Dell PC, Support and Warranty

I blog today over at Donna’s Nook in CoU blog about Dell PC, Support and Warranty because I purchased a new Dell PC and then I contacted their Support for replacement order and for replacement on parts.  You’ll read also about some installed crapplications that I removed and plan on keeping.

Read about it (with not so attractive pictures :P ) at http://www.calendarofupdates.com/updates/index.php?autocom=blog&blogid=2&showentry=235

Dell and Broadcom fixes BCM42RLY issue on Dell Wireless WLAN 1505/Vista

I blogged about the above subject on Jan. 20, 2009.  Today, I noticed they released a new software and driver version of Dell Wireless 1505 Draft 802.11n WLAN Mini-Card Desktops (coincidentally, it was released on the same date). 

The new software version of Dell Wireless 1505 Draft 802.11n WLAN Mini-Card Desktops is now A23 which has v5.10.38.26 for its driver and v5.10.38.30 for the WLAN utility software. 

It is compatible to the following Dell Computers  that has Dell Wireless 1505 Draft 802.11n WLAN Mini-Card:

  • Dimension:DXC061, DXP061; 
  • Inspiron Desktop:518, 519, 530, 530/530S, 530S, 531, 531S, 535, 535S, 541, 541s, 545, 545S, 546, 546S; 
  • OptiPlex:320, 330, 740, 745, 755, 760;
  • Precision:390, 490, 690, T3400, T3500, T5400, T5500, T7400, T7500;
  • Studio Desktop:540, Slim 540s;
  • Studio XPS Desktop:435MT, Studio XPS 435T;
  • Vostro Desktop:200, 220, 220s, 400, 410, 420;
  • XPS Desktop:420, 625, 730, 730x, Studio XPS 425, XPS 430, XPS 720, XPS630a, XPS630i

And it is applicable to Windows Vista 32-bit, Windows Vista 64-bit systems.

They wrote in their webpage that the fixes or improvement are:  Fixes speaker noise problem caused by Wireless LAN RF demodulation. Adds additional country support.

You can download it at their website.

Before upgrading from v4.170.25.17 (note: this version fixes the disconnection/slow connection issues) to new version v5.10.38.26, I decided to undo the temporary work-around that I did few days ago (by disabling the service of non-existing BCM42RLY service).

After the upgrade, I review the Event Viewer to see if there’ll be “The BCM42RLY service failed to start due to the following error: The system cannot find the file specified.” again and I’m happy to see none.  Also, the fix on speaker noise is gone! I was seeing that issue too but did not realize that the Dell A525 Stereo Speakers with Sub-woofers is making noise due to WLAN RF demodulation (?) (whatever is that! I’m not a sound person :D ).   I thought the speakers is making noise because Vista is being noisy LOL ;)

Thanks Dell for the fixes!

SmileDock a solution to crapware on Windows PCs? No!

From http://www.computerworld.com.au/index.php/id;639901463;pp;1;fp;16;fpid;1 via Calendar of Updates discussion forum:


Is this a solution to crapware on Windows PCs?
DDNi’s SmileDock may be the industry-friendly answer


I say no, it’ll never a solution to crapware because:


1.  Smiledock is another unwanted software by consumers. Why? It will offer crapware. Yes, not installed yet but it’ll be there as ads (e.g. Product A, Product B, click here to install or check this out!)


2.  Smiledock is another unwanted software by consumers IF the PC vendor will not provide option to users to have it or not when they order a new PC.


3.  It will monitor users to offer personalized ads/craps.  Internet has too much already with rogue and crap software so why make another way to open the gate for vendors who insist their products for fee?


 Note:  I made the said topic at CoU as Poll so CoU members can cast their vote – yes or no for SmileDock as solution to crapware on Windows PCs?  To vote, go to http://www.calendarofupdates.com/updates/index.php?showtopic=17057

I do not need to remove antivirus before upgrading OS

One cool thing that I like now with Norton is I do not need to remove it to upgrade from XP to Vista or Vista to Windows 7 Beta.


The only action I need to do before “upgrading” the OS is disable the malware/spyware/antiphishing protections by Norton then leave the Norton Firewall protection enabled. Next is to restart the system so those loaded protection engines by Norton will not load at all prior.  After the reboot, just upgrade the OS.


I made a mistake on my first try to upgrade Vista SP1 to Windows 7 Beta, I disabled Norton protections but I forgot to reboot (to unload the running services and protection engine of Norton).  Because of that stupid mistake, I end up re-installing Norton while in Windows 7 because its advanced protection (aka early load protection will not remain enabled) once I’m done with the upgrade of the OS.


