Archive for April, 2013

Windows 7: An error occurred while checking for new updates for your computer (Code 8024800A)

I have recently I have made Linux the primary OS on all my computers.
However, mostly due to Adobe Flash/Photoshop and other few important applications, I decided to leave Windows on a separate disk on each of the computers. (I’ve basically installed Linux into 2 new disks and left the existing Windows drives untouched, as secondary boot devices.)

So, today I needed to use Photoshop and therefore had to boot Windows 7.
Naturally, after not using it for at least 3 months, the first application I have opened was “Windows Update”.

To my surprise, I got an error while checking for them (code 8024800A) on both of my computers and from what I have read – this can happen if you do not check for updates for a while (EG: if you don’t use your computer for an extended period of time).
This may sound silly at first but it makes sense to me as I have just seen this on 2 separate machines.

This is what I’ve done to get it working again:

  1. Click on your “Start” button, then go to “All Programs” -> “Accessories”.  You should see an icon for “Command Prompt”. Right-click it, and click on “Run as administrator”.
  2. Type each of the following commands, one by one; followed by the “Enter” or “Return” (really, that old?) key.
    net stop wuauserv & net stop cryptSvc & net stop bits
    net stop msiserver & mkdir C:\8024800A\
    move C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution C:\8024800A\
    move C:\Windows\System32\catroot2 C:\8024800A\
    net start wuauserv & net start cryptSvc
    net start bits & net start msiserver

    Command Line Prompt output.

    Command Line Prompt output.

  3. Open a “Windows Update” window (like you would normally do to update your computer) and click on “Check for Updates”.  Wait for the process to finish.

You should now be able to update again.

NOTE: The process above will create a backup of the current files being used by your system at “C:\8024800A”.
It’s safe and encouraged to delete this folder once you confirm that Windows Update is working correctly.

Sony Xperia U (ST25i): Performance issues after updating to Android ICS (4.0.4) using the official method

I have noticed my household’s Xperia U (ST25i) slowed down quite a lot after upgrading to ICS (6.1.1.B.1.54-Stock Version), using the official method provided by Sony.

I do not want to have the phone rooted at the moment, so wanted to ensure I would find a solution without requiring such thing. And I just did.

Here’s how to bring your Xperia U up to speed again:

WARNING: I am not responsible for any problems that may occur after you follow the instructions below. Do not proceed unless you’re absolutely sure that you know what you’re doing. Proceed at your own risk. You have been warned.

    1. First and foremost, check your android version and build number (go to “Settings” -> “About Phone”). They must be “4.0.4” and “6.1.1.B.1.54”, as that is the package being distributed by Sony in Europe, at least at the moment. So if you have upgraded your phone to ICS through the official method, those versions should match.
    2. Download Flashtool, it’s available here.
    3. Download the World-Unlocked Kernel Firmware File, it’s available here.
    4. Install FlashTools (install to C:\Flashtool).
    5. Install the Flashtool drivers. To do this, execute the file”Flashtool-drivers.exe”, which should be located at “C:\Flashtool\drivers” in your computer.
      Under “Components to install”, check the following items:

      • Xperia P, Xperia U and Xperia sola drivers
      • Flashmode drivers
      • Fastboot drivers

      Click the “Install” button and let it run. The installer will execute “dpinst32.exe” (Windows Driver Package Installer) on the final stage. Make sure you complete the process there, and do not freak out once you see the “Untrusted/Unsigned” driver installation warning – make sure you allow it, as you do need the drivers for the process to work, and they’re harmless anyway. Once you complete the installation of the drivers on the “Driver Package Installer” window, the Flashtool driver’s setup will resume and tell you that the installation process is complete.

    6. Extract the file “xperia u_6.1.1.B.1.54_World kernel.ftf” from the archive you downloaded (andrefaca.com-165.tar.gz) to the folder “C:\Flashtool\firmwares”.
    7. Enable “USB Debugging” on your phone by going to “Settings -> “Developer Options”. It should be the very first option of that screen. Once “USB Debugging” is enabled, you should see a new icon on your phone’s task bar (the top one), reminding you of that fact.
    8. Connect your Xperia U to the computer and give it time to install its drivers (Windows should notify you during the process or show an icon in your taskbar)
    9. Start Flashtool as an administrator (just to make sure). You can do this through the start menu or by browsing the “C:\Flashtool” folder, then right-clicking “FlashTool.exe” (or just “FlashTool” if your Windows is not setup to show file extensions) and selecting “Run as Administrator”.
    10. Click on the very first button in the Flashtool interface (“Flash”) and then select “Flashmode” on the mode selector.
    11. You should now have the “Firmware Selection” window in front of you. Unless you did not copy the firmware file to the “firmwares” folder, you should see it listed under “Select a Firmware”. The version you need to select is “6.1.1.B.1.54“. Once the version is selected, click on “OK” button.
    12. Flashtool will now shutdown your phone and ask you to connect it in “Flash Mode”. To do so, just press and hold the “Volume -” key, and while holding it, press the power button. Flashtool will recognize that the phone is in flash mode, and will carry on with the rest of the process.
    13. Flashtool will now show the message “Please unplug and start your phone”. This means exactly that, disconnect the phone from your computer, and power it on. Your phone’s performance should now be back to what you were used to, while still running Android 4.0.4 (ICS)!

