Windows Search Hang

I recently found my Windows Search functionality just stopped dead in its tracks. I’m still investigating the exact cause of this (haven’t ruled out malware just yet) but it would appear this is a problem with the Windows Search registry entries.

Opening Windows Search, clicking “Search now” and the explorer process hangs / freezes.

Fix: (queue eyebrow-raising solution)
If you download ProcMon and filter for explorer.exe, you’ll see it is trying to open the same file again and again. For me, this was a zip file containing icons for a web project I’m working on.

To make the search feature work again, rename the file it is getting stuck on and restart explorer. You should find everything is operational.

If anything is unclear and you think this problem might be affecting you, leave a comment and I’ll have a look.

Emulating *nix Shell with Windows Command Prompt

Ever tried to ls or rm under Windows?

With just a few minor adjustments the Windows Command Prompt (cmd.exe) can emulate the behaviour of your favourite *nix shell. Please note, this isn’t a full emulation method – the existing Windows commands are being manipulated to appear as their *nix shell counterparts.

Note: This is for systems where unauthorized software is not permitted. If you administrate your own system, I highly recommend checking the GnuWin32, in particular the CoreUtils package.
Continue reading Emulating *nix Shell with Windows Command Prompt

Beware XAMPP meddling with your Environment Variables!

I decided to grab a copy of the official release of PHP 5.3.0 for XAMPP and try it out (replacing my hacked version in an effort to resolve some database compatibility issues).

Unfortunately, this proved to be a BIG MISTAKE!

Moments after installing the software, all my new shell windows reported that mkdir, doskey, ipconfig and even HELP are ‘unrecognized’ – so began my hour-long search for a resolution to the amnesia that had suddenly afflicted the command-line.

The problem turned out to be two-fold:

  1. It would seem the installation script (setup_xampp.bat) or shell script (xampp_shell.bat) had a misunderstanding with some of my custom command-line settings. In fact, it decided my PATH environment variable wasn’t up to scratch… so it erased it! This meant that the command-line had no idea where to look for system apps. and as result shut-down a large portion of my system utilities.
  2. In addition to the above, the script added to my default shell script (HKEY_USERS…SoftwareMicrosoftCommand ProcessorAutoRun) a small ‘set PATH=’ command that each time it was run added the XAMPP directory to PATH and then deformed it with an increasingly long string of semi-colons.

Needless to say, I’m somewhat annoyed that there is no visible warning during installation that it could potentially FUBAR your environment variables. I hope this provides some insight for people who might be experiencing a similar problem.

Installing PHP 5.3.0rc2 for XAMPP (Windows)

Having been unable to find a definitive guide to upgrading the XAMPP PHP version to PHP 5.3.0rc2, I decided to improvise on a guide for installing the PHP 5.3 alpha.

My guide will describe how to upgrade the current XAMPP PHP version to the second release candidate of version 5.3. It is expected that this method will also work for the third release candidate when it is released later this month.
Continue reading Installing PHP 5.3.0rc2 for XAMPP (Windows)

Dissertation time! (fun with LaTeX)

UPDATE: Improved the batch file significantly. Enjoy!

I’m moving into exam / dissertation territory now. My updates probably won’t be too frequent until they’re finished in May. Recently I’ve started using LaTeX (or to be more exact, MiKTeX, since I’m a Windows user) and have found it to be most useful as a complete replacement for writing scientific reports using Word.

To simplify the process of compiling a pdf using the MiKTeX package, I’ve written a small batch file that links together all the preparatory processes with ps2pdf. Just download it and then drag and drop the .tex file onto it to get started!

Download make.bat here.

(NOTE – I haven’t tested it extensively, so it may not work as expected – make backups!)


Belated New Year Greetings!

After an incredibly busy Christmas period and New Year, I’ve finally found a spare moment. This is a quick heads up on plans for the the coming year:

  • Fyrwerks is still in development. Roll on PHP 5.3!
    After a dozen iterations, I couldn’t settle on a workflow model that met my expectations. In answer to this, I’ve decided to redesign the Fyrwerks concept to match up with the changes we can expect to see in PHP 5.3 – most notably with the addition of Namespace Support.
  • Web 2.0 Projects
    I’ve had quite a few ideas brewing for some time – plan is to unleash them later this year and get some community development going.
  • New Tools & Services
    Do what they say on the tin! Interested in managing your online resources and traffic? I might have a few toys to keep you ahead of the game … stay tuned!

… and last but not least …
Greetings to all my subscribers and best wishes for 2009 🙂


REVEALED: A next metal gear is …

EDIT: Damn you iPhone! 🙂

A next metal gear is ...

I’m experiencing an ‘outside the box’ moment. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Kojima intends this image to be shuffled around a bit.

Another possibility: interpret this equation literally

i + ! = (!)
i (as in ‘I, Hideo Kojima’) + NOT (! is a logic symbol) = In Power

Perhaps this is a sign that Hideo is handing over the reigns to someone else? (boo hiss!) In any case, I’m looking forward to seeing the outcome of this interesting teaser!

ADD: Try putting the ‘power sign’ on the top and use the cross as the body. Looks a tiny bit like the cyborg ninja, no?

Repairing broken USB partition tables

While trying to use my 16GB USB flash drive as a raw-disk for VMware, I managed to corrupt the partition table. This rendered the drive useless for data storage. As none of the information contained on the drive was useful, it seemed that the best solution was a straightforward partition table wipe and rebuild. This can be difficult on Windows as Control Panel->Administrative Tools->Disk Management does not allow the deletion of the primary partition.

Many Googl’d solutions involved rebooting with one repair/installation disk or another, however I’ve found a quicker way…
Continue reading Repairing broken USB partition tables

Fyrwerks Update

This project is still very much in early development. Many alterations and additions have been integrated into the final plans; accommodating these will push back a release until early 2009.

More information will be provided once I’ve modified the framework core to adopt some of the most important changes. The Fyrwerks development site will be uploaded when I get around to finishing it (I am hoping to use the first developmental release to power it!).