Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Windows Vista won't update, getting error 80072EFE

I had to scratch my head on this one for a while. I had someone ask me to look at their personal Vista Home Premium laptop because it wasn't able to connect to Windows Update. I had helped to remove some spyware/viruses/adware from it in the past so that was my first thought. Scans came back clean though so I went on to some other stuff. Eventually I tried installing the missing updates manually. One of those updates was the most recent Windows Malicious Software Removal tool. I figured I'd let it run a full scan and that turned out to be a good idea. It reported finding Alureon.F and removing it. However, Alureon infections can bring along a rootkit, which is exactly what happened. I removed the rootkit using TDSSKiller from Kasperky, then rebooted. My atapi.sys driver had been listed as infected. Sure enough, after everything was loaded back up the Windows updates worked fine. I ran a few more scans to make sure the rootkit hadn't been hiding anything, but they came back clean so everything is back to normal.

If you're trying to update your Windows Vista machine and getting an error 80072EFE, you may want to check for the rootkit yourself. Download and unzip TDSSKiller, then rename the executable file to something random. I used 1a2b3c4d.com (.com will work the same as .exe in this instance). Then run your executable, follow the prompts, and restart. If you want more in-depth instructions, check out this article at bleepingcomputer.com

Monday, April 5, 2010

Illustrator CS3 Unknown Error when trying to save a file

I had a user who couldn't save their Illustrator files, but had no trouble doing it the week before. It didn't matter whether she was saving locally or to the server. I tried rebooting and repairing the permissions, but neither worked. Then I trashed the Illustrator CS3 preferences and things went back to normal. If this happens to you and you don't want to lose your file, do a Save As, then pick EPS as the format. It appears that it will still let you save it as an EPS even if you can't save it as an AI file.

This was a Mac OS X 10.4.11 machine. If you're seeing this problem on a Windows install, sorry, but I don't have a fix for you. If you're not familiar with deleting preference files on a Mac, the following will explain what to do. If you have custom settings in Illustrator CS3 I'd suggest writing them down beforehand since removing the preference file will reset Illustrator to its defaults.

1. Close Illustrator CS3 if it is open
2. Go to Macintosh HD->Users->username->Library->Preferences, but substitute your actual username in where it says username
3. This is where your user account preferences are stored. Look for the com.adobe.illustrator.plist file. Move it to your Trash, but you don't need to empty it
4. Now, within your Preferences folder, find the "Adobe Illustrator CS3 Settings" folder and move that to the Trash, but do not empty it
5. Start Illustrator CS3. This should create new preferences files containing the default settings for Illustrator CS3.
6. Open or create a document, then try to save

If you get to step 6 and it works, then you're set. If you had customized settings in Illustrator you will need to set those up again since removing the preferences also removes any customizations to the settings. If you had them but do not remember what they were, you can get your preference files from the Trash, restore them to where you found them, then open Illustrator again. That way you can see what your customizations were, remove the preferences again, then set up the preferences while working with a good set of preference files that allow you to save.

If you still can't save after step #6, you have the option to put the preference files (com.adobe.illustrator.plist and Adobe Illustrator CS3 Settings) back into your Preferences folder and restart Illustrator. That way your settings will be back and you can go on troubleshooting your problem saving without losing any customizations to the application.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

How to install CUPS-PDF in OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard

Adobe did away with it's Adobe PDF printer in OS X 10.6 stating enhanced security prevented it from working. However, CUPS-PDF does the same thing and is free to download. Update 12/7/10: From the comment below from Jeff Z, it sounds like the CUPS-PDF install package has been updated to work with Snow Leopard without all the Terminal tweaks below. You should be able to download, install, and use without having to perform any of the tweaks below. I've left them in the article though for completeness.

If you're installing CUPS-PDF on Snow Leopard, there are some things you need to do in order to get it working though.

