Thursday, April 16, 2015

QuickPost: Clearing my Java Installer 1063 Error

Just a quick note.

I was updating one of my Windows 7 systems at home this morning getting on the latest Windows and Flash and Java updates.

All was rolling well. All the Windows updates were on and a reboot finished that matter. The latest Flash Player updates went on OK.

I installed the latest Java 8 update 45 packages; both x32 and x64.

The x64 package went on fast and OK. No errors.

However when I installed the x32 package I got a “Error Code: 1603”.

2015-04-16 10_05_53-Java Setup - Incomplete

The web is full of all kinds of different advice for this fairly common error. However none seemed to clear my particular installation issue. I tried installing the previous version that had been working OK. No go. Same error.

After additional troubleshooting I temporarily disabled my Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit application in the system tray and reattempted the installation.

image

This time Java 8 update 45 (x32) installed with no issues.

2015-04-16 10_09_56-Java Setup - Complete

I then re-enabled the Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit application’s protection and all was done.

FYI…

--Claus V.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

New (borrowed) life for the Shuttle SK41G

A few weeks ago I dug my old Shuttle SK41G system out of mothballs.

It was my very first “homebrew” custom build back in the very early part of 2004 and I was very proud of it.

I had to RMA it as soon as it came in for a replacement due to a no-boot issue. The replacement unit did just fine.

In Summer 2006 I upgraded it to 1 GB of system RAM from the original (amazing) 512 MB of RAM I built it with. I think the HDD was a 120 GB PATA drive. And it had a 512 MB AGP graphics card.

In Fall of 2006 I ended up replacing the PSU due to bad capacitors. I somehow crammed an oversized Shuttle form-factor 250W unit it to upgrade it from the 200W stock one I was using.

A few weeks later I hacked another couple of case-fans onto it to make a Frankenstein-ish monster of case cooling. It helped.

In Summer of 2007 I had to reformat and reload my Windows XP OS and upgraded to a 500 GB HDD.

In Summer 2008 I then maxed the RAM out to 2 GB.

Somewhere before 2010 I upgraded it from XP to Windows 7.

I used it a while longer but it eventually got shoved aside as we adopted more modern hardware and laptop platforms. Eventually I wiped the drive, buried it in the closet and forgot about it.

Fast forward to the present.

I wanted to set up a “guest” computer for the in-laws to use when they came to stay with us for a few weeks. So the Shuttle got hauled out, dusted off, and pressed back into service.

The first good sign was that it booted right up…well the hardware did, no OS as the drive was wiped.

I first ran a LiveCD of LXDE Desktop » PCLinuxOS that loaded just fine and confirmed the hardware was very functional.

I thought I would be really cool to put Windows 10 TP on it, right?

Only it has a CD-ROM drive so I couldn’t use a DVD for Windows 10.

No problem.  I followed this guide along with Rufus and in a few hours has Windows 10 TP loading up.

Well, I guess there was that little problem about not being able to boot from a USB flash drive no matter what device boot options I chose.  Apparently back in the heyday booting from CD’s was all the rage and standard and I wasn’t so much into needing to boot the Shuttle from a flash drive.

That took more research until I hit on this article: BIOS: Phoenix-Award (Shuttle SB83G5), boot from USB-stick via “Live USB | dual boot” blog.

Conclusion

The boot setting for this system should be:

  • First Boot Device: USB-ZIP
  • Second Boot Device: CDROM
  • Third Boot Device: HD
  • Boot Other Device: Enabled

Finally I was able to rock on forward with the Windows 10 TP installer booting/loading from my USB stick.

Until I hit this error.

 k3ew24xs.lrx

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. The CPU I had bought was an Athlon XP Socket A (462) model. It was pretty good for the time of my original system build and struck a compromise between performance and value but it’s not so modern now.

So I pulled out my Windows 7 OS upgrade disks, ripped an ISO copy of it, and more Rufus time. I’m still good on my licenses so I had some to spare. I had to do the clean install Win 7, then turn around and upgrade the clean Win 7 install again to Win 7 so I could activate it, but it did activate with no issues.  That took more time that needed.

Apparently I’ve misplaced my both my 120 GB and 500 GB HDD’s that were in it previously. Well, I know where they are but I just grabbed a spare 40 GB PATA drive I had sitting on my desk at the rebuild. It worked fine and since it is to be a guest PC, I didn’t care about having lots of space.

