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Trouble of the Day

  • 1. Some brands of Universal Power Supplies (eg: APC) include a data port, adapter cable, and installable software that work with a computer's USB port to automatically close your Windows and system 'properly' when a primary outage occurs that causes the UPS to switch to its internal battery backup. Typically, the UPS shutdown of the computer only occurs when the UPS's battery has been depleted to a preset low level; otherwise, the UPS bridges the gap seamlessly for shorter outages and your computer never knows there has been a power issue. Personally, I'll never again be willingly without a UPS for my systems.

    In the US, at what we call 'big box' stores, they typically cost about a third to a fourth the cost of the cheapest laptop (eg: $75 and up for the UPS); the price is in part set by the internal battery capacity of the USB, which should ideally be sized by the power load placed upon it by your system when power dies. For just a laptop and possibly a modem, that would usually be the lowest-priced model in a given product line.

    2. What I referred to by system image was a generic term whose meaning kind of depends on what you feel you need. That, in turn, depends upon what you feel you may need to recover from. As a minimum, you should be using a "system restore" kind of imaging, which Windows at XP and above does include, assuming a user hasn't disabled it somehow. That will cover many of the most common OS file corruption issues, as you've already discovered. However, it won't cover the situation where the disk's boot sector gets corrupted and the failure to startup exists because the system BIOS can't get off the ground enough to even boot into the OS 'safe boot' panel. Likewise, it won't cover cases of major hard-disk corruption that includes even some of the recovery image's files. In that case, you need a full-drive image file that includes the MBR data, saved on external media made with imaging software like Paragon, True Image, Macrium Reflect, etc. along with the appropriate bootable rescue media (CD, flash stick, etc). Some of these backup programs have free versions.

    While I use both system-restore and full-image methods, for myself I really rely most on making and keeping full-image external backups of all my computer data because there are some 'small-business' records involved that are critical to preserve those operations, as well as because I really dislike the time and effort involved in manually re-installing all my apps software and setting things up the way I like. That approach has saved me from data loss on at least 5 major-crash occasions over the last 20+ years. For a user who only uses their computer for Internet browsing and such, probably the built-in system-restore backups are sufficient if they keep the recovery image version reasonably current, and especially if they have access to OS installation media in case their drive completely crashes. Without available installation media, they're largely dead in the water if the recovery image(s) on the drive gets trashed, unless they can find somebody else's installation media to borrow, along with remembering their Windows registration number.

  • Without available installation media, they're largely dead in the water if the recovery image(s) on the drive gets trashed, unless they can find somebody else's installation media to borrow, along with remembering their Windows registration number.

    Come again?
    😕

    So you're saying, you back up the whole disk?
    What should I use, if any? And how much is it in disk space?

  • The case I was addressing was if the disk or all of the OS's on-drive backups die or are rendered unusable, you have to have a source outside of that drive from which to reinstall the operating system. That means either the original installation CDs/DVDs and the OS registration number or else a full system-grade image file made from the drive earlier and saved somewhere else must be available to the user. While some computers are sold without physical reinstall disks and instead use a special hidden partition on the drive for recovery, the problem there is that if the drive itself fails, usually the backup partition is gone as well, hence a physical copy of the OS is good to have.

    If one uses a full image backup on external media, a user still needs a way to boot the computer and to properly read the file format of that image in order to restore the image to a new or reformatted drive. Most disk imaging programs have built in mechanisms that allow you to create a bootable 'rescue' disk that will let you install that program's image files onto a drive, even if the OS on the drive is rendered unbootable... but you have to create the rescue disk before any problems occur that block access to the imaging program itself on the computer. If reinstalling from OS disks, the first disk in the set will itself be bootable and you simply go from there.

    What one needs for backup is governed by the consequences of the different kinds of possible failures of a computer and software. Eg: the businessman or a user with lots of family photos values his data perhaps more than the computer, so he needs to back that up securely and often, particularly somewhere physically removed from the computer's main drive. In their case, multiple backups are often used: smaller and more frequent ones of just the data files; larger and less frequent ones of the OS, all the apps, and the data files on the drive.

    The user who only browses the Internet has little or no irreplaceable data; everything important to him can be reinstalled from original media or web downloads, though the inconvenience might be great depending on how much there is. The one thing such a user MUST have, however, is a source and mechanism for reinstalling his OS.

