The Acer D2D Erecovery 101

Disclaimer: First of all backup your system before launching you in any hazardous operation, some of the operations to come can cause data loss. Any modification and/or damage done on your laptop will be under your responsibility.

As you know now the Acer laptops and those of other manufacturers are now delivered with a restoration system installed in a hidden partition (PQservice for Acer)on your hard disk. Normally this system launches out while pressing simultaneously keys ALT+F10, but sometimes that does not function.

What’s the problem?

There are many possible causes, but most common are:

A The function D2D was disabled in the bios.

Solution: Enable the function by pressing F2 during the boot to access the bios menu and change the setting, then reboot and press keys ALT+F10 during the starting of the laptop.

Note: For all the following solutions take into account the Max advice, I quote Max now, a contributor in my site «But I want to mention the way I sorted out the thing, because it’s very rarely mentioned on the web. All the methods to repair the D2D Alt+f10 issue are knowledgeable and smart but all of them forget to say a fundamental thing:

first of all you have to rebuild with a partition soft the D:Acerdata FAT32 empty partition that almost everybody deletes cause is usually empty. Simply doing it, everything turned fine and the recovery worked perfectly.»

Yes much of attempts to restore fail because of this condition.

B An other common problem the Acer Master Boot Record (MBR)is damaged, or replaced by the MBR of another system. You can reinstall the Acer MBR if the partition PQservice is present or if you can have access to the necessary files.

Solutions:

FIRST

On a functional FAT32 Windows system the partition table values are OC or OB for installable FAT32 system files and 12 or 1B for Hidden FAT32 partition, for a NTFS system the known partition table values are O7 for installable NTFS files system and 27 for Acer custom hidden NTFS partition:

1. Go in the bios and disable the D2D recovery option.

2. Download partedit32.

3. Identify the PQservice partition by its size (there is an information box at the bottom of the partedit window) it is the small sized partition approximately 4 to 9 Go.Once made change the type of your partition into 0C(FAT32) or 07(NTFS) and save. Reboot and now you should be able to navigate inside the PQservice partition.

Search for these two files:

mbrwrdos.exe

rtmbr.bin

(The name of these two files can be different sometimes)

When localized open a command prompt windows as an administrator and enter this command “mbrwrdos.exe install rtmbr.bin”, to install the Acer MBR. Close the command prompt, reboot again your laptop, reactivate the D2D recovery in the bios. Now ALT+F10 should work and run the Acer Erecovery when the laptop start.

SECOND

Somebody who tried to follow the first method but did not succeed to find the 2 files found another solution to restore the partition.

Use partedit32 to locate the partition pqservice(on aspire 5920g,its the larger 9 gb partition)

Change the partition type to 07(Installable NTFS),reboot.

After reboot,go to the windows computer management and mark the PQservice partition as active then reboot again.

Voila!! You can now proceed to the road to recovery

THIRD

On a nonfunctional Windows system.

Download the Ultimate Boot CD(UBCD) run it choose in the menu:

-Filesystem Tools

-Boot Managers

-For me GAG functioned well, but you can choose any of the other boot loader, you will recognize the PQservice by it type(hidden).

Just install any boot loader and use it to boot into the PQservice to start the Erecovery restoring process.

C The last problem: You replaced your hard disc( in this case PQservice is not present any more) or your partition was erased or damaged.

Solution: I hope that you burned the Acer restoration CD/DVD when it had been asked to you at the time of the first use, cause if you did not previously make a backup of your laptop by making a disc image, it will not be possible to use the Acer Erecovery.

Let us give the last words to Max:

«Problem Sorted Alan. And you’re right that an external drive for data backup it’s all important. Yes I have it and backed-up my data before starting messing up… »

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Troubleshooting Boot Failures in Windows Server 2003

Most of us have had the problem before. You start up your Windows machine and are greeted with a cryptic error message or “blue screen of death” before your system boots. It’s a sinking feeling. You cannot access the operating system and troubleshooting the problem can be difficult. In most cases, people end up resorting to drastic measures, such as reformatting the hard drive and reinstalling the operating system. It’s not always a lost cause. Windows Server 2003 includes a number of alternative boot options to help you troubleshoot and resolve these issues.

When attempting to recover from a Windows boot failure, the first step is to get to the boot options menu. You can do this by hitting the F8 key on your keyboard immediately after the Windows boot loader screen is displayed. Once you have accessed the boot options menu, you will have a number of options which are outlined below:

Safe Mode

This option starts the operating system with a bare minimum of system drivers. Safe Mode will help you when troubleshooting boot failures caused by device drivers and registry problems. This mode does not provide networking support and most system services are disabled.

