Resolving Windows 8/8.1 Automatic Repair Loop After Windows Updates

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This particular solution isn’t one that I discovered, though unfortunately in the course of seeking a solution I neglected to bookmark the post in which I read it.

There can be many causes for an automatic repair loop, so this solution may not fix the problem for everyone.

While working on a laptop for some friends I encountered a problem after applying some Windows updates. On restart the system went into a repair loop, which resulted in an inability to restart into Windows.

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mControl 3 Activation Problem – License File

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Our house experienced a power surge caused by a nearby lightning strike that damaged one of our A/C units along with a few other devices. Today I figured out that it damaged the network ports on the Airport Extreme Base Station along with the ethernet port on the ASUS system, which is my home automation server.

Fortunately, the ASUS box also has wireless so I was able to shift all of the network services over to the wifi adapter. I had to re-establish the built-in VPN server, among other annoyances. Since the ethernet port was no longer usable I decided to disable it in Windows 7.

Well, that caused a stupid problem.

mControl 3 has activation. I’m not a fan of activation.

I noticed the service was no longer working and wouldn’t start. When I viewed mControl’s log I saw the following message every time I attempted to start it:

The Installation Code of the license file does not match with Code 2. Please contact your System Administrator.
mServer License Code=Hacked/Hacker, Ver=.

My version isn’t hacked. I paid the commercial price (less because it was an upgrade from a previous version that I had also paid for). At first I thought that perhaps the license information was damaged but then I remembered that I had disabled the ethernet port and I noticed that there were some entries in the log during the activation check that hinted toward a check of the network device.

I re-enabled the built-in ethernet port. Sure enough, the software passed the activation check and started up. It seems to use a hardware identifier that’s part of the network card for activation.

 

 

 

 

Improving Battery Life With A New MacBook Pro (15″, MacBookPro8,2)

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The Short Version: Using gfxCardStatus to manage the graphics mode made a notable difference. Uninstalling McAfee Security made the most difference.

This week I started using a new 15″ MacBook Pro (MacBookPro8,2) with OS X 10.7 (Lion). It wasn’t long before I noticed a dramatic difference between the battery life of the new MacBook Pro and that of my previous 17″ MacBook Pro, which was about two years old.

In the System Preferences I had noticed that I couldn’t configure the system to only use the integrated, low-power graphics card. Rather, I had to choose to enable “Automatic graphics switching” (in “Energy Saver”) or disable it. If it’s disabled then the computer automatically uses the high-performance, battery-draining graphics card.

Last night I began to suspect that the system wasn’t properly switching to the low-powered card. It turns out that I was almost correct.

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Disabling a Scion tC 2006 Front Window Switch

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My wife’s driver side window recently stopped working properly. Since it happened we determined that the window track was bent when a gust of wind caught the door and forced it open too far. Not long after this she rolled down her window and then discovered that it wouldn’t roll back up.

I was able to get the window back up but I needed to find a way to prevent it from being rolled down accidentally, until we could fix the problem. One solution would be to just unplug the controls, but that would have disconnected the lock and passenger side window controls as well.

I found a relatively simple way to do this. Essentially, I popped the controls out of the door and disabled the driver’s side window by placing electrical tape over the contacts.

Here’s a side-view of the controls removed from the door. I used a small flat-tip screwdriver to push up on the black plastic to get the white tabs out.

The last photo shows where I covered the contacts with electrical tape. This prevented the buttons from working.

Enable or Disable OS X Screen Sharing from the Terminal

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If you have a need to enable or disable Screen Sharing from a terminal in OS X the commands are very simple. I’ve used these commands in 10.6 (Snow Leopard).

Enable
sudo touch /etc/ScreenSharing.launchd

Disable
sudo rm /etc/ScreenSharing.launchd

Source: rentzsch.tumblr.com | Starting VNC remotely via kickstart

Updated 06/07/2012: It seems that the process for doing this has changed in OS X Lion based on a post in Ryan’s Tech Notes. I used these commands and they worked as described.

Enable
sudo /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ARDAgent.app/Contents/Resources/kickstart -activate -configure -access -on -clientopts -setvnclegacy -vnclegacy yes -clientopts -setvncpw -vncpw mypasswd -restart -agent -privs -all

Disable
sudo /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ARDAgent.app/Contents/Resources/kickstart -deactivate -configure -access -off

 

Improve Dreamweaver FTP Performance By Disabling Design Notes

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I was having frequent time-out issues, especially when trying to upload to third-party hosts. Finally, I may have found a tip that appears to have significantly improved FTP performance and reduced upload times. Simply disabling design notes has made a quantifiable difference.  I don’t use Dreamweaver features that require the notes so disabling them wasn’t an issue.

Though the tip was for Adobe Dreamweaver CS4 and earlier it worked in the CS5 version that I’m using.

From an Adobe Knowledgebase Article:

Disable Upload Design Notes in Site Definition

Sometimes having the Upload Design Notes option checked in the site definition can cause problems. Uncheck this option and see if the problem persists: Site > Manage Sites, select your site, then click Edit > Advanced tab > Design Notes category > uncheck “Upload Design Notes for sharing”.