mstsc.exe crashes on Windows 8 (and how to fix it)

Physical View of the Network

When using MSTSC (Microsoft Terminal Server Client aka RDP or Remote Desktop on Windows) to dial into a local HyperV virtual machine on my laptop it often happened that MSTSC crashed on me. When reconnecting afterwards, the VM was running just fine. So it seemed to be an issue on my local machine and not the VM. I assumed it had something to do with HyperV and RDP and didn’t look into it any further (I didn’t need it that much after all).

The exception code I got in my Event Viewer for the crash was 0xc0000005 on ntdll.dll.

But then I kept having this problem so often when connecting to a physical machine in the network it annoyed me enough to Google for a possible solution.
One post pointed me in the right direction (which I can’t find anymore, sorry about that), being that it had something to do with sharing of local resources. In my case I recently activated the option to transfer sound between the remote and my local machine so I could use Skype & Linq.

Turns out that was indeed the culprit. Whenever my remote machine made a sound, my RDP client crashed. Bummer!
Turning off sound transferring to my host machine made the crashes go away. Sweet!

So if you also run into this, try turning off some of those local resources.

It still sucks if you need sound of course, but in my case, I can live with the silence.

Photo by Robin Gist, cc-licensed.

music of 2015

the audience is shaking ( #CC )Here’s some music I liked in 2015 that I either talked about before or forgot to mention so far. I get stuff emailed to me, listen to it and then forget to write about it sometimes. Dang.

So I’ll mix those in here so they get their mention at last.

Drum’n’bass

Ah, the good old dnb. If you haven’t already checked out the weekly Noisia Radio podcasts on Soundcloud it’s about time you did. You’ll hear new tracks, old ones and get a lot of inspiration on what tracks you can spend that New Years money on.

Another place to check for some fresh, dark drum’n’bass is Syk2ne’s Bandcamp or Soundcloud page. Lot’s of wicked EP’s right there and not strictly dnb either. It easily crosses over into the next category…

Breakcore

Here we have Ruby my Dear of course with his latest Balloon album. Then there’s Venetian Snares, as always, who not only released Your Face this year but also put up the awesome Thank Your For Your Consideration after fans stepped up when Snares hit a rough patch and could use some extra cash. Sissy Growl and Burgershot are my favorite tracks of 2015 for sure.

Mo breackore? Aww yiss. How about YabaiKore! from the Japanese breakcore collective the Ragga Terror Front. Some really wicked sick stuff in there. Totally worth a listen.

Hardcore techno

Here I have 2 podcasts/radio shows to point out, full of all the hardcore goodness you’d want. First there’s the PRSPCT Recordings radio episodes on Soundcloud. Awesome guests, “great” interviews and quite some nonsense in there. And smashing kicks of course.
We can’t leave without mentioning The Outside Agency podcasts as well. Not quite as frequent but that just makes them all the better.

Hope you find your type of beats and bass in here.
Enjoy the holidays, have a happy NY and see you back in 2016!

Photo by Martin Fisch, cc-licensed.

new ruby my dear album balloon

Ruby My Dear "Balloon" album coverWriting a music review is both hard and kinda pointless. It’s music after all and as long as you don’t listen to it you can read all the text you want but you still won’t know what the hell it sounds like.
So I won’t be copying the info from the press release the lads at Kaometry records where so kind to send me for the latest Ruby My Dear release “Balloon“.

Instead I can say that it’s pretty damn solid breakcore album true to the style Ruby My Dear has developed over the years.
If you like his earlier work like the awesome Ginko EP or his earlier Doc Colibri exploits, you’ll love this one too. If his music is new to you but you like things from electronica artists like Aphex Twin, Venetian Snares or even a slice of Squarepusher, you’ll probably find this a treat as well.

So go check out the previews on the Kaometry records Soundcloud page. It’s coming out this Monday the 14th of December, so hit your record store and get that vinyl record or digital album full of breakcore goodness!

disabling Dell software without uninstalling

Yes, a cat. Cause it's the internet after all.

You know how it goes. You get this new and shiny computer from big computer company X and with it you don’t only get your OEM licensed Windows OS but also some “super handy” tools X happened to install just for you.

Dell is no different so mine come with Dell Data Vault, Dell SupportAssist and Dell Update Service. All of this is (of course) for your own benefit to update your machine to the latest drivers and blah blah blah, even though anything crucial is sent through Windows update anyway.

The downside is that these things are constantly running and using up your precious CPU and memory, while you’ll probably never need them. Ever. Oh, and they also come with some security vulnerabilities apparently, which is always a good reason to kick their butt.

