If you are coming here for the first time, please read the Introductory Post!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Make your computer run faster, clean registry, remove system tray junk

My laptop and desktop at home (and to some extent my laptop at work) have been really sluggish. I knew the problem was too many startup programs (most of which I don't need - do I really care if my Quicktime files open a little faster because I have a program running in my system tray all the time?) and a messy registry (I install and remove a lot of software), but I kept avoiding doing anything about it. Then the other day on, I think, (or one of those productivity blogs that I read so much that they destroy my productivity) I found a highly recommended program called CCleaner (nee Crap Cleaner) that did an amazing job of decrufting my system. It will clean out temporary files, old Microsoft hotfix installs, program caches that you didn't even know were there, dead links, and lots of other stuff (full configurable). Just running that on my home laptop cleared 1.3GB!

Then it will scan and cleanup your registry (it took two passes for mine - rescan after the first pass). It will backup all changes to a .reg file in case something doesn't work. Again, this is fully configurable as well. Most of the stuff this cleans up is dead/invalid file extension links, registration information for COM DLLs that don't exist on your system anymore, settings for programs you don't have installed, etc. I just kept my fingers crossed and selected all of the options. It found like 350 problems on the first pass, then found another 120 on the second pass. Third pass passed clean.

It also gives you a much quicker interface to Add and Remove Programs where you can run the uninstaller on things you don't want anymore. If you've deleted or moved the files so that it can't find the uninstaller, it will let you delete the entry (which the control panel app won't let you do). You might actually want to do this step first (or at least re-run the registry clean portion afterward).

Finally, it will list every program that is configured to run on startup. This is a potentially risky thing to mess around with because some of the programs are cryptic, but useful or necessary. Many of them are programs that periodically scan for updates to your software, so you can remove them if you prefer to periodically check for updates manually. The best thing to do is to Google each program name. Look for a link to one of the anti-virus companies - they usually provide a page of info for these type programs to tell people what they are for, whether they are adware or spyware, and the consequences of deleting them.

After I did all of this on my home laptop, it boots up to the desktop in less than a minute (it was taking 3-4 minutes to be fully responsive) and comes back from sleep and suspend much faster. The improvement wasn't as great on my work computer, but was still noticeable. I'm going to do my desktop at home tonight (I never use it much and the kids have it so crap loaded that it drives me crazy - it's time for a rebuild or a new computer).

Crap Cleaner Homepage

Oh yeah, go through and confirm all of the options before running it - there is help and a guide on the website if you don't understand what some of the options do. None of them are really harmful, but some of them may annoy you. I told it to leave my cookies and stored passwords alone since for many sites, I prefer for the browser to keep my passwords and for the sites to remember who I am. I also didn't let it reset/clear my "Open with..." choices, recent documents, and recent programs (I think they're unchecked by default).

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Indexing Network Shares with Microsoft Indexing Server

Here is the kind of thing that I designed this blog for. I was having a problem getting the Microsoft Indexing Server to properly index files in a file share. It seemed like it was working, since I didn't get a specific error message, but it only showed 1 file and 0 entries in the index.

You view the status of the Indexing Server by browsing to it in the Microsoft Management Console (MMC). When I checked the Application Event Log, it showed the following errors:

CiDaemon failed to logon administrator because of error 1326.


File change notifications for scope are not enabled because of error 1326. This scope will be periodically scanned.


Indexing Service failed to logon administrator because of error 1326.

Error 1326 is a login error, by the way.

The solution was that when you add a shared directory to an Indexing catalog by entering the UNC path, you have to specify a domain username and password. That domain user must be able to interactively log in to the indexing server machine and must be able to read and traverse the directories on the file share.

You cannot just enter a machine account in these boxes or leave them blank. Once I added a user to the local users of the indexing server and made sure that domain user could connect to the share, the Indexing Service worked great.

Here are some links that I used to find this error:

Microsoft MSDN pages

This forum thread had all of the right questions and led me to the right answer, but didn't seem to have an easy way to reply (so I'm doing it here).

What This Is Here For

For a long time, I've had the idea, or philosophy, that if you can't find sometime on the web (or can't find it easily enough), then you should either add the information to the web once you do find it, via your blog or Wikipedia or any of the other cool ways of publishing information on the web) or at least point people in the right direction on how you eventually did find what you were looking for.

I do this to some extent in my other blog, Avoidance Central. For example, the posts about fixing my TV. Yes, I did eventually find the answer by asking questions on forums and extensive Googling, but what I didn't find was the pictures and the confidence to try it myself - something that I tried to share in publishing my story. So far, that has been a huge success. The comments on the article are full of people, many with no electronics background, who decided to save a few hundred dollars and take a screwdriver and soldering iron to their $1500 TV sets.

As I was reading Everything Is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder, I was further reminding of this idea, so I thought I would experiment with it and try to figure out the best way of entering, linking, labeling/tagging, publicizing, and promoting the information that I find.

So, each entry in this blog will, ideally, be a summary of something that I had to work hard to find the answer to. It may be a list of the web sites that I used to find the answer, or information about a book that I found it in. It may also be the results of not finding the answer by research, but finding it through experimentation (giving back). In some cases, it may be a plea for help if I can't find the answer (in which case it might be links to forums where I asked the questions, updated with the answers when and if I get them).

If you find something you need via this blog, let me know! Digg it! Link to it from other pages to help my PageRank! This is an experiment and I need data to see if it is worthwhile.