Safe Mode with Networking

The same exact thing as Safe Mode, only with Networking support.

Safe Mode with Command Prompt

This is a command line interface. It can be useful for renaming files and doing other basic command line routines. The windows explorer shell is not loaded and it’s basically just a dos prompt.

Enable Boot Logging

Boot logging starts the system normally, but it creates a detailed log of all the services and drivers that are trying to load at boot time. This can help you determine what is causing the system to crash. The default location for the log file is C:Windowsntbtlog.txt.

Enable VGA Mode

This actually loads the currently installed video driver, but uses the lowest resolution and color depth available. This is a useful option if you are troubleshooting an issue with your video card or monitor driver.

Last Known Good Configuration

You can use this option to revert to a copy of the registry that was saved during the last successful login to Windows. Although it sounds great, I can’t remember a single instance that this has ever worked for me in the past, and believe me, I’ve tried it several times.

Directory Services Restore Mode

This is only applicable for Active Directory Domain Controllers. It allows you to perform maintenance and backup recovery tasks on Active Directory.

Debugging Mode

This will allow you to hook up a working server via a serial cable to send debugging messages for analysis. This requires a great deal of configuration on the receiving end and may not be a realistic option for most people.

Finally, you can use the Recovery Console to perform more advanced troubleshooting. The Recovery Console is not installed by default. If it is not installed, you can still use it by booting to the Operating System CD and choosing the “Repair with Recovery Console” option. The Recovery Console allows you to change service startup options, create or extend volumes and or select alternative boot options.

In this article we’ve covered the multiple boot options provided by Windows Server 2003. If you are not dealing with a hardware failure you can often narrow down and correct most boot problems in Windows Server 2003 using these tools.

CSV vs XML vs JSON – Which is the Best Response Data Format?

Whether you are building a thin client (web application) or thick client (client-server application) at some point you are probably making requests to a web server and need a good data format for responses. As of today, there are three major data formats being used to transmit data from a web server to a client: CSV, XML, and JSON. In order to develop an application with a solid architecture, it’s a good idea to understand the differences between each format and know when to use them. The purpose of this post is to define each data format, lay out the pros and cons for each, and discover which situations work best with each format.

CSV

CSV stands for “comma separated values”. As the name implies, this data format is basically a list of elements separated by commas. Let’s say that your response is sending back a list of people in a particular family. The format would look like this:

Eric,Andrea,Kusco

Pros – This format is the most compact of all three formats. Generally speaking, CSV formats are about half the size of XML and JSON formats. This is the major advantage of CSV because it can help reduce bandwidth

Cons – This format is the least versatile of all three formats. This is because a homemade parser is required to convert the CSV data into a native data structure. As a result, if the data structure changes, there is an associated overhead of having to change or even redesign your parsers. Furthermore, since the program creating the CSV and the program parsing the CSV reside on different machines (remember that we are passing data from one machine to another) then both programs must be updated simultaneously to prevent the receiving program to crash. Otherwise, an outage is required to update both programs individually to prevent incompatibility issues.

Finally, CSV does not really support data hierarchies. What if you wanted to send back attributes for each person in each family? You would then have to design a complex parser that knows which parts of the CSV are referring to elements of a family, and which parts are referring to elements of each person. One way to solve this problem is to use another delimiter like “;” to separate each person’s attribute:

Eric;male;26,Andrea;female;26,Kusco;male;8

The problem with creating customized formats, however, is that you incur an overhead of maintaining an even more complex parser.

XML

XML stands for “extensible markup language”. XML was designed in 1996 and officially became a W3C standard in 1998. It was created to better represent data formats with a hierarchical structure. The format looks like this:

<person> <name><br /> Eric<br /> </name><br /> <age><br /> 26<br /> </age> </person> <person> <name><br /> Andrea<br /> </name><br /> <age><br /> 26<br /> </age> </person> <person> <name><br /> Kusco<br /> </name><br /> <age><br /> 8<br /> </age> </person>

Pros – This data format fully supports hierarchical data structures and is very appropriate when receiving complex data as a response. It is also very human readable. Most browsers have built in XML readers that allow you to inspect XML files. Since XML was the first standard hierarchical data format, most APIs have built in functionality to automatically convert XML data streams into native data structures like objects.

Cons – This data format is about three times as large as CSV. This is because each data element has an associated open and close parameter tag.

