Tag Archive: USB

Automatic Metric Solves Wireless and Ethernet Network Issues

Automatic Metric: Windows 7 Laptop Will Only Connect to Huawei E5372 on UK Three Network, OR the Wired Home Network

Windows 8 Computers Work Fine Though!

Connecting Win7 to wireless and ethernet networks simultaneously

Problem link is shown in red

Automatic Metric is the place to be!

I have two networks essentially:

  • The “normal” wired network (gigabyte ethernet) that links all computers and printers through the Cisco Router.
  • The temporary mobile network that allows the PCs to connect to the internet while we are in temporary accommodation.  It’s a Huawei E5372.

The Issue

After setting up WiFi on the PCs, access to the Ethernet network disappeared – but only for the Windows 7 computer!!!

This meant that file transfers, backup etc between the machines, ceased, as well as access to the wired printer.   The printer worked fine when connected through its USB connection.  It has no WiFi.

In the same way, disconnecting the wireless enabled connectivity to the wired home network (Ethernet).

I searched and many forums had similar “fixes”, none of which worked. e.g.

  • Remove IPv6 leaving just IPv4 on the network adapters.
  • Remove network devices completely and re-install.
  • Try new or updated drivers.
  • Reboot each time.

However, two very small items appeared and worked for me!!  They are network settings, deeply buried and that I’ve never set before.

The Fix(es)

It’s the same in both Win 7 & 8.  Maybe even Vista, but as we know, Vista Means Death.  I did two places that got the Win7 machine to connect to the web through the Mobile WiFi dongle and to the home, wired and routed, network.

  1. Adapters and Bindings
  2. Automatic Metric

So Adapters and Bindings…

Network Adapters And Bindings

Network Adapters And Bindings (as seen in Win8)

  • Network and Sharing Center
  • Change Adapter Settings
  • Advanced on the menu. (Alt+N)
  • Advanced Settings
  • Adapters and Bindings tab
  • Set WiFi at the top

Oh Woe Is Me Again!

At this point, connectivity was still not restored, but it was an interesting setting, totally hidden in Win8!

 And Automatic Metric…

This is the killer setting that worked!!!  You need to do this twice:

  1. once for the Wireless network adapter
  2. and again for the wired Ethernet adapter
Here’s how
  • Network and Sharing Center
  • Network Adapter Wireless - Automatic Metric

    Network Adapter Wireless (Win 7)

    Click the first adapter, the one I need windows to use first.  i.e. The Wireless adapter.

  • Click Properties
  • Scroll down to “Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and select it.
  • Click Properties
  • Click Advanced
  • Uncheck Automatic Metric and put a low number (say 1) in the “Interface Metric” box
  • Click OK to save the settings changes.

Now do the second, Ethernet adapter.  Follow the previous method.  However, this time,

  • Network Adapter Ethernet - Automatic Metric

    Network Adapter Ethernet (Win 7)

    Uncheck Automatic Metric and put a high number (say 5000) in the “Interface Metric” box

  • Click OK to save the settings changes.

Conclusion

One commenter on the forum I saw (link to be done) said that just setting the order to 1,2,3 etc wasn’t sufficient.  Setting a large gap between interface metrics did the trick, which is what I did.

What Is Automatic/Interface Metric?

Well, you can do this search, or probably the best answer comes from Microsoft, here.

It sets the priority of network interface access, lowest number first, on an individual machine.

In my case, weirdly, the Windows 8 machines had no difficulty.  The single Windows 7 laptop fell over and caused me immense hair loss until I stumbled across the settings which I have never, ever touched in 17 years of computing and the web!

 

 

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Synology – Better Than Most Backup Solutions for Me!

What is the Best Backup for Windows in a Small Home or Office?  (SOHO)

This is the question I asked myself over two years ago.  At the time I recommended the SynologyDS210j and I still would if they made it!

It’s now been replaced by the DS212j, that’s it on the left.

This though, is essentially the same as my old one and in fact, in appearance it’s the same.  My DS210j has functioned perfectly for well over two years.  It just sits there, quietly doing its own thing and has never let me down.

I’ve uprated the internal operating system (called DSM) several times and it now stands as version DSM 4.2-3202.  Synology have said that this will be the last incarnation of this software and that there’ll be no further versions for me on this hardware beyond version 4.

If I was buying now, I’d just buy the latest version.  It does everything anyone would want, is quiet and reliable.

New Kid? The D-Link ShareCenter 2 Bay….

Well nearly, but it’s not for me.

