Category: Tips and Hints


Here is a problem that affect some Xerox printers, especially older Xerox WorkCentre printers. You update your internet settings, and suddenly scan to email does not work anymore. You’ve updated your SMTP settings and are absolutely sure it is correct. It turns out, this is a simple DNS problem. If any of your DNS servers is in the range of 0.0.0.0 to 1.1.1.1, scan to email won’t work. So if you set your router’s DNS servers to Cloudfare’s DNS server of 1.1.1.1, 1.0.0.1, it will mess up the Xerox scan to email feature. You can assign a static IP and DNS in the printer manually, or you could just use your ISP’s default DNS servers in your router.

There is a new type of technology out there that allows hard drive manufacturers to increase the capacity of hard drives.  It is called shingled magnetic recording.  These hard drives should be avoided at all costs, at least for several years. Before buying a hard drive, look up the model number on the manufacturer’s website. Make sure the specs do not mention shingled magnetic recording or SMR. These types of hard drives are now being found in capacities as low as 2 TB.

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This is a general overview of the different and audio video standards for computers, movies, Blu-Ray players, and so on. It will not delve into how each standard works.

The first thing you must know is that the real world is not digital, but analog. A synonym for analog is infinite and for digital is finite. What this means is that we must convert the analog real world to a format our electronics can process. This is where a codec comes into play. Codec is short for coder/decoder. A codec is an algorithm that converts the analog real world into groups of 1’s and 0’s. Newer codecs do a better job of this conversion and thus have a smaller file size or are closer to the real world equivalent.

The second thing you must know is the difference between lossless and lossy. Like the names suggest, lossless does not discard any data in the algorithm. The quality is therefore higher but the file size is higher too. Lossy algorithms discard data to achieve a smaller file size. Ideally a lossy algorithm would appear the same as a lossless one.

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The 0xc0000001 blue screen in Windows is related to the hard drive controller. If you ever get this blue screen, the first thing to check is if the drive standard was changed in the BIOS or UEFI. If it was AHCI but you changed it to ATA (or IDE), change it back and see if the blue screen goes away. This blue screen can also appear after you clone a hard drive. Some computers do not support SSD’s even if it using the SATA cable. And if you clone a hard drive to one using the M.2 interface, this problem can appear.

By the way, if you accidentally bricked your CD/DVD/Blu-Ray drive with a firmware upgrade, you will need to use ATA/IDE mode to unbrick it.

Fortunately, in Windows 10 there is an easy way to change your hard drive controller type. There isn’t much to like about Windows 10, but this is one thing it does make easier. Before you make the change in your BIOS, use the MSCONFIG program to boot into safe mode the next time. Change the setting in the BIOS, boot once in safe mode and use MSCONFIG to undo the safe mode setting, and then you should be able to boot as normal. However, if you cannot get into Windows or the BIOS, hopefully you can get into the Windows recovery environment. (I still say that the absolute dumbest thing Microsoft ever did was disable the pre-boot F8 button.) In the recovery environment, look for the startup settings in the menu options. When the computer boots, choose safe mode in the blue screen of menu options.

If 0xc0000001 persists, then you will have to try the SFC command, system restore, registry backups, and the other usual generic repairs.

Recommendations

People ask me all the time what products I recommend. Here is my list of different computer and software recommendations. This list was last updated September 26, 2020.

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Here is a problem that has plagued some copies of Windows 10 after the problematic 1809 (Fall 2018) update. After every reboot, your display resets to 1024×768. This problem may affect other versions of Windows too, but this happened to multiple customers after the 1809 update. All were using Intel CPU’s and HP laptops, but it is not a HP or Intel issue. Here are steps you should take to fix it.

  1. Try the obvious first. Make sure the video card itself is not bad or someone accidentally lowered the resolution or the monitor is not bad. Increase the resolution to the maximum and reboot to test. If you have trouble with the monitor’s known resolution, try another monitor if possible.
  2. Run msconfig command. Under the Boot tab you will a section that says Boot Options. You want to make sure Base video is not checked. If it is, uncheck it. Click OK and test by rebooting.
  3. Update the video card driver. If there is no update, roll back your driver. Very very important: When you are asked for the reason you are rolling back, check the box “For another reason” and put “NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!” in the text box. I am not joking when I say this is very important. Test by rebooting.
  4. Open regedit and navigate to the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\GraphicsDrivers\Configuration. There will be several subkeys that may begin with GSM, NOEDID, or SIMULATED. These will be followed by a long hexadecimal number. Each one of these will contain one of more subkeys; always a 00 and sometimes a 01, 02, or higher. For every possible subkey, look for PrimSurfSize.cx, PrimSurfSize.cy, ActiveSize.cx, and ActiveSize.cy. All the .cx entries are for horizontal resolution and all the .cy entries are for vertical. You want to modify every single one of these to your monitor’s maximum resolution. The entries are in hexadecimal, not decimal, so you have to convert. Once you modify every one, test by rebooting. Below are common hexadecimal resolutions:
    • f00 (3840) by 870 (2160) – standard 4K HDTV
    • 780 (1920) by 438 (1080) – standard HDTV
    • 780 (1920) by 4b0 (1200) – high quality HD computer monitors
    • 556 (1366) by 300 (768) – standard laptop

I had a customer whose Quickbooks 2017 would freeze in the check register. Through some elimination, I discovered that it only froze when SEND was in the check number. If you put anything else, letter or numbers, it worked fine. You put SEND in the check number to send the transaction to your bank who, in turn, use that to pay a bill corresponding to that entry.