JSON

JSON stands for (Javascript Object Notation). It was invented in 2001 and became popularized by Yahoo and Google in 2005 and 2006. It was created as an alternative to XML. Like XML, however, it represents hierarchical data with the use of commas, curly braces and brackets. An example of JSON looks like this:

{“name”:”Eric”,”age”:”26″},

{“name”:”Andrea”,”age”:”26″},

{“name”:”Kusco”,”age”:”8″}

Pros – This data format supports hierarchical data while being smaller in size than XML. As its name implies, it was also created to more easily parse data into native Javascript objects, making it very useful for web applications. JSON is the best of both worlds with respect to CSV and XML. It’s simple and compact like CSV, but supports hierarchical data like XML. Unlike XML, JSON formats are only about twice as large as CSV formats.

Cons – This data format has a little bit less support than XML. Since JSON is relatively newer than XML, fewer APIs exist to automatically convert JSON to native data structures. However, this is rapidly changing because newer APIs and plugins are supporting both XML and JSON.

Conclusion

As a general rule of thumb, JSON is the best data exchange format to date. It’s light weight, compact, and versatile. CSV should only be used if you are sending huge amounts of data and if bandwidth is an issue. Today, XML should not be used as a data exchange format because it’s better suited for document markups.

My Canon Digital Camera Says "Memory Card Error" – Help!

Many people are asking about their camera displaying them a Memory Card Error message. If you have this kind of problem, don’t worry, because this are frequently problem asked among photographers. Just remember that if this things happen, just do not format the card and do not take any more pictures on it. You should know that your photos are still intact on your memory card, therefore taking more pictures will also writes over the old ones.

So what should we do if you really need to get the pictures off even though your card is possibly corrupt? Here is the few thing to fixed the problem:

First, check your camera maker’s website and see if your recent SDHC card may not work with your older camera. Therefore you probably will need to change your memory card to standard SD cards only (usually those 2GB or less).

Second, you can formatting your card in the camera to correct the problems, but remember formatting the card in the camera will also erase all photos on the card.

Third, make sure that you didn’t accidentally place the tiny locking slide switch on the side of your SD card in the “locked” downward position. The correct “unlocked” position should be slid up toward the direction of the connectors.

There are several additional troubleshooting items to check for the problems of “memory Card locked” or “memory card error”. The important thing to remember is don’t format if you need the pictures and you should receive a message that says, “no images” or “no data” if your Canon was correctly formatted.

The 5 Core Issues Facing Database Administrators

Every data centre manager, be it at a Fortune 500 or a small startup, must face five core issues during his or her database management. Two fundamental keys of databases themselves are exacerbated by three other forces that require attention in order to have a robust, functional, and powerful database system.

The nature of DBA is simple: ‘If you’re doing your job well, nobody will notice. If you screw it up, everyone will notice.’

=== DB Fundamental: Accessibility

To be useful, a database must be accessible. Otherwise it is just a store of information that no one can retrieve. In database management terms, the value of data is measured by how much it costs (in dollars and/or machine function/processor time) to store and retrieve it. The less it requires to get to the data, the cheaper the data is by these metrics.

This means that the easier it is to find data, the cheaper that data is to the overall scheme. For example, in 2005, Cisco estimates that it spent $25.2 million on data retrieval just for regulatory compliance purposes. After upgrading and improving their processes, they cut that cost by 97% to $1.8 million the next year. Not insignificant.

So accessibility is perhaps the top priority for nearly every DBA and her team.

=== DB Fundamental: Change Management

Two types of change management occur in a database. The first is management of the data’s changes themselves – how they are accessed, changed by users, and stored. The second is how the business around the database changes, affecting the database itself.

The first DBA concern is user management and this ties in closely with security (below). Most DBAs realize the importance of keeping date-stamped backups of original data so that if something is changed and the changes must be reversed, they can be. That’s the basics of change management in data.

In business, changes are constant and for the DBA, this means new hardware, changes in software, upgrades to client machines, and more. All of these can affect the DB, so the administrator must keep a fluid system capable of growth or alteration. Managing the lifecycle of your hardware, for instance, can mean 30% in savings over a year thanks to lowered replacement and disposal costs.

=== DB Forces: Compliance

Likely the most important (and hated) aspect of database management is compliance. There are whole volumes of legal books dedicated to document and data storage requirements as well as retrieval needs for those legal documents the company stores. Literally every department of a business will have compliance requirements for the DB. Often these must be preserved for long periods of time as well.

Balancing the data storage needs of the company with its retrieval requirements is often the most demanding thing a DBA does.

=== DB Forces: Security

If the news is any measure, data theft and losses are on the rise. While this has been a core issue for DBAs since the days of DBA 101 classes in school, it’s becoming a forefront subject as well as the impetus for many changes happening in the business today.

