Archive for August, 2009

Solved: Error 0x800704dd running Windows Update

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

Frequently referenced as error 80240020. The fix depends on what version of Windows you use. Microsoft happily document each solution on its knowledgebase page here:

I wouldn’t bother blogging this, but the fix for Windows 2000, XP and 2003 involves adding a registry key that’s gone missing. Something happens to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\Notify\SensLogn, namely that it disappears. Not sure what’s causing it, but I’ve seen it on two PCs at work in the last week, and I quickly tired of re-typing the key information (there’s 14 different fields to fill in…).

Here for your (and my!) quick reference is SensLogn.reg. Right-click, save to anywhere, and merge with your registry on 2000, XP or 2003 to fix error 800704dd.

Solved: Blinking cursor, no boot on Toshiba Tecra M2

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

Here’s a weird one. Today it was a Tecra M2; I suspect it’d apply to a number of models, and in fact a number of different brands too.

This laptop had stopped booting off its hard drive. All it would do – after running through its boot device priority list including CD/FD/network boot – would sit there doing nothing but blinking a text cursor at me from the top left corner of the screen. No error message, nothing to indicate any kind of progress or failure, it’d just get to the point where it should be booting off the hard drive and did nothing.

We tested the RAM – no faults. We chkdsk /r’d the drive – no faults. We ran a different surface scan tool, no faults. I pulled the drive out and checked it on another machine – every file present and accounted for. There was nothing visibly wrong with the thing.

Google results were mostly unhelpful. Apparently you get this if you flash a Toshiba laptop with the wrong restore image. Plenty of people were directed to change the drive, or reinstall Windows, or a million other things that wouldn’t end up helping.

The actual problem is that certain laptops can’t boot off a partition that’s above a certain size. Older laptops won’t see drives above a certain size – Dell Inspiron 6000s came with a 100gb drive for a good reason – but if you have a boot partition above about 128gb, some Toshibas will silently fail to boot at all.

The clue came from this Tomshardware thread, where a guy with a Dell came in on a Toshiba discussion with the ultimate solution. I resized the partition from 160gb (the size of the drive) to 120gb (a size suitably under the 137gb that guy suggests – I initially tried ~135gb but that made no difference), put the drive back in the laptop, and voila. The XP boot logo never looked so sweet.

Worked for his Inspiron 9300, worked for my Tecra M2. Grab a copy of Partition Magic from somewhere and give it a go, you might be surprised.

Found: source of fear of robots

Sunday, August 2nd, 2009

I was drafting a bit of a rant when I got distracted by Once Upon A Win and relived numerous parts of my childhood instead. I also found the following video, which I’ve been looking for on and off for the better part of ten years.

It’s the bit at 58 seconds that always creeped me out the most. In contrast, I loved the utterly un-human robot that plays the piano.