    I back up everything about monthly to full-drive images kept on one of two external 2Tb hard-drives which are alternated every couple months and stored off-site. I back up critical data and various settings files daily to a second hard-drive within the system and weekly to an external flash stick stored off-site. I also employ multiple Windows restore files automatically made on my system for OS issues, just in case. The Windows folder on a system for Windows 10 will run to 18-19 Gb on many systems; obviously, the program file folders will be additional, depending on what apps have been installed. As I've noted before, data recovery is critical to me, so I use a 'belt, suspenders, and even a piece of rope' to back things up. Personally, I use a paid version of Paragon for image backups.

  • :faint:

    Tb ... Gb ...

    Terabits? Gigabits?

  • Tb is Terabits. Not to be confused with Lb (lotsa bits). 😃

  • Sorry, mixed up the threads. I mean I used to have a "Trouble" for any trouble...
    Move to Chat, please, then...
    :awww:

  • Readmitted to the hospital on the 5th, I was performed with biopsy Tuesday the 10th. Home again, awaiting for the results, to get re-re-admitted for the third time - they're going to scratch my bone in any case, good if no parts removing, yikes. The doctor says when doing the bio, it might not have been resembling the ^bad^ though; however it says in my release paper, the extension seems several centimeters so it might seem I'm up to some pain one way or another.
    He treated my arm very well, however; feeling o'k, much better now.

    I broke the arm in that very place just making an energetic move. A piece of shit of a neighbour from 2 floor had made our house a dove territory - I was upset and moved against one trying to flap IN the building.
    ER took me to the hospital, I waited, then a traumatologist somehow immobilised it with pink gypsum.

    Yep, it's cancer. So that I wouldn't be TOO happy with the pink...

  • About that Windows boot situation, it "behaves" practically every time now. Unless I boot back very soon after shut-down.

    There was a "Samsung" screen offering "Recovery". Well, I tried - did not proceed, because it said I must lose my C.
    I switched off-on a time or two - as I hoped a Windows black screen with booting options: last two times I chose "normal" - it was o'k! :dunno:

  • Mostly browsing with Firefox, I've got a couple of occurrences of this thing in these couple of days. Haven't noticed if it happened only when I use certain sites or do something special or not.

    In the Windows task bar, a task thing appears, with title "Daily News".
    Both times I got it, I tried clicking on it to see WTF was that. But nothing went up. Right-clicking to close it worked.
    The icon in this task thing was not a Firefox one, nor any other I recently used.

    What is that? A virus? Or some "recent feature" of Firefox?
    Or can it be an extension causing it?
    Should I make a screenshot next time? Should I check certain tools in order to find out what's going on before I close it?

  • If it doesn't have a Firefox icon, then it can't be an extension. Extensions do not run outside the browser.

  • ...
    In the Windows task bar, a task thing appears, with title "Daily News".
    Both times I got it, I tried clicking on it to see WTF was that. But nothing went up. Right-clicking to close it worked.
    The icon in this task thing was not a Firefox one, nor any other I recently used.
    ...

    The next time it appears, try right clicking the taskbar icon and selecting Properties, then look at the Target and Start-in boxes that appear in the pop-up. Note: in some Windows versions, you may have to right click the taskbar icon and again right click on the program's name within the taskbar pop-up to get the Properties option to appear. There may be some path information in that Target or Start-in data that gives a clue as to what is originating the taskbar icon.

  • @blackbird71
    Sorry for the delay. I was sick flat and didn't give poop about anything.
    The thing seems to be generated daily by my AV 360. I guess it's all right. Thank you, little bird;)

  • @joshl said in Trouble of the Day:

    ...
    The thing seems to be generated daily by my AV 360. I guess it's all right. ...

    I'm glad you're back! Hopefully, you're feeling better at last.

    Is your identification of 360 as the source of the 'daily news' pop-up based on right-clicking the taskbar icon's Properties? The "target" entry should show you the path to the originating file and what folder it's coming from.

  • @blackbird71 said in Trouble of the Day:

    @joshl said in Trouble of the Day:

    ...
    The thing seems to be generated daily by my AV 360. I guess it's all right. ...

    Is your identification of 360 as the source of the 'daily news' pop-up based on right-clicking the taskbar icon's Properties? The "target" entry should show you the path to the originating file and what folder it's coming from.

