which is notorious for causing these sorts of issues) and Avast (which I use, and have disabled its e-mail scanner). Any SSL, encrypted, compressed/zipped, or secure download may be messed up by any type of security scanner. If they cannot scan the messages, they often simply block them, thus causing issues. While I'm at it, I also recommend disabling all Link Scanners, They are not accurate, and actually may cause browser crashes. Stick with Web of Trust and Site Adviser.
    -- Bob Primak --

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    Some of the article, "Restoring system images to VPCs can be dicey" was beyond me. However, it got me thinking. Once a month I use Acronis True Image to create an image. I have an older XP machine. I had always assumed that If my hard drive crashed and I needed a new machine, I could use an the image on the new machine. Now that all seems not likely since the new machine would probably have a new OS and new drivers. So it sounds like the image is only good on the machine I am using. Is that about righr?

  9. #9
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Swanson View Post
    Some of the article, "Restoring system images to VPCs can be dicey" was beyond me. However, it got me thinking. Once a month I use Acronis True Image to create an image. I have an older XP machine. I had always assumed that If my hard drive crashed and I needed a new machine, I could use an the image on the new machine. Now that all seems not likely since the new machine would probably have a new OS and new drivers. So it sounds like the image is only good on the machine I am using. Is that about righr?
    Yep, that's about the size of it. Besides, if your new machine has Windows 7 already installed in it, why would you want to revert it to Windows XP? All the new hardware and processor features are optimized for 64-bit Windows 7 with extensive hyperthreading, none of which would be applicable to Windows XP. And the security difference alone argues against carrying over all that insecure XP baggage onto a new computer. Just gather up all the data you need, and let go of the rest.

    You will want to customize your Windows 7 settings differently from your Windows XP settings, due to interface improvements and general differences. You will want to get PC Decrapifier for the specific model of your new computer, and run that to make the new computer even more efficient. And you will need some software upgrades, as well as new licenses for your existing commercial software. Get 64-bit versions only if they have been well received by professional reviewers. Yes, there will be a learning curve, but the speed and agility of Windows 7 will most likely make a convert out of you.

    And there's a version of Acronis True Image Home (2010) which works just fine on 64-bit Windows 7. The new Acronis Disk Director Version 11 (upcoming soon) will also handle Windows 7 quite natively. Maybe wait and get the bundle from Acronis when DD-11 comes out at retail. Meanwhile, you have a perfectly usable and well backed up Windows XP computer for the present.

    What the article was covering had to do with Virtual PCs (Virtual Machines) working on different hardware configurations. That's a whole other ballgame.
    -- Bob Primak --

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    As to the LINE IN need on a notebook that doesn't have a jack for it, an easy work around is to plug your line signal into the MICROPHONE jack and then go to the Sound setting in the Control Panel and lower the Level setting for the mike WAY, WAY down. I do this frequently to record streaming music by connecting a small jumper cable from the earphones jack to the microphone and turning the output volume WAY down. The fidelity is acceptable to me.

  11. #11
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    I registered to post that several offerings of Paragon Software (namely their Virtualization Manager and System Upgrade Utilities) include a feature called "P2V Adjust", which I imagine is similar to what Shadow Protect Desktop does - it takes a disk image of a Windows installation and modifies it (probably in ways Microsoft never particularly intended) so that it can be used in a virtual machine with little to no fuss. I've used it successfully with an old Windows 2000 installation so far, though of course it probably works with later versions. (Paragon is a big supporter of giveawayoftheday.com - if you wait long enough an appropriate product will probably be featured there again.)

    I imagine Mr. Langa's method is substantially less useful for disk images of installations from hardware that differs more substantially from VMware's or Virtual PC's emulated hardware.

    (And yes, I did register just to post this.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Barbarra McQuaters View Post
    As to the LINE IN need on a notebook that doesn't have a jack for it, an easy work around is to plug your line signal into the MICROPHONE jack and then go to the Sound setting in the Control Panel and lower the Level setting for the mike WAY, WAY down. I do this frequently to record streaming music by connecting a small jumper cable from the earphones jack to the microphone and turning the output volume WAY down. The fidelity is acceptable to me.
    Rather than turning the volume all the way down, you might want to check the mixer settings to see if a "+20 db boost" setting is enabled for your microphone. On my machine (equipped with an ancient SB Live), this is available in the Windows mixer (sndvol32) via the "Advanced" button under the Microphone slider. Disabling that should reduce the microphone's input level substantially. (By the way, I think Nirsoft - or maybe it was someone else? - might have a proper utility for capturing streaming audio.)

  12. #12
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KE Anderson View Post
    I registered to post that several offerings of Paragon Software (namely their Virtualization Manager and System Upgrade Utilities) include a feature called "P2V Adjust", which I imagine is similar to what Shadow Protect Desktop does - it takes a disk image of a Windows installation and modifies it (probably in ways Microsoft never particularly intended) so that it can be used in a virtual machine with little to no fuss. I've used it successfully with an old Windows 2000 installation so far, though of course it probably works with later versions. (Paragon is a big supporter of giveawayoftheday.com - if you wait long enough an appropriate product will probably be featured there again.)

    I imagine Mr. Langa's method is substantially less useful for disk images of installations from hardware that differs more substantially from VMware's or Virtual PC's emulated hardware.

    (And yes, I did register just to post this.)

    (etc.) ...
    Yes, I have read good things about that feature of Paragon Backup. It is one of the things which make some folks prefer Paragon over Acronis. It does not surprise me that Paragon does so well at creating and restoring Virtual Machines, as this product family got its start not as a consumer-level product, but as a company which specialized in Business Solutions. They still have some advantages because of that legacy. And Paragon's offerings are miles ahead of Shadow Protect, from what I've read on the subject.
    -- Bob Primak --

  13. #13
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    Shadow Protect gets very high ratings in a recent PC Mag story.

    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2365691,00.asp


    PS: I don't know why the full URL is not highlighted. Maybe a moderator can fix it.

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