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Friday, November 09, 2007

Handled issue with Microsoft Office's clipboard

New release of Network Clipboard and Viewer, will handle an issue with Microsoft Office's clipboard manager (this is not a Network Clipboard's issue).

If you launch Microsoft Word and select any text and use the Copy to clipboard, a strange behavior occurs if you have a clipboard viewer running: an OLE bookmark is generated about that text. This can be easily detected if View Bookmarks is enabled on Microsoft Word (check the box at Tools>Options>View>Show>Bookmarks). This only happens if you are running a clipboard viewer software that scans all clipboard formats when a change is detected (like Network Clipboard and Viewer does, same as the Microsoft's Clipboard Viewer Start>Run>ClipBrd.exe).

Clipboard Monitor included in Network Clipboard and Viewer, now includes two new Advanced Settings (Options>Preferences>Advanced Settings>Clipboard Monitor):

* Ignore formats.
* List of formats to ignore, one per line.

If you found new problematic formats, please let me know. This new configuration is flexible and does not require for an update if a new problematic format is found, just need to add it to the list of clipboard format's to ignore.

Unfortunately, when a clipboard format is ignored, there is no way to access that clipboard format's properties so the size for ignored formats will be displayed as zero-size, but this is not real. A simple command to get the clipboard format's size, will cause this strange behavior on Microsoft Word.

This release also disables by default generating Own Clipboard Format for Clipboard Monitor, because generates issues with Microsoft Excel when cells are selected and the clipboard contents change (if you have a previous release, you may need to disable this manually, ensure option Options>Preferences>Advanced Settings>Clipboard Monitor>Disable own format is checked).

Thanks to Tim W.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

New experiences with Perfect Disk 8

I decided to perform more extensive tests with PerfectDisk8 on two working workstations:
1) Windows XP SP2 -32bit, 1GB RAM, 120HG IDE Hard Disk, Athlon XP 2400GHz.
2) Windows XP SP1 -64bit (version 2003), 1GB RAM, 80GB and 160GB SATA Hard Drives, Intel Pentium D 3.20GHz
Uninstalled Diskeeper v10 and rebooted each box before installing PerfectDisk v8.

On workstation 1, I had the issue the drives list were gone on Perfect Disk manager. This issue was solved. I had to re-register COM. This is performed using command Start Menu | Run and using the command regsvr32 ole32.dll (you may also open a MS-DOS Command Prompt, then type the command above). You can also download and run a script to perform this task. You may enter Raxco support for details.

Workstation 2 was more tricky. I faced another issue: the boot defragmentation didn't work (previously I Analyzed the disks, and PerfectDisk suggested an offline defragmentation). I got errors about "driver conflict" issue and boot process continues normally, without executing the defragmentation. At Raxco support, found many possible causes, but the only thing that match is I use Daemon Tools. I updated the SPTD driver (click here) and after reboot, tried to schedule an offline defrag. After reboot, I just didn't see any error or message, just the normal Windows boot process.

I tried another approach, as suggested by Raxco Support, I downloaded a tool (click here or look at support page) that fix the order of PDBoot (from Perfect Disk) at boot process. The fixer executed with no errors. Another reboot and nothing works. I re-schedule an offline defrag, reboot, but nothing. On the support page about "driver conflict" exists a "BlockedFileList.exe", that appends to Windows Registry a list of files that PerfectDisk will block during the boot time defrag pass (I was a little tired of this issue). Another reboot and still nothing. Well, I decided to test the improved PerfectDisk defragmentation method. I selected the C drive and hit Analyze, now another problem I was unable to found at Raxco website: "PerfectDisk could not start the analysis of drive c\: the system cannot find the file specified".

After this new problem, I decided to use the Repair installation feature. Control Panel | Add/Remove programs | Perfect Disk | Change.

As usual, the Repair option was available.

After repaired, the Analyze option was back to normal. I re-schedule an offline defragmentation at boot, and after reboot, finally :), it worked!

I was impressed with Metadata defragmentation. Diskeeper was unable to move a lot of fragments considered as "System Files", so I always looked a lot of this pieces of green lines on disk's map.

That was a problem I accepted. I started to get those extra "unmovable files" when using more NTFS Compression and Encryption.

