Tips WCF Services – The request failed with HTTP status 405: Method Not Allowed.

This error occurred while testing WCF services moved from old Windows Servers 2003 on some of our new Windows Server 2008 R2 with IIS 7.5 (not on all). It appeared that depending on the setup sequence, .Net features were not all correctly configured, a.o. the .svc handlers…

Click to Read More

Here is the commands to be used in order to fix the setup:


"C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework64\v2.0.50727\aspnet_regiis.exe" -i -enable
"C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework64\v3.0\Windows Communication Foundation\servicemodelreg.exe" -i
"C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework64\v4.0.30319\aspnet_regiis.exe" -i -enable
"C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework64\v4.0.30319\servicemodelreg.exe" -ia

Tips Use FlexRAIDCmd within PowerShell scripts to gracefully stop FlexRAID

When using FlexRAID in Real-Time mode, the Pool must be stopped before stopping the service, i.e., also before shutting down the server. The best approach is to define a Shutdown Task in Windows to manage this…

Click to Read More

The Shutdown Task will run a Powershell Script using the FlexRaidClient to query the state of FlexRAID and trigger actions…

The FlexRaidClient for windows, named FlexRaidCmd.exe, is not installed by default with the service. It must be downloaded as an Option here.

The syntax is: FlexRAIDClient Host Port Timeout Command

Once installed, one can use the Command “view” in a cmd prompt RUN AS Administrator on the server to Start/Stop the pool:

FlexRAIDCMD localhost - - view class1_0 start
FlexRAIDCMD localhost - - view class1_0 stop

The – –  are used as “default values” for the Port and Timeout parameters
class1_0 must be used for the new driver (=> class1) and to access the first pool (=> ID = 0).

Starting the pool takes about ~50 seconds.
Stopping the pool takes less than 10 seconds.

If the command fails due to a syntax error, the error message can be found in the file log.log
If the command succeed, there is nothing logged at all in the log file but a message displayed in the console (cmd prompt)

Quote

{“success”: true, “status”: null, “commandMessages”: [{“messageCode”: “successStoragePoolStarted”, “messageData”: [“V”]}], “serverMessages”: null}
=> Le pool de stockage est bien démarré pour le volume: V:…

Notice: In a normal cmd prompt (not run as admin), the command returns an error due to an access denied on the log file:

Quote

log4j:ERROR setFile(null,true) call failed.
java.io.FileNotFoundException: log.log

Notice: if the Web UI was open before executing a Start/Stop, it must be reopened (or refreshed: CTRL-F5) otherwise it does not display the new state of the pool.

Regarding the log.log file, this one has better be located in a fix location. Edit the file log4j.properties and set a path like:

log4j.appender.default.File=C:/FlexRaid/FlexRAIDCmd.log

Pay attention to the path separator! It’s not the one used by Windows but the one used in Java!

To shutdown the FlexRaid server after stopping the pool, use the command shutdown-server.

FlexRaid localhost - - shutdown-server

If the pool is still running, we get the following response:

Quote

{“success”: false, “status”: null, “commandMessages”: [{“messageCode”: “errorShutdownNotAllowedStoragePoolServiceRunning”, “messageData”: []}], serverMessages”: null}
=> Pour pouvoir arrêter le service “host”, le service de pool de stockage doit être arrêté!

If the service stops successfully, we get :

Quote

{“success”: true, “status”: null, “commandMessages”: [{“messageCode”: “successServerShutingDown”, “messageData”: []}], “serverMessages”: null}
=> Arrêt du serveur en cours…

To restart the service, we can use:

net start "FlexRaid"

Notice: I didn’t find yet on the forum the difference between ‘FlexRaid localhost – – shutdown-server’ and ‘net stop “FlexRaid’. To my knowledge ‘net stop’ is synchronous and therefore maybe preferred to stop the service properly before shutting down ?! (FlexRaid message seems to indicate it’s asynchronous)

Notice: If I run “FlexRaid localhost — shutdown-server” while the service is not running, I get obviously an exception “Connection refused: connect : ConnectException” but also this message in the log file (log.log):

Quote

ERROR: Unexpected character (‘A’ (code 65)): expected a valid value (number, String, array, object, ‘true’, ‘false’ or ‘null’)
at [Source: java.io.StringReader@2f3d698; line: 1, column: 2] org.codehaus.jackson.JsonParseException: Unexpected character (‘A’ (code 65)): expected a valid value (number, String, array, object, ‘true’, ‘false’ or ‘null’)
at [Source: java.io.StringReader@2f3d698; line: 1, column: 2]

Now, here is how to create a “shutdown task” in the Local Group Policies of a Windows Server 2012:

1) Enable script execution on the server
a) On the Start Screen right-click the Windows PowerShell tile and run it As Administrator
b) execute “Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned” in that shell and answer “Y”

2) Create the script
a) Create a file “StopFlexRaid.ps1” in your “FlexRaid Client” folder (e.g.).
b) Type the script found bellow in the file (change the path to FlexRaidCmd)

3) Use the script as Shutdown Script
a) On the Start Screen, type “gpedit.msc” and run it.
b) Go to the node “Computer Configuration\Windows Settings\Scripts (Startup/Shutdown)”.
c)  Edit “Shutdown” and in the tab “PowerShell script”, “Add” StopFlexRaid.ps1

Notice:
– Shutdown scripts are run as Local System, and they have the full rights that are associated with being able to run as Local System.
– Shutdown scripts are run synchronously. The Server should wait on the script before shutting down.

