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Late Night Blues...creen Aftermath

Well that was a royal pain in the ass. Like a diamond butt plug.

I spent pretty much the entire day troubleshooting the issue, but nothing worked. Nothing. I ogled the net. I Googled. I checked cables and RAM, cleaned out dust, tightened screws, unplugged some, plugged in others, and cycled through all available options on the system start menu. And boot menu. And drive priority menu (not that there was much use to that one - I only have the one internal drive anyway).

Nightfall came and I grew weary, and desperate, and after my files were finally all safely backed up on my external drive (I do have the most important stuff backed up to the cloud too, but since the drive was still readable it was easier to retrieve them there), I tried the system restore points... but I didn't have the discs. So, alright, how about a factory reset. I am truly thankful there's a partition of the drive reserved to such default OS installations on most modern computers, among them this one, since I had no copy of those factory defaults anywhere else. I do now, though. As soon as all was installed I burned a disc with drivers, and three with everything, and another with just the system, and once the OS was up-to-date: one more with all updates and a selection of software essentials included (like Total Mounter, to emulate a drive so that you can burn things like recovery discs straight to an .iso file instead of to a physical disc like you usually do).

There was one thing I could've done without, though.

The bloatware. So much bloatware! I didn't remember there was so much. I spent an hour or two just uninstalling demos, games, and programs I don't need or don't want to buy, and then an additional hour trying to get places with the browser that came with this OS: Internet Explorer...8 (if the bundled software was the absolute newest at the time of computer release, back in 2009)? For some reason it just wouldn't connect, or load certain sites. Browser issues? Site issues (maybe access was denied for certain ancient browsers)? Hardware issues (maybe certain OS updates since 2009 had something to do with it)? Broadband issues (maybe my other computer was hogging all the bandwidth)? Router issues (see former)? So many potential issues. I didn't remember there were so many.

IE finally did manage to load the necessary pages though, so I downloaded FireFox and MSE first, and realized that the Internet issues weren't limited to just the old browser at all, but it all started working better once I'd installed some updates. MSE took a while to update. I managed to download the Windows 7 Service Pack 1, and other updates, and got ready for some pretty time-consuming updates... but then it was midnight and I needed to get to work the next day so I called it a night. Because it was.

After work the day after it was back to the updates, and I managed to get most installed before the morning was over, along with most of the more important software I require. I've put together a folder with the essentials this time, in case something similar happens again, or I happen to get a new computer, or someone else does. Who knows. Mighty come-in-handy. Excluding the few apps Windows does provide that I do use, my most-necessary ones are currently:

Free

  • 7-Zip (archive handler of choice, lightweight and easy)
  • Audacity (for editing/recording audio + LAME, FFMPEG and LADSPA plugins)
  • Chrome (secondary browser)
  • Dexpot (multiple desktops - one for each user)
  • FileZilla (FTP)
  • FireFox (main browser)
  • F.lux (blue light reducer as night falls)
  • Foobar2000 (music)
  • FSResizer (batch resizing and renaming images)
  • Icaros (shell-integration to display thumbnails and info for media, and other)
  • KDiff3 (binary file comparisons, usually after large backups and moves)
  • Lightscreen (best screenshot program there is)
  • MSE (anti-virus)
  • NAPS2 (super-simple scanning and saving scans as image or PDF)
  • SumatraPDF (lightweight PDF reader with colorful brand name)
  • SUPERAntiSpyware (anti-spy/malware with a few extra tools)
  • Total Mounter (virtual drives, and emulating drive media)
  • VLC (for playing pretty much all media but music, even DVDs)
  • Vivaldi (just an extra browser I like - developed by the team behind Opera)

Paid

  • Dreamweaver (for webdesign)
  • Fireworks (for vector and pixel-based design)
  • Flash (for animation and drawing)
  • Office (for the .docx format and spreadsheets)

There's also a bunch of portable programs I keep for less frequent tasks, like FastCopy, Renamer, Speccy and Search And Replace... and Notepad2 to replace the default one without adding all too much clutter. And others.

