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  1. #1
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    LANGALIST PLUS

    Using Task Manager to troubleshoot startup woes


    By Fred Langa

    Sometimes when trouble strikes, you have to choose between a simple brute-force fix and a more-complex but also more-informative surgical repair.

    Reinstalling software is inelegant but usually works; using Windows' built-in tools can be quicker and less traumatic.

    The full text of this column is posted at WindowsSecrets.com/2010/06/24/04 (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.

  2. #2
    New Lounger
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    I also relied on a BartPE to run my copy of Image For Windows (http://www.terabyteunlimited.com) and backup my system. While it still works on my upgraded workstation, it does not work on my new Dell laptop. I just got notification from Acronis that their Disk Director 11 is compatible with Win7 and got a copy. After installing I see that it includes the option to create a bootable media that will either boot linux or WinPE (which they have links for the files you'll need). Looks pretty good. I'll update after testing it out.

    Mr. Jiggs
    mr.Jiggs

  3. #3
    New Lounger
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    Just an addendum to your suggestion to zip and encrypt flash drives for security. There is a portable version of 7-Zip available at http://portableapps.com/apps/utilities/7-zip_portable which does not need installation on a PC. One caveat: Some portable apps do make registry entries on the host PC. I do not know if 7-Zip portable is one of them, nor if it does make them, if it removes the entries upon exiting.

  4. #4
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    I use Winpatrol Plus from billp studios. There is a free version or the plus version. For $19 you can get the plus. it does so much in letting you know what's going on in your computer.

  5. #5
    New Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Groman View Post
    I do not know if 7-Zip portable is one of them, nor if it does make them, if it removes the entries upon exiting.
    To my knowledge, the most recent version of 7-zip Portable is full stealth. It's available on the PortableApps platform, so it can be used with or without PortableApps launcher. I couldn't get on the PA site a minute ago but the folks at Portable Freeware agree with the stealth assessment. The Portable Freeware site is a fantastic resource for such things.

    Christa

  6. #6
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    I've been using the SafeHouse Explorer ( http://www.safehousesoftware.com/SafeHouseExplorer.aspx ) disk encryption program for several months now. The free version creates an up to 4Gb encrypted virtual disk on a hard drive or USB thumb drive. The advantage over TrueCrypt is that the SafeHouse program can run directly from the thumb drive without being installed in Windows - no registry entries. After losing my old thumb drive last summer, I was painfully aware that all of my personal data on my thumb drive could become publicly visible. Thankfully, I found my thumb drive, but I also began searching for a way to reliably encrypt its contents, and I found SafeHouse.

  7. #7
    New Lounger
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    I use TrueCrypt on a number of flash drives, and access the contents from ANY PC. Simply install the "travler verson" on the flash drive first (Tools -> Traveler Disk Setup) , then create a TrueCrypt container on the remaining space. Below is the section from TrueCrypt's FAQ:

    Create a TrueCrypt file container on the USB flash drive (for information on how to do so, see the chapter Beginner's Tutorial, in the TrueCrypt User Guide). If you leave enough space on the USB flash drive (choose an appropriate size for the TrueCrypt container), you will also be able to store TrueCrypt on the USB flash drive (along with the container not in the container) and you will be able to run TrueCrypt from the USB flash drive (see also the chapter Portable Mode in the TrueCrypt User Guide).

  8. #8
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    About: "Keep the info on a lost flash drive secure "

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveS View Post
    I use TrueCrypt on a number of flash drives, and access the contents from ANY PC. Simply install the "travler verson" on the flash drive first...
    I also recommend this. Using this approach I don't need to install anything, my info is always secure and all works fine

  9. #9
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Jiggs View Post
    I also relied on a BartPE to run my copy of Image For Windows (http://www.terabyteunlimited.com) and backup my system. While it still works on my upgraded workstation, it does not work on my new Dell laptop. I just got notification from Acronis that their Disk Director 11 is compatible with Win7 and got a copy. After installing I see that it includes the option to create a bootable media that will either boot linux or WinPE (which they have links for the files you'll need). Looks pretty good. I'll update after testing it out.

