Dell D830 – The Missing Touchpad Driver

Since moving forward to Windows 7 x64 on my Dell Latitude D830, I had to live with the default behavior of the Touchpad and Pointing Stick of the D830 as there are no 64-bit drivers for Windows 7.

Finally, I found the right drivers for my system. You can pick it up at the Dell drivers and download page for the Dell Latitude D430. The is no explicit Windows 7 driver, however, the 64-bit driver for Windows Vista worked fine for me.

Dell Touchpad on D830 with  Windows 7 x64

To make sure you oick up the right driver, the file name is R157047. The driver gives you full access to the Touchpad and Pointing Stick functionality, including the click feature of the stick.

R157047.exe - 64-bit Driver working on Windows 7

Download: Drivers & Downloads for Latitude D430

Cleaning Up the Explorer ‘New’ Menu

If you are using your Windows machine for a while, it is inevitable that you install a whole bunch of Software. Especially a developer machine might end up with a lot of application and tools, you use for work or evaluation. This is the first article in a series of steps how to clean up your Windows machine, and to optimize your personal workflow.

Some tool that come with support for a particular file extension might extend the Windows Explorer ‘New’ sub menu. In my case I currently ended up with about 20 entries, while I regularly use only two or three of them. Most if them I barely touch. To minimize noise and to speed up your personal workflow you might want to get rid of some of them and renaming others. E.g. all Office documents are usually prefixed with ‘Microsoft’ while you might just want to see them as ‘Word Document’  or ‘Excel Document’.

Insert New Menu

 

To modify these entries, you eventually would use the Registry Editor. Each entry is located in the registry using its own key at:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.[fileExtension]ShellNew

However, maintaining this list is rather time-consuming task and no fun at all.  After some investigation I found a very nice freeware tool called ShellMenuNew from NirSoft that eventually does the job for you. It’ is a small tool which does not need to be installed and can be used straight away.

ShellMenuNew

By right-clicking any of the entries you can select ‘Disable Selected Menu Items’. Once you open up the ‘New’ submenu in Windows Explorer the menu should be look much tidier.

In case you change your mind, you can always start ShellMenuNew again and enable the file extensions again. The tool worked nicely on my x64 Windows 7. Regarding the author’s website it should also work on Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003/2008, and Windows Vista. Solved this task,  the renaming of the entries is still pending.

Modified Windows Explorer 'New' File Menu

Also here a small freeware tool comes in handy. Default Programs Editor provides a set of functionality to edit file type settings, autoplay settings and default programs settings. Also this tool can be sued straight away and does not need any installation.

Default Programs Editor

Default Programs Editor lets you easily change any kinds of associations with respect to files extension. Using the ‘File Type Settings’ you can select the ‘Description’, search for the file type you want to rename and finally change the file type description.

Using those two tools it is possible to minimize noise in your working environment without hacking the registry manually.

KB967723 vs Windows Server 2008

I recently experienced issue installing security update KB967723 for Windows Update on a Windows Server 2008 (32-bit). This seems to be a very common issue with Windows Server 2008 resulting in a error code 80070490.

KB967723 important update was not installed

The easiest way is getting the update from the Microsoft Download Center for 32-bit or for 64-bit directly. Once you get the update you can execute the standalone installer to install the security update manually. This should do the job.

KB967723 Standalone Installer

Once installed you can start Windows Update again, it should now show Windows being up to date. Let me know if this worked for you.

Windows up to date

Fixing Wrong USB Devices in Windows 7

If you experience issues with a USB device not being recognized under Windows 7, there might be a simple solution to solve this. For example the MSI USB 2.0 All IN 1 Card Reader aka MSI StarReader is recognized as eHome Infrared Receiver (USBCIR) using Windows 7. The device works great using Windows Vista or even the Windows 7 pre-release versions. Unfortunately, with the final Windows 7 the device just won’t work.

MSI USB 2.0 All IN 1 Card Reader A quick look into the Device Manager will show that the device is recognized as eHome Infrared Receiver (USBCIR). When connecting the first time Windows 7 won’t give any notice that the installation of the driver failed or that the device is not ready to use. It will simply not work.

Device Manager

This seems to be known problem, however, there is no need to wait for a Software Update from Microsoft. The solution is to manually choose the device.