=== DB Forces: Disaster Recovery

‘Backup once, then backup regularly’ is the mantra of all IT workers. In DBA it’s said twice. Nothing is more disastrous for a company than having its database lost and irrecoverable. The ability to quickly restore lost data, change access accounts and passwords, etc. are paramount to both security and asset safety.

These five issues can be considered the core of what all DBAs face and should be what they focus on the most.

Keeping Your Server Room Clean

Regular cleaning of your computer room is an incredibly important part of maintaining your data center environment. You should regularly schedule site cleanings in order to keep your environment free of dust, dirt and other harmful particles that can damage your operating systems and create health risks for personnel. Dust and other particles that circulate within your server room can accumulate and greatly interfere with the equipment by causing a variety of difficult-to-deal-with or even tragic problems. Such problems could include media errors and data loss.

A good rule that should always be followed is to schedule a certified data center cleaning on a quarterly basis. You may need to schedule a cleaning even more often, if your particulate count exceeds the standards set by ISO 14644-8 or ISO 14644-9. By following this quarterly (or more often) cleaning schedule, you will be able to optimize the performance of your server room equipment, while cutting down on the cost of repairs or data recovery. If you think about it and compare the cost of a regular cleaning to the overall financial investment that was put into your data center, it’s definitely a smart buy.

How Should You Choose a Cleaning Service?

Don’t get up to grab a broom and dustpan quite yet. While this is what you’d do at home, data centers are very different from your home environment. Yes, you should clean both your house and your server room on a regular basis, but that’s about the only thing they have in common. Cleaning an entire data center is a very delicate process that requires the services and expertise of professionals who are highly-trained at what they do and who know to go about safely cleaning your critical equipment.

Here are some tips to help you choose the right cleaning service:

* Make sure you check company’s references, and specifically ask about the quality of their service. You should specifically find a references or two that has facilities like yours. Make sure the company you might select knows how to deal with the type of equipment in your computer room.

* The company should be insured for damages they might cause during the cleaning process. If there’s an accident during the cleaning, you want to make sure you’ll be protected.

* Evaluate the experience and training of the cleaning crew and ask to see their credentials. There are certain standards that they should be trained and certified in.

* Review their cleaning methods. You need to make sure they use HEPA filtration vacuums and all their chemicals should be safe for use with electronics systems and other hardware.

* Tell them up front what your expectations are and establish parameters for cleaning. Who will move the equipment? Does the service including cleaning in the sub-floor or above the server racks? Perhaps there are certain data-sensitive areas of your server room. Will those areas be off-limits? What else is included or not included in their cleaning service?

* You’ll want to look for a company who will be available to clean according to your needs. Perhaps in addition to your regular cleanings, will they be available in the event of a last-minute emergency?

Advantages and Disadvantages of Local and Remote Data Backup

Whether you run a small or big enterprise, data backup is an essential routine that you should do to protect all your data. It is for the security of your business. The process of backing up your data can be done remotely through a file server, or locally using tapes, discs, DVDs, external hard drive, or the local drive.

There are advantages and disadvantages of local and remote data backups. Here are a few:

Advantages

Local Backup

One very effective way of backing up your data would be to store them in portable storage devices. These include CD’s, USB’s, DVD’s, external hard drive, and the local hard drive among others, where you could easily retrieve the data that you want to access. Local data backup is an advantage because it could be done fast and easy especially now that there are software that could backup your computer and all your files on schedule. Once your computer crashes, all your files could be retrieved from your storage devices and so too does your operating system where you could restore it at a specific backup point. This is mostly used by most individuals and some small business enterprise.

Remote Backup

Remote backup nowadays is becoming widely used because of some advantages. First, having a data backup at a secure place outside of your infrastructure or your business place can give you peace of mind. Whatever happens at the workplace you’re sure that all your important files are secured. Most of the big companies employ this method of data backup. Second, with the emergence of global outsourcing, remote data backup has become more popular because the data from multinational companies are safe and secured at their own site (that is in their country), while these are being utilized by their offshore sites. They have an assurance that all their data are secured.

Disadvantages

Local Backup

While local data backup is the easiest and fastest way of data backup, there are also disadvantages to it. You are never sure of any calamity that could happen, like fire for instance, or flood. Not only could your computer be ruined by these calamities, but all your storage devices as well that contains your data backup. In addition, it is not uncommon that we forget things sometimes. You never know, you may forget where you store your USB’s. Your files may be lost forever.

Remote Backup

One disadvantage of storing your files remotely is the transfer speed. Remote data backup may take a while depending on the speed of your transmission devices. A high speed LAN could transmit fast, but others could be problematic, because of upload issues and firewalls.

