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  • Windows 7 Chkdsk Prompt Hangs At 1 Second: How I Fixed It

    Posted on January 5th, 2010 Brian No comments

    A few weeks back, something bad happened to my computer.  I’m not sure what, but my nightly backup reported a failure to run due to corrupted folders.  So I immediately pulled out the toolbox and scheduled a chkdsk for the next reboot.  And then I rebooted.

    Chkdsk Prompt on a Windows XP MachineWhen Windows rebooted, I was greeted with the familiar notice, “A disk check has been scheduled.”  As anyone familiar with Windows knows, you then get a ten second countdown to abort the disk check.  I waited (10…9…8…) patiently (7…6…) while it ticked (5…) off (4…) every (3…) excruciating (2…) number (1…), and then … nothing.  I had one second left, permanently.  The computer had frozen, and hitting the any key did nothing.  Hitting CTRL+ALT+DEL did nothing, either, and so I was forced to hard-off the machine.

    On reboot, I received the same prompt, and once again it hung at one second.  I couldn’t even get it to abort the disk check, the very purpose for the countdown prompt!  Woe is me!  I was stuck in a reboot loop.  At this point, I am going to fast forward over the gory details of booting the rescue tools off my install CD, unlocking my encrypted drive, fixing the disk, resetting my TPM state, and all that.  Trust me, it’s for the best.  But in the end, I had a working machine again.

    Last night, and right before bed no less, I encountered the same problem.  Googling led me to the same results I had seen before.  But this time, reading through the top result, there was a new post.  The comment by Tayloradical on December 10 recommended removing all the peripherals, including any SD card.  I have lots of peripherals, including an SD card I use for ReadyBoost.  After a somewhat systematic cycle of decoupling and rebooting, the chkdsk finally kicked off normally after removing the SD card!

    So, if you encounter this problem, try removing your SD card, and maybe some other peripherals as well.

    2010-02-02 update: This is a known issue, and Microsoft has issued a hotfix.  Also, for my machine at least, the fix has been rolled into a update sp46718  from HP.

  • Chronicles of Windows 7 Part 1: Qualcomm Gobi 3G Modem and VMWare NAT

    Posted on May 28th, 2009 Brian No comments

    So I went ahead and installed Windows 7 RC 1.  The process is remarkably smooth, and the OS is nicely polished.  The new task bar is a long-overdue change, formerly difficult or esoteric system tasks are now simple and obvious, and the Libraries paradigm in Explorer has pleasantly surprised me.

    But that’s not to say there aren’t some niggling issues.  This is a new release – nay, a pre-release – of the most popular operating system in the world.  There are bound to be some compatibility problems.  What is truly amazing is how well things work right out-of-the box.

    As I use the OS day-to-day, I’ll post some updates about real-life surprises and tribulations.  Here are my first two.

    Qualcomm Gobi 3G Modem

    Winodws 7 recognized almost every single piece of hardware on my HP Elitebook 8530w, including the silly fingerprint reader and the webcam I never use.  The one thing it didn’t already have drivers for was the built-in Qualcomm Gobi un2400 modem 3G.  What’s worse, the Vista drivers from HP’s support site don’t install, either.

    Fortunately, some amazingly enterprising soul figured out the problems, and was not only able to divine how to install the drivers, but then even wrote a schnasty little program to force-feed the Gobi modem its appropriate firmware.  Major kudos!  Unfortunately for me, it still doesn’t work.  There’s some magic incantation that isn’t being done quite right for my AT&T setup, so I’ll have to wait until the drivers get updated.  Hopefully that’ll be soon – paying for a data plan I’m not using is rather annoying.

    But, really, given how esoteric and fragile these 3G modems are, it’s not that surprising something bjorked their spaghetti-like functioning.  (Did you read the “More About The Firmware” section at that link?!)

    VMWare NAT Failure

    The only other true problem I’ve had is with VMWare Workstation 6.5.  It works like a charm, except that NAT routing fails to work correctly.  Interestingly, the guests can ping out, but other connections fail.  It’s a known issue, though, and will certainly be fixed soon.  And the work-around is simple enough: Just use bridging instead.