  1. Start Device Manager
  2. Right-click the eHome Infrared Receiver (USBCIR) entry
  3. Select Update Driver Software
  4. Choose Browse my computer for driver software
  5. Choose Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer
  6. Make sure the Show compatible hardware box is checked
  7. Select the USB Composite Device and you are done

Show compatible hardware

After a few seconds the driver should be installed and the device should be ready.

Driver Software Installation

Quickstart with AWStats and IIS 7

AWStats is a free, Perl-based analyzer for log files. To get results quickly on a Windows Server 2008 with IIS 7 you only have to follow a few steps. These are not well documented in the AWStats documentation and require some time of research. This post will show you how to set up AWStats with IIS7 in only a few minutes.

  1. Install Perl, e.g. ActivePerl. There are 32-bit and 64-bit versions available. Make sure that Perl is added to your PATH environmental variable. The ActivePerl installer usually provides this option during the installation.
  2. Install AWStats. Remember the path AWStats is installed. Paths used below are based on the installation folder of AWStats. In this example we use c:awstats.
  3. Run the configuration script at c:\awstatstoolsawstats_configration.pl. Follow the on screen instructions. This will create a default configuration file in c:\awstatswwwrootcgi-bin e.g. called awstats.www.example.org.config. The site name www.example.org depends on whatever site name was provided while running the script. When asked for the Apache Web server path type in none.AWStats Configuration File
  4. Open the configuration file awstats.www.example.org.config with any text editor of your choice.
  5. AWStats already supports IIS, however, it is required to tweak the config file. First change the entry for LogFile. Log files for IIS might be found at c:inetpublogsLogFilesW3SVCNNN where NNN is a different number for each web site, IIS creates log files for. Change the entry toLogFile=”c:awstatstoolslogresolvemerge.pl c:inetpublogsLogFilesW3SVC1*.log |”

    This will merge all log files for a site provided by IIS. Adjust the paths corresponding to your installations and desired log file folders.

  6. The AWStats configuration file offers the possibility to set the LogFormat to IIS (LogFormat=2), however, the log entries provided by a standard installation of IIS 7 won’t match. The AWStats documentation recommends to change the settings of IIS. The change will take effect only after restarting the Web site and is only valid for entries after that particular moment. Consequently, this is not an option if you are going to analyze the logs of the last 12 months where the original settings were used. To make AWStats work with the standard log format of IIS 7 change the LogFormattoLogFormat=”%time2 %other %method %url %other %query %other %host %other %code % %other %other %bytesd”
  7. Change SiteDomain and HostAliases to meet the settings of your site.
  8. Change to c:awstatswwwrootcgi-binand runawstats.pl -config=www.example.org

    This will build the statistics database for AWStats.

  9. To create output runawstats.pl -config=www.example.org –output –staticlinks > …example_org_stats.html
  10. Not that example_org_stats.html is created one folder up. In case you do miss this, the output will not work correctly until you adapt the entries for DirCgi and DirIcons in the configuration file.
  11. The output file is now located in c:awstatswwwroot. You might want to create a Virtual Directory or set up a Web site to view the reports via the Web or your Intranet.AWStats Output

Repeat steps 3-7 fore each site you want to create reports for. Repeat step 8 and 9 every time you want to create a new report.

Broken VMware Workstation Network Adapter

After upgrading Windows Vista to Windows 7 you might encounter an issue with VMware Workstation and its network adapter.

VMware Workstation Error Message

 

When setting up a NAT or bridged network connection in VMware Workstation it shows a message telling

The virtual network drivers on the host are incompatible with the installed VMware application. Expected version 5. Please reinstall the product. Failed to connect virtual device Ethernet0.

Make sure all your virtual machines are powered off and quit VMware Workstation. Open a command shell as administrator and follow the steps below.

First cd %windir%system32drivers, check for the file vmnetadapter.sys, right-click it, select Details and check its version. It should be 4.0.2.0. If the file is not there,

cd “%ProgramFiles(x86)%VMwareVMware Workstation”

rundll32 setupapi,InstallHinfSection VMnetAdapter1.Install 128 %CD%netadapter.inf

vnetlib — install devices

This will install the required adapters and devices. Do again a cd %windir%system32drivers and check for the First cd %windir%system32drivers, check for the file vmnetadapter.sys file.

vmnetadapter.sys

After a reboot of the host system, the NAT settings for the VMware network adapters should work again. Switching to bridged mode will probably result in another message.