After all this was done came the long-running task of assigning different file-types for different programs, and fine-tuning whatever settings needed tuning, adding shortcut keys and start-up files that perform certain tasks, and all of those little tweaks I'd done with the previous installation like disabling Aero, gadgets, certain services, and changing power settings so processes don't stop mid-process, and setting mouse speed and showing hidden files, and removing some remnants of the previous installation, and the OEM folder, and directories reserved to the system that refuse to be deleted (I figured it out eventually: after a few failed ideas and Unlocker program trials I installed a shell-integration to take ownership, and then manually phased out SYSTEM for my own account, and then finally, it worked!), etc etc etc.

As for the settings though: it wasn't that much that needed setting. I'm leaving most settings for when I really use a certain program and realize I need them - maybe I'll realize some of the ones I used weren't all that useful after all.

I saved a list of the programs I had installed before, and only re-installed the ones I really needed too (above). Plenty of old programs cleared out. Tons of temporary files. The computer loads much faster now, as does the context-menu, and everything feels less cluttered, so I'm pretty happy with how it turned out after all.

I'm also re-discovering some of the more fun bits of Windows that I'd forgot existed, like the built-in wallpapers, or the different system sound themes, the games, the gadgets (though I turned those off anyway after a little fiddling), the... more fun control panel items with options for so many things!! :D I'm rediscovering not only parts of the OS, but parts of programs I hadn't had to adjust in a while, and some of the programs I had were apparently badly out of date. New features. New designs.
New stuff = cool stuff.

As long as it's not the Windows 10 kind of stuff, and some programs I used to be happy with have unfortunately also updated and adopted that so aggravatingly square and flat Windows 10 type of design I cannot fathom how anyone likes. It's a fact that we prefer odd vectors, and circular forms over squares. So... why?! Who's designing that shit? It's becoming more and more apparent I'll probably have to switch over to Apple once extended support for Windows 7 starts running out, but for now I'm enjoying the current. Like swimming in a river. The sleek, subtle and so symmetrically smooth interface of this one flagship release of the brand that used to be my favorite! Like the band with similar name could've been: Windows (the other one is Doors). But Apple to oranges, right?

The one thing I do regret not backing up were my bookmarks, and FTP manager settings. I pondered backing up program data as well, but there was a lot to sift through, so a fresh start seemed suitable. I didn't realize not all settings were ones that'd be easy to re-create. Same with some of my plugins. There were a lot of bookmarks I'd saved for later viewing that it's probably good to have out of the way, but there were also some invaluable resources and references I'd stashed up on that I didn't have memorized, and certain old FTP connections that'll be difficult to dig up, like accounts on university services, and eh... free hosting accounts, clients, etc. Oh well, it's not like I needed the ones I didn't use after all. It's an unwanted, but potentially not so bad fresh start there too.

As for bookmarks: I've started testing a sync app to keep browser settings the same between the computers I use now, which shouldn't just keep a copy in case things go bad, but also make it easier moving tasks between computers.

As far as regular backups go I'm all set, but with all the necessary tweaks and tools installed once again... maybe it wouldn't hurt to take just one more. Just in case. One never knows when the worst comes to be, though I hope it's a long time before I get an inescapable blue screen again.

Or worse: a red one.

Comments

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  1. S3C
    Saturday May/6/2017

    speaking from actual experience??

    so that's it?? not even a more thorough search for the discs containing old system restore points, analyzing the registry files, or seeing if some third party cleaner/repair software bootable from the command line might do the trick?? was hoping you might find a solution so I could try it on my f*cked up PC myself. Since it's old there's really no use in using it if I do a factory reset and lose all the legacy software.

    I deleted all the games and unnecessary programs to save space; I stopped using Internet Explorer in 2009 and I remember trying to use it a few years later and also wouldn't connect to the internet XD...I think Microsoft just gave up, Microsoft Edge is the new MS browser now and it's sleeker and more efficient I think. Pretty much looks like a PDF viewer.

