admin utils

There are some useful utilities at Nirsoft including ones that show hidden asterix’s in all sorts of applications (including in w2k/xp), port status’s and installation routines for applications included in zip files without an installation routine. Well worth a browse for the administrator techie. Some of them I’ve seen similar utilities, but these all come from one location.

Editing a pdf file.

Due to the company name change we needed to edit our pdf documents that have the old company name on. Now the reason the files are in pdf format is because its (nearly) impossible for a user to edit the manual…..as we have just found out. There seemed to be three pieces of software that could do the job, Adobe Acrobat (the full version) but for some reason this doesn’t work at all – although I suspect its because the user actually has Adobe Reader and not Acrobat but they won’t admit it. The other two solutions are Jaws PDF Editor but this only seems to give us the ability to copy/paste text from the pdf to another application such as Word – but then you can do this with acrobat reader anyway (unless its protected). The other application was PDF Editor from CadKas. This would do the job but its painfully slow. There is no global search and replace (which would make it easy to search for oldcompany and replace with newcompany and there seems to be a bug in firing up dialogs (which are quirky in themselves) in that if you click to load a graphic and select the folder, rather than opening the folder it will complain that the folder.jpg doesn’t exist – and then refuse to open the dialog box up again. This software could be used if you only needed to edit a few pieces of text or a few graphics – certainly not 20 or 30 manuals each 10+ pages long.
Eventually the user went back and found the original word documents (although they swore blind they couldn’t find them) and they are now editing the files in Word.

Hard Disk drive failures…or not.

A friends pc came back for diagnostics/repair after claims that the boot device was inaccessible. When I booted it up this afternoon it worked fine for about 10 minutes before crashing with a Kernel error. MS lookups showed this was an error in the SCSI plane or devices using the same interrupts. There were no SCSI devices in this box. The disk was making some nasty clunking noises though. Popped it in the other machine and ran a quick test on the disk and it failed with a Read Test Element and told me that the warrenty had run out on the 22nd Feb this year! I backed up the data using Ghost and then ran scandisk which gave no errors. Popped the disk back in the original machine and ran a quick test followed by a full test – no errors (and its nice and quiet again). I guess the first test relocated the duff sectors..
Hopefully the disk will last a bit longer now and at least it now has a backup of the machine, the latest antivirus updates (not a year old – tut tut tut!) and all the windows patches installed.

Shouldn’t have spoken so soon…first boot into windows and the clunking starts up again and the machine hangs when I try to install the AV software 🙁
Update Ok – it was the disk even though there are no errors reported by the software. I replaced the disk with an old 6gb drive and everything seems to be hunky dory. Now downloading the 42mb of patches for windows.


Downloaded the Regseeker program from Hoverdesk which has quick links to installed applications, startup programs, history etc within the registry. This is the same site that also has Hoversnap. This is another one of those screencapture programs that automatically saves the desktop when you press prtscrn. If you hold the alt key down you get the current window. This is the same behaviour as the normal prtscrn button but saves the end result to an autonamed file. However if you press the control key it gives you a crosshair cursor that you can drag to select the area of the window. This is pretty useful and therefore Hoversnap is now replacing GrabClipSave (which has the advantage of saving the files after the window title)

pdf creator

There’s a new pdf creator program available at webattack, (which is shortly changing its name to snapfiles) that sounds fairly good. You just install it and you have a printer that “prints” pdf files. Go2PDF is free although it does put a “made with” sig at the bottom of the pdf. Personally I use Jaws PDF Creator which came free on a cover magazine and works great.

Not a good advert

It never really fills you with confidence when a website that is meant to extol the values of how wonderful their ScriptLogic – system administration program – is returns an error message. Especially one that says “Microsoft OLE DB Provider for SQL Server error ‘80020009’ [DBNETLIB][ConnectionOpen Connect()).]SQL Server does not exist or access denied. /go/caffeine-free.asp, line 2”
A system admin company which talks to a server that doesn’t exist?