VMware Workstation Error Message

Reason for the message saying

The network bridge on device VMnet0 is not running. The virtual machine will not be able to communicate with the host or with other machines on your network.
Failed to connect virtual device Ethernet0.

might be the missing VMware Bridge Protocol on the according host network adapter.

Got to Network and Sharing Center and select Change adapter settings. Choose the network connection you want to use with your VMware network adapter, right-click, select Properties, Install, Service and finally Add. This will allow you to select the VMware Bridge Protocol. In case the entry is not listed, select Have Disk… and navigate to %ProgramFiles(x86)%VMwareVMware Workstation.

VMware Bridge Protocol

After installing the VMware Bridge Protocol restart the VMware Workstation and choose the bridged mode for the network adapter.

VMware Network Adapter

The Ultimate Windows Server 2003 Media Hack

Doh, if you are going to use your Windows Server 2003 as a streaming server for your Xbox 360, you might be in trouble. For a while I went with a rather sophisticated solution, running a Windows XP Media Center within a Virtual Server on my Windows Server 2003. The solution is not the desired one and as Windows Media Center and the Media Center Extender within Xbox 360 have some trouble in streaming h.264 encoded movies files, I had to dig a bit deeper.

Before you go one, please be aware of the following disclaimer:

The following is given under a “works on my machine” premise. The proposed approach is based on my very personal attempts and comes a”as is”. If you try to attempt the following steps, you do it on your own risk. It is not supported by Microsoft, and hey, in case you brick your box don’t expect any support from Microsoft. Don’t blame it to me either as you did it on your own risk, but let me know as it could be fun, tough.

There are several ways to share media with your Xbox 360. The easiest ways is to check out http://www.xbox.com/pcsetup/. After determining your OS, you will be guided through the best way to share media. Bad luck if you work on a Windows Server 2003, though. Not supported, you will be told.

The easiest way is to share media over Windows Media Player 11. Windows Server 2003 comes with Windows Media Player 10. But as we know the core of Windows Server 2003 is somehow Windows XP and therefore there must be away to install WMP 11 on Windows Server 2003. If you google for it, you will come along a dozen hacks and workarounds and most of them won’t work.  Recently, this guy called C:Amie posted some awesome hack C:Amie provided a new link to install Windows Media player 11 on Windows Server 2003. If you have time, go through it, if you are in a hurry, do it that way:

  1. Make sure your box is fully patched and Service Pack 2 is installed.
  2. Download Windows the Windows Media Player 11 installer for Windows XP.
  3. Download the automatic installer from C:Amie’s website.
  4. Run the automatic installer and extract it to any folder on your Windows Server 2003 box.
  5. Copy the previously downloaded wmp11-windowsxp-x86-enu.exe into the same directory.
  6. Go to the folder and run the INSTALL.CMD file.
  7. Follow the onscreen instructions.INSTALLER.CMDThe script creates a temporary folder on your C: drive called C:wmp11. There you have to change the compatibility mode of two files to Windows XP. Go to C:wmp11update1. and right click the update.exe file. Chose the Compatibility tab and check the Compatibility mode for Windows XP. Make the same for the update.exe file in c:wmp11update2.
    update.exe Properties Dialog
  8. Now go back to the command line window and press a key to continue and the simply wait.
  9. The software updater wills start after some time and after some more time you will end up with the UPnP for Windows Server 2003 dialog.UPnP for Windows Server 2003
    Check the Universal Plug and Play checkbox and select Next and then Finish.
  10. If everything went well, you will end up with Windows Media Player 11 on a Windows Server 2003. Hurray.Everything OK

But you remember that we want to stream h.264 encoded files to our Xbox 360, right? The good news is that Windows 7 will support h.264 natively. The bad news is that we work on a Windows Server 2003 right now.  With some work however, we can teach our Windows Server 2003 also to deal with h.264 encoded .mp4 files. All we have to do is to install some codecs and to apply some registry hacks.

