Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Windows update on an endless loop - Configuring update 3 of 3 0%, do not switch off your computer

If you have suffered the windows update loop step Configuring Update 3 of 3 0%, you will know the limits of frustration.
The standard way of dealing with this is to do a system restore to before the update. From the boot menu, F8 to the boot options and go for repair, then select system restore. Safe mode won't work as that just goes back into the loop.
Recently I had this happen for a second time, only in this case all my restore points had mysteriously disappeared! Quite a catastrophe.
Nevertheless there is a fix. You need to dive into DOS, opt for the Command prompt option, do a change disk (C:) to c-drive then a change directory (CD windows\winsxs)
Don't do a DIR command because you could wait forever if you have a lot in there and you probably will. Instead do a DIR p* to get a list of the files beginning with P. You are looking for pending.xml You can delete it but I prefer to rename it (REN pending.xml old-pending.xml) Then close the command window and reboot, select normal start. You will still come to the loop but this time you will skip through it. Mind you your heart might stop while waiting when the loop first reappears...
You should then get to have your operating system back and your first task is to create new system restore point. Your next task is to go in and turn off MS automatic updates... That may or may not help, I had mine off when the second crash loop happened!

My thanks to Mooh who provided the best explanation that I found on fixing this.
MS has a note about this problem here
This problem seems to be kicked off by a variety of different updates.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Local Host misbehaving?

No not the waiter kind. But if you are waiting on a localhost connection then you may be subject to a missing legacy linkage. If you are running moodle and can't get to a page via local host but can do with loopback then you have probably got a problem with your hosts file.
See this description of how to fix that with reference to the issue that can occur with Moodle anywhere.
Localhost correction for legacy IPv4 from IPv6

Saturday, March 27, 2010

An old but good programme to promote digital literacy.

Photostory3 is one of my favourite free programmes from MS. It is an old XP programme which lets you collate a set of photos in to a slideshow. It presents the slides with movement and transitions, has a simple narrate button to add commentary and generates its own copyright free music background tracks.   The finished product can be saved as a project for re-editing or exported as a wmv file. The programme is so straightforward you can get preliterate new entrant children creating digital stories by themselves, however, there are some nice customisations that you can find to alter pictures, movement, transitions, just one layer down so that it can easily satisfy the demands of older users as well.
There has been one small hiccough with the compatibility in Windows7. Many people report that they are unable to install it or even run it on an upgrade to Win7. I have personal experience with this, where it worked on one laptop and refused on the other, when both had the same upgrade from vista to win7 professional.  Eventually I was able to get the second one running but I know of many online who don't seem to have succeeded.  MS reports that there is no compatibility issue on their website but win7 certainly thinks otherwise in some circumstances.