The PerfectDisk map before, shows almost the same, a lot of fragmented metadata (I didn't pay attention to exact color, was black or dark gray, looking at legend, black are excluded, gray is metadata, but fragmented blocks are darker... I think this could be more clear). That was represented by a lot of dispersed "black" blocks on disk map, even after regular "Smart Placement" defragmentation.

After offline defragmentation, the disk's map was magically changed, no more dispersed blocks:
* The metadata defragmentation is impressive, that is one thing I wanted from Diskeeper.
* The View file name from NTFS's ID/number.
* Clean interface.
* The SmartPlacement method, seems more logical now.

* FragShield. This is useful to adjust the MFT size to avoid defragmentation of MFT on NTFS volumes.
* The I/O Sensor, useful when scheduled defragmentation, but if computer is in use, the sensor stop defragmentation. The I/O Sensor was replaced by a new technology after Diskeeper v10.

Initially, the new "sensor" technology on Diskeeper 2007 looked ideal. A sensor detects when computer is IDLE and start a defragmentation in background, using almost no resources.
After few days, this new sensor makes me paranoic... "is this really working?" I mean, there is no notice of this new background method is working, not even an icon on System Tray like previous versions. I have to start Diskeeper 2007 and look at the dashboard when this new technology is actually working.
After many days, I was not calm with this method, and with the fact of not being notified with an icon that in fact is working, and when.
I liked the SmartSchedule method, worked for me a lot. But now I think this new sensor is not the perfect solution, because I don't want my hard drives to be permanently working.

Well, I'll continue testing more the PerfectDisk defragmentation on workstations. The server part will continue using Diskeeper v10 (not 2007) until I have zero issues with PerfectDisk. I can't stop production servers to solve extra issues.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Diskeeper 2007 vs PerfectDisk v8

Well, just after testing PerfectDisk v8, I decided to uninstall it and try Diskeeper 2007. This is the image map of Diskeeper 2007 of my C: drive, just defragmented with PerfectDisk. The red spaces means poor performance files, and I trusted more in Diskeeper algorithm. I solved many performance issues based on this analysis.

Diskeeper defragmentation method is improved in new version. It looks a little different than previous release, but still preserve a professional look, maybe not so easy to understand for beginners when start using this tool. Background defragmentation is running while I'm writing this blog. I don't feel any running slower on my computer, Diskeeper 2007 seems to use even less resources than previous version, and running at low priority (CPU priority) I cannot notice it is running at all. PerfectDisk uses normal priority (CPU priority), so while it was running, things were turning a little slower, so I decided to do another thing until PerfectDisk finished.

I tested Diskeeper in server environments too, I have to be clear: I can't trust on another defragmentation tool on Servers (specially critical production servers).

I'll keep Diskeeper.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Diskeeper vs Perfect Disk

Well, I used Diskeeper for years (since 2004) and today I decided to try PerfectDisk v8.0.64.

PerfectDisk's interface looks more friendly for novices, but PerfectDisk itself appears with some bugs for me.

First I tested it on a Virtual PC machine with fresh Windows XP-SP2, no problems at all. On my workstation, I uninstalled Diskeeper v10, reboot, then installed PerfectDisk v8.0.64. It doesn't need to reboot. On my first run, the drives list just appears empty, no drives at all. I spend few minutes at manufacturer's website, and found the problem: needs to register ole32.dll again.
This looks strange for me. Ok, solution applied:

Start Menu > Run > regsvr32 ole32.dll

Now PerfectDisk shows my drives. I was a little fearful of running this on my workstation, if anything wrong I'll have to reinstall. The Smart method seems very simple but effective, I mean, it put the files you don't modify often at beginning of drive, the frequently modified at end, and consolidates all free space. Still was buggy, I was unable to get a progress of the process, so I decided to hit the F5 key to refresh, and the status changed to "Idle" while running defragmentation, the progress bar never shows a single step, and the status at list permanently shows "Analyzing" while defragmenting, and no progress at all. I decided to leave it running. The diskmap shows me the progress and a status label indicates defragmentation work.