Here is the StopFlexRaid script:


$srvName = "FlexRAID"
$flexCmd = "C:\Program Files (x86)\FlexRAID 2.0 Client\FlexRAIDCMD.exe"
$servicePrior = Get-Service $srvName
#"$srvName is currently " + $servicePrior.status

function ExitWithCode
{
 param
 (
 $exitcode
 )
 "Exit with code $exitcode"
 #$host.SetShouldExit($exitcode)
 #exit
}

$flexCmd = "C:\Program Files (x86)\FlexRAID 2.0 Client\FlexRAIDCMD.exe"

function ExecuteFRCmd([string]$cmd, [string]$hostname="localhost", [string]$port="-", [string]$timeout="-")
{
 $error.clear()

$pinfo = New-Object System.Diagnostics.ProcessStartInfo
 $pinfo.FileName = $flexCmd
 $pinfo.RedirectStandardError = $true
 $pinfo.RedirectStandardOutput = $true
 $pinfo.UseShellExecute = $false
 $pinfo.Arguments = "$hostname $port $timeout $cmd"
 $p = New-Object System.Diagnostics.Process
 $p.StartInfo = $pinfo
 $p.Start() | Out-Null
 $p.WaitForExit()
 $output = $p.StandardOutput.ReadToEnd()

 if ( $error.count -eq 0)
 {
 # Clean the JSON message (remove the trailing text (=> blabla))
 $output = $output -replace '(?<First>.*)=>.+', '${First}'
 }
 else
 {
 $output = $null
 }

 return $output
}

function IsAnyTaskRunning()
{
 $running = $FALSE

 $state = ExecuteFRCmd("status")

if ($state -eq $null)
 {
 throw "Command failed to execute"
 }
 else
 {
 #Write-Host "States: $state"

$process = $state | ConvertFrom-Json

 $message = $process.commandMessages.messageCode
 if ($message -eq "successNoProcessSinceServerStartup")
 {
 #Write-Host "No Process started since Server startup"
 }
 else
 {
 $processID = $process.status.referenceCode

do {
 $state = ExecuteFRCmd("status "+$processID)
 $process = $state | ConvertFrom-Json

switch ($process.status.status)
 {
 { @("STATUS_STARTED", "STATUS_PROCESSING", "STATUS_PAUSING", "STATUS_RESUMED", "STATUS_RESUMING") -contains $_ }
 {
 #Write-Host task $processID - $process.status.task - is running
 $running = $TRUE
 }
 { @("STATUS_COMPLETED", "STATUS_ABORTED", "STATUS_ABORTING", "STATUS_PAUSED") -contains $_ }
 {
 #Write-Host task $processID - $process.status.task - is not running
 }
 }

 $processID -=1
 } while (($processID -gt 0) -and ($running -eq $FALSE))
 }
 }

 return $running
}

Write-Eventlog -Logname 'Application' -source 'FlexRAID' -eventID 1 -EntryType Warning -Category 0 -message "Graceful FlexRAID Shutdown triggered"

$wid = [System.Security.Principal.WindowsIdentity]::GetCurrent()
$prp = new-object System.Security.Principal.WindowsPrincipal($wid)
$adm = [System.Security.Principal.WindowsBuiltInRole]::Administrator
$IsAdmin = $prp.IsInRole($adm)
if (-not $IsAdmin) {
 write-host "Current powershell process is not running with Administrator privileges"

$message = "Graceful FlexRAID Shutdown not running with adhoc rights..."
 Write-Eventlog -Logname 'Application' -source 'FlexRAID' -eventID 1 -EntryType Error -Category 0 -message $message
 cmd /c shutdown -a
 ExitWithCode -exitcode 2
}
elseif ($servicePrior.status -eq "Stopped")
{
 "$srvName is already " + $servicePrior.status
}
elseif ($servicePrior.status -ne "Running")
{
 "$srvName is not Running but " + $servicePrior.status
}
else
{
 $running = IsAnyTaskRunning
 if ($running -eq $TRUE)
 {
 $message = "FlexRAID process(es) still running and preventing Server to shutdown..."
 $message
 Write-Eventlog -Logname 'Application' -source 'FlexRAID' -eventID 1 -EntryType Error -Category 0 -message $message
 cmd /c shutdown -a
 ExitWithCode -exitcode 2
 }
 else
 {
 "Wait on the Storage Pool to stop. This can take a few seconds."