A good suggestion is you employ both local and remote backup so you’re sure, that against all the odds, you have your data secured.

The Simplest Way to Unhide a Hidden Partition

After my first article on the hidden partition I realized that the solution that I brought was rather difficult for the newbies, I thus sought and tried out various solutions and programs until I find this terrible little software, I named PARTEDIT32.

This small freeware software will allow you to make visible your partition in some clicks of mouse and on the fly under Windows XP.

Just unzip and launch Partedit32 the user interface opens, simple but effective if you have more than one hard disk, choose the hard disk where your hidden partition is in the Hard Disk menu, then look in your partitions table at the column TYPE, Partedit32 has a list of the various types of partition, you can reach it by clicking the button SET TYPE.

In this example with a Acer laptop the name of the partition is pqservice and its type is 12, changes it by type 07, and save.

Now you just have to restart your computer, enter into “my computer” you have done it, now you can see the hidden partition pqservice. If you do not see the hidden partition repeat the operation but disable before the D2D recovery software into the bios menu. To open the bios hit the F2 key during the boot (note this is for Phoenix Bios check your user manual for other bios). Go to the main menu set the D2D recovery to disable, save the change restart and you have done it.

The PARTEDIT32 software is available for download at laptop support after a free registration.

After that you just have to reverse the operation to hide the pqservice partition. Note that if you want to secure documents or software you can create a partition, save your goods into and hide this partition by using partedit32.

Victor Pradel.

How to Solve Windows Operating System Problems – Repairing OS Problems Yourself

There are many reasons why you are encountering Windows operating system problems; depending on the severity of the issue, there are many ways where you can fix the trouble yourself as long as you know how to do it. Hence, we shall discuss few of these things here in this article; and if you want to know what they are, then read on and check them out.

One of the most common reasons why Windows operating system problems occur is the invasion of malicious programs like spyware and adware that are causing some changes on the configuration and settings of your computer OS. In some instances, virus attack can also cause this issue to emerge on your unit. Hence, you need to have some tools to protect your laptop from invasion of any of these harmful programs such as spyware removal tools and antivirus software. This may cost you a few dollars but it can save you a lot from further troubles that may require technical works done by expert technicians.

Another reason for this trouble to occur is your hard drive is almost full; causing system slowdown and resulting for some errors to occur. In order to manage this situation, unclog your hard drives through uninstallation of some programs that are no longer or rarely used. This consumes a lot of memory space on your hard drives; removing them from your unit would greatly improve its performance and bring to an end some problems related to your OS. Another good option is to defrag your computer in order to organize files and optimize its operation. It is highly recommended to perform defragmentation at least once a month in order to prevent problems relating to this issue.

Another common cause of Windows operating system problems to emerge is cluttered registry. This area is one of the central parts of your OS where important data are stored. It also records every single activity happening on your unit; consequently the more you use it, the more it accumulates data. Most of them are no longer needed and they are only adding up to the mound of junk files; causing a lot of errors and slowing down your processor.

In most cases, one of the best ways to fix Windows operating system problems is to use registry cleaning software which is very effective in eliminating all trash files and fix all problems in your OS; and the good thing about it is that you can do it yourself without being a computer geek.

The Simplest Way to Unhide a Hidden Partition

After my first article on the hidden partition I realized that the solution that I brought was rather difficult for the newbies, I thus sought and tried out various solutions and programs until I find this terrible little software, I named PARTEDIT32.

This small freeware software will allow you to make visible your partition in some clicks of mouse and on the fly under Windows XP.

Just unzip and launch Partedit32 the user interface opens, simple but effective if you have more than one hard disk, choose the hard disk where your hidden partition is in the Hard Disk menu, then look in your partitions table at the column TYPE, Partedit32 has a list of the various types of partition, you can reach it by clicking the button SET TYPE.

In this example with a Acer laptop the name of the partition is pqservice and its type is 12, changes it by type 07, and save.

Now you just have to restart your computer, enter into “my computer” you have done it, now you can see the hidden partition pqservice. If you do not see the hidden partition repeat the operation but disable before the D2D recovery software into the bios menu. To open the bios hit the F2 key during the boot (note this is for Phoenix Bios check your user manual for other bios). Go to the main menu set the D2D recovery to disable, save the change restart and you have done it.

The PARTEDIT32 software is available for download at laptop support after a free registration.

After that you just have to reverse the operation to hide the pqservice partition. Note that if you want to secure documents or software you can create a partition, save your goods into and hide this partition by using partedit32.

Victor Pradel.