Apr 09 2012

Photoshop Scratch Disk Issues

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 10:46 am

I’m going through a few years’ worth of posts right now, adding tags (I REALLY need to get back into the habit of doing that when writing a post). Anyway, I came across this draft of a post, and wanted to post it now before I forget again.
It was written when we were back in Britain, when a friend’s computer was observed to be a lot slower than expected, given it’s spec. We decided to utilize the multiple hard drives he had installed, by using different drives (other than C:\, the boot & OS drive) for Windows’ Page File as well as Photoshop’s scratch disk. However, there were permissions problems with one drive that meant it could not be used by PS. Unfortunately, this problem prevented Photoshop from loading at all, and using System Restore seemed like a bit of overkill to just try and reverse one small config change.
Anyway, in case it ever helps someone, you need to navigate to C:\Users\Name Of User’s Account\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CS5\Adobe Photoshop CS5 Settings , open up the properties of Adobe Photoshop CS5 Prefs.psp and use System Restore to revert to the latest version prior to your config change. The scratch disk will now be set back to the original drive, and you can re-configure it to a drive without permissions issues.
We could also have put the drive back in the PC it had previously been in and reset some permissions, but the laptop wasn’t in the same house at the time.

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Jul 28 2009

Going Quad?

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 1:39 am

I still can’t decide whether or not to give Windows 7 a try just yet. With XP Pro, Vista and Ubuntu currently forming my tri-boot setup, I don’t know whether I’d really end up spending enough time with it to justify the installation. I definitely need to check how it writes to the existing, or perhaps uses a new second stage bootstrap loader type thingy (I just double checked that I had the right term in my head).
From friends comments and reviews, Windows 7 software developments may make it worth the hassle, and most seem to view 7 vs. Vista as the equivalent of Windows XP vs. Windows Millenium (Me). If it is anything like 50% of the difference found in those two OSs, I’ll be very interested.

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Jan 12 2009

Belated 2009 Greetings

Category: Friends,Personal,Weather,WiFi,Windows Mobile,WordPressChrisM @ 3:36 pm

Wow, no posts in almost 12 days. That has to be improved upon, sorry. The (somewhat predictable) reasons for my online muteness were recovering from Christmas, seeing in the New Year, travelling around meeting friends and family, some of whom we hadn’t crossed paths with in a couple of years, friends coming over to sunny Wales to see the house for the first time, oh and also maintaining, repairing and improving four different PCs. Getting used to Vista from a technical support point of view has taken time, but I at least no longer involuntarily shudder when I hear the OS’ name 😉
After flashing my TyTn II (Kaiser) to a custom WM6.1 ROM (it was working boringly reliably, something had to be tweaked/modded 😉 ) and getting TomTom, music and voice commands to work whilst in the car, I installed Ubuntu onto Ira’s laptop (dual-boot obviously, didn’t think the love of my life would appreciate me nuking her Windows install), finally got around to properly securing the wireless network at home in Clydach, got the PCs all happily working as far as UPnP was concerned. This needed to be sorted as the internet radio I recvd. for Xmas could also play files on the LAN, and I was having issues just using normal folder sharing on a couple of the Vista machines.
Ante natal classes have been an interesting and mostly informative process, it is hard to believe we are now probably less than a month away from seeing our daughter’s face for the first time 🙂 We now have a lot of the items new borns need, and even the pushchair/pram/car-seat optimus prime styled transforming thingy has turned up. Ira has done some more photo shoots with John, obviously centred around the theme of pregnancy/new life etc. See previous posts for the last published examples – though hopefully John will get around to adding new posts to his blog, and new photos to the gallery soon. Which reminds me, don’t forget to check out ConJoinery if you are in need of carpentry or joinery skills… when Con came over here for a few days, we got around to setting up a quick blog to promote his work, and showcase previous projects. It obviously still need more content, but the basic framework of WordPress 2.7 and useful plugins are in place.
After all that I finally noticed that this site is once again down to a PageRank of 0 (see many previous posts regarding Google and post links-for-money issues. Anyway, I now know why there is a lot less work around again. From n/a to a 2, then up to 4, spanked by google down to a 0, recovered to 2, then back once more to 0. As the only thing this alters for the worse is the potential income for this domain, I’m not crying into my cereal. The unique visitor numbers per day has been steadily bouncing between 250 and 600 a day, even when no fresh content has been added, so I know the search engine traffic, and regular repeat visitors have carried on regardless. It is a little strange to find out which of your posts are popular, and the search terms people googled to get there. If you’ve not already enabled AWStats on your site, it might be worth popping along to your CPanel interface and turning it on…

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Dec 12 2008

Data Recovery

Category: FriendsChrisM @ 1:53 am

Seb bought his external hard drive over, so we could swap films non-commerical, freely given away videos. He also wanted to run a couple of tests on it, as there had recently been some data loss. Whether it was caused by proximity to some magnets, a hard knock to the disk, or just the drive’s age, he couldn’t tell, but Microsoft’s tool (chkdsk) had actually ended up doing more harm than good, so we decided to try out a few live CDs to test what could be recovered. As the drive is in an external USB enclosure, we had to find a PC that recognised such devices during the POST checks, to ensure the disk diagnosis software (DOS-based) could see the drive without Windows being involved. Unfortunately, the test will take around 170 hours to complete, but as you can effectively pause the software, and continue on from the same spot on a different machine, we thought we’d leave it running a while, before he takes it home, and attempts the test whilst connecting directly via a P-ATA lead, and hope that the USB interface is the main reason for the slowness right now.