 $state = ExecuteFRCmd("view class1_0 stop")

 $state
 $abort = "False"

 if ( $state -eq $null)
 {
 "Storage Pool failed to stop"
 $error[0]
 $message = "FlexRaid Storage Pool failed to stop and is preventing Server to shutdown: " + $error[0]
 $message
 Write-Eventlog -Logname 'Application' -source 'FlexRAID' -eventID 1 -EntryType Error -Category 0 -message $message
 cmd /c shutdown -a
 ExitWithCode -exitcode 2
 }
 else
 {
 $process = $state | ConvertFrom-Json

 $message = $process.commandMessages.messageCode
 if ($message -eq "successStoragePoolStopped")
 {
 "Storage Pool successfuly stopped"
 Write-Eventlog -Logname 'Application' -source 'FlexRAID' -eventID 1 -EntryType Warning -Category 0 -message "Storage Pool stopped before shutting down"
 }
 else
 {
 if ($message -eq "errorNoActiveStoratePool")
 {
 "Storage Pool actually not started"
 }
 else
 {
 $abort = "True"
 $event = "FlexRaid Storage Pool failed to stop, preventing Server to shutdown: " + $state
 $event
 Write-Eventlog -Logname 'Application' -source 'FlexRAID' -eventID 1 -EntryType Error -Category 0 -message $event
 cmd /c shutdown -a
 ExitWithCode -exitcode 3
 }
 }

 if ($abort -eq "False")
 {
 $error.clear()
 Stop-Service $srvName
 if ( $error.count -eq 0)
 {
 Write-Host -NoNewLine "Waiting on $srvName to stop "
 $timeout = new-timespan -Minutes 1
 $sw = [diagnostics.stopwatch]::StartNew()
 while (((Get-Service $srvName).status -ne "Stopped") -and ($sw.elapsed -lt $timeout))
 {
 Write-Host -NoNewLine "."
 sleep 1
 }
 "."
 }

 $serviceAfter = Get-Service $srvName
 if ($serviceAfter.status -eq "Stopped")
 {
 "$srvName is now " + $serviceAfter.status
 ExitWithCode -exitcode 0
 }
 else
 {
 "$srvName failed to stop. It is now " + $serviceAfter.status
 ExitWithCode -exitcode 1
 }
 }
 }
 }
}

Here is the code to start FlexRaid, useful while testing.


$srvName = "FlexRAID"
$flexCmd = "C:\Program Files (x86)\FlexRAID 2.0 Client\FlexRAIDCMD.exe"
$servicePrior = Get-Service $srvName
#"$srvName is currently " + $servicePrior.status

function ExitWithCode
{
 param
 (
 $exitcode
 )
 "Exit with code $exitcode"
 #$host.SetShouldExit($exitcode)
 #exit
}

if ( ($servicePrior.status -ne "Stopped") -and ($servicePrior.status -ne "Running"))
{
 "$srvName is not Stopped but " + $servicePrior.status
}
else
{
 if ($servicePrior.status -eq "Running")
 {
 "$srvName is already " + $servicePrior.status
 }
 else
 {
 Start-Service $srvName

 Write-Host -NoNewLine "Waiting on $srvName to start "
 $timeout = new-timespan -Minutes 1
 $sw = [diagnostics.stopwatch]::StartNew()
 while (((Get-Service $srvName).status -ne "Running") -and ($sw.elapsed -lt $timeout))
 {
 Write-Host -NoNewLine "."
 sleep 1
 }
 "."
 }

 $serviceAfter = Get-Service $srvName
 if ($serviceAfter.status -eq "Running")
 {
 "$srvName is now " + $serviceAfter.status

 $error.clear()
 "Wait on the Storage Pool to start. This can take a while."
 $stopPool = Start-Process $flexCmd -ArgumentList "localhost - - view class1_0 start" -NoNewWindow -Wait -PassThru

 if ( $error.count -eq 0)
 {
 ExitWithCode -exitcode 0
 }
 else
 {
 "Storage Pool failed to start"
 $error[0]
 ExitWithCode -exitcode 2
 }
 }
 else
 {
 "$srvName failed to start. It is now " + $serviceAfter.status
 ExitWithCode -exitcode 1
 }
}

Freewares Hard Drive Diagnostic: CrystalDiskInfo

Crystal Disk Info

Crystal Disk Info

CrystalDiskInfo is is a nice freeware utility for hard drive diagnostics with support for monitoring and mail alerting based on disks’ S.M.A.R.T info.

Click to Read More

It usually supports USB connection and Intel RAID. But I like it as it gives more information than some other similar tools, a.o.: the letter assigned to the disk or the disk number instead of only the disk model name. And it can also be used to monitor the machine and send mail alerts.

Also, in addition graphs with S.M.A.R.T. information, it also show you the AAM/APM settings and let you control them.

  • AAM (Automatic Acoustic Management) to reduce noise
  • APM (Advanced Power Management) to reduce power consumption
It has also advanced methods to search for disks (It show disk displayed as unknown by other tools)
 

Donwload  : http://crystalmark.info/download/index-e.html

HDD Scan

Hdd Scan

HDDScan is another nice freeware for hard drive diagnostics with support for RAID arrays, Flash USB and SSD drives.

Click to Read More

It can be used to :

  • Test storage device for bad-blocks and bad-sectors,
    • Verification in linear modeto determine if the drive needs data rescue, has recoverable errors or in its perfect shape.
    • Reading in linear mode is a simpler, but faster disk check.
    • Erasing in linear mode.
    • Reading in Butterfly mode (synthetic random read).
  • Show S.M.A.R.T. attributes
  • Show temperatures
  • Change some HDD parameters such as:
    • AAM (Automatic Acoustic Management) to reduce noise
    • APM (Advanced Power Management) to reduce power consumption

I like it too, in addition to CrystalDiskInfo because it can test the disks and I noticed that it was providing some other S.M.A.R.T attributes than CrystalDiskInfo…

Download: http://hddscan.com/

Information about S.M.A.R.T messages: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.M.A.R.T

Freewares Disable the touchpad while typing text: TouchFreeze

TouchFreeze is a free, open-source utility for laptops that disables the touchpad as soon as one starts typing… and re-enables it when one stops.