Certainly Diskeeper uses a different approach because is a multi-pass defragmenter (I'll have to test the Diskeeper v2007 which have an improved technology), but it seems more robust, and more professional for advanced users like me. Also, I use Diskeeper on several production Servers, critical, and never found an issue, never had a problem, never an error, bug, or bad defragmentation at all. Well, I trust Diskeeper most. I'll test new version 2007 later.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Is possible to upgrade Windows XP x86 to x64?

Well, no. Is not possible. You need to install a new fresh copy of Windows XP x64 (64-bit).

I tested it on an Intel Dual Core 3GHz with 1GB RAM, with Windows XP x86 (32-bit, the common operating system) already installed. This computer have 2 Hard Drives, so I installed XP x64 to the second hard drive D:\, my old XP was still alive on C:\.

When you have a Windows XP x64 CD, you must boot from CD to install, you can't install x64 over an x86 platform. When you boot your computer with Windows XP x64, you'll get noticed if your computer have a 64-bit processor or not... My friend tried to install Windows XP x64 on his Centrino notebook, with no luck.

The installation is almost the same as regular Windows XP 32-bit. Before proceed, you need to make sure all your hardware drivers have a 64-bit version. Mostly all modern hardware have drivers for Windows XP 64-bit, but I suggest you check this first (usually drivers for 64-bits are under a folder name x64, the regular 32-bit drivers are under x86 folder). Some drivers are like a sofware program: you install it and it installs the proper version (if supported). If you have no 64-bit drivers, then search on Support or Downloads on Manufacturer's website before attempt to install Windows XP 64-bit.
This is a must, Windows XP 64-bit must use 64-bit drivers, can't (and will not) load regular 32-bit drivers.

The software is other thing. Windows XP 64-bit creates a Programs folder (with "x86" in folder name) for 32-bit programs, same for Control Panel applets, etc.
It can runs any 32-bit software using WOW64, a special feature to run 32-bit software under 64-bit architecture.

The 64-bit version runs great, much much faster than my XP 32-bit (also was a fresh install too), even the 32-bit applications starts quickly... my computer finally is showing POWER.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Strange error using Delphi and Access Database

I Updated multiple records within one process, changing indexes to make the process faster. On my next run of the same routine, I got the following error:

Row handles must all be released before new ones can be obtained

A quick solution was deactivating the table first.


with ADOTable2 do begin
Active := False;

Active := True;
IndexName := 'PrimaryKey';

// later I'll change the index to fast record location, but after that Seek, I need to return to PrimaryKey


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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Finally launched new release of Comparator Fast for Windows. The new version include a Repeated Files detection (cloned files).

Repeated files are "cloned" files:
· by Name: are files with same names on different folders (maybe Duplicates).

· by Size: are files with same size on same or different folders. In some situations and jobs, a file with same size may be considered a repeated file. But you need to make sure this works for you, because some files may have the same size but are not repeated files (files with same size, but different content).

· by Content: this process takes more time but it is the only way to ensure a file is repeated (or "cloned") in same folder or other folder(s). Using this method you may be surprised found files with different name or repeated across different folders, but are the same file. This may apply for MP3 files, Movies, Documents, etc. Example: you may have the files "C:\MP3s\Top Ten.mp3" and "C:\MP3\American Idol\American Idol's last hit.mp3", both are really the same file (same content) but are repeated across 2 folders: "C:\MP3s" and "C:\MP3s\American Idol". This consumes more disk space and with thousands of files you may loose more time. The analysis by content is based on a hash code, unique for each file based on content. The common hash used is CRC32. It produces an unique "code" for each file, if two or more files have the same CRC32, are the same files no matter file name or location.

If you need to look for Repeated Files on multiple subfolders from a root folder, just set the root folder as Source and choose the subfolders to scan. For example: to perform a scan for Repeated Files on "c:\tmp", "c:\books", "c:\downloads", just set the "c:\" as Source and choose subfolders Tmp, Books and Downloads.

Also includes a new help system, and an easy to use and quick Rename Files tool.

Rename Files* is an easy to use tools. Allows to mass rename several files at once.

When you enter to this option, you'll get a "Select files" dialog to select one or multiple files to rename (if you don't like this behavior, just disable the "Ask Files on Start" option in Settings tab).

You may drag and drop files from Windows Explorer (or compatible program) to Rename Files window. All dropped files are added to list, if a subfolder is included and "Recurse Subfolders" option is checked, all subfolders contents are added too.