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Jul 16 2008

PPP Weren’t Down!

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 2:33 am

I meant to update the situation since my PayPerPost And SocialSpark Down Again? post. It turns out the problem was at my end, as many other sites were also not available. The sites resolved OK, but they just hung with the connection established, not even timing out. After running through the obvious preliminary checks, I asked Ira to contact our pseduo-ISP, and check what the problem was. Nothing at all apparently, the fault must lie with our setup.

I sent this letter, and was happy to receive a reply, quite quickly, on a Saturday afternoon!

(his name removed),

I believe you spoke to my wife, Irina, earlier today. These are the details of the problems we have, I look forward to hearing the solution.

Are our current internet problems because we are on the restricted speed connection right now, as we’ve gone over 10Gb?

This has been happening since Wednesday, possibly one or two days before that.

Problems include…

1) The following sites not working –


None of those sites will load, it just states ‘waiting for (name of site)’ constantly. All sites load if I use a web proxy service to test them.
Other sites load ok, the ones given are just examples I’ve noticed so far.

2) MSN Messenger can not connect, but Skype is OK.

3) BitTorrents cause complete failure with the internet connection – ALL downloads/uploads, not just torrents will stop for 10-20 seconds, start again for 10 seconds, then fail again in a loop. This has always been the case, not just since Wednesday.

Attempts to repair or specifically identify the problem…

Confirmed that no proxy server is set, Automatically Detect Settings unchecked, used both FireFox, Internet Explorer 7, Pocket Internet Explorer and NetFront.
I tried the same things on my wife’s laptop, with both a wired LAN connection and WiFi. Exact same problems occur.
I tried the same things on my PDA, using WiFi. Exact same problems occur.
I obviously tried restarting the PCs & the router (a Netgear DG834PN).
I checked the MTU is not set too high (currently 1492) and therefore causing strange fragmentation problems.
I removed the DNS servers I had assigned (OpenDNS, as the ones in this country are quite bad), and used the default ones supplied by Bazis, as well as defining the router itself as the DNS server (which would only cause the PC to use the default Bazis ones anyway). This was done both on the PC and the router itself.

The problems remain.

These issues occur on three different devices, with different DNS servers set, I believe the fault lies with either your or Kazakh Telecoms network hardware.
I did not think that resetting the TCP/IP protocol stack would be worth doing, as all three devices would be very unlikely to suffer from the same problem at the same time.

I used to work for an ISP in Britain, as a Senior Technical Support Agent, so I hope I have told you all the information you need to fix this problem. If there are other tests you want me to carry out, please tell me.

If you have a modem that you want to test in this flat to confirm the fault is not here, I would be happy to help.

Chris Merriman

Once I actually read their reply, I wasn’t exactly over the moon…


Reinstall operating system Windows
or restore her(it) with help of the load disk. Probably after attacks virus she conked…
Earlier beside me was such problem, was not opened mail on www.yahoo.com
If you want that I came to you home and has tested on my notebook, I with joy to you will come…

About 10 GB… There is quota In Kazakhtelekom to speed on loading more 10Gb.
You it is necessary to call me 688-907

Krasnikov (name removed)!

I should point out straight away that they said they didn’t speak English (not a problem, it is to be assumed in this country), but I really hoped the letter I’d sent would give them enough information to not get a ‘reinstall Windows’ reply. Anyway, at some point last Saturday something happened that caused the sites to work again. Whether it was something corrected at Bazis, or further on up the line with Megaline (the real ISP) noticing that some of their hardware wasn’t working, I’m not sure. Anyway, sent this reply…

Thanks for your advice.

Reinstalling Windows really is a last ditch ‘fix’ for any computer problem. The fact that these sites did not work on THREE different devices (XP desktop, Vista laptop, Windows Mobile 6 PDA) indicates this would not have done anything to remedy situation. All three devices are confirmed as virus, trojan, spyware, adware and, in general, malware free. I’ve not encountered any viruses in the last 15 years that prevented that sort of range of sites from loading.

