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22Oct/080

Activating Microsoft Reader on a Windows Mobile 5 device under Vista

Posted by Sam McGeown

I recently tried to use Microsoft reader on my iMate K-Jam mobile, it's Windows Mobile 5 powered, so according to Microsoft it's fully supported. However, when I tried to activate, I got the following error:

"You have an older version of Pocket PC which does not support Activation"

Not true I cried, and after a lot of Google-ing and trying various different fixes that are posted on the net, I found the only one that actually worked for me!

It was as simple as adding the activation web site to the "Trusted Sites" zone in Internet Explorer, and running IE in the administrators context. It was one of those simple ones that really makes the 2 hours spent searching for an answer all the more frustrating.

I've got a feeling Microsoft should add notes to that effect on the site...never mind.

Filed under: Microsoft, Windows No Comments
9Oct/080

How to configure Windows Server 2003 Enterprise and SQL 2005 to use more then 4GB RAM

Posted by Sam McGeown

32-bit processors have a limitation of only being able to directly address 4GB RAM - their architecture was never designed to address more. 64-bit processors get around that limitation by being able to us 64 bits to address RAM (potentially 16,777,216 GB), but what do you do if you have an application that won't work on a 64-bit copy of Windows, but does need to utilise more than 4GB of RAM?

The answer is to use PAE (Physical Address Extensions) and AWE (Application Windowing Extensions). I blundered through PAE a little while back, and found that it didn't work as expected because I was using Server 2003 Standard. PAE is only available as part of Server 2003 Enterprise and Datacenter edition.

Back to the problem at hand, I have a memory hungry application that sits on a Windows Server 2003 Enterprise box with SQL server 2005 installed.

Firstly, we need to enable PAE to allow the 32-bit operating system to address memory over the 4GB limit. This is configured by adding the /PAE switch to the boot.ini.

We also need to repartition the 4GB of Virtual Address Space (VAS) that 32-bit Windows can address by using the /3GB switch in the boot.ini. This allows 3GB of RAM to processes running in "Application Mode" and 1GB RAM to the "Kernel Mode". If you're using more the 16GB of memory don't use the /3GB switch as PAE/AWE will need 2GB of RAM in the Kernel Mode.

The memory intensive applications will run in, you guessed it, Application Mode and will therefore be able to utilise the extended memory provided through PAE and AWE.

Since SQL server will run in the Application Mode memory partition and is AWE aware, it can be configure to reside entirely in AWE managed memory.

The user account that is used to run SQL server must be granted the "Lock Pages in Memory" right and the "AWE Enabled" setting in the configuration of SQL server must be set to "1". We also need to set the "Max Server Memory" to stop SQL server consuming all the AWE memory available. The "Min Server Memory" does not need to be configured as AWE memory is not released by SQL server.

Once that is all configured and a reboot applied, SQL server should only consume about 256mb in task manager, the rest having been loaded into AWE memory and not viewable from the Task manager.

2Oct/080

Vista DVD/CDRW drive message "Prepare this blank disk"

Posted by Sam McGeown

For a little while now I've had an irritating problem with my Vista laptop. Whenever I insert a DVD, CD of any kind, pops up the message asking me to prepare a blank disk:

DVDError

It's impossible to access the files on the disc and I don't want Vista trying to "prepare" my data disc. Quite irritating, but not irritating enough to fix right away.

Microsoft have a KB article about it, which has worked in some cases, but not in most. There are various advices around to do with firmware, software, reinstalling the device - here's how I fixed it.

So, first step - eliminate any CD/DVD burning software that might be causing a conflict. If you've got commercial software, make sure you have your license key and media to reinstall at a later date.

I have the excellent ISO Recorder, by Alex Fienman - but I need to eliminate that as a possible cause, and it's free to install. I also have Roxio, which I've never used and came bundled with the OS installation. I removed all of them through the Programs and Features control panel.

DVDError

 

The next thing to do is check that there are no firmware updates for your drive, from the manufacturers web site. My laptop is a Dell Latitude D820, with a TSST TS-L462D drive - I found a new update and ran the installation. Follow the manufacturers instructions on this one.

Next, I followed Microsoft's article which involves editing the registry. Editing the registry incorrectly can seriously damage your computer, so back it up first, and be careful. Don't restart at this point.

DVDError

 

If you've installed VMWare server at all, it disables the autorun feature on your DVD drive so you don't have problems with virtual machines - however this can also cause the problem.

  • Open regedit, and change the following key:
    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentC­ontrolSet\Services\CDRom
  • Change the "Autorun" value from "0" to "1" which enables auto run on your drive and has been known to fix the issue.

Another solution which has been posted on many support forums is to add a file to "temporary burn" folder in your profile. I have no idea why this would resolve the problem, but it's worth a try. This did cause the "you have files ready to burn to your DVD drive" notification.

  • Open explorer, navigate to C:\Users\<user name>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Burn\Burn
  • Right click the blank space, click "New > Text Document"
  • Try and access your drive.

And finally, open up your Device Manager, locate your DVD/CD drive, right click it and uninstall. Restart your computer - when you do the registry edits will take effect and the device will reinstall.


DVDError

 

Hopefully at this point you'll have a working, fully functional DVD drive.

Filed under: Microsoft, Windows No Comments