The Flashtool log should look like this (or similar):

——————-
07/038/2013 18:38:42 - INFO  - Device connected with USB debugging on
07/038/2013 18:38:45 - INFO  - Connected device : ST25
07/038/2013 18:38:45 - INFO  - Installed version of busybox : N/A
07/038/2013 18:38:45 - INFO  - Android version : 4.0.4 / kernel version : 3.0.8+ / Build number : 6.1.1.B.1.54
07/046/2013 18:46:50 - INFO  - Device connected in flash mode
07/046/2013 18:46:52 - INFO  - Device disconnected
07/049/2013 18:49:04 - INFO  - Selected xperia u_6.1.1.B.1.54_World kernel.ftf
07/049/2013 18:49:04 - INFO  - Preparing files for flashing
07/049/2013 18:49:04 - INFO  - Please connect your device into flashmode.
07/049/2013 18:49:15 - INFO  - Device connected in flash mode
07/049/2013 18:49:15 - INFO  - Opening device for R/W
07/049/2013 18:49:16 - INFO  - Reading device information
07/049/2013 18:49:16 - INFO  - Phone ready for flashmode operations.
07/049/2013 18:49:16 - INFO  - Current device : ST25i - 6.1.1.B.1.54 - WORLD_6.1.1.B.1.54
07/049/2013 18:49:16 - INFO  - Start Flashing
07/049/2013 18:49:16 - INFO  - Processing loader
07/049/2013 18:49:16 - INFO  -     Checking header
07/049/2013 18:49:16 - INFO  -     Flashing data
07/049/2013 18:49:17 - INFO  - Loader : S1_Root_3065 - Version : R5E006 / Bootloader status : NOT_ROOTABLE
07/049/2013 18:49:17 - INFO  - Processing kernel.sin
07/049/2013 18:49:17 - INFO  -     Checking header
07/049/2013 18:49:17 - INFO  -     Flashing data
07/049/2013 18:49:20 - INFO  - Ending flash session
07/049/2013 18:49:20 - INFO  - Flashing finished.
07/049/2013 18:49:20 - INFO  - Please unplug and start your phone

——————-

NOTE: This procedure will NOT root your phone.
It will just correct the performance issues (slowness) that everyone is talking about. 🙂

D-Link DIR-600: Installing custom firmware (DD-WRT)

Nearly 2 years ago, I have posted a small review and introduction to the D-Link DIR-600’s basic and advanced settings. With time, I ended up finding a few bugs on the router, and so did my visitors, who left a good amount of comments there.

I ended up installing custom firmware on the router, but didn’t really want to post anything on that subject until I had tested it for a while on my router. It turned out very well, so I am now guiding you on how to do the same on yours.

LIMITATIONS AND RECOMMENDED PRECAUTIONS:
1) Make sure you are connected to the router using a cable. You won’t be able to complete the tutorial using a wireless connection.
2) This tutorial is meant for the D-Link DIR-600 Revisions B1 and B2 only!  Revisions A and C aren’t supported, and trying to install DD-WRT on them may “brick” your router. Below, I’m posting 2 easy ways to find out the revision version of your device:

Option A » Check your router’s original box. You should have a sticker on the side with this information.
Here’s what you’ll be looking for:

Shows the location of the revision number on the original D-Link DIR-600 box

Location of the HW revision

Option B » Open your router’s  administration panel. By default, it should be http://192.168.0.1/. If you have modified the subnet used by your router, then change the URL accordingly. The revision number should be shown on the top bar, like this:

Shows the location of the revision number on the original D-Link DIR-600 administrative panel

Location of the HW revision

Do not proceed with the rest of this tutorial unless you’re absolutely sure that your device is supported.

THE ACTUAL PROCEDURE:
1) First we’ll obviously need to download the DD-WRT firmware files.
I’ll provide for that, as I want to make sure the files I’m working with will be the same you’ll work with – this will avoid surprises that come with different versions.

You can download an archive containing the files needed to complete the tutorial here.
Using a file compressing utility (such as 7-Zip or p7zip), extract the files to an easily accessible folder – such as your desktop.
You should now have 2 files in your desktop folder; dlink-dir600b-factory-webflash.bin and dir600b-revb-ddwrt-webflash.bin.

2) Enter the D-Link DIR-6oo’s control panel by pointing your browser to http://192.168.0.1/.
This is the default subnet used by the router (192.168.0.x). If you have modified yours, then change the URL accordingly.

(Reminder: By default, this router is shipped with the username setup as “admin” and no password defined.)