Click to Read More

As many laptop users, when my palm accidentally grazes the touchpad while typing text, I experience unpredictable cursor  jumps resulting in garbled text :(

TouchFreeze is very small piece of software sitting in the system tray: it simply and silently turns off the touchpad while one is typing. It works really really fine and is compatible with Windows 8 x64.

Download: http://code.google.com/p/touchfreeze/

Hardwares Windows 8 Pro x86 and Media Center Pack on Acer Idea 510 – successful

As the upgrade of my Acer iDea 510 with Windows 8 x64 and the MCE feature pack failed (See here) as well as using XBMCbuntun (See here), mainly due to issue with drivers, I have decided to give a try to Windows 8 x86.

And now, the result is really great – the HD video is playing very well and standby mode is back! The only tricky part was to force the installation of Nvidia Video Drivers for Vista on Windows 8.

Click to Read More

First, I did install Windows 8 pro x86.

Notice that during the installation, I did check the option to automatically activate Windows.

Next, for the Software part: I did install the Media Center feature Pack:

  • On this page, request a free licence for this pack (Offer limited until 31 jan 2013).
  • On the Start Screen, type “add features” to select “Add Features to Windows 8”.
  • In the “Add Features to Windows 8” window, select “I already have a product key” and enter the free key got previously for the MCE pack.
  • Notice that once MCE installed, the “Add Features” is not available anymore in Windows…
  • Configure MCE

After that, I didn’t experience the same issue (licence not valid for activation) as I did when testing Windows 8 x64. I means that I most probably skipped a step during the first time ? Possibly I did install the MCE pack before the activation of Windows ?!

  • Start a Windows Update and install Microsoft .Net 3.5 (required for the next step)
  • Install and configure the latest version of Media Browser (.Net 3.5 is a prerequisite)
At that time, I noticed that MCE was reacting very slowly and not displaying smoothly movies… Just like during my tests with Windows 8 x64… To solve this, I really had to install video drivers specific for Acer iDea 510’s graphic card: a NVidia GeForce Go 7600.
  • Drivers for the GeForce Go 7600 compatible with Vista or Windows 7 should theoretically run fine on Windows 8. But unfortunately, the setup usually refuses to install those drivers because they don’t officially target this OS. It’s only due to information configured in the .inf file used by windows to install the drivers. It means that we can reconfigure those settings to become “compatible” with Windows 8.
    • Download the drivers (self-extracting exe named “18070_vista.exe”) and the adapted .inf file (named “nv_disp.inf”) separately from the bottom of this  page http://www.laptopvideo2go.com/drivers/vista/180.70/disclaimer/
    • Those are unofficial drivers and not WHQL certified.
    • Audio via HDMI is not supported by these version of the drivers. You need an older version (See replies bellow this post).
    • Once the drivers and the .inf file downloaded, extract the self-extracting package (exe file) and move nv_disp.inf into the extracted folder (“180.70_vista”).
    • Run the setup.exe and don’t be afraid if you see that it’s for Vista.
    • Once installed, reboot the system. You will clearly see the difference (the resolution will be much higher – 1920×1080 instead of 1024×768 – and MCE   runs now much faster).
  • The issue mentioned above does not exist anymore with Windows 8.1. For that version of Windows, a version 307.68 of the NVIDIA Drivers is downloaded automatically when updating the drivers. It works fine except that there is no sound via HDMI (although there is an option “Set up Digital Audio” in the NVIDIA control panel to enable it !). If you don’t have an optical connection and need the sound to go through HDMI, you will need to downgrade the drivers to 173.90. But that one comes with other issues, much more annoying… (See in the replies)
  • Install K-Lite codecs to be able to play HD movies (mkv)
  • Configure the codes to play French audio by default
    • Go to C:\Program Files\K-Lite Codec Pack\Tools and run CodecTweakTool.exe
    • Under configuration, select DirectShow Filter
      • Click Haali Media Splitter > Options tab > Languages > Audio Language Priority > enter “fre” (the three letters of French). Click Ok.
      • Click LAV Splitter > enter “fre” in both “Audio” and “Subtitle” and select “Only forced Subtitle”. Click Ok.
      • Click LAV Video Decoder. In Hardware Acceleration, select XDVA2 and check the two options H.264 and MPEG-2.
  • Disable UAC (reboot required to become effective)
  • Disable Firewall for private network
  • Enable Remote Desktop:
    • On the Start Screen type “system”, click on “Settings” and select “System” in the results.
    • Click on “Remote Settings”
    • Enable “Allow remote connections to this computer”
  • Configure the Speakers 5.1
    • Right click the speaker in the sys-tray and select “Playback Device”
    • At the bottom of the tab “Payback”, click on “Configure”
    • Select the second 5.1 in the list of “Audio Channels” (with 2 speakers on the back).
  • Create a new user with MCE instead of the windows shell
    • Create a new standard user “Media Center” without password
      • On the start screen, type “Create User” and select Settings
      • In the list of results, click on “Create Standard User Account”
      • Select “Add a new user in PC settings”
      • Under “Other Users”, click on “Add a User”
      • At the bottom of the page, click on “Sign in without a Microsoft Account”
      • At the bottom of the page, click on “Local Account”
      • Enter the name “Media Center”, nothing else (no password) and click Next.
    • Change the picture of the user “MediaCenter”
      • Go back to the Start Screen (Ctrl + Esc)
      • Click on your account in the top-right corner and select “MediaCenter”
      • Wait while Windows prepare the PC for this user.
      • Once on MediaCenter’s Start Screen, open IE and find a nice picture, right click on it and save it in the picture library.
      • Go back to the Start Screen and click on MediaCenter’s account in the top-right corner to select “Change Account Picture”
      • In “PC Settings/Personalize/Account Picture”, select Browse and pick the picture from the libraby
    • Possibly: enable Room Correction in the Speakers Properties\Enhancement… (microphone required )
    • Configure MCE Media Library and the Screen Saver
      • Run MCE
      • Go to the Tasks > Settings
      • Select Media Libraries and configure them
        • E.g.: Add the “Pictures” folder of the NAS. This one must be either public or the user “MediaCenter” must be granted access via the NAS user management UI.
      • Go back to Tasks > Settings
      • Select Pictures
      • Select Slide Show Screen Saver
        • Check that the option “Play my favorite pictures …” is enabled
        • Set the delay before starting the Screen Saver
        • Save
      • Select Favorite Pictures
        • Select Use All Pictures (Or anything more relevant)
    • Sign-out (Via the Start Screen, right click the account in the top-right corner, …)
    • Replace the Shell Explorer (explorer.exe) of MediaCenter with MCE (ehshell.exe)
      • Log in as an administrator
      • On the Start Screen of the administrator, type mmc and select mmc.exe in the list of results
      • Type Ctrl+M to Add a Snap-in
      • Select “Group Policy Object”
      • Click Add.
      • In the new window, click Browse
      • in the new window, open the “User” tab and select “MediaCenter”.
      • Then click Ok, Finish and Ok.
      • Back into mmc, select in the left pane: Console Root > Local Computer\MediaCenter Policy > User configuration > Administrative Templates > System
      • In the right pane, double-click on “Custom User Interface”
      • In the new window, check “enable”
      • Under the Options, type in the field “Interface file name”: %windir%\ehome\ehshell.exe /mediamode
      •  Switch to the user MediaCenter for testing purpose!