Luckily, at some point during Saturday afternoon, something was fixed somewhere, and the sites worked again. Perhaps Megaline had a routing problem or flakey hardware that is now fixed?
Anyway, I’ll wait until the end of the month, when I get my ‘normal’ speeds again (I understand the 10Gb limit, it is laughably small, but I understand it), before retesting to see if BitTorrents still cause catastrophic failures for all internet based traffic.

Thank you for replying,

Chris Merriman

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Jun 04 2008

PC No Longer In Pieces :-)

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 4:44 am

As I mentioned previously, our main PC had a major failure with the hard drive that had Windows and all the apps on it. It is most probably just a coincidence, but this occurred directly after I updated my on board audio drivers. Upon rebooting, I was presented with an error message stating that HAL.DLL was corrupted. Not a problem, I’ll drop into Safe Mode and find which CAB the file is compressed within on the XP Install CD, expand it and drop it into place. Another reboot bought up multiple file corruptions, including BOOT.INI . As the hard drive was only 40Gb, and was already second hand, I decided now would be a good time to finally insert the 500Gb drive I got for Christmas from Mum. Having fitted the drive in (not as easy as before, as there were still another three internal drives attached), and installed XP, I discovered that the install process had decided to make the boot drive L: ! This caused issues with some driver installation programs, and I discovered that the Windows Disk Management util could only reassign letters to non-OS install drives. So, using a few different utils, I recovered the faulty hard drive to the point that it could be read again, and rescued every directory I could. In the end, I only lost my Firefox bookmarks, in terms of important non-backed up data, so all that was left was another OS install, hardware and their respective drivers to be added on at a time, and now that I have 500Gb to play with for just programs, all the programs I could lay my hands on to install.
Anyway, things are now settled down enough for me to return to my normal routine on this PC, so thanks to those people that were patient enough to wait for me to respond to e-mails and comments.

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May 29 2008

Hard Drive Died

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 10:00 am

The post title says it all really.
My old PATA Maxtor 40Gb hard drive, which contained the Windows OS installation, Program Files, Outlook’s PST File, my Favourites etc. died late last night. I am currently in the process of installing and configuring everything onto my Christmas present – a 500Gb Seagate drive. I’m hoping to be able to recover the essential data I need from the drive later, and I had already taken the decision to keep all other data (My Documents, Downloads etc. etc.) on my other drives.
If you don’t see me online with IM apps etc., you know the reason why. I’ll post back once everything has settled down. Which may take a while, as downloading SP3 etc. on a little 128Kbit connection does take some time.

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May 12 2008

No Major Issues To Report

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 12:07 am

Please see this comment at the bottom for a helpful fix from Alex Ron. Where the hell did ‘Alex’ come from. Only just noticed my error, apologies Ron.

Well, all seems well post-SP3 installation. There were a couple of hiccups – Windows Live Messenger now complains (error 2771) when it is started up that there is a component missing, and installation fails. This has been observed by others who have installed Service Pack 3, but it looks as though a simple re-installation (assuming you already have the latest setup downloaded) should fix it.

Secondly, though not SP3 related, I noticed that Windows Update had a new audio driver for my motherboard. I installed it and rebooted, this has resulted in the Intel Audio Studio app from failing to load, complaining that “Sonic Focus drivers must be loaded for this application to work”. However, I still have sound coming out of my speakers, and the only use the Intel app was put to were graphic equalizer-related. Think I’ll just leave this be for now…

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Mar 12 2008

More Help Requested

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 9:41 pm

OK, at some point in the next couple of weeks, I’ll finally be installing the nice new 500Gb hard drive I got for Christmas. The plan is to use this one for the OS install and programs. The current boot drive will become a temporary drive for works in progress, such as video edits not yet completed. Anyway, what I want to know is can the Windows Updates I’ve already downloaded and installed be ported to the new install. Obviously this would save me time, but as I’m on a 10Gb limit with my ISP, it would also allow me to download more in that month. I’ve had a google around, and asked at a couple of forums, but not found anything yet. I was hoping there would be a folder (possibly within \Windows ?) I could just copy into the new install, and then when I visited Microsoft Update, it would automatically detect that the required files were already downloaded, and just install them.
Also, a similar(ish) question regarding WinAmp. When it comes to ratings for the MP3s, and also the times played info, where is this stored? I would like to port across this data to the new install, but don’t know where to begin. Any clues anyone?

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Dec 12 2007

Vista Locks Outs Dropped

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 2:51 am

On to a slightly more serious matter now, as Microsoft have announced they will dropping their much-loathed kill switch, that locks out users should their Windows Vista installation be found to be pirated. Whilst the theory held water, and you can see why it was implemented, too many users complaining about being locked out of their legally paid for install caused a lot of mad press for Microsoft.
Windows will still need to be activated (unless your OEM system has a BIOS recognised by m/soft, and so bypasses this stage), but Microsoft have promised that no further complete lock outs will occur. Some users, who have flashed their motherboard’s BIOS to fool Vista into believing all is OK, are not overly concerned.

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