    Hmm, Windows Vista Service Pack is what ultimately lead to my old PC's demise, I had to download it to run certain software, and it crashed during the installation process. And now it won't boot...

    sick free programs dude, downloaded...except MSE (all anti-viruses are actually viruses, they hog a significant amount of background resources...kinda like a virus). VLC is actually a solid music player though. It's able to play various audio formats that many native Windows programs cannot (such as .aif and .ogg)

    sick paid programs dude, not downloaded...except Microsoft Office which is free through most academic institutions. And I have Flash 8 on my comp that I never really used. Who cares, Flash is almost dead anyway XD

    the Windows 10 interface is obviously Microsoft's tardy attempt to blend into inevitable mobile technology take over...it's already falling behind Apple and Android, and if they don't do something creative within the next decade I feel they will take the path of Myspace- too big to become obsolete but not hip enough to say relevant.

    but aside from the aesthetics, why the adversity to Windows 10? Windows overall has much room for improvement- but I've been using it for about a year now, and haven't found anything glaringly wrong with the OS. Microsoft has gotten rid of the mandatory updates, most driver issues seemed to be patched, and there isn't any capabilities that have been stripped compared to Windows 7-8. I'd imagine you would have a tougher time getting comfortable with OS X than Windows 10.

    The "dark-side" is getting closer to take over and looks you will be converted too. Anecdotal evidence: 10 years I would say 90% of students were using Windows, when I first (finally) graduated in 2014 I would say the Mac-Windows balance was 30-70% now a few years later those numbers have flipped: about 3/4 students use Mac. Even in engineering fields were compatibility issues with Apple is more abundant. The reason? It could be the ubiquity of Itunes, the proliferation of Ipods and later Iphones, the fact that PC's are the only target for malware (true, but entirely avoidable), and probably a bit of Justin Long's pretentious hipster advertising. Hell I'd probably be forced to join in the end if I was to get serious with music.

    my issues with Apple:

    -unnecessarily overpriced hardware, even if it's slightly better than a PC equivalent
    -compatibility issues with various popular programs
    -lack of control of system settings and modification ability compared to PC
    -what kind of brazenly avaricious, detestable, unfathomable ursine thought it was a good idea to get rid of left click
    -obligatory paid upgrades every few years
    -over-gentrification
    -terrible customer service
    -after listening to Steve-Wozniak's self-congratulatory words for a few hours just further solidified my stance against Apple's business model. Even if the main culprit Steve the Snake Jobs has passed on (RIP).

    well if you get a red screen you've f*cked up big time...better hope there is a fallout shelter nearby

  2. Cyber
    Sunday May/7/2017

    Just speaking in suitable similes. :)

    Yupp, took the quickest possible route. Digging around for those backups... well let's just say you underestimate how much of a hoarder I am. ;) I'm not that good with registry files, and as for command-line: can you reach that from the boot menu?! Not being able to load the desktop for more than a second at a time sort of kept me from trying any more advanced troubleshooting. I pondered burning some bootable troubleshooting software, but it felt like all of that would probably just take a lot of time and maybe not solve the issue anyway. With your computer though: can't you take out the HDD, and move over the files to another drive (also probably do a registry copy; such if you need to get the programs running again without re-installing them), then do a factory reset and move them back in when all else is alright?

    Mmm Microsoft Edge is a bit too edgy for me though! :) It's also apparently a default browser on Windows 10 S that you can't even override. Yeah IE seems like a lost chapter now. I don't remember when I used it last, to actually visit sites and stuff, but it was a long time ago too. Been pending between FireFox and Chrome a bit since then, sometimes trying some 'new' browsers, but none that stuck. Vivaldi is pretty cool though. Very customizable.

    Aha. Well that sucks. :/ Doesn't boot at all? Do you get to the boot screen at least?

    Cool. :) Wonder what you've been using for archives before, if a different one? Suppose the rest may be programs most people don't usually need, but would be interesting to know if you do have anything else for any of those other purposes. As for VLC: yeah, it's fantastic, plays pretty much all formats I can throw at it, though as far as I know can't handle conversions, tagging, and stuff like that? Also just doesn't have as slick an interface if you work with multiple playlists. Foobar2000 is fantastic too if you haven't tried it, should support .aif and .ogg too. :) I think it even managed .ape, the one time I stumbled upon that one. About VLC btw: before I reinstalled I was using both Shark 007's codecs, with MPC, and VLC (I like the MPC interface better), but read since that installing codec packs can really mess up the system, so VLC (which unlike others has all of that stuff built-in) seemed ideal.