Here is the list of MCE switches (most of them provided by Andrew Cherry and Missing Remote) that can be used as on the command line ehshell.exe

  • /nostartupanimation – disables the startup animation
  • /noshutdownui – removes the shutdown item from Tasks
  • /mediamode – start in “media only mode” with no minimize/close buttons (use F4 to quit MCE)
  • /widescreen – force widescreen mode
  • /directmedia:general – force full screen
  • /directmedia:video – force full screen and navigate to the video library 
  • /nochrome – launch windowed mode without the containing window
  • /playallmusic – Play all music at startup
  • /playfavmusic – Play favorite music at startup
  • /playfavslideshow – Play favorite slideshow at startup
  • /playfavslideshowwithmusic – Same as above with music
  • /playslideshow – Play all slideshows
  • /playslideshowwithmusic – Same as above with music
  • /screensaver – Start media center in screensaver mode
  • /configuress – Start media center at configuring screen saver menu

Multiple switches can be enabled by entering multiple switches separated with a space in the target input.

Finally, from the hardware point of view, notice that:

  • The remote control is working fine
  • WiFi and Ethernet connection are working fine
  • Ethernet NIC is configure to allow WOL
  • The front Digital Display is  recognized by Windows 8 but not displaying anything else that “Welcome To Aspire IDEA.
    • I did try to install the drivers from Acer web site (named “VFD Transcoder Driver 1.01.01.zip”) successfully, but it didn’t fix anything. I am not surprised as this display was already not working with Windows 7
  • Drivers are missing for the 2 Multimedia Video Controllers devices (See previous try with Windows 8 x64)
    • I did install the drivers from Acer web site (named “MPC718_install_V6_13_32_1026_Oscar.msi”) and those devices were recognized without any issue.
  • Standby mode works out of the box (nothing to fine tune in Windows) with the remote control.
    • I didn’t change the BIOS settings since my first try with Windows 8 x64.
  • Wake-up on Lan works out of the box (nothing to fine tune in Windows) if the shutdown was initiated from MCE (or XBMC – see here after). If the shutdown is done from the Start Screen, WOL does not work!!!
    • I didn’t change the BIOS settings since my first try with Windows 8 x64.
    • The difference in support for WOL or not depending on where the shutdown is initiated is explained here: In Windows 8, the default shutdown behavior puts the system into hybrid shutdown (S4) and all devices are put into D3. Remote Wake-On-LAN from hybrid shutdown (S4) or classic shutdown (S5) is unsupported.
    • Indeed, a boot after a default shutdown is fast. On the opposite, a boot after MCE/XBMC’s shutdown is clearly much slower.
    • As I don’t car about slow boot on this PC (which is usually in sleep mode anyway), I did disable the hybrid shutdown (S4) a.k.a “Fast Startup” :
      1. On the Start Scren type “Power” and select “Settings”.
      2. Click on “Change what the power buttons do” in the list of results.
      3. Click on “Change settings that are currently unavailable” if UAC is not disabled
      4. Uncheck “Turn on fast startup (recommended)”
      5. Select “Save Settings” and test a shutdown/WOL. It works !
Notes:
  1. After booting the PC, windows automatically re-log in with the last account (if this one has a blank password)  (I didn’t configure that?!)
  2. The “Restart” feature doesn’t work. The PC shutdowns but does neither power off nor reboot… This seems to be due to the video drivers as the PC restarts fine with other drivers (but with those, the PC didn’t stay in standby mode. It was waking up immediately).
  3. XBMC 12 runs quite fine on Windows 8 pro too.
    • Sound 5.1 is supported as soon as Speakers are configured in 5.1 in Windows (The sound is really well improved compare to the sound provided by MCE…)
    • Watching movies and listening music from Synology using UPnp works very well (first time, indexing is required…)
    • Remote Control MCE is quite well supported too. A Hard Reset is required (pressing the power button on the Acer for a few seconds)
    • WOL works fine after either an Hibernate or a Power Off (Even without disabling “Fast Startup” in the “Power Options”).