    Mr. Jiggs
    If you like the Acronis products, remember that every registered user of True Image Home can download and burn an ISO (CD image) version of True Image. This is a bootable recovery environment which works on everything from Windows XP through Windows 7. There is a BartPE version (as a downloadable plug-in for a BartPE CD building program) and the Acronis (Linux-based) version. Either can run in a stand-alone Boot CD environment. They both can use any recent Acronis backup archive as a recovery source, on just about any media or an external drive.

    Combined with the Disk Director disk management/ disk recovery tools, Acronis offers a very good suite of disaster recovery tools. They've saved my bacon more than once.

    I've been waiting for an e-mail from my Acronis reseller about Disk Director 11. I guess I should ask him about when he will have it available.

    29 June 2010 Update -- just got the newsletter from my reseller, and ordered Disk Director 11. Stores don't seem to have it yet, but it is available from the Acronis site.
    -- Bob Primak --

  10. #10
    New Lounger
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    BartPE works just fine backing up Windows 7 systems. However, if the Windows 7 system is on a new pc, verses an upgrade to an existing pc, then BartPE will simply need to be recreated to add support for SATA drives, which are the norm for new machines. PEBuilder also runs just fine on Windows 7 machines and help for adding support for SATA drives can be found on the 911cd.net forums.

    As for securing USB sticks I've heard PortableApps.com's Toucan is very effective. And certainly more so than installing 7-Zip on every host machine you encounter. Some people, and locations, do not appreciate software being installed on their machines, especially without permission and sometimes as simply a matter of policy. In the past U3 was effective for securing sticks from lost but it has gone dark.

    Ed_P
    Ed_P

  11. #11
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed P View Post
    BartPE works just fine backing up Windows 7 systems. However, if the Windows 7 system is on a new pc, verses an upgrade to an existing pc, then BartPE will simply need to be recreated to add support for SATA drives, which are the norm for new machines. PEBuilder also runs just fine on Windows 7 machines and help for adding support for SATA drives can be found on the 911cd.net forums.

    As for securing USB sticks I've heard PortableApps.com's Toucan is very effective. And certainly more so than installing 7-Zip on every host machine you encounter. Some people, and locations, do not appreciate software being installed on their machines, especially without permission and sometimes as simply a matter of policy. In the past U3 was effective for securing sticks from lost but it has gone dark.

    Ed_P
    For Vista and Windows 7, hasn't BartPE been replaced with WinPE? I think there's a difference.Anyway, yes, there is a PE Builder version for Vista and Windows 7, but it is a different version from the one I have for Windows XP.
    -- Bob Primak --

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    I am quite surprised that there is no mention of hash sums in regards to duplicate files. If two files have the exact same size, calculate the hash sum of each file (i.e. a unique "fingerprint" generated by examining every single byte). If the sums match, the files are absolutely identical. There are of course a good number of different kinds of hash sums and an equally vast number of programs for calculating them - my preferred utility is WinMD5.

    There are programs (lots and lots of them!) that automate this process by searching your hard drive for files with an identical size, calculating the hash sums, etc. and presenting you with a neat little results window that will let you clear out all the duplicates at once, but most of them are shareware, alas. DoubleKiller was the last one I tried:
    http://www.bigbangenterprises.de/en/doublekiller/

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Primak View Post
    For Vista and Windows 7, hasn't BartPE been replaced with WinPE? I think there's a difference.Anyway, yes, there is a PE Builder version for Vista and Windows 7, but it is a different version from the one I have for Windows XP.
    Yes, MS does have new versions of PE for Vista and Windows 7 but I don't think they support the variety of plugins like Bart's PE Builder. Which BTW runs on Vista and Windows 7 just fine.
    Ed_P

  14. #14
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed P View Post
    Yes, MS does have new versions of PE for Vista and Windows 7 but I don't think they support the variety of plugins like Bart's PE Builder. Which BTW runs on Vista and Windows 7 just fine.
    Oh. OK. Good to know.
    -- Bob Primak --

  15. #15
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    I was surprised by the rather amateuristic trial-and-error approach with the standard Task Manager described in the article "Using Task Manager to troubleshoot startup woes". Microsoft's own Sysinternals tools are invaluable to such troubleshooting. Especially Process Explorer makes the standard Task Manager (even in Windows 7) look like something from the 90s...
    • identify the process responsible for a window (handy when e.g. more than one java process is running)
    • show killed processes
    • show the command line of a process
    • show the parent of a process

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