Category Archives: Windows

McAfee deleted svchost.exe

Wednesday afternoon I had at least two reports of workstations that were suddenly rebooting on their own. No networking and no taskbar were also symptoms. I thought it may be a virus, so I did a few scans with some of the well known Windows malware scanning tools, all the while thinking… why didn’t McAfee catch this? After two hours of scanning and no positives on the scans, I decided to rebuild the machine, but declared that I would begin on it the next day.

Well… turns out, McAfee was the issue. I got an email from them that read in part like this: “Our initial investigation indicates that the error can result in moderate to significant performance issues on systems running Windows XP Service Pack 3.” Moderate to significant? One person affected couldn’t get on the network, had no taskbar, and their computer was auto rebooting… That sounds more like extreme systemic failure! :-)

For verification of the issue, see the following screenshot:

zero_byte_svchost.jpg

Here are some steps I took to fix it (taken mostly from the following website: http://brianseekford.com/index.php/2010/04/21/how-to-fix-the-mcafee-svchost-crash-from-the-virus-definition-update/)

  • Boot workstation in safe mode and login as an administrative user
  • Press the following keys: CTRL-ALT-DEL.
  • Click the “File>Run” menu item, type in “cmd”, and press the “Enter” key
  • Run the command: del “C:Program FilesCommon FilesMcAfeeEngineavvscan.dat”
  • Next, we have to copy a replacement svchost.exe from the system if available. Some have found it in “c:windowssystem32dllcache” and I found it in “C:Windows$NtServicePackUninstall$” so I will go with the instructions for what I had on this particular system…
    • within the “cmd” window type the following below:
    • cd C:\Windows\$NtServicePackUninstall$”
    • copy svchost.exe c:\Windows\System32
  • Next, restart the workstation, login, and update McAfee to the latest dat file. As of this writing they have replaced the broken 5958 dat with 5959.
  • Once McAfee has been updated, I had to restarted the workstation again to get McAfee to report as being updated.

And more reading regarding the issue:

http://www.cnet.com.au/how-to-fix-your-mcafee-crippled-computer-339302608.htm

http://www.switched.com/2010/04/21/mcafee-update-sends-windows-xp-machines-into-endless-reboot/

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/10/04/21/1735211/McAfee-Kills-SVCHostexe-Sets-Off-Reboot-Loops-For-Win-XP-Win-2000


The GIMP

I really like GIMP, and use it quite frequently, even with Creative Suite 4 Design Premium (licensed legally I might add) installed on my Mac, and with other applications like Paint.NET easily available for Windows. With that said, I thought I would post a few links about it, since I have been using it for… oh I don’t know, since 2002 or 2003 I’m guessing.

Read about it:

Download it:


The network config

My network setup is going through a transitory phase as I swap parts and move things around. Here’s what I have to work with:

  • Desktops:
    • Pentium III-800 MHz with 256 MB RAM and two 300 GB PATA hard disks (currently running Apache/WebDAV as well as network backups)
    • Pentium III-850 MHz with 256 MB RAM and one 100 GB PATA hard disk (currently running a MythTV backend on the basic cable TV channels)
    • Pentium IV-2.4 GHz with 2 GB RAM and two 80 GB SATA hard disks (currently running Ubuntu 8.04, MythTV frontend, development station, etc)
    • Intel Core 2 Quad – 2.33 GHz and one 600 GB SATA hard disk (currently running Kubuntu 9.04, MythTV frontend, VirtualBox w/Windows XP, taking the place of the previous MythTV frontend and the XP install on the Compaq Presario)
  • Laptops:
    • Compaq Presario X1000 – Pentium M – 1.4 GHz with 1.5 GB RAM (this has been mainly used for presentations, wireless development, web development and our cordless Linksys/Skype phone)
    • MacBook Pro – Intel Core 2 Duo – 2.53 GHz with 4 GB RAM (this will be the successor to the Compaq laptop)

I also have some other miscellaneous parts/systems that can be used as needed. My thought was to have one MythTV backend, that will also serve as a file share, and backups. This may present some problems with the bandwidth and disk speeds on the Pentium IV box, but that remains to be seen. I am hoping the newest desktop will continue to run some form of Linux, and XP Home virtualized to provide the cordless telephone service. And then finally the two laptops, for all their mobility as well as using XBMC for additional MythTV frontends.


Windows 7 – XP Mode

So I downloaded the Windows 7 beta, but never installed it (had to keep Ubuntu and MythTV going strong). To be honest, I have heard it is fantastic… what Vista should have been, yada, yada, etc. Anyhow, I just read that some of the editions of 7 will have “XP Mode”, sort of like Apple had “Classic Environment” when they moved to OS X from OS 9. XP Mode will in fact be XP running in a virtual environment. How cool is that? Maybe business IT will be more easily persuaded to move on.

Windows 7 gets virtual ‘XP mode’

Windows 7 Release Candidate 1′s Best Surprise New Features

Google News


XP License Availability Roadmap

Here’s what Microsoft has to say about when they will stop selling various Window XP flavors: (http://www.microsoft.com/windows/lifecycle/default.mspx)

Under the Support Lifecycle policy, Windows desktop licenses are available for four years after general availability in all standard product distribution channels (e.g. direct OEM, System Builders, retail, and Volume Licensing programs via licenses or via downgrade rights). Licenses will continue to be available through downgrade rights available in Volume Licensing programs after end of general availability.