    No:) It says "360" etc. in the title bar:lol:

  • @joshl said in Trouble of the Day:

    No:) It says "360" etc. in the title bar:lol:

    Ahh... OK. I don't use 360, so I wasn't aware if they did a 'daily news' thing. However, many AVs indeed do put up an occasional message pop-up with either virus news or weekly/monthly track record of attacks upon the system, so it may simply be in that class of message. Depending on the AV, sometimes a user can suppress such messages if desired, but not all AVs that perform the messaging give a user that option.

  • @blackbird71 The thing doesn't seem very aggressive, however it offers an upgrade to be able to lose ads etc. But it does not appear that annoying as some, so I gratefully decline:)

  • Free AV software will display stuff asking you to upgrade - Avira does that also.

  • Hi there!
    Yesterday several files of mine here wouldn't open. They show in the folder, no different icon (video), they show their file size and file name, and last edit; but they have appeared to lack their Properties - you know, file's "metadata" on right click and then some. When I tried to have them open - as usual - the player opens then says "file not found".
    The files in question had recently been moved into a new folder in a larger folder having been itself moved from Disk C to Disk D.
    Also I regularly clean junk with my AV's clean-up plugin with no problem so far, and I had just done defragmentation on Disk C - after moving the larger folder to D.
    Well, refreshing the folder with the files didn't make any difference, haven't tried rebooting the computer yet.
    In that folder, like many files were like that, while some others looked fine and played fine. Forgot to mention: tried deleting such a file - the system says "error" and doesn't it seems.
    I tried to figure out what action(s) of mine could trigger such a thing, but couldn't find any pattern: some files had been moved one way, some others another way, perhaps even there are some with a third way. Like moving with the mouse, or using the folder menu on the left...
    File system shouldn't differentiate of those, right?
    Why "not found" when the files shown and their sizes shown? Some fragments missing? How? Defragmentation? Cleanup? Moving error?

  • @joshl The way a file system works is that the files themselves are stored on a storage drive (hard disk, flash, SSD, etc), but the primary metadata regarding them is created and stored in a special area of the file system itself and acts as an index to the files on the storage medium. Windows file explorer contains functionality to view the metadata in the file system index when you right-click a file name and select "Properties". When an app or user tries to open a file, the system uses the file system's indexed metadata for the file name to retrieve it into RAM from the correct storage location. If the metadata in the file system index becomes corrupted or parts of it get deleted, the file system may become unable to determine and connect to the file in its actual storage starting location, though the index may still contain some readable metadata regarding certain of the file's details. A variety of things can corrupt the file system index: a failing drive, a crashed or interrupted file copy/move operation, corrupted file defragmentation, a malware attack, an erratic drive controller, and so on.

    An analogy is that the metadata file index is like a book's topical index. If the book's page index has become corrupted or had some information deleted, you can't use it to locate the pages where certain sought information is still located. The affected files (or perhaps parts of them) are likely still in existence on either the original or the secondary drive, but the system index has lost track of them.

    There are disk recovery tools that can sometimes scan through a storage drive and reassemble missing/broken files from their scattered and unindexed pieces, but the results will sometimes be incomplete or spotty if the disk has sustained a lot of write activity from usage or from defragmentation after the index corruption occurred. Depending on the nature of the original failure, the drive sectors may be marked as 'available' and get over-written and incorporated into unrelated files.

    In any case, you face two issues: determining what caused the failures in the first place (since if it's failing hardware, it will only get worse), and trying to recover the affected files (if necessary). From your original description, it seems quite possible that the original attempt to copy the files into a new drive/folder may have been incomplete/defective and corrupted the metadata for those files.

  • @blackbird71 said in Trouble of the Day:

    From your original description, it seems quite possible that the original attempt to copy the files into a new drive/folder may have been incomplete/defective and corrupted the metadata for those files.

    Then how to proceed in this case?
    If it's an occasion corruption of these few files, like due to your said copy error, the problem is to either recover the files or delete them.
    If it's possible to recover them, what would the method be? Well, only if it gives a good chance with minimal side effects, because I'd rather clear the mess altogether by deleting them.

    So, what would cause this copy error? Some system/hardware malfunction?
    Will it get worse? Can I deal with it?