I don’t know what Dell Data Vault even does and don’t care to either (it’s backup software probably). To make things worse it even causes my system to lag sometimes which I notice as my audio glitches up when that happens. I don’t always listen to breakcore you know, so I do noticed that sometimes.

I also noticed that uninstalling Dell Data Service is pointless as (I think) the Dell UpdateService will just reinstall it. Which sucks.

So I see two options.

  1. Uninstalling all Dell related software. This is kinda drastic and you might want that stuff if you need support after all.
  2. Disable the software and prevent it from starting up altogether.

So how do you stop those services from starting up automatically? Here’s how:

  1. On you desktop, press WindowsKey-R, this brings up the Run prompt.
  2. Type services.msc and hit enter. This brings up the list of services installed on your machine.
  3. Look for the Dell ones in the list.
  4. Open them, one by one, and in the General tab select the startup type “Disabled”.
  5. Hit “OK” to save.

How to disable a service from auto-starting.Note that in the screenshot I’m disabling a completely innocent service per demonstration as I don’t have a Dell machine handy with an English version of Windows on it.

From now on those pesky services won’t be wasting your resources anymore, untill the day you might need them again. All you have to do then is go back into the services console and switch the startup type back to Automatic and save.
Then right-click the services in the list and choose “Start”, or simply reboot the machine.

But we’re not quite there yet. There’s still the case of PCDoctor and the SupportAssist client. Those sneaky startups are hidden in the scheduled tasks. You can disable them using the Task Scheduler like this:

  1. Press WinKey-R and type Taskschd.msc, press enter.
  2. In the list of scheduled tasks in the root node you’ll see a “Dell SupportAssistAgent AutoUpdate” or something similar.
  3. Right click the task and choose “Disable”.
  4. Repeat for any other Dell tasks in there.

They don’t all have “Dell” in their name, but if you check the Action tab below the path to the executable will give them away (like in the screenshot). In my case I had some additional PCD (PC Doctor) tasks and one SystemToolsDailyTest task to disable.

Another good tool to disable scheduled tasks if from the CCleaner tools menu, or by using the SysInternals Autoruns tool.The name of the task doesn't tell, but the path to the executable does indicate it's a piece of Dell software.

This worked for me, but as is mostly the case with things you find on the internet… use this info wisely and at your own risk. ;)

Photo by Massimo Regonati, cc-licensed.

chocolatey package update quick reference

gingerbread2011_18

Chocolatey rocks when it comes to updating a bunch of installed software from the command line. If you’re not doing that often however it can be hard to remember exactly what commands you can use to do that quickly. So here’s a little run-down on the most helpful commands when you are updating your system.

First you might want to check what’s installed on your machine.
You can get the list of the local package Chocolatey installed like this:

chocolatey list -localonly

or in short:

clist -localonly

To check if any package have updates available, we can run the update all statement, but not quite for real yet. By adding the -whatif switch, Chocolatey only pretends to update:

chocolatey update all -whatif

or:

cup all -whatif

Ready to update all packages at once? Nice. So let’s disable those confirmation prompts while we’re at it too by adding the -y switch.

chocolatey update all -y

or

cup all -y

Photo by elidr, cc-licensed.

disable javascript in firefox without plugins

This is one for the “it’s easy once you know” category.
In recent versions of Firefox the option to turn off JavaScript had apparently disappeared from the options. Recently I found out where those sneaky Mozilla devs have hidden this handy feature.

In the Firefox menu, go to Tools > Web Developer > Toggle Tools, or use the CTRL-I shortcut key to activate the developer tools side-panel. Once active you see one of those typical cog-wheel icons in the upper right corner showing the settings when you click it.
In those settings, scroll down to the Advanced Settings and flick the “Disable Javascript” check-box. Voila. JS is now disabled for your debugging purposes.

The “Disable Cache” option right above it is also a handy one if you are working on a page. It beats having to hit CTRL-F5 all the time anyway.

The disable JavaScript option in the developer tools settings.

If you want an easier way to control this, store settings per site and things like that, you’re better off installing the NoScript plugin. There’s a reason this option is hidden in the developer tools after all.

noisia does radio and it’s awesome

Oh yessss. The Dutch lads from Noisia are doing their own weekly Noisia Radio show of sorts and they are putting it on Soundcloud for free streaming and download. As you can expect from these guys it’s stuffed with great drum’n’bass, bass music, dubstep, electro, techno, game music… you name it (no not trance of course, who would do that anyway).

In the show they play old stuff, new stuff and basically all sorts of stuff they like. The mix of different styles makes it a sweet listen while you’re working or commuting, or whatever. It’s great to find out about some new tracks, links to free tracks from other producers on Soundcloud etc.

They are at episode 6 already by now, so get over there before you’re way behind on this like the uncool kids!

Go, go, go!