Thursday, November 29, 2007

M2N-E MediaShield RAID Problem

I was experiencing an interesting nerve break down while working on this project. It is about the same machine I mentioned in my earlier post. The motherboard is ASUS M2N-E with a nForce 570 Ultra chipset I consider it a very nice mobo.

So about the issue. I've tried to connect four hard disks of 1TB capacity each into RAID0 (stripping) mode, but every time I try to create an array more than 2TB(more than two hard disks) the nVidia's MediaShield Tool shows only 1.65TB. I've tried searching the Asus website about this (which is quite slow and can be a real pain in the @$$) and found out the following:


My M/B cannot detect the total volume of my HDDs correctly when I use Raid over 2TB volume, why?


Due to the limitation of all the chipsets of Raid controllers, currently volume over 2TB will not be recognized correctly.

After reading such an answer more "why's" and "how's" started popping into my mind, and so I decided to write to the support staff to which he replied to me with a pdf file attached. The file contained some letter from seagate explaining that the limitation of 2TB is due to the drivers in the RAID controllers and never really contained the answer I was looking for.

So I've finally given up the idea of connecting the four 1TB into one big RAID monster, and decided to go for two arrays made up of two hard disks. But as soon as I created the arrays windows just won't see them. I had windows xp installed on an 80Gb Excelstor which was connected on one of the sata ports. So again I banged my head against the wall all night and couldn't get this right. Then suddenly I've tried to clone the 80Gb Excelstor to another 80Gb Excelstor on Parallel ATA. And here was the turning point. I accidentally booted from the 80Gb Excelstor on PATA and bam there were the two raid arrays I've previously created. I don't know why was this, but I surely changed my mind about PATA disks one more time.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

It Is Now Safe to Turn Off Your Computer

I had an order from a customer for a nice home server, within a reasonable price range. So since I had already sold too many M2N and M2N-X motherboards, I have decided to put my trust into their bigger brother M2N-E, and I wasn't wrong of course. The specifications of the pc I've built are:

MB: Asus M2N-E nForce 570 Ultra chipset
CPU: AMD Athlon64 4000+ Dual Core
RAM: 1Gb Apacer DDR2 800MHz
HDD: 4 x Western Digital 1Tb and one ExcelStor 80Gb for the OS
OPT: Pioneer DVD-RW DVR-212 (One of the best sata dvd-rw in its class)
VGA: 6600 nVidia 128Mb
PSU: Cooler Master 850Watt Real Power

and a lot of coolers :)

So what amazed me was that when I turned off the computer in windows xp it won't shut down directly. Instead the very old and famous screen with the message: "It is now safe to turn off your computer" would appear. So the solution to this was to enable the APMS. You can do this like this:

Click Start -> Control Panel -> Performance and Maintenance -> Power Options Tab -> Select APM -> Enable Advanced Power Management Support

Friday, November 23, 2007

Excelstor's bad support driving me nuts!

I had a customer complaining about a hard disk which stopped worked all of a sudden. He had high confidential financial data and didn't want to send it for a replacement. I've tried repairing the hard disk, but it just had too much bad sectors and it barely worked. So I've decided to have a little chat with Excelstor's online support. Now I've had many different situations and have chatted with so many support guys, but this one was the worst. Actually there was no support guy at all. I've tried writing my question, but the submit form kept refreshing every 30 seconds and my question kept getting deleted. Yeah very frustrating moment for me, thats why I decided to share it with you. Anyway if you have an issue with excelstor, and decide to consult them, just forget their support, its useless, especially online.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

HP Compaq 6720s Windows XP Drivers Download

Company: HP (HP?!)
Product: Compaq 6720s C530N


Processor: Intel Celeron Processor 530 (1.73-GHz, 533-MHz FSB, 1-MB L2 cache) System Memory: 1024-MB 667-MHz DDR2 SDRAM (1 DIMM)
Memory: operates at a maximum of 533-MHz with Celeron processor
Hard Drive: 120-GB 5400 rpm SATA HDD
Display: 15.4-inch diagonal WXGA BrightView (1280 x 800 resolution)
Graphics: Mobile Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100, up to 384-MB shared system memory
Audio: ADI1981HD High Definition CODEC
Integrated mono speaker
Stereo headphone/line out; Stereo microphone in
Communications: Intel Fast Ethernet Integrated Controller (10/100 NIC)
56K V.92 modem Integrated Wireless Broadcom 4311AG 802.11a/b/g WiFi Adapter Pointing Device: Touchpad with scroll zone, two pick buttons
Optical Drive: DVD/CD-RW Combo Drive
Battery: 6-cell (47 WHr) Lithium-Ion
Power: External 65-watt AC adapter
Warranty: 1 Year Limited Warranty

No drivers for Windows XP, 'Vista Recommended bla bla' and still we are talking about a Celeron here..

First you have to install the hotfix for Windows XP in order for your audio and modem to get recognized by your system and then install the drivers.

