Saturday, November 02, 2013

New Software Updates + VMware Tools Update fix

The Valca household has survived last week’s torrential rain event. Unfortunately both our vehicles took a hit.

No…no cars were flooded due to poor driving decisions…they stayed high-and-dry…but they did suffer some incidental damage.

My beloved Saturn Ion apparently had material in the catalytic converter come loose and cause a blockage in the exhaust system.  That led to a significant power-loss -- I was only able to nurse it up to 55-60 MPH on the freeway. That’s a life-threatening highway speed here in Texas. I found a new local repair shop that was able to diagnose it (and +1 point for my dad who also guessed that would be the issue). So it awaits a new cat-converter install…and for good measure I’m having the front struts replaced as well as they are OEM and the front suspension is all clunky over road bumps and RR tracks. With almost 200,000 miles on it, I guess it is time.

Meanwhile, I got in Lavie’s car yesterday to borrow it while mine is in the shop. She doesn’t drive it much. It is a 2001 Nissan Altima with barely 43,000 miles on it. All was well until I went to unplug and toss her cell-phone charger on the passenger side foot-well floorboard…and found it full with 1.5” of standing water. Gasp!  Luckily I hadn’t put the car in reverse yet to slosh it out. Bother.  After some extensive wet/dry vac work it was only damp and between a few sunny dry days and some well placed Damp Rid containers I think we will be good. The windshield has some cracks in it that might cause it to not pass this month’s due vehicle safety inspection so the decision was made to schedule a windscreen replacement…which will result in all new weather seals.  The rest of the car was bone-dry so I really don’t think it was a seal that failed. My guess is the torrential rains (appx 3.5 inches in 24 hours) cascading down the windshield may have poured into the fresh-air intake vent under the hood which ran down into the passenger side foot well.  Not sure why it was just that side and not the driver’s as well. Thoughts?

So with one car finishing the air-out process and the other in the shop, it has been a bit stressful. Fortunately family and friends and Boss have been supportive and encouraging…and our older but beloved (and paid for) vehicles will continue to drive on a while longer.

Anyway…enough boring personal stuff…here is small collection of updated software you might want to check out as well as a fix for an aggravating VMware Player problem I ran into this morning after updating the main VMware Player application.

VMware Player Plus - Now updated to version 6.0.1. Note that VMware Player Plus is the $ version for commercial license usage. The free for personal use VMware Player is still around, but you just have to confirm that option during the setup. I prefer to use this VM software platform for my Windows guest clients and VirtualBox for my Linux-based ones.

One curious thing about this most recent version that I hadn’t encountered until now.

I had just upgraded to this latest VMware Player (host) software on Windows 7 and then launched an XP client so I could update the VMware Tools as well.

Strangely the Windows XP guest I started up reported it was stuck downloading the tools. On boot up of the VM guest, it offered me the upgrade tools option at the bottom of the window, and when I selected that action button, it popped a dialog window that said "VMware Tools installation cannot be started until the current download finishes." If I go to the VMware host’s menu, it says "Downloading VMware Tools" where it should say Upgrade/Reinstall VMware Tools.

I took matters into my own hands and was able to map the virtual CD ROM in my virtual XP client to the VMWare Tools ISO file for Windows at "C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Player\windows.iso" figuring that it was the latest version and came down for the ride when I updated the host client software.

Once "mounted" it auto-started the VMWare Tools setup wizard in the XP guest session which I ran though and installed with no issues. A reboot and it was current in the XP VM.

However....on reboot VMware Player host software still was reporting the upgrade tools option at the bottom of the window, and when I selected that again, it said "VMware Tools installation cannot be started until the current download finishes."

Here's how I cleared it in VMWare Player (based on this forum thread I found and solution offered by John Swanagon).

    • Launch VMware Player.
    • Click "Player"
    • Click "File"
    • Click “Player Preferences”.
    • Under "Software updates” section.
    • Click “Connection Settings”.
    • In the “Connection Settings” window, change the proxy from “No proxy” to “Windows proxy settings”.
    • Click OK.
    • Click OK.
    • Open Internet Explorer. (note these IE steps may vary based on your IE version)
    • Click "Tools" then select “Internet Options”.
    • Click the “Connections” tab.
    • Click the “LAN settings” button.
    • Confirm/Select the “Automatically detect settings” option.
    • Click “OK”.
    • Click “OK”.
    • Close Internet Explorer.
    • Exit VMware Player.
    • Run VMware Player as an Administrator.
    • Click "Player"
    • Click "File"
    • Click “Player Preferences”.
    • Under "Software updates” section.
    • Click “Edit” -> “Preferences”.
    • Click “Download All Components Now”.

Additional components for other guest OS systems downloaded and when done, and VMware player re-launched, the message at the bottom of the screen finally was cleared!

Updates: PsExec v2.0, RAMMap v1.3, Sigcheck v2.0  - Sysinternals Site Discussion Blog

Updates: RAMMap v1.32, Sigcheck v2.01 - Sysinternals Site Discussion Blog

New Utility - QuickHash - Foolish IT LLC

OSFMount - updated 10-22-13 - version 1.5.1014.

  • Fixed issue with detecting partitions for ImageUSB images
  • Windows dynamic disks are now supported
  • Fixed issue with mounting via OSFMount command line with "-o rw" option
  • Fixed issue with mounting multiple partitions in an image file as writable due to file sharing permissions
  • Fixed issue with mounting multiple partitions in an image file from command line
  • Drive letters 'A' and 'B' can now be used
  • Propagated changes from Imdisk v1.7.5 including some key fixes:
    • Disks with "lost" drive letters can now be removed
    • Notifications hanging on drive creation and removal

I personally prefer to use Olof Lagerkvist’s ImDisk Virtual Disk Driver, also recently updated on 10-25-13 to build version 1.7.6.

Why do I mention that? well the OSFMount utility is based on Olof’s ImDisk software. That’s all. - newsfox: installation - My favorite Firefox RSS reader is updated to  Release notes

Speaking of Mozilla, Firefox was updated to version 25.0 and Thunderbird was updated to 24.1.0

Also, I’ve gone to a 3-monitor setup at home with my laptop. My desk is quite full!

I’m running my primary display from the attached Dell Studio 15 HD laptop display. It is super-sharp and has great resolution.

My secondary display is one of a pair of older Samsung SyncMaster 930B-A displays I got a long time ago as a gift from my brother. Maximum resolution is just 1280x1024 so it looks a bit under-scaled with the other displays but it seems to work great for text which is fine when I am pounding out blog posts. No OEM Win7 x64 bit hardware drivers exist for it either so it’s running the standard Microsoft PnP display driver just fine. The 4:3 ratio (the others are wide-screen format) also makes composing text documents more comfortable.

Since (like most Dell laptops) the laptop can only drive a maximum of two display outputs natively, I’m running this display with a StarTech USB 3.0 to DVI Adapter. I didn’t have any issues getting the drivers installed and the system up and running. It’s a must-have hardware accessory if you are running multiple monitors with a laptop and can’t toss in another hardware card internally.

My third display is a HP Pavilion 22bw 21.5-inch Diagonal IPS LED Backlit Monitor(C4D29AA) that I picked up some time ago on sale at a big-box outlet. Not a lot to say. It is HD and I am running it off the HDMI port on my laptop. Overall it is decent, but I am disappointed in the text-clarity of the display. Watching a video on it is fine, but for extended text-composition on it, it just isn’t as clear as I would prefer.

In good news, under Windows 7 (at least) you can set the ClearType text on a per-monitor basis!


That has helped a bit but the text still doesn’t compare with my primary laptop display.


Claus Valca.

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