Anyway, I saw the post of at http://www.engadget.com/2009/01/20/windows-7-install-roundup/ where he needed to uninstall the antivirus before he can proceed in one of this upgrade install of Windows 7 (not sure which Antivirus he is using) so I thought to give the Vista to 7 upgrade another try by again, just disabling protections by Norton>reboot the system>insert the burned Windows 7 Ultimate Beta.


The result is good:  Norton did not report issue when I enabled it again (that is after I finished configuring Windows 7 and after installing the 2 items I need to install – the KB961367 and the pre-WDDM Nvidia driver.


It’s nice to know that Windows users need not to remove antivirus prior upgrading the OS.  Just disable it, restart then proceed the upgrade.  Assuming you want an upgrade and you got a backup OK?  Also, user should confirm this is the ‘way’ from the antivirus company because not all antivirus acts the same on upgrades.  I think I better try popular antivirus software and see if the OS upgrade will kill them or not?

Microsoft Certifications Exam Offer for users in Malaysia

I am now a Microsoft Certified Professional and because I’m also MVP, I would like to participate to “Microsoft Certification Hero Campaign” which allow current MVPs to forward a certification offers.  Today, I learn that people who are in Malaysia (not limited to locals in Malaysia. If you are in Malaysia – whether you are a resident or not) who want to be certified as MCP for certification exams: MCTS, MCTIP or MCPD, you can take advantage of 10% discount on the said certification exams.


To use this 10% discount, just follow this steps:


1.  Decide which exam to take:


www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/mcts/default.mspx
www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/mcitp/default.mspx
www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/mcpd/default.mspx


2.  Visit http://www.learnandcertify.com website.  Read the terms please.  Enter the MVP Certification Promotion Code MYC7C8D5. Note:  This MVP Certification Promotion Code is valid until March, 31st, 2009 only but the exams must be taken before December 31, 2009. Also, please register an email address that is valid (if possible, a Windows Live ID account e.g. hotmail, live.com or any email address that is registered in Live.com) because you will receive an email containing your EXAM VOUCHER CODE.


3.  Once you receive your Exam Voucher Code via email, go to http://www.prometric.com/microsoft to schedule the exam to the test center near you. 


If you fail the test, don’t worry.. there is 2nd shot offer by Microsoft.  The Prometric guys will inform you about this when you sit for the exam but if they forget, just tell them that your Exam Voucher code is eligible for free retake. 


Again, the MVP Certification Promotion Code to be used at www.learnandcertify.com is: MYC7C8D5


If you are in Australia, check out MVP Brian Madsen’s post regarding the above and see his MVP Certification Promotion Code for users in Australia.  If you are in other country/region, check-out the blogs, sites of other Microsoft MVPs for this type of offer.  Each time I’ll find their blog entry that is ok to other country, I’ll edit this post.  This is a great offer IMHO.  Be certified with 10% discount code for the exam fee and then, you have the chance to take the test again, if necessary.  Also you dont have to schedule the exam today, tomorrow or next week. You can take exam before Dec. 31, 2009!


 

Dell and Broadcom need to fix this BCM42RLY issue on Vista system

The Vista Event Viewer here is flooded with below error event:


Event ID:  7000


Source:  Service Control Manager Eventlog Provider


Event details:  The BCM42RLY service failed to start due to the following error: The system cannot find the file specified.


Dell need to fix the above by ensuring the driver package they provide will install only the required entries for the system.  The BCM42RLY.sys do NOT exist at all that is why Vista log it as it non-existing file.  This BCM42RLY.sys is a driver by Broadcom. 


The temporary work-around that I applied today (to stop that error event in Event Viewer) is:


— Change the “Start” value data from 3 to 4 for BCM42RLY service located in: 


  • HKLMSystemControlSet001ServicesBCM42RLY
  • HKLMSystemControlSet002ServicesBCM42RLY
  • HKLMSystemCurrentControlSetServicesBCM42RLY

The wireless connection is UNAFFECTED after disabling the said service in starting.


Related issue


My few days old Dell XPS 420 got Dell Wireless 1505 Draft 802.11n WLAN mini-card (dell provided a nice looking antenna, like a coffee coaster LOL) but it had issue:


When I received the desktop, I said “geez, this Wireless 1505 by Dell for the desktop is USELESS because it is taking forever before the wireless connection will connect to my Linksys router, before it will find/identify my network and it often disconnects!”.  The fixed to that is to update the Dell Wireless 1505 driver :)


Dell shipped the Dell Wireless 1505 Draft 802.11n WLAN mini-card with a bad driver and the bad version is v4.102.15.61.  Microsoft’s Windows Update do not have any update for it so I went to Dell Downloads website and sure enough, there’s a newer build:  v4.170.25.17 released March 4, 2008.  Note:  Installing the new driver will install the Dell Wireless Card Utility which is not required but handy if you want to use the diagnostic for the said hardware and software.