Windows XP Professional
Date of General Availability
December 31, 2001

Direct OEM and Retail License Availability (end date)
June 30, 2008

System Builder License Availability (end date)
January 31, 2009

Windows XP Tablet PC Edition
Date of General Availability
February 11, 2003

Direct OEM and Retail License Availability (end date)
June 30, 2008

System Builder License Availability (end date)
January 31, 2009

Windows XP Professional x64 Edition
Date of General Availability
April 25, 2005

Direct OEM and Retail License Availability (end date)
June 30, 2008

System Builder License Availability (end date)
January 31, 2009

Windows XP Home Edition
Date of General Availability
December 31, 2001

Direct OEM and Retail License Availability (end date)
June 30, 20083

System Builder License Availability (end date)
January 31, 2009

Windows XP Media Center Edition2
Date of General Availability
October 28, 2002

Direct OEM and Retail License Availability (end date)
June 30, 2008

System Builder License Availability (end date)
January 31, 2009

2 Includes the 2002, 2004, and 2005 editions of Windows Media Center.
3 As of April 2008, Microsoft is extending availability of Windows XP Home Edition for OEMs to install on Ultra Low-Cost PCs. The new OEM end date will be the later of either June 30, 2010, or one year after the general availability of the next version of Windows.

A few more thoughts on this (and loop holes):
How-to get Windows XP past the June 30th cutoff (or not)
How to Get Windows XP After June 30


Client to Server Backups

I have intentions to look into Bacula as a disk-to-disk backup solution, however until then I am using the following script for Kubuntu Dapper -> Debian Etch backups, and a modified one for Windows XP Home -> Debian Etch.

It all uses rsync, and requires password-less key based ssh connections. I am using rsync, OpenSSH, and for Windows XP a little Cygwin magic (including modifying this script to make it Windows friendly).

client-to-server-rsync-backup.sh

#!/bin/bash
#ver 1.0.3

BACKUPSERVERUSER=limitedUserOnServer
BACKUPSERVER=serverHostName
BACKUPCLIENT=`echo $(hostname -s) | tr '[:upper:]' '[:lower:]'`
BACKUPS=(
  #localFolder,backupDestinationParentFolder
  #/home,/media/md2/backups/clientname
  #/var/www,/media/md2/backups/clientname/var
)

if [ "$1" != "--incremental" ] && [ "$1" != "--sync" ] && [ "$1" != "--help" ]; then
  echo $0: missing operand
  echo Try '$0 --help' for more information.
elif [ "$1" = "--help" ]; then
  echo " Usage: $0 [OPTION]... [PASSTHROUGH OPTIONS]";
  echo "";
  echo "   Mandatory arguments:";
  echo "     [OPTION]";
  echo "       --incremental   add to the existing backups";
  echo "       --sync    sync the live data with the existing backup";
  echo "";
  echo "   Optional arguments:";
  echo "     [PASSTHROUGH OPTIONS]";
  echo "       Passthrough options are sent to rsync in this form from this script:";
  echo "";
  echo "       for incremental:";
  echo '         sudo rsync -avz [PASSTHROUGH OPTIONS] $SOURCE $BKUPSRVUSER@';
  echo "         $BKUPSRV:$DEST";
  echo "";
  echo "       and for sync:";
  echo '         sudo rsync -avz [PASSTHROUGH OPTIONS] --delete $SOURCE ';
  echo "         $BKUPSRVUSER@$BKUPSRV:$DEST";
  echo "";
  echo "       * This makes it easy to do something like this:";
  echo "       *   $0 --incremental "--partial --progress"";
  echo "       *";
  echo "       * Thus sending "--partial --progress" to rsync,";
  echo "       * making this script a little more interactive...";
  echo "       * read more via `man rsync'.";
else
  if [ "$1" = "--incremental" ]; then
    incremental_or_sync="";
  elif [ "$1" = "--sync" ]; then
    incremental_or_sync="--delete";
  fi

  for BACKUPS in ${BACKUPS[@]}; do
    SOURCE=`echo $BACKUPS | cut -d',' -f1`
    DESTINATION=`echo $BACKUPS | cut -d',' -f2`
    echo
    echo "# starting backup"
    echo "# from: $BACKUPCLIENT:$SOURCE"
    echo "# to: $BKUPSRV:$DEST"
    echo
    echo sudo rsync -avz $2 $inc_or_sync $SOURCE $BKUPSRVUSER@$BKUPSRV:$DEST
    sudo rsync -avz $2 $inc_or_sync $SOURCE $BKUPSRVUSER@$BKUPSRV:$DEST
    echo
  done
fi


Windows CopSSH Clear

On a default install of CopSSH 1.4.2 I noticed that you cannot run “clear” after launching “Start a Unix BASH Shell”.

Type in “cmd /c edit” to open the MS-DOS Editor and enter the following:

#!/bin/bash
cmd /c cls

Save the file as “clear” and exit the editor. Back in the shell, try running “./clear” and you should receive pleasant results.


A Currency Exchanger

I wrote a little program called Exch that simplfies currency exchange and the retrieval of up to date exchange rates.

If you are already using Firefox 1.5 extensively it integrates well as a sidebar.

More:
Other extensions I have been involved with.
Exch project on Mozdev.


Feedreader

I have set up an RSS feed for this weblog. It will only display the 2 most recent entries, and a link to the archives… For anything more advanced I would have to spend a substantial amount of time setting up a script to do it. As it is, it was pretty easy. Don’t know what RSS is? Read up on it, I think you will like it. It’s basically a way to list content from your favorite weblog/news sites and get easy access to updated information. Check out some free RSS readers… one that I use is called FeedReader. Downloading is simple (Windows… haven’t found a good Linux one yet) and you only have to copy this link (http://karlherrick.com/dev/feed/) into a new “channel” in the RSS reader… Walla… you got updated content. Other content can be found at places like Yahoo!. Just look for the little orange box that says XML or RSS and copy and paste the link into your RSS news reader.