DefinIT Because if IT were easy, everyone would do it…

17Jul/090

GFI Backup – Home Edition: Free backup for home users!

Posted by Sam McGeown

Why should a home user backup? Most don’t, most people just have their photos, music and video collection on a single hard drive, maybe an external drive or even a USB key. Unfortunately, no-one ever thinks about what they’d do if their drive were to fail, losing all their precious holiday snaps, their slightly embarrassing music collection, or perhaps their family finances. But stop and think for a second – can you really replace those holiday snaps? What about your music collection – do you want to spend 3 days importing all your CDs or DVDs? Or maybe your personal finance app – is that something you could afford to lose?

With my little preachy bit out of the way, I’ll come to my point – GFI have released their own home backup software, and from what I can see, it’s pretty good. Installation is dead simple, and then you’re presented with your main screen:

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Simple enough, Backup lets you…well…backup, Restore, funnily enough, lets you restore, Sync is a handy tool for syncing data across several sources, and finally My Tasks lets you modify previously configured Backup, Restore and Sync tasks.

Backup

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Configuring Backups is as simple as selecting What, Where and When – What do you want to backup? Where do you want to back it up to? When do you want to back it up? There are some nice features over the bundled-with-Windows NTBackup

  1. email notifications
  2. backup to an FTP site
  3. backup registry keys
  4. backup email applications
  5. backup user settings (i.e. your AppData folder)
  6. “stacked backup” that keeps versions of your data
  7. zip compression
  8. aes encryption

 

In my test the pre-scan element of the backup took a while, but the actual backup itself was pretty speedy. I backed up my website (about 3000 files, 10mb) in 54 seconds to an external USB drive.

Restore

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Restoring is just as easy, you can select to restore the entire backup, or individual files and folders. Both work well and are intuitive. I restored the same web folder back to my hard drive in an incredible 9 seconds.

Sync

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I’ve not tested comprehensively, but on the surface it looks like a great piece of home software, which I’ll be using to do some off-site backups at home. And it’s free, which means you can’t go far wrong – nice one GFI!

Download GFI Backup – Home Edition here

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7Jul/090

Using AC97 audio with Windows 7

Posted by Sam McGeown

Like thousands of other IT pros out there, I'm testing Windows 7 out on my laptop - since I don't want to mess around with my main PC, it's running on some older kit. The problem with that is that there aren't many Vista drivers around for the hardware - why would there be, it's not even supposed to be able to run Vista?! It does, however, run Windows 7 very admirably (just one of the many improvements).

The only problem was the sound card, the only drivers available from Dell for the onboard sound were for XP, which crash in both Vista and 7. The sound card is compatible with Intel's generic AC97, so it didn't take long to find a Vista compatible AC97 driver from RealTek which will run any AC97 hardware, regardless of the actual manufacturer.

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2Jul/090

Internet Explorer or Services.msc problems after McAfee Uninstall

Posted by Sam McGeown

I'm in the middle of rolling out Sophos as a replacement to the incumbent McAfee at work. One interesting thing that I found as I rolled out to some test users was that they were unable to log on to one of our internal systems using NTLM (integrated authentication). Instantly the roll out of Sophos was blamed - and I can understand why - the problem did not occur until Sophos was installed.

But the truth is that in it's dying breath McAfee had one last laugh and had un-registered jscript.dll and vbscript.dll. I can say that now because I've spent a morning with Sophos support and been on the brink of abandoning our roll-out until I looked into one of the side symptoms.

Sophos was ruled out as the cause because a) it did not effect ALL the Sophos test machines, just ones where McAfee was uninstalled b) with Sophos disabled (services and browser add on) the problem did not go away c) Uninstalling Sophos did not solve the problem. It did however, point me in the right direction - during the uninstall there was an error message, the fix for which was to re-register jscript.dll (clue #1)

When I opened Services.msc, the Extended view simply showed a blue frame - Standard view was fine. One of the fixes for this was to re-register jscript.dll and vbscript.dll (clue #2).

Clue #3 came when I googled McAfee and jscript.dll, rather than blaming it on Sophos. A myriad of pleas for help from McAfee users with stuffed browsers, update issues and the like.

The Solution 

 

  • Download and run the McAfee Consumer Product Removal tool (http://service.mcafee.com/FAQDocument.aspx?lc=2057&id=TS100507)
  • Reboot if required
  • Open a command prompt (Start > Run > "cmd")
  • Type the following commands in one at a time, hit enter and acknowledge the result
    • Regsvr32.dll jscript.dll
    • Regsvr32 vbscript.dll
  • Reboot again
On successful completion of this, you should be back up and running.
 

Now, let me take this opportunity to say that McAfee is a resource hogging, trouble making screwed up piece of software which I pray to God that I never have to support again. </rant>