Monday, December 26, 2005

Last Seasonal Post

Last Christmas Season Post...and the MS User Profile Hive Cleanup Service tool .

Please don't get too disappointed. You can always link back to the pretty girls of anime Christmas in the back links! Ai Sakuraba (from Ai Yori Aoshi) is wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas. Click the pic to find additional fine work at the wallpaper artist's site, Vector Sigma Studios.

As we were riding in the car tonight, Alvis was in a reflective mood. She mentioned out loud that she wishes that it was Christmas all over again. In one of those odd parental zen moments we get from time to time I told her that instead of being sad thinking of Christmas as only one day in 364 others...that there were 364 other days to make Christmas anytime we wanted. We just needed to wake up with a spirit of unbridled excitement and wonder, wash ourselves with generosity and giving, and find joy in discovery of something new. She conceded that point, but then in the zen thinking of a child reminded me that some years (of the leap-kind) we actually have 365 days to make Christmas.

Lavie held her tongue. Suddenly I was singing Walt Disney's Alice in Wonderland A Very Merry Unbirthday song...

I won't bore you with the typical lists of Christmas day loot. I will say that this was the most Japanese-theamed Christmas our family has enjoyed--ever. Even extended family joined in. I have a lot of reading to do and the girls will be watching the tele quite a lot as well.

Last week was a banner week. During the week I was able to eat Vietnamese Pho noodles twice. Once a month is usually great for me depending on my work travel--but twice was too much. I usually get the number #13 bowl (large) and two spring rolls and peanut dipping sauce. It was awesome. I don't read Vietnamese at all, but the menus are pretty consistent from shop to shop: lots of pictures with numbers along side. There is an Engrish description underneath, but I just remember the numbers--no relation to The Numbers. I prefer to eat them with chopsticks--somehow and am not too messy anymore. I love Pho noodles because they really fill me up but don't leave me feeling grossed out from too much food. Especially at wintertime, nothing is more satisfying than wrapping my hands around the base of the large bowl and breathing in the beef-stock aromas. Yummy. We don't have any Pho shops around our area of town, but I did find one less than 20 min away from the house which isn't bad for us. Well worth a trip.

Speaking of eating with chopsticks, here are some handy links for how to dine:

Chopstick (Ohashi) Etiquette over at Whitehouse and Company
Chopsticks article over at the Wikipedia.

Not directly chopstick related, but yummy: visit Blue Lotus blog and see some of the most beautiful pictures of food (Japanese and otherwise) that have ever been taken. Great stuff. Man, I wish I could cook like that....

Going Solo Tech Tip:

I home-built a Shuttle Computer SK41G (small form factor) a few years ago. I won't geek you out, but I am very proud of it. It is small, quiet, and beautiful. Anyway, the only "problem" I have with it is that sometimes when we turn it off, it refuses to power back on unless you mash the power/reset buttons a heck of a lot of times. The first time it happened, I never could get it back up to life so I RMA'ed the systemboard back--figuring the power supply unit or system board was bad. The new replacement worked great, but the problem came back. I've crawled through the BIOS settings, my OS load, etc. and never got it figured out. Sometimes it would happen. Most times not.

Lately, we've been having a spat of W2K user profile corruptions. The end result is that the user still keeps their stuff but the OS builds a new "recovered" profile and keeps on trucking, leaving the user's favorites, documents, cookies in a corrupted profile. We've worked out how to recover it, but that still doesn't explain why. Anyway, in doing my sysadmin work on the issue I came across two interesting bits of information about the user profiles in Windows 2000 and XP systems:

From this link at Fuzzygroup: I learned that these systems write the user's profile into memory. If it gets corrupted, it will write the corrupted profile in memory back to the hard drive files at shutdown. Now I wouldn't go so far as to always pull the power-plug on the system, like this tech suggests. That just can't be good for the drive and powersupply unit. However, the information was very illuminating to my issue.

Next a little more searching led me to Microsoft: They have a free service tool called--get this--User Profile Hive Cleanup Service. ANY time Microsoft offers a tool for a issue that isn't included in the system load, I get curious. From their site:
"The User Profile Hive Cleanup service helps to ensure user sessions are completely terminated when a user logs off. System processes and applications occasionally maintain connections to registry keys in the user profile after a user logs off. In those cases the user session is prevented from completely ending. This can result in problems when using Roaming User Profiles in a server environment or when using locked profiles as implemented through the Shared Computer Toolkit for Windows XP.

On Windows 2000 you can benefit from this service if the application event log shows event id 1000 where the message text indicates that the profile is not unloading and that the error is "Access is denied". On Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 either event ids 1517 and 1524 indicate the same profile unload problem.

To accomplish this the service monitors for logged off users that still have registry hives loaded. When that happens the service determines which application have handles opened to the hives and releases them. It logs the application name and what registry keys were left open. After this the system finishes unloading the profile."
These two things got me thinking, I realized that the system-bombs/reboot failures always occurred after shutting the system down directly from Alvis's user account. Not mine, not Lavie's but Alvis's. Now as a sysadmin doing security work, I work hard to ensure the family pc is clean an free of baddies. I am as confident as I can be that nothing malicious on Alvis's account is causing the pc to bomb. But I have installed this Microsoft profile service and will be watching things carefully. When I get a chance to take off a couple of days, I plan to save Alvis's personal files and settings and delete her account and build a new one for her fresh. Maybe that will solve the problem. That is the lead I am working on at the moment anyway.

Only thing I can't figure out still is how a corrupted profile would keep the system BIOS from booting, period. I am sure there is still something happening in the BIOS at shutdown on this Shuttle system, just can't figure it out yet. I haven't flashed the BIOS to the latest version (I generally don't do BIOS flashes unless something is bad-wrong or new hardware won't work at all), but that may need to be done now.....will keep you posted.

Enjoy the warm glow of Christmas aftermath....maybe a new quick post or two this week while Alvis visits her grandparents.

Hi Alvis! If you're reading--this link is for you! It's a big Fruit Basket! (Not this kind!) Also look at this article about a Japanese game called Fruit Basket Turnover. How about that?!

Back into the skies tomorrow morning,

1 comment:

Rorschach said...

Claus, I've been battling some corrupted user account issues on Win 2k myself lately at my side job. both times I used a program called Copy Commander to duplicate a boot drive partition from one small and full HD to a new much larger one that was to replace it. both times, the user accounts got toasted and basically lost all rights and priveleges. Both times I ended up pulling an all-nighter to nuke the drives, reinstall the OS and download all the flippin MS patches and reinstall all the software and rebuild the user accounts on the machines. Needless to say, it made it difficult to function at my day job after loosing two nights worth of sleep in a row fixing this. needless to say, I'm quite pissed off at the money I spend on that POS software. Any idea on what the problem is and how someone would recover from this? (the worst offender was when the system lost rights to it's own page file. the machine could not be booted, even in safe mode!)