1. Download and install CUPS-PDF. You can get it from here in the Downloads section. It says there is an updated version for Snow Leopard, but that still doesn't help you avoid the rest of this.
2. Once you have CUPS-PDF installed, open a Terminal window. You can find that by going to Macintosh HD->Applications->Utilities->Terminal
3. In Terminal, use the command sudo chmod 0700 /usr/libexec/cups/backend/cups-pdf to change the permissions on the CUPS-PDF install
4. Now, change the ownership using sudo chown root:wheel /usr/libexec/cups/backend/cups-pdf
5. It gets a little tricky here because you have to change a configuration file. It's not hard, but most people probably haven't had to do it before. Use the command sudo vi /etc/cups/cups-pdf.conf to open the file in the VI text editor
6. In the file, scroll down to where it says "Out ${HOME}/Desktop/cups-pdf"
7. Press 'a' on the keyboard, which will put VI into edit mode. Now change the line in step #6 to instead read "Out /var/spool/cups-pdf/${USER}", but you don't need the quotes
8. Now press ESC on the keyboard, then type ":wq" (without the quotes) and press Enter. This will write your changes to the files, and also quit the VI editor
9. Now use the command sudo ln -s /var/spool/cups-pdf/${USER} ~Documents/CUPS-PDF to put a shortcut to the CUPS-PDF save location in your Documents folder
10. You can close the Terminal at this point and shouldn't need it again. Open System Preferences
11. Go to Print & Fax
12. Click the + to add a printer
13. Under the Default area, you should see CUPS-PDF in the list of available printers. Select it and choose Add.

Now you can use the newly installed CUPS-PDF printer to create PDF files, and don't need to use Adobe's workaround of "Save as PDF". To get at your printed PDF files, go to Documents folder and follow the CUPS-PDF shortcut. You can move that shortcut to your Desktop if you'd prefer to have easier access to the shortcut location of where the files get created. One downside of this is I believe you have to go through this process for each individual user on a machine that will need to use CUPS-PDF. You can skip a few of the steps, but the rest could turn into a pain if you have a lot of users on each machine.

Thanks to the macosxhints.com forum for helping sort this one out.

Error c1041739 when mounting a mailbox store in Exchange 2003

I ran into error c1041739 "The database files in this store are inconsistent" when trying to mount a restored mailbox store on a backup Exchange 2003 server. It wasn't too hard to fix using some of the Exchange command-line utilities though. You may want to make a copy of your .edb and .stm files prior to performing any activities on them, just to be safe. For this example, let's say I have priv1.edb and priv1.stm both in the C:\Mail folder and am getting error c1071739 when trying to mount priv1.edb. Here's how I would attempt to fix it:

1. First, open a command prompt
2. Change to the C:\Program Files\Exchsrvr\bin folder using cd "C:\Program Files\Exchsrvr\bin". This will put you in the location of the Exchange command-line utilities. If your program files folder is somewhere else, change the path in the command accordingly
3. Now, use eseutil /p on the .edb file. In my example, this command would look like eseutil /p "C:\Mail\priv1.edb"
4. Once that finishes, defrag and rebuild the edb database. To do that, use eseutil /d /t:C:\tempEmail "C:\Mail\priv1.edb". The /t:C:\tempEmail is telling the command to use C:\tempEmail as the temporary location for the defrag files. You can change that location to wherever you want, so feel free to use a different folder or a separate partition that fits your needs. The defrag can take some time if you have a rather large .edb file.
5. Once the defrag is complete, use eseutil /mh "C:\Mail\priv1.edb" to check the consistency of your file. You should not get any errors at this point.

That's all I had to do. Mounting the mailbox store after the repair worked fine, and I was able to retrieve the information I needed. There are a few steps I left out, but if this doesn't work for you check out Microsoft KB 906148. It covers the c1041739 "The database files in this store are inconsistent" error, along with the steps Microsoft recommends using to fix it. Good luck!

Black box around things or computer is talking to you in Mac OS X

If you're using a Mac and all of a sudden your Mac starts speaking to you, or you start seeing a black box outlining everything you click, it's ok. Your computer is not possessed. Instead, you probably enabled the VoiceOver feature. You can do this by pressing Command+F5 (which toggles it on and off), or through the System Preferences. To shut it off either use the shortcut keys, or go to System Preferences->Universal Access and turn VoiceOver off. That will get rid of the black box outline, and also stop your computer from talking.

Of course, if VoiceOver is not turned on and your computer is still talking to you, then it may be possessed and you'll have to find a computer exorcist... You only need to watch from 0:20-1:00 to see what a computer exorcism is all about.