Now click on “Maintenance” -> “Save and Restore”.  Under the “Save and Restore Settings” section, click on “Reset to Factory Default Settings”.
This will reboot the router and restore it to the default settings. Please be patient during this process, as it may take up to 3 minutes for the router to reboot and revert the settings. During this time, you won’t be able to connect to the network. (Your operating system should notify you once you’re connected again.)

Note for advanced users: If you were using a static IP address on a different subnet (anything other than 192.168.0.x), you should either update your static IP to something within the default subnet (such as 192.168.0.111 – by default the address pool is set to start on 192.168.0.100 and end on 192.168.0.199), or simply set your network connection to obtain the IP address automatically (in other words, use DHCP). If you’re already obtaining your IP address automatically through DHCP (default setting in every OS), this note does not apply to you.

3) Log into the administrative interface again (http://192.168.0.1/ – The username is “admin” and the password field should be left blank)
4) Click on “Maintenance” -> “Firmware Update”. Under the “Firmware Upgrade” section, click on “Browse…” and select “dlink-dir600b-factory-webflash.bin” from your desktop folder. (Picture below)

D-Link DIR-600 Firmware Upgrade Section

D-Link DIR-600 Firmware Upgrade Section

5) Click on “Upload” to initiate the flashing process. It should take about 3 minutes, do NOT reset or power cycle the router during this stage. Just monitor the leds, once they stop blinking, it means it finished.
6) DD-WRT does not use the same subnet as the original D-Link DIR-600’s  router’s firmware, so we’ll need to make sure your OS detects the change.
A simple way of forcing your computer to do this is to simply disconnect the ethernet (network) cable, and reconnect it again once your operating system tells you that the connection was lost. Your operating system should detect the connection again and hopefully also the new IP address.

If this does not turn out to be the case, you can set a static IP address in your computer within the same subnet as DD-WRT’s default (such as 192.168.1.111), or you can reboot your computer, as that will force an IP renewal/network detection as well.
7) Log into DD-WRT’s administative interface (http://192.168.1.1). You will be forced to select an administrative username and password.
8) Click on the “Administration” tab in the top menu.  Then, click on “Firmware Upgrade” (screenshot below).

Location of the "Firmware Upgrade" button on DD-WRT

Location of the “Firmware Upgrade” button on DD-WRT

9) Select the option “Reset to Default settings”, click on “Browse…” , select “dir600b-revb-ddwrt-webflash.bin” and click on “upgrade” (screenshot below).

Firmare Management on DD-WRT

Firmare Management on DD-WRT

Wait about 3 minutes for the upgrade process to complete. You should be redirected to the router’s system information page at the end, and the version of DD-WRT should have changed (screenshot below):

Firmware Version (DD-WRT)

Firmware Version (DD-WRT)

This means SUCCESS! DD-WRT is now installed on your D-Link DIR-600 wireless router, and you can proceed with its configuration.

BASIC CONFIGURATION OF DD-WRT:
I know some of you might be new to this so I’m writing an example setup tutorial below for a cable connection, using Google’s Public DNS, and a Secure Wireless Configuration (WPA2).

1) Click on “Setup” -> “Basic Setup”, and try to duplicate the settings shown on the screenshot below:

Basic Setup (DD-WRT)

Basic Setup (DD-WRT)

Make sure you change the timezone to yours (under “Time Settings”).
I suggest leaving the router name set to “DIR-600” unless you have a valid reason to change it. But if you do, you can change it from “DIR-600” to anything else. The router name should only contain alphanumeric characters. Except for dashes (“-“), no special characters are allowed.
Once you complete the configuration above, click on “Save” and then “Apply Settings”.

2) Click on the “Wireless” tab (in the top navigation bar) and try to duplicate the settings shown on the screenshot below:

DD-WRT Wireless Basic Settings

DD-WRT Wireless Basic Settings

After replicating the settings, click on “Save” and then “Apply Settings”.

3) Click on “Wireless Security” (in the blue sub-navigation bar) and try to duplicate the settings shown on the screenshot below:

DD-WRT Wireless Security Setup

DD-WRT Wireless Security Setup

Needless to say, you have to pick your own WPA Shared Key, as this will be your wireless password. The password should contain between 8 and 63 characters.
To ensure better security, make sure you’re using a password that is a combination of uppercase/lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.
After replicating the settings and typing a WPA Shared Key, click on “Save” and then “Apply Settings”.

4) Click on the “Security” tab (in the top navigation bar) and enable the “SPI Firewall” if it’s not enabled yet.
More information on what a Stateful Packet Inspection Firewall is can be found here.
After this, click on “Save” and then “Apply Settings” again.

5) Click on the “Administration” tab (in the top navigation bar), scroll down the page to its very end and click on “Reboot Router”.
Wait a few minutes for the router to reboot. It should take you to the router’s default page (System Information).

You should now be able to connect all your wired and wireless devices to your router and connect to the internet.
I’d recommend you to take some time to review all the options available on DD-WRT and configure it according to your specific needs, but this basic setup should allow you to use the internet and have basic home networking right away.