    Also do hope you have some kind of anti-virus anyway?! :| I know they hog resources but they do catch a few malicious things now and then...

    Don't say that man! XD Flash forever!! I'm also using the latest Macromedia program suite right now (8). Had multiple newer versions installed before, but that also seems a bit excessive considering I'm not so active with that stuff either. Might get something new if I do get started though. Oh about Microsoft Office: do you have the latest version via school? The 365 one? Been wondering how that compares to earlier versions. I'm still using 2007 (which is great though, so no need to upgrade unless I realize the new ones have somethings I don't know I need yet).

    Microsoft going like Myspace hmm... a sensible observation. Hadn't considered that scenario, was thinking either they keep making wrongs and plummet, or make things right and thrive. Both Apple and Android still have rounded interfaces though, and if they keep growing I hope Microsoft realize that it WORKS.

    My strong opposition really is basically just the interface, but it's such a big part of it. It's what you see every time you use it. Windows 10 goes against everything I consider not just visually appealing, but intuitive and usable, not just with the edges but with the flat buttons, grid, menu items you can't sort, way-too-subtle back and forward arrows, unorderly ribbon layouts, dull color schemes, etc. I'd probably get used to it if I started using it, but I don't want to get used to something I don't like. OS X is pretty different indeed, but the only real obstacle for a switch would be the cost. We had Apple computers back in school, and I grew up with one too, so I think I could get back into it again. I lean more towards them because of their respect for user privacy too, whereas Microsoft keeps adding in hidden telemetry, gathering information even if users specifically ask not to have said information gathered, and even going so far as to place ads on certain areas of the interface. I don't like where it's going...

    I think it's more how Apple deal with their customers. With respect. I have a nephew who loves them. He's called in a few times, and they've actually asked if they should stay on the line until he has the issue fixed. Microsoft support: not that good experiences! Also with focus on privacy, security and accessibility. With Microsoft... I really don't know what they're doing anymore. Of course both them and Apple work to make a profit, but it feels like they lost control. Like they're lost. Like they don't know what their strength or selling point is anymore.

    It's clearly not gaming when they design their OS in a way that streams get interrupted by system alerts. And clearly not business when they force companies to make new programs between OS upgrades for them to remain compatible. Apple is still behind on both those two fronts, but as far as I know they haven't made any of the recent errors that Microsoft have. They haven't needed to shut down services, or bring back features they took away that users requested and they then realized were really very necessary (like the start button), or created problems for user's security with stuff like IE and XP that some refuse to move from because of aforementioned compatibility problems. As far as I've heard Apple has handled all upgrades, and new features, and things like that with finesse and careful attention to detail. They appear more and more professional, and relevant.

    I used to be excited about Microsoft innovations, but now I'm skeptical. And yes, there is a lot of great software for Mac. I've been looking deliriously for a replacement for Fireworks (Adobe dropped support for it in favor of Photoshop, and their newer programs), and all I could find was: https://www.sketchapp.com/

    ...which just so happens to be Mac exclusive.

    As for computers in schools. From fourth to sixth grade we had Apple exclusively, not sure which OS. After that we had Windows 98, and Dell or IBM computers. Moved onto Windows NT and XP, and then when I started with graphic design back to Mac, and on university: Windows again. It's been a few years now though, not sure what they use, but in my nephew's school they first had free Chromebook's, and now free iPads and laptops. One per person. They own the computer. It's crazy how much money schools seem to put out on IT for the new generations now, and I do wonder how big a part sponsorship plays. If Apple's smart they'll catch 'em when they're young, and they do seem smart.

    You mean right click right? I didn't think they ever had it. Otherwise all fair points (I mean I agree). Only regarding #1 do I start feeling like maybe you get what you pay for.