Tips Change Windows Product Key before activation

Here is two command lines to change a Windows product key (Vista,  7 or  8) and activate Windows. They must be executed in a Command Prompt “Run As Administrator”.

  1. To set a product key, run “slmgr.vbs -ipk <your product key>”
    • Ex.: slmgr.vbs -ipk 00000-00000-00000-00000-00000
  2. To activate windows after changing the key, run “slmgr.vbs -ato”

Tips Boot XMBCbuntu (XBMC Live) from a USB Key for testing purpose on Acer iDea 510

The purpose: try if XBMC is compatible with the hardware of a PC before doing a full installation.

Tested on my Acer iDea 510 with success. Works quite well and could replace Windows 8 Pro with the Media Center Pack !

Click to Read More

  • Download Linux Live USB Creator, a.k.a. Lili, to create a bootable USB Key with a linux (Could also try Unetbootin USB Creator ?…).
  • Download an ISO of XBMCbuntu from here.
    • Version 12 RC 3 of XMBCbuntu is not yet supported by Lili. In addition this version does not include DXVA support yet…
    • To boot another linux, for any purpose, download an ISO for i386 compatible with Lili (When using UNetbootin downloads itself the selected Linux image).
  • Create the bootable USB Key following the how-to.
    1. Choose a USB flash drive in the dropdown list.
    2. Select the ISO of XBMCbuntu downloaded previously.
    3. Choose the size of persistent data (usually between 250 MB and 2 GB).
    4. Check all the options.
    5. Click the lightning button to start the creation.

Tested on an HTPC Acer iDea 510:

  • First try failed. It stops with “load fallback graphics devices [Fail]”
  • Fix:
    1. Open the file syslinux\txt.cfg
    2. Search and Replace “quiet splash” with “quiet splash vmalloc=256M”
  • Second try: great !!! There is much less “lag” than in Windows 8 Pro + Media Center Pack
  • The remote control works fine so far. Including Shutdown (power-off).
  • Configuring the System to use Suspend instead of Shutdown works fine only once.
    • Suspend is really immediate (less than 1 sec).
    • However, I didn’t find yet how to configure the remote to wake-up the HTPC.
    • Pressing the power button on the HTPC wakes up XBMC is less than 2 sec
    • Trying again to Suspend the HTPC will result in a black screen with the cursor blinking… A hard reboot is required :(
  • During the use of XBMC, I was able to play HD movies from a SMB Shared Folder of my Synology.
  • Sound plays in 2.0 (stereo), also for movies in 5.1 (with downmix), but default volume is really low compared to the default volume in Windows 8. Within XBMC, I have to boost the Volume Amplification. So it’s not the best possible sound.
  • Sound doesn’t play correctly at all in 5.1 (although I have a 5.1 system and the movie is in DTS 5.1) ?!
  • I didn’t succeed yet to view any movie using UPnP. I can configure such a source, but don’t see any list of movies in that source ? (To be investigated)
  • During the shutdown, I noticed an error “Killing all remaining process [Fail]”. When shutdown is initiated from the remote control, XMBCbuntu asks to press enter to power-off after the error message here above.
I am not 100% convinced at all that it will be a good choice to run on the Acer iDea 510 instead of Windows 7 and MCE…

Hardwares Windows 8 Pro x64 and Media Center Pack on Acer Idea 510 – failed

I have decided to upgrade my Acer iDea 510 with Windows 8 x64 and the MCE feature pack… As often I like trying to improve things which works quite well especially if there is a risk that it does not work as well after :D

And indeed, the result is great – the HD video does not play well anymore, Standby is not working. I have to find an alternative or go back to Windows 7 with MCE :(

Click to Read More

First, I did install Windows 8 pro x64. Most probably a double mistake as I guess I won’t find all required drivers for this Acer iDea under Windows 8 and even less for a x64 platform…

Notice that during the installation, I did check the option to automatically activate Windows.

Next, for the Software part: I did install the Media Center feature Pack:

  • On this page, request a free licence for this pack (Offer limited until 31 jan 2013).
  • On the Start Screen, type “add features” to select “Add Features to Windows 8”.
  • In the “Add Features to Windows 8” window, select “I already have a product key” and enter the free key got previously for the MCE pack.
  • Notice that once MCE installed, the “Add Features” is not available anymore in Windows…
  • Configure MCE

After that, the first issue arrived: Windows 8 started to pretend its licence was not valid for an activation. I did try to retype my key without success (That was yesterday). However, today, after a reboot, it appeared that Windows 8 was again activated ?!