Hydrogen Audio Forum Post with download link for MS Hotfix KB888111.exe

Audio Driver ADI1981HD High Definition Soundmax

Download Graphic card & Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator Driver Ver. 14.33.1

Download Modem Driver

To install the LAN driver you have to unrar the intel.rar file, then go to device manager, right click on the "Ethernet Controller" -> Update Driver and then search for the folder where you have unrared intel.rar

Download LAN Driver Intel

NOTICE: In order for your lan to work under XP, you have to flash your bios. Please note that this is a dangerous procedure, as it may damage your notebook if unexpected power break down occurs. There is a tool, provided by HP which flashes your bios automatically, the process is pretty straight forward. While you run the tool, your notebook MUST be connected to your Power Supply Ac Adapter, and you MUST close all of your programs. It takes a while, so don't do anything while it lasts, just be patient. Here is the link where you can download the BIOS flash utility:

Download HP Bios Flash Utility

Download Wifi Driver Broadcom 4311AG 802.11abg

Well that would be it. Enjoy your notebook like you should, with Windows XP! :)

UPDATE: I've heard complaints that some of the links are down. Here is a link with all of the drivers packed in one rar file. HP Compaq 6720s XP Drivers - All

Friday, July 20, 2007

How to unlock your locked bios on an older laptop

Today I've had a case with an Acer Aspire 1350 which had his bios locked with a password and I couldn't boot from a cd to install windows because the boot up menu was set up to boot from hard disk first. I've tried to remove its hdd and then connect it to a different pc, install windows on it and then put it back on the laptop, but that did not work also, because of the windows protection. So after a little googling I've managed to find a code which can reset the bios password and unlock it. If you have a similar case with a locked bios and can't change the bios settings, here is what might work for you. It works with most of the old notebooks who has the same bios.

Here is the model that worked for me:

System Manufacturer: Acer Inc.
System Model: Aspire 1350
BIOS: PhoenixBIOS 4.0


If you can't boot from the cd, Remove the hard disk from the laptop and since there is no hdd available it should boot from the cd(because the boot order in the bios is set to boot from cd if there is no hard disk)

Boot your pc in MS-DOS mode. A bootable diskette might also work, but if you don't have floppy drive, you might try with a bootable win98 or make a bootable cd with dos, just google it, you should manage to solve this)

After you get to the c:\> or c:\WINDOWS> prompt type DEBUG and then press Enter.

A hyphen(-) prompt will come up waiting for you to enter commands.

Enter the following commands, pressing Enter after each one. (Note: the o is the letter o and stands for OUTPUT).

o 70 2e

o 71 ff


After the q command type exit.

Restart the computer and check to see if you can enter in the bios and change the values like it should.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Dead Pixel Revived Successfully on a Samsung 710N LCD Monitor

Today we managed to revive a dead or should I say stuck pixel on a Samsung 710N monitor. I used a combination of the two best known methods.

First I've used a free software called undead pixel to cycle the RGB colors of the stuck pixel for about one hour, then I took a damp cloth, turned off the monitor, I applied pressure through the cloth with my forefinger to the area where the pixel was stuck and while applying pressure I turned on the monitor which had the undead pixel software still running, and released it after about 5 seconds after I turned the monitor on, and BOOM! The ugly red pixel was gone forever :) . I was so amazed because I was a bit skeptic about reviving pixels at lcd monitors and it was my first time I've tried this technique. The two of the methods are described more in details here at wikipedia.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Need a new PC ?

See how durable your pc actually is :) I wonder is warranty void after this procedure :p

Friday, June 8, 2007

Firefox Commercial

Best web browser comparison :)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Measure your typing speed

Measure your typing speed by typing a small text, see how fast your fingers are

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Acer Travelmate 2490 Modem Driver XP

Get the WIRELESS DRIVERS for Windows XP for Acer Travelmate 2490

Company: Acer
Product: Travelmate 2490
Product Number: 2493NWLMi
Model Number: BL50
Wireless Adapter: Atheros AR5BXB63

The drivers for the modem from the original cd supplied won't install

Do as I have instructed on the video AFTER installing the audio drivers(a Microsoft Hotfix KB888111 for HD audio installs during the audio drivers installation which also applies for the modem)

Watch Install Instructions in Flash Video

Asus F2Hf Wireless Atheros Driver XP

Company: Asus
Product: F2Hf series
Product Number: F2Hf-5A025
Wireless Model: Atheros AR5BXB61

Can't find wireless XP driver to download on the official Asus support site.