Strangely, as I was trying to download and install software on it after it was up and running I kept getting all manner of certificate errors! It was so bad I could hardly browse the web.

Turns out this article held the key: Why am I getting security certificate errors? - Ask Leo!

Yep, by BIOS battery had died and the BIOS kept resetting the clock-time to the caveman epoch on each time I pulled the power-cord to fiddle with the hardware. Seriously.

Some more searching and I found that the Shuttle system takes a CR2032 button battery. (PDF file link from Shuttle’s FAQ page)

I just happened to be at Lowes that same weekend picking up a new clothes dryer unit (it transpired that the magic smoke I was vaguely smelling wasn’t coming from the Shuttle but the dryer as it slowly died) when I spotted a checkout station end-cap display that had a pack of CR2032 batteries. Handy.

With that swapped out and the BIOS time/date clock set current and holding, all the certificate errors went away and I could finish out the updating/software-loading/security perimeter placements.

I hoped that the ATI-512MB AGP card would be a good fit but the Win 7 driver support for it now is horrible. I wasn’t in the least impressed with it. So I swapped it out for a 512 MB NVidia “Doom” AGP card that had better driver support…only it barely does.  I may yet yank it out and go with the stock VGA onboard video and be done with it.

I did some minor tweaks to the wallpaper selection, the login screen, etc.; going with a giraffe theme as that was Alvis’s favorite animal and her (now deserted) room is filled with the giraffes that she collected growing up. (sniffle).

Windows 7 is running stably and is pretty snappy considering it is operating on a single core CPU, with 2 GB RAM on a 40 GB HDD. It’s the OS that our family members are most comfortable with so there is that.

However, I’m seriously considering blowing it out and going to a 32-bit version of The LXLE Desktop Linux distro. I haven’t done a LiveCD boot of this OS yet on it as I don’t have a DVD ROM drive, and don’t really care to add one at this point. So it will be another adventure with Rufus and the LXLE Desktop ISO. I tried an Ubuntu LiveCD OS load on it but it just sat there and blinked at me so I think it also wasn’t too impressed with the older hardware. I did get PCLinuxOS going on it initially so I remain positive I’ll find an OS package that is both light, stable, and modern.

In the meantime all the case-fans I’ve added to it over the years are still breathing new life into it and it spins on.

Now I’ve also got to change out that crazy anime-themed custom front panel insert I did with a giraffe-themed one. Seriously…WTF was I thinking back then?!!!

In one final note, it’s good to see that the Shuttle company is still alive and thriving. Shuttle Computer US Website. I’ve got a long-term project to build a standalone network firewall and intrusion detection system (or maybe fiddle with Kali and Snort) for the Valca micro-ranch…but I’m pretty sure a Raspberry Pi would be a more economical solution.

Ahh, memories.

Normal people pull out scrapbooks & geeks pull out the hardware in their closets.

The adventure continues…

--Claus Valca

Saturday, April 11, 2015

GSD Crowd Source Troubleshooting Flare: Toshiba Laptop Error

HELP!

Over the past several weeks I’ve been assisting my uncle with troubleshooting a persistent issue on his laptop.

I’ve covered all the bases that I can think of so far and have arrived at the conclusion that we are facing a laptop system-board that has a failed or failing component. And that (for now) the failure appears to be non-critical.

Options I can think of for permanent repair would be system board replacement ($250 USD + labor) or upgrade to a new/used laptop platform.

But I’d really love to have some additional suggestions or thoughts from the faithful GSD readers to either correct my misdiagnosis and/or point us on the right track for additional troubleshooting.

The system is a Toshiba Satellite A215-S4757 laptop running Windows Vista.

Recently, my uncle reports that when booting, it presents the following error messages in the BIOS as it is coming up:

image

for the search robots

System Configuration Data updated
ERROR
Resource Conflict – PCI Serial Bus Controller in slot 01
    Bus:1A, Device:04, Function:01
ERROR
Resource Conflict – PCI Mass Storage Controller in slot 01
    Bus:1A, Device:04, Function:02
ERROR
Resource Conflict – PCI Serial Bus Controller in slot 01
    Bus:1A, Device:04, Function:03

A search on the web found more than a few instances of similar issues by Toshiba laptop users but no clear solution:

The BIOS boot process can be resumed and eventually walked though to the desktop Vista loading.