  • Start a Windows Update and install Microsoft .Net 3.5 (required for the next step)
  • Install and configure the latest version of Media Browser (which is the best free add-in I found to manage a video library (.Net 3.5 is a prerequisite)
At that time, I noticed that MCE was reacting very slowly and not displaying smoothly movies… Maybe because the Media Browser service was indexing my content?
  • Install Win8Codecs for x64. (Usually, I don’t use a pack but will give a try to this one today).
  • Disable UAC (and reboot)
  • Disable Firewall for private network
  • Enable Remote Desktop:
    • On the Start Screen type “system”, click on “Settings” and select “System” in the results.
    • Click on “Remote Settings”
    • Enable “Allow remote connections to this computer”

One day later,  MCE is still  very slowly and not fluent at all… :( I may only presume that the problem is with the display drivers… When I try to navigate to play a movie, I can clearly ear the fan speed going crazy ?! The PC appears not capable of playing HD movies… it’s tooooo slow within MCE. The sound is ok but the display not at all… Also Media Player Home Cinema is not succeeding the play correctly HD movies… I think I will have to look for codecs with support for hardware acceleration and adhoc display drivers…

Finally, from the hardware point of view:

  • The remote control is working fine
  • WiFi and Ethernet connection are working fine
  • Ethernet NIC is configure to allow WOL
  • The front Digital Display is  recognized by Windows 8 but not displaying anything else that “Welcome To Aspire IDEA).
  • Drivers are missing for 3 devices (PCI devices database available here – how to here – and Microsoft catalog to search drivers is available here).
    • 2 Multimedia Video Controllers with Device Instance Path “PCI VEN_14F1 DEV_5B7A SUBSYS_5B7914F1 REV_00\4 197A8245 0 08F0” and “PCI VEN_14F1 DEV_5B7A SUBSYS_071812AB REV_00\4 197A8245 0 00F0”. Those are the “TV Tuner Yuan MPC718 Hybrid HW encoder with FM”
      • I don’t care about those for now as they are most probably for TV input and I may not used them anyway. The signal is encoded by my TV provider which does not provide any decoding software)
    • Another one not identified but related to ACPI with a device path “ACPI\AWY0001\2 DABA3FF 1” and a hardware ID “ACPI\AWY0001”, I found it was used for the “Away Mode System” and required “Intel QRT Driver” (Quick Resume Technology).
      • the Intel QRT Driver 1.6 for Vista to be found on Acer Support site works fine. Once unzip in a folder of the PC, go to the Start Screen, type “Device Manager” and start this manager. Select the “Unknow Device” and update the driver selecting the folder above.
      • Wierd, on some sites, it’s said that this is an “NVidia Away mode” ? The setup for nForce should then deploy the required drivers… (To be validated)
      • Note for later purpose: Intel Driver Update Wizard available here.
  • The graphic card chipset Nvidia GeForce Go 7600 is recognize but the drivers installed are from Microsoft (Basic Display Adapter) and not specific ones… ?! The auto-detection wizard from NVIdia is here. It doesn’t find anything specific more appropriate than the MS Basic Display Driver… I did select myself GeForce, GeForce Go Serie 7 (notebook), GeForce 7600, Windows 8 64 bits; no result.
    • I did download manually the latest Vista drivers (03/09/2012) for GeForce Go 7600 from the Microsoft catalog, did unpack the cab, and did try to update the drivers with the option “Browse my computer” > “Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer” > “Have Disk” > pick the .inf from the cab. I found the drivers in the list but the setup failed because it was not for my OS :(. I tried with other drivers for Win7x64 (179.48). Bad luck too. I did try next to add the Hardware Device id of my card in the nvac.inf file (found in C:\NVIdiaWinVista64\179.48\IS\Display) and to pick this one… Or to use it via the Device Manager > Action > Add Legacy hardward > Add the hardware that I manually select > Display Adapter > Have Disk… Hopeless :(
    • I found a guy who forced drivers for Win7x64 on Win8x64 with signing disabled. I will possibly also try later his method for disabling driver signing at boot (to be tested… but the issue does not seem to be the signature):
      1. Windows Key + R
      2. Enter shutdown.exe /r /o /f /t 00
      3. Click the “OK” button
      4. System will restart to a “Choose an option” screen
      5. Select “Troubleshoot” from “Choose an option” screen
      6. Select “Advanced options” from “Troubleshoot” screen
      7. Select “Windows Startup Settings” from “Advanced options” screen
      8. Click “Restart” button
      9. System will restart to “Advanced Boot Options” screen
      10. Select “Disable Driver Signature Enforcement”
  • Sleep state was not enabled.
    • The command “Powercfg /a” reported that the Graphic card (drivers) where disabling the stand by state. I was expecting this as the drivers are not specific to the card and do not know how to manage its power state…
    • The command “Powercfg /a” also reported that “Hybrid Sleep” was not enabled because S3 was not available (to be checked in the BIOS).
    • To enable sleep state:
      • Restart and enter the Bios setup
        • Press Del at boot to enter the Bios setup
        • Go to the “Power Management Setup” tab
        • “ACPI Function” must be enabled
        • ACPI Suspend Type must be S1&S3
        • “Resume by PCI PME” must be enabled (wake up with remote control)
        • “Wake Up On Lan” must be enabled (for my purpose)
      • Back to Windows,
        • On the Start Screen, type “Power Plan”, click on “Settings” and select “Edit Power Plan” in the results.