Anyway, after updating the driver… it’s all sweet.  The wireless network is found, identified easily and the connection with my network is stable (no more disconnection).  The only issue I have now with network connection is the network that is OUT of my control… that is the network service by the ISP.  Slow connection by Streamyx.  I cannot enjoy anymore what I used to enjoy when I was using CTM network :( Sorry for ranting about ISP here.  I’m just NOT thrilled with the connection and I feel like, I’m way behind of things already!


Dell should fix the above things.  Ship your PC with newer and good driver that simply works and then please ask your partner, Broadcom to stop adding BCM42RLY in the registry or services that is non-existent and not necessary.  Not all users are comfortable in editing the registry in Windows no?  Also, the work-around that I applied is temporary fix only. It’s not a permanent fix because that BCM42RLY  is still here but doing the above registry modification will only stop Event Viewer in logging it and also for Windows to try to load/run such not existing driver/file by Dell/Broadcom.

Congratulations! You’re now an MCP!

Few weeks ago, I was browsing my unread and marked emails in Outlook.  One of these is an email containing my free Microsoft certification exam code that is going to expire next month, Feb. 28, 2009.  I received this free certification exam code/voucher after completing the Microsoft e-Learning/Academy Course last year.  In addition to the free voucher, I received an MS signed Completion Certificate.  I thought to not to waste the chance so I visited the Prometric.com website to register for an MCP exam.  It did not take long to register and find a Prometric test center that include exam certification by Microsoft.  So I “booked” myself online then scheduled it January 19, 2009, 1:30PM (note: Use an email that is associated to your Windows Live ID, if you will register for an exam).  That exam is done today (my local time and date).


I failed to sleep a night before the exam.  Not that I’m excited about the exam but it’s a problem I have.  I can’t sleep most of the nights and prefer to be online and when I am lucky to sleep at night, that is always called “Best night ever!”.  Too bad, I have unstable connection here to even enjoy being online.  Anyway and back to the topic… I able to sleep at 10AM then get up after an hour.  Took a shower then drive to the test center.  The test center’s staff told me I have 240 minutes to finish the Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) exam and if ever I will fail the exam, I must not worry because there is 2nd shot offer (Note: as per MS site, this Second Shot Offer is valid until June 30, 2009, check the page for current information).  I said “OK, thanks!”. He wished me good luck before leaving the test room.


I took the test and after 45 minutes, I’m done.  I saw my score on the screen and it looks like I passed the exam but maybe I’m wrong because I’m not sure if the test center have another exam for me to attend LOL  Anyway, I went out of the test room to look for the staff.  He saw me and I wave at him.  He asked “Are you done?”.  I said “I think so :-)”


He look at the screen and said “Congratulations! You’re now an MCP!, you’re a Microsoft Certified Professional now that you’re done and passed the MCTS exam!”  He then proceed by printing a copy of the said exam result.  Next, he explained what I will expect to receive (an email from Microsoft that has my MCP ID and MCP access code so I can log-in to MCP website and view transcript, request for the MCP Welcome Kit and certificate, access to MCPeStore, I think that’s the same place where MVP got access? –> MVP eCompany Store).  He showed me the way to the other table (where their Microsoft Gold Partner thingy banner is placed in the wall) and he asked me to sit to wait.  I waited for few minutes only then he handed to me the result of the exam.  It says the passing score is 700 and my score is 871.  Not bad score I guess. The paper also include a “performance” bar for each section of the exam and I’m happy that 3 of the sections in the exam has “Strong” skills (full bar) and the other 4 is still considered “strong” skills but not full bar (whatever that means.. I think I know what it is LOL).  That’s something! right? I’m happy to see that none of exam section has “Need development” bar but that does not mean I do not need development and improvement because I did not get a perfect score. 


I’m all smile today as you can imagine.  I am now an MCP and MCTS because I passed the certification exam in 45 minutes! Yay!!  Those who passed exam understands how it feels (whether it’s tough or easy for anyone).


Now I’ll just wait for the email from Microsoft so I can enter the MCP ID and MCP access code in https://mcp.microsoft.com/authenticate/login.aspx and if given another chance, I’d like to take another exam and that will be the Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP). 


If you want to learn more about Microsoft Certifications and what are the benefits, please go to http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/default.mspx.  You’ll find some offers to interested ones http://www.microsoft.com/learning/offers/default.mspx.  Next, drop by at Training and Certifications forum: http://forums.community.microsoft.com/en/CertGeneral/threads for any questions.


Edit to add:  Just received 2 emails from Microsoft Certification Program Team regarding the above and one of the email contains the ID/temporary password to access/activate the benefits at the MCP website.  The other email is a congratulation/welcome email.