  1. For the sake of simplicity, I took the K-Lite Mega Codec pack. It took the mega pack instead of the standard pack because Dirty Harry is using a .44 and not a .375. This might be reason enough.
  2. During installation select Profile 2. It’s the default profile without the players (you remember we want to stream anyway). Feel free to experiment with other profiles and custom settings.K-Lite Mega Codec Pack Setup Dialog
  3. When you come along the Select Additional Task step, don’t forget to scroll down and to check Make thumbnail generation possible for the following types. This will create the thumbnails in the Windows explorer and within the Windows Media Player 11.
    K-Lite Mega Code Pack Setup Dialog - Additional Tasks

At this point your Windows Media Player can play h.264 encoded files but your server is still not capable to share any kind of .mp4 files. They won’t show up in the folders monitored by Media Player until we apply some tweaks to the registry.

On my crusade I came along two registry patches. It seems that they did not work for everybody, however, nobody tried on Windows Server 2003. It worked for me after I installed bot
h of them.

  1. Download the first registry patch, rename to .reg and install it.
  2. Download the second registry patch, rename to .reg and install it.
  3. Reboot to apply the registry changes.

Now, out Windows Server 2003 is capable to stream h.264 encoded media files. The previous patches will now cause that Windows Media Player 11 will add all kinds of .mp4 or .m4a files within the monitored folders. Adding these folders to be streamed is straight forward.

  1. Go to  Libary /Add to Library…Windows Media Player 11 - Library Menu
  2. Add all kinds of folders that should be streamed to your Xbox 360. The media types will be organized automatically, so movies, music files and images will be shown in the corresponding tabs in the NXE.Add to Library Dialog
  3. In some rare cases (and I know what I am talking about as I encountered this rare case) all your mp4 files won’t show up in the movie folders. In this case select Library / Other and check if the files are shown there.Windows Media Player 11 - Other  MediaIf you find all your files here, something went terrible wrong with your media library. Calm down, there is a easy workaround (FWIW: if you already share media, stop sharing as the following won’t work).Go to C:Documents and Settings[YouProfileName]Local SettingsApplication DataMicrosoft and delete the Media Player folder. This will wipe out the whole media library for this computer. Restart from 1. and everything should be green now.Media Player Library

Now, where everything is nicely organized, indexed and monitored, we are ready to share our media with the Xbox 360.

  1. Turn on your Xbox 360.No kidding, you won’t be able to turn on sharing if the 360 is not on at that point of time.
  2. Go to Library / Media Sharing…Media Sharing
  3. Now it’s straight forward:a) Check Share my media to b) Select your Xbox 360c) Click AllowMedia Sharing Dialog
  4. Finally, don’t forget to check out the Customize button which will open a dialog for some more fine tuning (what kinds of media to share, what ratings to share, etc.)

Now got to your Xbox 360 and enjoy your h.264 streamed media.

There are a few point’s I haven’t found out how to resolve, yet.

  1. The registry hacks don’t include .mkv file extensions. Also both hacks could be combined into one. I simply haven’t spend time in this yet.
  2. The 360 won’t show any thumbnails for the h.264 encoded files. Not sure if this is related to the XNE or the Media Player. This might worth some more investigation.
  3. The 360 does not show the length of the media file. It does so for .avi files, so this might be automatically answered once 2. is answered.

f.lux Compensator

Not really a productivity tool, but apparently some tool that makes working all day long on the screen much more convenient.

“f.lux makes your computer screen look like the room you’re in, all the time. When the sun sets, it makes your computer look like your indoor lights. In the morning, it makes things look like sunlight again”

f.lux adjusts the color temperature of your display to the time of the day. It ranges from 6500 Kelvin during daylight to 3400 Kelvin during the night. Give it a try, downloads are available for Windows XP/Vista, Mac OS X and Linux (glibc6).

f.lux

ZoomIt

ZoomIt (by Mark Russinovich), a classic tool for presenting. Quite lightweight with few but good options. The zoom capability allows you to zoom into the area of the screen where the mouse points to. The draw and type capability allows to draw and type on your screen. Way cool if you are using a Tablet PC, though. Finally, the Break function is a countdown. Nice for speakers this one comes with a few nifty functions such as playing a sound and displaying a custom background image.

ZoomIt

And no, it’s not a tool only for evangelists giving talks in large lecture theaters. It also comes quite handy in meetings and presentations within the team and in front of customers.