Category Archives: Workshop Tales

Specific fixes and repairs carried out for our customers on hardware and software in the hope that the information may be useful others.

Windows Update Problem 20H2 on HP legacy machines

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During the course of 2021 as several machines updated to Windows 10 Version 202H2 both 32 bit and 64 bit they demonstrated catastrophic failures that mimicked other problems. These included Windows displaying a BSOD. Message ‘BAD SYSTEM CONFIG INFO’ refering to log files at ‘c:\windows\system32\logfiles\srt\SrtTrail.txt’. Other messages would be typical of those displayed when hard drives are really failing. After running automatic repair and disk checking – they would then repeat the process. The machines would re-boot repeatedly. Attempts to use the self-repair options or Windows boot drives would lead to User accounts disappearing from the options and failure to find Restore points (if available). One machine would lock on the dark start-up screen many times, then would successfully boot and run for days as long as it wasn’t powered down. Another machine was running normally then Outlook 2019 ‘disappeared’ before the machine started cycling through the other symptoms.

Machines affected included: HP dc7900, HP dc8200.

The resolution to all this, so far, was Windows 21H1 either by fresh installation or using the Windows update assistant if the machine was capable of running it.

Insufficient SSD capacity for Windows 10 feature update

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A common problem with small notebooks and laptops with minimal capacity drives of 32Gb is that there is not enough spare drive space to carry out a Windows update to the next release with the current version installed. This was the issue with a Lenovo 120S 11IAP Model: 81A4. The sequence to take this machine from version 1709 to 20H2 in December 2020 was:

  • Added an external USB flash drive; used a 64Gb blank NTFS formatted. The update left a 4Gb file on this stick which could be ejected later.
  • Reset Windows 10 : Skip Network Connection add a Local User
  • Disable/Pause Update in settings
  • Connect to WiFi / Network
  • Download and run Windows Upgrade Assistant

TP-Link Powerline WiFi Extender Printer LAN Access Fix

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Range Extender kit

If you find that your printer is invisible on your network when connected to your TP-Link WiFi plug one quick fix that sometimes works is to swap the nearest Wifi Powerline Adapter with another. Obviously they both need to be paired on the same powerline link and have cloned the same WiFi credentials. This worked on two installations where multiple adapters were in use and might possibly be related to incompatible software versions in their firmware – as they had been purchased some time apart.

Google Chrome not upgrading problem – reverts to previous version

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On a Dell Inspiron Desktop Tower PC running Windows 10 Home 64bit, recently upgraded from Windows 7 Home Premium – there was a very odd problem with Google’s Chrome Browser.Chrome version dialogue

Firstly the version was rather elderly 58.58.3029.110 and wasn’t auto-upgrading, secondly no link for uninstalling was viewable in Control Panel or Settings:Apps. All attempts to run the online installer made no difference. Manually deleting the installation folders and Registry entries would be ‘magically’ reversed if any installer (even later versions) was run or existing link was activated.

Working on the guess that this was an ‘enterprise’ issue – running the latest Chrome Browser for Enterprise MSI (installer – scroll down past the bundles) restored an Uninstall link.

Chrome Uninstall Link Uninstalling using this link seemed to work – but any installer would still produce the ‘magical’ reversion described above.

Using the Offline Chrome Installer (or 32 bit) from a different Local Administrator Account temporarily resolved the issue but the ‘magical’ reversion eventually returned.

Googling revealed a few other similar cases, at least one user being ridiculed on a support forum! After yet another reversion I started to examine the individual processes in Task Manager and discovered (using Open file location) they were bogus entries running from outside the Chrome Installation folders, also realized that they were named Chrome (32 bit) unlike the genuine version.

So this is a Virus which enforces the use of an old Browser version for its own purposes – which I could not deduce. There were at least two bogus folders in Program Files of a similar nature. I had tried at least two AV scanners before finding the culprit.

BIOS update for HP Microserver G7 N54L

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If you install Windows 10 on a HP Microserver you might find that the Network Ethernet Port cannot be accessed by the OS.

The solution might be a BIOS update using firmware upgrade SP64420.exe download. Version 2013.10.01 (A) (15 Nov 2013) can be found here.

After creating the Update USB and booting to it the update finished untidily at a command line prompt – but was successful.
Procedure Video

Windows 10 Freezes and Unresponsive soon after log-on – Problem Fix – uninstall McAfee Anti Virus

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The symptoms for this problem are that Windows 10 suddenly freezes shortly after logging in. The screen stops updating, the mouse and keyboard are unresponsive. The particular PC seen with this was a Toshiba Satellite C70-A with Pentium Processor. When restarted in Safe Mode the machine ran and repsonded normally. The issue was caused on this particular machine by McAfee LiveUpdate Anti Virus. By uninstalling the McAfee software in Safe Mode and restarting everything was back to normal. On this this machine the McAfee subscription had already expired.

If you suspect this may be a problem and you have enough time to start the task manager [CTRL+SHIFT+ESC] look for a McAfee Scanner service taking a high percentage of your CPU time!

Sage Payroll Reinstallation Update Problem – Tip – Solution

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When you run the sage payroll installer on a pc that already has or had a previous version installed you will hit the dialogue picker which invites you to choose which installation you wish to update. This might be what you require – if not then there is no obvious method to force a ‘fresh’ installation ignoring whatever happened before, and you might even have a dialogue asking you to choose from an empty [unpopulated] list – you are unable to proceed.

After uninstalling the application and then deleting the program folders etc attempting to by-pass this problem the really critical tip is to look in ‘C:\Windows’.

If there is a ‘Payroll.ini’ file rename/delete it or move it somewhere else if you are cautious.

Obviously take care and back-up data and/or the system if you are working on a live installation.


WiFi Printer unreliable connection fix

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I have been asked to fix various printer connectivity problems that seem to have the same characteristics:

  1. WiFi Printer connected to network/router by wireless only
  2. Windows PC trying to access printer seems to work ok initially then loses connection after some time has passed.

Apple computers do not seem to be affected and switching devices on/off can temporarily resolve the issue. I have seen this affect HP and Epson printers and running an ethernet connection from the router to the printer – if the printer has a network socket – seems to fix the problem.

After following the manufacturers troubleshooting advice many times I now believe this is connected with the intelligent network scanners that the manufacturers install with the device drivers to allow for changes of IP address. If you look at the the Port tab under the printer properties you will see that a special entry (for HP it’s called:  <SerialNo> HP network re-discovery port monitor) has been created. If you find the IP address of the printer and add or select an existing port entry using this IP address rather than the ‘special’ entry the problem may be solved.

This would require updating if the IP address of the printer gets updated by network changes – so perhaps a fixed IP address would be more reliable.