My friend has just bought a D-Link ShareCenter 2 Bay Cloud Network Storage Enclosure since they didn’t want to spend so much…

It’s less than half the price of the Synology and tomorrow evening, I get to set it up!

The specifications, included software, and operating system functionality are almost identical to my Synology.  You know, stuff like media server, web server, iTunes server, backup drive, security camera monitoring, the list goes on..!

  • The reviews, however, say that it is noisy, though my friend says this isn’t an issue since it’s going in a cupboard with the router and internet gateway. It does seem to have a smaller fan than my little white cutie, so that could be it.
  • Some reviewers had difficulty setting it or its software up.  Well actually, I’ve had a few difficulties myself with the DSM software from Synology – if you’ve not done things like this before, it can be difficult and confusing.  It’s not Windows after all!

So, watch this space.  I’ll get back later when it’s all done.

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What is the Best Backup for Windows in a Small Home or Office?

What is the Best Backup for Windows in a Small Home or Office?

Which Windows Backup?  A History.

Over the years I’ve tried many systems for backing up crucial Windows data.  Currently for small-scale backups I use the ubiquitous and almost bullet-proof flash drives, my current one tipping the scales at 8Gb.  But for major backups, as the years have passed, I’ve used;

  1. Floppy discs – 1.4Mb
  2. Iomega Zip discs – 100Mb
  3. CDRW – 650Mb
  4. DVD-R – 4.7Gb
  5. Western Digital My Book Home Edition – 1Tb

They all had their problems and limitations.  The last one looked good with Firewire, USB2, ethernet  & eSATA connections – but it overheated and broke…..

Best Windows Backup!

My current system is from Synology and is a “DS210j – Budget-friendly 2-bay NAS server for Home and Small Business”

See: http://www.synology.com/enu/products/DS210j/index.php

I can heartily recommend the thing.  It has so much gubbins within it and far exceeds my limited expectations.  I installed two green 2Tb drives from Western Digital  in mirrored RAID for security and use the auto-backup software provided as well as Windows’ own.  This is extremely relevant for the large number of hits I’ve had to this posting where a major part of the problem is the time taken to do a backup!  In my case, the 750Gb just takes a few hours to copy across the Gigabit speed ethernet that the unit can use.

Addendum June 2011: The tool is a seriously capable bit of kit and I cannot recommend it enough. Get one!

It does everything it says on the tin, and more!  The whole thing cost me about 200 quid, plus an hour of my time to install.

Even its firewall is more configurable than any router I’ve used!  It can be used as a server for FTP or the web.  It comes with software for a host of things that mimic Flikr etc but without all the privacy or security issues inherent in off-line storage.  It’ll also run with any operating system because it itself is a mini-linux installation as it is,  and includes Windows, Apple and Linux applications.
Check it out, straight from their overview page:

Build Your Entertainment Center

Download Station 2 functions as a 24×7 BitTorrent, FTP, HTTP, eMule, and NZB download center. RapidShare and RSS download are now supported.

DLNA Compliant Media Sever ensures compatibility and interoperability between Disk Station and a wide range of DLNA-certified home devices.

iTunes Server provides an easy way to share music and videos with other iTunes clients within the local network. You can create playlists with songs that match the criteria you specified, and best of all, iTunes will update these playlists automatically as you add or delete songs.

Audio Station supports music, Internet radio stations, and iPod playback with connected USB speakers. Web-streaming mode allows your music to be shared with multiple users over the Internet.

Back Up Your Precious Data

DSM 2.2 offers comprehensive solutions for you to back up data stored on Disk Station or your desktop computer to the Disk Station.

Server backup includes two alternatives: Network Backup and Local Backup. Both allow you to back up data in the shared folders and databases. Incremental backup option and flexible schedules are available. All can be easily configured with a step-by-step wizard.

Desktop backup provides Windows PC users with the Synology Data Replicator 3 for backing up desktop data, Outlook, and Outlook Express emails to their Disk Station by choosing one of the three backup modes: Immediate, Sync, and Scheduled backup, while Mac OS X users can use Apple Time Machine backup application to back up their critical data to Disk Station.

USBCopy allows you to quickly back up your data from an USB storage device such as an USB flash or USB card reader to the Disk Station with just one single touch on the front-panel Copy button.

Enrich Your Web Presence

Photo Station 3 simplifies photo, video, and blog sharing over the Internet. The flexibility of photo theme customization, blog layout arrangement, visitor’s privilege setting, RSS feed, and the dazzling 3-dimentional photo browsing with Cooliris make Photo Station 3 your state-of-the-art lifestyle sharing center on the Internet.