2nd edit to add:  I’m not confuse anymore on whether I’m MCTS or MCP or both LOL.  I just finished activating the MCP thingys and found out that I can use both title and I can download the Logo Kits for MCP and MCTS.  Also, the transcript says “MCP” at the upper right-hand side and the background itself has MCP.   Done adding MCP logo in this blog’s sidebar.  I am not sure if I can modify the MCTS logo (need to read the logo usage agreement).  The default size is wide for the sidebar.  Ok, done adding the MCTS logo also after using the MCP Logo Kit builder in MCP website :)


If you are in Malaysia and would like to be certified, you can use Certification Promotion Code: MYC7C8D5.  More info in my other blog entry.

Hooked but not stable; 2 Awards; SpyHunter and others

First of all a big Hi to all :-)

I able to hook my laptop, Dell XPS M1210 online but the connection is really slow.  Got my new toy – a wireless desktop by Dell XPS 420 (wireless because I configured it to have Dell WLAN 1505 wireless-n adapter and this thing came with WLAN antenna) but it’s awaiting for the right time to get the security updates and upgrades and all other program updates.  When is the right time? That is when I will have a stable and fast connection.  Slow connection can get the updates but if the connection is NOT stable, I might end up downloading and installing a corrupted installer of the security updates and upgrades. 

Would like to thank the readers of this blog who sent me emails while I was offline.  Sorry that you did not receive any from this blog for a long time.  I moved… that’s why and I’m still going to move this month or early next month… if all goes according to schedule and plan.

I’m happy though that I able to hook online again.  It is taking ages to view pages though but rest assure that I have read your emails and some of you have receive a response already regarding my whereabouts, that I’m still alive (yeah! some emails I got asked me if I’m still alive LOL), why I’m not blogging and how to fix your PC from a particular rouge software/spyware/malware.  I also got an email regarding a user’s debit card charged for SpyHunter:

“Subject: (Donna’s SecurityFlash) : 69.95 deducted from debit car for spyhunter

Please can u tell me if this was done by yourselves or someone else using name spyhunter as i have not aythorised this paymenti live in oakhill lane ipswich”

I respond to the user that my blog is not related at all with SpyHunter by enigmasoftware.com and she should contact Enigma Software or her debit card issuer soon to cancel the said transaction… if she did not made the said transaction.  Again, it’s time to make a campaign against company that simply charge people’s credit and debit card! And also we need to educate ourselves to not to click on links or any pop-up.  Do not enter any debit or credit card numbers and also, always scan the system using trustworthy anti-virus or anti-malware programs.  And please use a good firewall – not a firewall that will only ask if you want or not to allow something but a firewall program that block an attack or too much port scanning. 

I got 2 awards this month:

One is the 2009 Microsoft MVP award.  Thanks Microsoft for the 6th year (consecutive) MVP award!  Find out more about Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Program here.

The other one is from Web of Trust.  They call the award as “WOT Publicity Award 2008”.  You can read about it at their blog or view the January 2009 Inside MyWOT newsletter. I did not expect this award but thanks a lot for mentioning me there so I have added that image at the left pane of this blog <G>  Thanks WOT team for the award!

Before I forget, those who email me on why Calendar of Updates is no longer at http://www.dozleng.com domain (and whether the domain is really correct as http://wwww.calendarofupdates.com) …. Yes, it is true.  CoU is no longer at dozleng.com (it is now at calendarodupdates.com and no, you are not seeing fake domain so don’t worry) but dozleng.com is still registered to me and still administered or staffed by the same people, Peter Colburn (aka Coldincbus), Larry (aka Haroldo), Tim (aka Hardhead), MVP Rod Weymouth (aka roddy32), Ray (aka ourstanley), MVP Tom Mercado (aka TeMerc), MVP Harry Waldron and the great updaters at CoU Team!..

Windows 7

Even though I have slow connection… I able to download the beta edition of Windows 7 via Microsoft Connect.  I started downloading in the morning and it finished the next day.  You’ve read that right because my connection here is slow.  Windows 7 is now on my laptop and I installed it as “upgrade” from Vista Ultimate SP1.  Installation was smooth.  The Windows 7 Experience Index Score (WEI) seems higher than Windows Vista.  I like the new icon or logo (whatever that is) of Windows that is moving when I first boot with Windows 7.  I do not like the new taskbar feature (or maybe because I’m not used to it yet).  I like that Sidebar is gone and the gadgets are now integrated to WE.  There are more to say but since this product is still in its BETA stage, everything is not perfect yet (3rd party software compatibility) and there are bugs of course so don’t try it at home if you do not have a proper backup of your current working system.

TA later…