The quick fix is to go to your chart of accounts (Lists -> chart of accounts) and de-register the appropriate account from the bank. Then you have to set up online services again to re-register the account with your bank. Do not forget to re-enable online bill pay. This will require you to edit the account under the chart of accounts section again.

What I did first, each of what did not work, was to run the Quickbooks file doctor. Then I tried the QBInstall repair tool. Then I tried creating a portable account and then import the portable account. None of that worked because the problem was the online banking information was corrupt, not the file itself.

This is a question I am asked from time to time: what can I do to save money on my cable television bill? Likely you have noticed your cable or satellite TV bill go up and up. What you may not realize is that the most of the price hikes are not because of the satellite or cable TV provider. Greedy cable TV providers, such as Disney and Viacom, charge a fee to rebroadcast their channel. Even though they keep finding ways to pack more and more commercials per hour, they still charge a fee per channel. This would not be so bad except that these same greedy pigs also require you to purchase their shows in packages. For example, you cannot just get the History channel and nothing else, you also have to get Discovery channel and TLC and so on. If that wasn’t bad enough, local stations that you can get free with an antenna also make the cable provider pay a fee to rebroadcast. And when the greedy pigs want more money, they play the victim and ask you to demand your cable provider to keep the channels even though the channels are going away only because your provider doesn’t want to pay them more money.

Still, despite the deck being stacked against you by channel creators, you can save money. But it does require a little bit of technical know-how. Some much more than others.

Before we begin, I strongly do recommend you get a good universal remote regardless, such as Logitech Harmony remotes. You can program these where you push a button that is labeled, for example, “Watch TV” and it turns everything on and does all the changes needed to your TV or stereo. However you decide, save up some money and get a good universal remote to make life easy.

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I had a customer who had trouble installing Windows 10 Fall Creator’s Update (Feature Update 1709) and who had Trend Micro antivirus. For some reason, Windows said it wouldn’t install because Trend Micro 2009 was installed. Some people have noted that Windows balks about other older versions. This link was a good start. But the problem remained.

What fixed it for me was to go to the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AppCompatFlags\UpgradeMigration, delete the file or folder listed, and then delete the registry key data. Most likely the update still won’t install normally. So I took a chance and choose the option to restart and update. That worked. So if you have an old program possibly causing issues, go to that registry key and then reboot and update instead of using the normal update way.

Here is a problem I just encountered. Windows was getting past the initial boot screen and then looked like it would let you log in. But before you could or before you could even enter a password, it immediately began to shut down. Safe mode worked just fine. The problem ultimately was a bad Intel driver. Specifically, the Intel Dynamic Platform and Thermal Framework Generic driver. Once I disabled that, everything worked fine.

If your computer will not let you log in for any reason then most likely it is a driver causing the problem.

Here is what did not work. I first turned off fast boot because it causes more problems than it helps. Everyone should turn off fast boot, no exception. The user account had no password, so putting in a password in safe mode didn’t help either. It would shut down before you even log in. I couldn’t try Last Known Good Configuration because Microsoft in their idiotic selves decided to remove this most helpful feature. Seriously, the people who decided to get rid of that and F8 need to smack hard in the head every day for the rest of their life, and twice on Sunday. I am not joking. Neither did System Restore or system refresh work.

I only figured this out by doing a fresh install. When I installed the Intel drivers, immediately the system began to shut down. So in Safe Mode, I disabled all Intel drivers and then re-enabled them in a normal boot one-by-one until I found the problem driver. There may be more than one problem driver, so make sure you repeat until all possibles have been found.

REMEMBER that Stupid Windows 10, by default, updates drivers. It is my belief that drivers should not be touched except in these rare situations: something is not working well or you are a gamer. Even then, I only update my video card driver. What this means is that when Windows 10 updates your drivers — without your permission — then this problem will re-appear. Microsoft has become like the music and movie studios, that the product is theirs and you are given permission to use it. I am of the opinion that if I paid money for it, then it is mine and if I want to delay updates or not install a driver, then that is my right.

UPDATE March 2020: This problem only happens when the laptop is plugged into the power. Running on battery, it will never shut down after logging in. I also discovered even if you applied this fix, the processor would run at the slowest speed when plugged in but operate normally when on battery. If you put the computer to sleep, it will charge normally and would not shut down unless it woke up while the power was still connected. I have now concluded that this is likely a motherboard flaw, maybe an Intel flaw.