Web Station with built-in PHP+MySQL allows users to publish their own websites or install numerous popular open-source programs.

Access With Your iPhone/Mobile Device

The iPhone App DS audio allows Disk Station users to stream music stored on Disk Station with their iPhone/iPod® touch where Internet access is available, while DS photo allows uploading photos from the iPhone/iPod® touch to their Disk Station.

Users with a mobile device running on Windows Mobile® 6.0, iPhone OS 2.2.1 onward, or Symbian OS 9.1 can log on their Disk Station to view photos with Mobile Photo Station and read supported file formats with Mobile File Station where Internet access is available.

Eco Friendly

Eco Friendly

Synology Disk Station is designed and developed perpetually with the concept of energy saving. Compared with average PC counterparts, Synology Disk Station consumes a relatively low amount of power and has the HDDs hibernate when not in use. This not only helps to save energy but also extends the lifespan of the hard disk.

Synology Disk Station truly earns the title of “green product” because of the unique Scheduled Power On/Off feature, and the smart fan design effectively cools down the system with minimum power consumption, yet keeps the system quiet on operation.

Finally, all Synology products are produced with RoHS compliant parts and packed with recyclable packing materials. Synology recognizes its responsibility as a global citizen and is continually working to reduce the environmental impact of the products we create.

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How to Convert a Dynamic Disk to Basic Disk in Windows 7

How to Convert a Windows 7 Dynamic Disk to Basic Disk When  Microsoft says It’s Irreversible!

Firstly, Do Not Dance with the Devil!

I made the mistake (again!) of trying dynamic disks with my new Windows 7 installation.  I must have been asleep – the use of this system is seriously frowned upon for most users.  It has several pitfalls not least that it’s high-end Windows specific (i.e not home, basic etc), and it’s impossible to clone partitions for backup or moves, say.

But mainly, it’s supposed to be irreversible AND un-do-able!

Dynamic Disk Option

Dynamic Disk Option

To convert from basic to dynamic is frighteningly easy (see screen shot).  The reversing option disappears once it’s done and in virtually all Disk Partition Software,  any ‘partitions’, now called volumes, just show as one big monolithic slab of pale yellow disk that has any possible action greyed out!  This was really bad as it was on the system drive…

You’ll see in the screen-shot that there are 3 disks.

Disk 0 & disk 1 were an effort at user-data mirroring originally until I realised what I pile of poo I’d just landed in.  All the initial  recommendations were negative and the prognosis didn’t look good.  See:

Solution

HxD Screenshot

HxD Screenshot

However, this post gave me a pointer which eventually led to here and the HxD disc editing tool, here.   The Dynamic Disk Converter is a paid for solution and would have worked.  But I tried the Hex Editor approach after a bit more reading around the subject….  WARNING: See my comment on Dynamic Disk Converter here – added 27/7/2010(SP)

The trick, as in Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, is 42!

Specifically, all 42‘s must be converted to 07.

The highlighted area contains the bit to edit and the numbers to edit in this area are those in column 02 that are 42.  So change all the 42’s to 07’s in column 02 in the four highlighted lines.  (n.b. The screendump was taken after I’d fixed the disc, so all the 42s are now 07 and some partitions have been deleted.)

That’s all.

Do NOT twiddle anything else.

Caveat

This post in the thread says to just alter one line – this is wrong!  (There’s a confusing addition at the bottom.  This relates directly to my experience, so yes, all real primary partitions are numbered 07)

And this post says to do them all – this is right.  It shows 3.

In my original pre-editted state, I had 4!  Handily, this shows the reason (I think), why you can only have 4 primary partitions on a drive.

Finale and Actual Actions Summary

Current Disks

Current Disks

Now you’ll see I have only two 07’s in the column (in the screenshot above).  These map to the two partitions showing in my Disk Management full screen-shot here.  For some reason, it had ‘remembered’ other volumes I’d made on the disk – that’s why I had 4 to do.

