More aspnet_regiis Goodness – this time on Vista

Some time ago I published a blog describing the use of a command line tool called aspnet_regiis.exe to overcome a “Server Application Unavailable” message when I was trying to get ASP.NET working on IIS 6 on Windows XP.

Just now I’ve used the same tool to fix a similar (I think) problem on IIS7 on Vista. I was trying to get some practice with ASP.NET. I’ve already got IIS7 and I’ve already got the .NET Framework 2.0 installed. However it seemed, again, that IIS wasn’t aware of the Framework’s existence. When I tried to browse to a simple Hello World page I was greeted with an HTTP 404 (404.3 to be precise) informing me that:

“The page you are requesting cannot be served because of the extension configuration. If the p age is a script, add a handler. If the file should be downloaded, add a MIME map.”

Despite the different error messages it appeared to be a similar problem. Apparently it was. That wonderful little solution again:

  1. Start -> Cmd
  2. Navigate to your .NET Framework directory (e.g. C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727)
  3. Run the command “aspnet_regiis.exe -i”
  4. Wait…

Solved: Blog XMLRPC 403 Error

I was getting the above error message when I recently tried to set up and try out Windows Live Writer to let me publish to a blog from my desktop without logging into the Admin section of the site. I was felled at the first hurdle when, after entering my b2evolution blog’s details, I was presented with a message informing me that:

The server reported an error with the following URL:

http://www.blog-domain.com/b2evo-path/xmlsrv/xmlrpc.php

403 Forbidden

Thinking it might be a problem with b2evolution, I tried with a WordPress blog. A different message appeared, both on this blog and another:

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Microsoft Want to Own You

Installing Microsoft’s Virtual Earth 3D plugin for Firefox (yes, they wrote something that works in Firefox) I was reminded of one more reason why I hate Microsoft.

You’d think with all the anti-competitive suits being filed against them they’d get over this, but apparently not.

Have a look at what’s presented to you when you install the Microsoft Virtual Earth 3D plugin.
Microsoft Want to Own Your PC

Yes, that’s right, when you install Virtual Earth 3D, Microsoft try to take over your home page and default search engine: two completely unrelated services. If they must give us the option then fine, but they have the boxes ticked by default and that is where I believe they cross the line from opportunistic cross-selling to scummy, underhanded manipulation. Not that it’s a big surprise, they do the same thing with their Windows Live Messenger product. This is an even more blatant example of what they’re trying to do here, which is using their strength (and in the case of Messenger, dominance) in one market to try and dominate in another.

If it takes another legal case to sort this out then it should be done, but Microsoft should be fined and forced to pay legal costs. The previous controversy over their bundling of Media Player in Windows obviously hasn’t taught them anything.

ACT – SessionID and Login Problems With ASP .NET 2.0

I recently encountered a problem with Microsoft’s ACT (part of Visual Studio 2003) when testing a web service by emulating a browser-based client. For posterity’s sake, here’s an overview of the problem and, more importantly, the solution.

Background
Using Application Center Test (ACT) to help automate performance testing designed to compare the performance of a web service running on ASP .NET 1.1 with ASP .NET 2.0.

Problem
Originally .NET 2.0 seemed to be performing many times better than .NET 1.1, but it was soon discovered that when running .NET 2.0, ATC was receiving a lot of 302 errors on 2.0 which it wasn’t on 1.0. On further investigation the Web Service wasn’t actually making all the correct database calls and on installing HTTP Monitor, it became apparent that the login wasn’t working. When I recorded the test using Internet Explorer 7, the HTTP requests worked as expected, however when ATC repeated them it was not returning the ASP.NET_SessionID.

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Vista Seems to Suck at DVD Reading

Tonight I was attempting to rip a DVD to an AVI-XviD file thinking it would be easy – unfortunately not. It’s not a copy-protected DVD or anything, just a plain old DVD-R.

First I tried VirtualDub MPEG or whatever it’s called. It seemed to be either taking ages or not responding so I gave up and ended it. Next I downloaded DVDx and tried to use it to rip the files from the DVD. Still painstakingly slow (to the point I wasn’t sure it was still doing anything) and eventually gave up with a message about a CRC error. So, I decided to copy the VOB files (actually the whole TS_VIDEO directory) to hard drive and work from there.

It was then I realised the problem wasn’t with the aforementioned programs but with Vista itself. There were two 1 GB VOB files and the first of these refused to be copied. Vista was throwing up an error which advised me it “Cannot read from the source file or disk”. Bugger. Thinking it might be a problem with either Vista or the DVD drive I tried it in my trusty laptop (still running Windows XP Pro). It worked!

So how do I know Vista’s the problem? Well I tried to copy the file over my network back to the Vista PC and got a similar looking error dialogue, this time saying “Network Error: There is a problem accessing \\laptop\directory. Make sure you are connected to the network and try again.”

By this stage I gave up and just downloaded DVDx to my laptop, which I was able to use to copy the video to an Xvid AVI file.  Nice work Micro$oft.  Now all I have to do is successfully convert it to NTSC format and I’m flying – unfortunately that’s as much fun as pulling teeth, and much more painful.

Stop Monitor.exe Hogging CPU

I recently noticed that my CPU fan on my Acer Aspire 5002 WLMi notebook was running at full speed much more than it normally should and the system itself was running more slowly than usual. When I opened task manager I was finding a process called Monitor.exe was hogging anything up to 99% of the CPU. I terminated the process and that solved everything – usually until I rebooted.

But what to stop this happening again?