    Did not know they had forced/paid upgrades though. Sounds like a big reason to stick to Windows anyway...

    ...and that customer service! Hmm. Seems you've had bad experiences there? What about the over-gentrification? I can't speak much of the founders as I know little of them, but Bill Gates did seem alright. Not so sure about the new boss though. He's doing everything different. Seems like how Monsanto moved from being a family-owned company with a founder that actually cared about nature, and went birdwatching on his free time, to the multinational conglomerate that made such terrors as Agent Orange.

    Mmm they've actually rebuilt most of our fallout shelters into storage, or apartments, or just plain broken them down. In case of red alert: we're fucked.

  3. S3C
    Thursday May/11/2017

    if you are able to get to a point where you could run a system restore point, or even get to the desktop even if it's for a mere second entails that you surely should be able to open a command prompt which isn't Windows dependent.

    hmm...registry copy you say. I never thought of that. but in theory, just seems to easy to be true. There probably would be some conflicting factors that would arise after a factory reset- it wouldn't just be a seamless, orthogonal installation of all the old stuff/settings I would think.

    I don't get a blue screen preventing me from preceding, rather a 'blue' blank system profile that looks like Windows 9x that prevents me from booting Vista. I can view the error report (usually not any salient information), elect to a factory restore, run a system restore point (there are none), boot the command line (which I can use to run other simple, small programs), and that's about it.

    hmm, just the standard windows .zip archiver...and winrar too, since that can handle all other file types. Never really thought about other compression software

    I don't really have a lot of utility apps; HTTrack has been invaluable for scraping web data, I also use a bulk renaming app so I can parse these files in an organized and efficient fashion. Nothing else comes to mind...

    it's easy, just enable no-script, ad-block, other third-party applications from running in your browser...and needless to say don't open unfamiliar files...if the "preventive medicine" approach doesn't work then we use the American medicine equivalent "treat only when you're sick" approach: there's MalwareBytes, HijackThis, ComboFix that can help repair & detect stuff.

    I'm using Microsoft Office 2016 I think, and there isn't any functional changes or added features from 2007 that I've noticed. The design is nicer though; less crowded. I think Powerpoint allows you to export presentations as a video though...which I needed to do back in 2012 when I was still stuck with 2007.

    Hmm, can't say I've noticed the "flatness" compared to Android and previous versions of Windows!!

    I completely agree that Apple is a more professional, polished company, that is more hip about technology and where it's going. At least Microsoft has brought back the desired features. I feel like Apple users are mostly a hug-box and cult-like in their following, so in theory you're not going to notice as many complaints compared to Microsoft. Why did Apple ditch flash? amongst other things. This is complete speculation, but I'm not sure how open they would be to user criticism/suggestions, it seems like they have a certain degree of tunnel-vision when it comes to development which is both negative and positive I suppose. Non-casual computer users realize that Apple and Windows have plenty of flaws; I question how receptive the former company is.

    true, but at least the support was/is long-lasting for those OSes. And it's not like Microsoft is mandating that you purchase Windows 10! you get a free upgrade, Microsoft can focus more effort towards a single OS. There's still powerful computers that run on Windows 2000/NT and can handle specific tasks just fine. I'm not sure the same can be said about Apple in that regard.

    you don't get what you pay for hardware wise. I will say though that some of the native Apple programs are cheaper than what you would pay for compared to a Windows program! For example, FL Studio XXL is $900 (this is 3x more expensive than a decade ago) Logic Pro for Mac is $300 and comes with significantly more plugins and samples, which blow away the quality of what FL Studio has to offer. Not that this is a fair comparison, Logic is made by Apple and FL Studio is made a developer that doesn't have ties with Windows.

    (oh yeah, it's also considerably more difficult to obtain software from 'sharing' methods on a Mac if you catch my drift)

    yeah, this new generation gets Laptops/Ipods for school too...they have to return them at the end of the year though.