I was quite prepared to buy the paid-for software.  It looked good and worth the cash.  Instead:

  1. I very tediously moved ‘volumes’ into ‘partitions’ onto a third disk I entered into the system.
    1. This later disk needed it’s partitions resizing first to make room.
    2. It was hot-plugged using it’s SATA into the wire from the DVD as I didn’t have any spare SATA wires!  Doh!
  2. The moved data was from disk 0 & disk 1, all relevant stuff going to disk 2.
  3. Deleted all the volumes from Disk 1
  4. I could then set Disk 1 to basic using Windows as per Microsoft instructions.
  5. Moved all user data back to C-Drive volume (I had been in the process of separating data from programs).
  6. Backed up C-Drive volume and system state using Windows 7 Backup tool to new partition ‘BACKUP’ using all of Disk 1
    1. This was in case the following hex stuff failed.  It would allow an easy restore by:
      1. Install windows from DVD onto Disk 0
      2. Use Windows backup to reset system state and all the files & programs on the C-Drive on Disk 0
  7. Now used the Hex editor to edit the disk sector information as described above.
  8. REBOOT (fingers crossed!)
  9. WAHAY! It worked.
  10. Removed pseudo partition remaining on Disk 0 to leave unallocated space  – I think this was due to the invisible 1Mb database that exists on dynamic disks.

Plans

I’ve now got two new hard drives in the post.  When these have arrived and are installed, I’ll use standard tools to move partitions and get user data onto a RAID mirror assembly.  This will increase data integrity and give me a better backup.  You’d think that outboard backups would be fine, wouldn’t you?  Well I bought a Western Digital 1TB Studio Edition which worked okay for a while….

But it ran so hot the eSATA/USB circuitry failed!  I dismantled it and found the drive to be okay – this is the third disk, Disk 2 in the screen-shots!

Now, I have a new system with a better,  heavy-duty power supply, adequate (and quiet cooling), with the whole thing protected behind an APC UPS which I’ve had for a year.  Sticking to basic disks should make backups simpler and the whole thing should be more reliable – certainly more so than the WD Studio thing which is a pile of hot plastic pants.

p.s. added 5/12/2010: read this for my new recommended fast backup solution: http://strangelyperfect.tv/10155/what-is-the-best-backup-for-windows-in-a-small-home-or-office/

p.p.s. added 01/03/2012: I now recommend that folks use the free Easeus software, http://www.partition-tool.com/personal.htm  This will fix dynamic discs using a familiar graphical user interface so is way less scary.  Thanks to those that pointed this out.

p.p.p.s. added 11/11/2014:  I now find AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard Edition works very well and I use it very much.  It has a large feature set for a free utility.

Stick to basic Disks – you know it makes sense!

Further Reading

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Problems with Conficker or Downadup?

Or How to Disable Autoruns

– to Stop This Particular Infection Route

This is a brief summary of what to do…
  1. Make sure you have a proper anti-virus program running
    • NOD32 is a good one!
    • AVG is too
    • Kaspersky, Trend, CA are also good brands
  2. Make sure your anti-virus is current and updated.  Check like so:
    • Somewhere on your program will be it’s last update
    • For NOD32, hover your mouse cursor over the little icon next to the taskbar clock (bottom right in XP)
    • As well as version numbers, the last update shows in reverse date format – 6 Feb 2009 is 20090206
    • Other programs are very similar and the last update is usually pretty obvious so you don’t need to fiddle with settiings etc.
  3. Disable autoruns as this is a good way for the virus/malware/trojan to get you
    • This is the best and easiest way to do this:
Copy This Text:

REGEDIT4
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\IniFileMapping\Autorun.inf]
@=”@SYS:DoesNotExist”

Open Notepad:

start -> run -> type ‘notepad’ (without quotes) and hit Enter on the keyboard

Paste Into Notepad:

Now paste the copied text into Notepad

Now Save the File:

Call the file a handy name like “StopAutoRun” but make sure it has a ‘reg’ extension!

So your file should be called something like StopAutoRun.reg

Now Run The Reg File You’ve Just Made:

Double-click the file – your registry will pick up the change and the handy autorun feature will be disabled!

Of course, you may be used to using this “handy feature”.  If you want to keep it, don’t do any of the above but be very, very, very careful about any USB stick you insert into your computer, any CD you insert or play, any video you watch on DVD, and any network you map or connect to…

What About if I’m Already Infected?

How to Clear and Eliminate Conficker or Downadup?

  1. Connect to the internet with a “good”, clean computer.  You may need to borrow one or visit a friend’s house..
  2. Download a clean up program – the NOD32 version is here: http://download.eset.com/special/EConfickerRemover.exe Other Anti-virus makers have similar ones.
  3. Copy the tool you’ve just downloaded to your own PC and run it.   It may take a while and you’ll definately need a reboot afterwards.
  4. Install and/or Update a good Antivirus program (see above at top)

Further Reading and Information Sources

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