Download 802.11 Atheros Driver XP

Friday, May 11, 2007

ESET Smart Security Available for testing

ESET the original creator of the famous Antivirus Software NOD32, released the long awaited Security Suite which is in Beta phase now. Besides a very good piece of antivirus program, it includes a firewall and an antispam module. I have used NOD32 for more than 7 years and I've been to the nastiest and meanest sites known to mankind and I can tell you it is a record breaking antivirus program. The guys from ESET are among the best if not THE best antivirus developers, but they seem to be terrible advertisers. From all the people I've recommended this antivirus to, there is not a single person to complain about it. Indeed, they are all grateful to me, bringing me presents, sacrifices and asking me to merry their daughters as to this day. Ok, ok I exaggerated for the most part, but if they could compare it to Norton's piece of junk they sure will do those things for me. :) So as I was saying, ESET Security Suite is about to be released. At the moment there is a beta available for testing at:

I've installed this little guy and man I'm so happy about it. I'm struggling hard to find a bug in it, but I can't (I hope they will give away the final to beta testers who haven't submitted any bug :) ). As I can recall, compared to other "top" antivirus programs like Kaspersky and McAfee, the only thing NOD32 had lower rating for was: "Ease of use". Well now its been all taken care of. When installed by default ESS is so easy to use that it's almost like a "set it and forget it" solution. At first I was a little scared about it, since I'm very skeptical about "set&forget stuff" even if it gets the job done right, I still want to mess around with the settings. :) In fact, not having detailed info about my pc connectivity and what ESS does in background was something I was seriously getting worried about when finally there it was, an option at: "User Interface" called "Advanced Mode". When you tick that, you have complete control over your computer's security modules. At the firewall setting, you can see which program uses what ip/port to connect where. Now this option is something I really appreciate in a firewall and it is done so elegantly. The only thing I can complain about is the Vista "glassy look". Most of the guys will like this, but I'm a classic interface fan. But from their point of view, I can tell they will love it. All in all a great piece of software for your PC's security, try it and you won't regret it.

Disclaimer: I'm not related to ESET's personnel in any way, I don't work for ESET, nor do I do this for an affiliate program of theirs. I just want to cut your own misery, I'm a messiah baby, trying to bring heaven to earth, hooray for me!

P.S. By the way don't forget to write your comments thanking me that I introduced you to ESS if you were using some of the other antivirus crap. ;)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Asus X51R series XP Audio Drivers

Today I sold an Asus X51R laptop and after installing Windows XP I put the drivers cd supplied when I come to realize that there are only Vista drivers on it! Man enough is enough, I don't know what those Ms guys are doing for the notebook manufacturing companies, but this Vista propaganda is no good. Not good for the end users, and even worst for us, salesman at pc retail stores >:]

I've downloaded the drivers for XP from the Asus Support site and every driver installed fine except for the audio and the modem. I started to get annoyed with this "right cd/wrong driver" problem, happening to me pretty often lately, when suddenly while searching trough the net, I came across a microsoft hotfix needed for the High Definition Audio to work.

Company: Asus
Product: X51Rseries
Product Number: X51R-AP016
ID: 1A

The audio drivers on the cd supplied are perfect, but there is no Microsoft Hotfix for the high definition audio included and therefore windows Xp won't recognize the audio and modem.

Hydrogen Audio Forum Post with download link for MS Hotfix KB888111.exe

Download, install the hotfix from the link at the forum and your HD audio and modem driver should be installed fine.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Acer Travelmate 2490 Wireless Driver XP

Another one bites the dust...

Company: Acer
Product: Travelmate 2490
Product Number: 2493NWLMi
Model Number: BL50
Wireless Adapter: Atheros AR5BXB63

Problem: The driver supplied with the cd gets installed if the instructions provided by acer are followed, but it has an exclamation mark at the device manager so wireless won't work.

  1. Download Driver 802ABG Atheros ver.
  2. Watch Installation Instructions in Flash Video
If you have similar troubles installing drivers on another acer model, you can try different drivers from different models of acer notebooks, and also try the "Don't search" option like I showed in the video if it won't install automatically.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

MSI Megabook M673 No Audio Drivers?

I don't know what is it with these notebook manufacturers these days, it's like some kind of trend to have at least one driver mistaken/not working on the original driver cd provided. I think maybe if they put contextual ads at their 'download drivers' pages they could double profits. Here is another notebook from MSI to which the original driver cd lacks proper audio drivers. There are audio drivers on it, but they won't match. I've downloaded the ones from the Realtek site and they worked like a charm! Here is the info for the model and the original download page at MSI:

Company: MSI
Product: Megabook M673
Product Number: M673X-011EU (I think the same scenario goes for the M673X-013EU)

The original cd provided with the laptop contains audio drivers, but they won't install.

MSI M673 Realtek Audio Drivers Download Page

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Acer Aspire 5610z Wireless XP Drivers Found!

Company: Acer
Product series: Aspire 5610 (5610z)
Product Number: Aspire 5612ZNWLMi
Model Number: BL50

Wrong driver on the cd provided, the driver was for intel wifi adapter.

Acer usually manufactures their notebooks with either Intel, Broadcom or Atheros wifi adapters, and in my case it was Broadcom.

Acer Aspire 5610z Broadcom Wireless Driver XP - 73.3Mb

Acer Aspire 5610z Atheros Wireless Driver XP - 1.6Mb

(If you are unsure of your wifi model, turn around the laptop and look around if somewhere reads atheros. The models with atheros adapters usually have a small text where the model of the atheros adapter is printed.)