        • Click “Change Advanced Power Settings”
        • Click “Change settings that are currently unavailable”
        • I don’t use WiFi, so I set “Power Saving Mode” = “Low Power Saving” under “Wireless Adapter Settings”
        • Under Sleep, I only see “Hibernate After”. I set 60 minutes
          • I should find how to configure the PC to see “Sleep after” and even possible “Allow Hybrid Sleep”. I will here after try to investigate this issue in details.
    • The command “Powercfg /energy” does an audit of the PC and reports all issues (like details on what prevent the sleep mode but also about what is consuming CPU, etc…):
      • Notice: the report is stored in C:\Windows\System32\enery-report.html. This file may not be opened within any browser as long as it’s in System32 (although I did disable UAC already). It must be first moved to, e.g., %USERPROFILE%\Desktop\
      • S1, S2, S3 are not supported although S1&S3 are now enabled in the Bios.
      • S4 is supported.
      • The USB devices do not enter the Selective Suspend state (this would not be blocking the PC for entering the sleep mode)
      • The drivers \FileSysem\srvnet is preventing the system to enter sleep.
        • It’s reported that this can be due to the network drivers not being up-to-date
        • But this does the trick if you don’t want to share the content (media) of the PC
          1. On the Start Screen, type “Advanced Sharing”, Click “Settings” and Select the “Manage Advanced Sharing Settings”
          2. Collapse the “Private” section and Expand the “All networks” section
          3. Click on “Choose media streaming options” under “All Networks\Media Sharing”
          4. Click on “Block All”
          5. Run again the energy audit (possibly reboot if the problem persist, especially if you tried the next tip!)
        • This is NOT doing the trick: edit the current Power Plan to “Allow the computer to sleep” under the node “Multimedia settings” > “When sharing media”.
      • Its finally clearly stated that the PC may not enter the sleep mode due to the Microsoft Basic Display Driver which has disabled S1 and S2 sleep states.
    • Powercfg -energy -output %USERPROFILE%\Desktop\Energy_Report.html could be used to automatically store the file in the right location
    • To see if there is still anything preventing the PC to enter the sleep mode, type the command “Powercfg /requests”. You should see “None” for every category.
    • If after a reboot, your still have the same issue with \FileSystem\srvnet, try to override it with the command “Powercfg -requestsoverride driver \filesystem\srvnet system”
      • To undo this command, type “Powercfg -requestsoverride driver \filesystem\srvnet”
    • Now, the remaining issue to enter the S3 sleep state is the Microsoft Basic Display Driver, which is for sure also responsible for the performance issue in MCE. Based on tries done previously to force Win7x64 drivers for the NVidia GeForce Go 7600, I think I won’t succeed is using Windows 8 on this Acer iDea 510 :(
References:
  • http://www.windowsitpro.com/article/windows8/sleep-disabled-graphics-card-144468
  • http://mingersoft.com/blog/2011/12/why-wont-windows-automatically-sleep/
  • http://iboyd.net/index.php/2010/05/16/windows-7-power-management-fixing-pc-insomnia/
  • http://www.eightforums.com/tutorials/9695-driver-install-device-manager-windows-8-a.html
Selective Suspend State: this one can be enable or disable on the USB node while editing the Power Plan (in the Power Options).
A USB device driver can send a message to windows telling it to idle the device.  This puts the device in a low-power state (the suspend state).  When a USB device is suspended, windows does not wait for it to respond before entering a sleep or hibernate mode.  If you disable this feature, the system will simply return a failure to the driver when the driver attempts to enter suspend state.  If the driver complies with Microsoft guidelines, it will simply retry the idle request at every expiration of its idle timer.
  • S1: All processor caches are flushed, and the CPU(s) stops executing instructions. Power to the CPU(s) and RAM is maintained; devices that do not indicate they must remain on may be powered down.
  • S2: CPU powered off. Dirty cache is flushed to RAM.
  • S3: Commonly referred to as Standby, Sleep, or Suspend to RAM. RAM remains powered
  • S4: Hibernation or Suspend to Disk. All content of main memory is saved to non-volatile memory such as a hard drive, and is powered down.
  • To be continued…

Tips Android – No connection to any network – Go Locker

I had an issue recently with my Samsung Galaxy S2: I was unable to call or send SMS. I was also not reachable anymore and appeared as not connected. I did not even succeed to force manually the connection to any network. After some unsuccessful investigation, I did reboot the device and noticed that I was not prompted anymore to provide my PIN code. The prompt was actually hidden by my Lock Screen for Go Locker :(

Click to Read More

For some reason, the configuration set for that lock screen was preventing the prompt for PIN code to appear. For sure, my mobile was configure to prevent any use without a valid PIN code. So voilà !

A colleague of mine had the very same issue. We found the prompt only after disabling  Go Locker and rebooting

This issue is also reported by other user on Google Play, but I never saw any explanation and solution. Maybe it was related to some specific settings I set, like: prevent pressing twice the home button to enter the “desktop”, … Or maybe because I did select Go Locker as default application to handle the Home button instead of Go Launcher ?