It turns out that monitor.exe was related to Acer eRecovery – a tool that helps recover your laptop from a major crash. However after a bit of googling I found out that it needs the D: partition that comes with the laptop (apparently it needs to be in FAT32 as well, but I don’t think this is true because mine had been NTFS for months and I hadn’t noticed any problems).

The problem seemingly arises because I recently reformatted the D partition into a few ext3 and other partitions for installing Linux (Ubuntu to be precise). Since Windows can’t read Linux filesystems, eRecovery can no longer find the D: partition which it, for some reason, seems to need.

Simple solution? Well I disabled Monitor.exe using Start -> Run -> msconfig and disabling Monitor.exe, which was listed at the bottom of the list under the Startup tab.

nerd. links – Make Thunderbird Quote Headers in Replies

Inspired by Tech Chick (aka Gabrielle Atticus), I’ve decided to start listing some interesting if well-hidden sites on the internet so this will be the first in a series of nerd. links.

This one resolves a long-standing issue with Mozilla’s Thunderbird email client, ie the way it forwards messages.  Whereas Outlook, Outlook Express etc. forward some headers (to, from, subject, date etc) all you ever get in Thunderbird is “Sendername said:”.  It’s pretty pathetic really, especially the fact that there’s no date.

Luckily someone has made an add-on with the descriptive but not exactly ‘roll-off-the-tongue’ name “Change quote and reply format” to fix this problem. Now the quote header is much more useful:

—- Original message —–
From: sender@provider.com
To: recipient@provider.com
Subject: something
Date: 01/01/2005

Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be listed at Mozilla’s plugin site, so I only stumbled on it after googling a bit and reading a few forum pages.  The home page (linked above) isn’t very well designed, but there’s a more user-friendly description of the plugin at The Extensions Mirror.

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Vista Update

Following my earlier rant about the trial that is installing Vista with a Netgear wireless card, I thought I’d offer an update on that story.

Firstly, my new Linksys (WMP54G v4.1) wireless card is working fine. Thanks Amazon.

Secondly, I updated the Windows Experience Index score just now. Still the same graphics card in the machine, so I don’t know how but suddenly my desktop graphics rating jumped from showing 2.1 to 4.1, pretty sweet! On viewing the details I also noticed that the graphics card apparently has 334MB of system memory available on top of the 256MB of dedicated RAM. I don’t know if this was the case before or not so can’t say if that influenced the change in score.

Anyway, this brings my overall Windows Experience Index up from 2.1 to 3.0, now based on the Gaming Graphics score (WEI bases your overall experience rating on the lowest score it finds). My system now looks like:

Processor (AMD Athlon 2800+): 3.4
RAM (1.5GB @ 266MHz): 3.7
Graphics (256MB eForce 6200): 4.1
Gaming Graphics: 3.0
Primary Hard Disk (Seagate 120GB 7200rpm): 4.4

Now if anyone can tell me of a Protowall/PeerGuardian substitute that works with Vista I’ll be sorted.

Server application unavailable: installing IIS on .NET 2.0

I feel so dirty, but for a project I’m working on at the moment I have to use ASP.NET instead of PHP; “why?” is a question for another day. Anyway, I’ve installed IIS before so that wasn’t a big problem… or so I thought.

I already had the .NET 2.0 framework on my XP machine so went straight to installing IIS (5.1 comes with XP Pro). It installed easily enough and my hello world html file was served without any major problems (actually that’s not true, before I copied my own files across I tried to check the IIS default pages served ok only to discover, through more googling, that if I used IE instead of Firefox that annoying box asking me for a password would go away).

Now my ASP.NET issue. I got a Server application unavailable error message in big red letters when I tried to run any .aspx (ASP.NET) scripts and couldn’ t figure ou t for the life of me why. The Event Viewer, where IIS errors are logged, gave little more by way of help: Failed to initialize the AppDomain:/LM/W3SVC/1/ROOT

Err… What?! I worked out that it wasn’t affecting html pages, just ASP ones – and only .aspx ones at that, suggesting it was .NET-related.

As it turns out the problem was that I had installed .NET before IIS. It’s easy enough to fix, but it took 20 solid minutes of googling to find the solution in a Microsoft community newsgroup (and then realise that I’d have found it already if I’d just read to the bottom of a 4 year old forum post I’d already found).

Anyway, what you need to do if you’re getting this “Server application unavailable” message is navigate to your .NET directory (something like C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727) in a command prompt and run the command aspnet_regiis.exe -i which will register ASP.NET with IIS. If that still doesn’t work, there’s always PHP.net 😉

Going x64 on an Acer Aspire 5003 wlmi

Back in October/November time I got myself a new laptop for university and general showyness. I didn’t want to spend too much money and, following a recommendation from a friend, decided to check out LaptopsDirect.co.uk. Soon enough I’d plumped for the Acer Aspire 5003 wlmi – a 64-bit AMD-based laptop with 512MB of RAM. Having taken note of the 64-bit Turion mobile processor, I initially found it highly strange that the laptop shipped with a 32-bit version of Windows XP Home, rendering the 64-bit processor about as much use as a chocolate teapot (OK, as much use as a 32-bit processor anyway). Then again, this is the same machine which for some reason has a hard drive partitioned into two 40GB volumes, both formatted using the FAT32 file system. Honest to God.

I realise there are issues with drivers with x64 machines and put the perplexing decision to ship 32-bit Windows down to that, however after a lot of hunting a thread Planet AMD64 provided links to x64 drivers for both Acer’s Ferarri 4000 range and their Aspire 5020, which seem to work for the 5000 series too. Maybe it was just laziness.

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