Upon getting Windows loaded, Windows reports a driver issue with the “Memory Module” driver and is unsuccessful with getting one installed. My uncle reports there are also a few other device errors found in the Device Manager view but I’ve not been able to do a remote session to get them noted specifically. I think one he mentioned is for a multi flash-card reader component of the laptop.

We’ve run several memory tests (Windows and via LiveCD) that come back clean. The system has two 2GB DIMMS to bring it to max load of 4 GB. They have been reseated to no effect.

I also had him boot a Linux LiveCD that still saw the same errors during the BIOS boot but otherwise then loaded and operated OK.

The BIOS was flashed to the latest version available on the Toshiba product support page mentioned. No issues were encountered during the BIOS upgrade flash but the errors seen by the BIOS load persist.  The BIOS itself is very simple and a review of the photos he provided of the BIOS options don’t find any advanced options to fiddle with IRQ or PCI settings like the BIOS of my home-brew Shuttle-SFF system has.The settings I observed seem to be stock and normal for such a system.

The system can be booted on past the errors and seems to run “fine” otherwise once Vista loads…except for the device/driver errors that appear to be (for now) non-critical/fatal to system operation.

My uncle also may be having some other startup/autoruns issues due to previous software install issues, but I don’t think that those are related to the BIOS issue. They need to be addressed but are of a secondary level concern IMHO.

I’m pending a remote control session so I can explore his Vista device drivers some more and then assess his system hardware with the following tools to collect more information:

Note: I generally don’t like grant blanket trust to driver-update helper software and prefer to find my driver downloads direct from source. However, these type of tools may be useful for doing system scans for information gathering purposes and to see the possible hardware/drivers that I need to evaluate and then decide to apply on my own. Caution: Here be dragons.

My thoughts:

Since the BIOS was flashed successfully, I don’t believe the issue is with the BIOS/firmware code.

Since the error happens during the BIOS boot load, I believe it is detecting a hardware failure with the system board components.

I’ve not found yet a Toshiba laptop mode diagnostic boot disk like those Dell offers for its systems. Is one out there to test the hardware via Toshiba OEM support tools?

Because we are seeing the core errors before the Vista OS loads, I don’t believe the Vista OS is the problem…and that the driver/device errors are a consequence of the core hardware issue seen at the BIOS boot.

Please let me know if you can recommend any additional troubleshooting or diagnostic tips I can try when we get going on our remote-connect session.

If this was at work I’d be putting in a ticket for a system-board replacement with out vendor.  However the cost of replacing the motherboard outright on a home-user’s system – and the age of the system – it may be cheaper to pick up a new laptop and move on. I’m thinking the price point is going to be very close. But then again, there may be something obvious I am overlooking.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

--Claus Valca

Sunday, March 15, 2015

…and if you did patch this week…syadmin tips and helps

Sadly, if you did apply your Windows Updates last week, it’s possible something broke.

Don’t give up hope…here are some tips and tools to keep you distracted

Cheers!

Claus Valca

Did you overlook any patching last week?

What a crazy, patch-filled couple of weeks it has been!

I’m dizzy.

First there are the Windows patches

Next there are those Adobe patches

Go get ‘em!

And for good measure, sometime recently Oracle released it’s own patches for Java. I didn’t realize I was behind until I checked!

Go get ‘em

Considerations…

Living without plug-ins such as Flash or Java - gHacks Tech News

Two EASY ways to check if you are up to date on your plugins:

Stay patched my friends!

--Claus Valca

Linkfest for Firefox, Vivaldi, and Chrome news

Firefox looks like it will be seeing some advanced feature options in an upcoming release

Vivaldi browser has some new snapshot releases out

And here is a tip that may help with image rendering speed improvement in Chrome

Cheers,

Claus Valca

Exploit Update

Why do I work so hard to bolster the defense-in-depth of our home Windows systems?

  • like keeping the browsers updated to their most current patch level?
  • like keeping all the third-party plug-ins updated to their most current patch level?
  • like running EMET, and Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit, and AV/AM software all at the same time?
  • like keeping our Windows OS’s religiously patched?

Because all it takes is tripping onto just one “good/trustworthy” website that has been exploited to serve up malware to a vulnerability and your system could be compromised and hosed.

More web exploits and attempts to stem the tide by the pros…

Constant Vigilance!

--Claus Valca