  4. Cyber
    Thursday May/11/2017

    I could get to the desktop, but couldn't keep it from rebooting when I did. Preventing it from rebooting automatically via the boot screen still wouldn't let me do anything, since the blue screen effectively replaced whatever else I was trying to open. Not sure where in the system restore menu I could reach the command line... is both that and the error viewer in the same menu for you? I thought I´d gone through everything but maybe I missed some sub-menu somewhere.

    Yeah, I assume you'd need to go through the copy and pick out only the bits you need or else it'd all get pretty messed up. Seems like it'd be possible though. As long as you can access the HDD via another device you can get pretty much everything you need.

    Aha. Troublesome. Well I have no viable advice here, but... above?

    Aha. I tried WinRAR and ZIP when I first started out, but started stumbling upon odd formats they couldn't handle pretty quick. At least I know WinRAR couldn't handle .7z back then. I found out it was the format with the best compression ratio of all and started using it for everything, then probably realized it wasn't very future-proof, or compatible, and I had space to spare but not as much time, so I moved back to regular .zip files instead. Stayed with the program though since I recall reading somewhere that it had some of the fastest compression/decompression speeds around too. Have been using this one for batch zip/unzip operations too: http://arcthemall.sourceforge.net/

    Also really like PeaZip. Portable. Looks great. More features than I need though.

    Oh yeah, I have HTTrack too. Recently also found MetaProducts Offline Explorer (not free though) when I was trying to scrape my PM Sentbox on NG, but couldn't figure out how to make the authorization work via HTTrack. Worked like a charm with the latter, but if you do know how to do that with the former I'd love to keep using that instead? Open Source FTW and all that.

    As for the renaming one, is it by any chance ReNamer, from Den4b?

    Problem is you don't know if you have something until it's too late. I get a bit paranoid about potential keyloggers and stuff like that, though probably do put too much faith in the real-time security thing. Hadn't heard of ComboFix btw, will check. Also use TTSSKiller, ADWCleaner and SuperAntiSpyware a bit, apart from those other two you mention.

    Video export sounds pretty useful! Good to know.

    Man just look at the buttons! No gradients at all. :/ No depth! No roundness! Android is indeed pretty flat, since dynamic elements don't work the same for touch as for point (where you can hover over elements), but at last they have gradients and rounded corners.

    You can't... run Flash on Apple? My newphew runs Flash on his iPhone just fine though. Sure that's not a thing of the past? I read the story on how it all started: Steve Jobs going on a vendetta against Adobe, over some disagreement they had over something... so it might be that the entire fall of Flash is Steve Job's fault (or accomplishment, whichever technology you opt for). I'm really not a big Steve Jobs fan, but I like their products. Mmm... it does seem like Apple wouldn't be the type of company to embrace user suggestions all too much, but I don't see Microsoft doing so either. That start button is the one thing they HAVE added back in, because the protest was just colossal. There's so much else people keep complaining about that they don't do anything about. They go their own way.

    I have an old OS7 computer that still runs like a charm, albeit without Internet. At least they didn't force you to upgrade back then... about the newer ones: I'll have to read-up a bit on that. It's true they're making things easier with Windows 10, but the generosity of the 'free upgrade' fails to garner my appreciation, as I see it more as a downgrade and a shady marketing scheme. It might seem like a good way to solve their old limited-time support problem, but at the same time they override user integrity entirely with the move. I just... can't see it as a positive thing.

    Didn't know FL Studio was so crazy expensive. :| Do they still have their free trial at least? That Sketch app I mentioned is a lot cheaper than the Adobe equivalent too ($99 vs... well, $20/month now, though it amounts fast). I don't know about what components they use, but for all the common ones I'm sure you're right. You'd be paying for quality though. Free replacements if anything breaks. Free service. Upgrades... I'll have to get back to that!

    (that's good to know! Though they also have some of the most intuitive torrent clients I've seen - Mac exclusive)

    Actually a pretty good development giving out computers to all, considering I know we had to pay a shitton of money when my sister started highschool and all students had to buy an Apple computer (same one mentioned above, with the OS7). Though a lot more sensible giving them back, instead of just keeping them like they do here. Not all schools, though, which makes it all the more unfair. I do envy the new generation a little...



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