Explorer bug for shares inside shares

I’ve bought a WD 1TB SATA drive and installed it in an external Welland ME740T case. The case supports connection to firewire, USB2 and eSATA connections. I’ve got it hanging off the HTPC via USB2 and its been working well.

The HTPC shares the drive to my local LAN. A top level share gives me full access to the drive (read/write). Lower level shares are read only, making it slightly safer to access the drive when installing software etc. without inadvertantly creating/deleting files on it.

Unfortuantely doing this has exposed a bug in Explorer under XP. If you are using a top level share to modify a folder that has been shared at a level within the share you are using to access it, then changes made do not update in explorer unless you force a refresh.

The issue is known and apparently there is a hotfix for XP SP3 which I will try soon. And here was I thinking it was because of all the services I’d disabled 🙂

[Edit] MS emailed me a link to the patch, unfortunately the patch did not install under XPSP3, saying that I already had a newer version. Sigh.

The drive failure that wasn’t

I plugged in my 80GB external USB2 2.5″ drive, used for backups,  to be greeted by a nasty sounding beeping/clicking from the drive and its status light cycling on/off. Did not seem good! The same thing happened when I tried it on another PC.

Then I thought to try a different USB to mini-usb cable. Phew, it worked.

I guess fatigue set in on the first cable (that I use every few days to transfer podcasts to my player) and it no longer can provide the juice to spin up the drive.

VMWare network issue with XPSP3 and host shares

Back in September last year when I set up my VM work environment, I’d started using Win2K as the host OS, with the hope of saving as much memory as possible for the guests. As I wrote here, there were a few issues, including one of dropped network connections when doing high bandwidth transfers between the guest and a share mapped from the host.

The problem disappeared when I switched to XP as the host OS but XP SP3 seems to have reintroduced it. Here are the circumstances which causes it:

The host has a network interface with gigabit capabilities but its only connected to a 100mbit hub. You use bridged networking for your guests and map a drive from the host on the guest. You then copy large files to that share. The connection will drop out. I’ve reproduced it on 2 PCs here with XPSP3, with VMWare version 6.01 and 6.03.

What is happening is the guest-to-host transfer is occuring at speeds greater than the physical interface can occur, which is possible since the data doesnt have to actually go out on the physical device. This is now causing the network stack to freak out and drop the connection. It was OK pre SP3.

As I briefly mentioned in my previous post there are several solutions.

I added a second network interface to the guest and set it up to be host only. I then configured vmnet1 on the host to use and the corresponding interface on the guest to (it helps renaming the guest’s network interfaces once you determine which is mapped to which physical interface). In the guest I then created an entry in /windows/system32/drivers/etc/hosts to map my host’s name to the address of the host on the host-only network. Using the host’s name in the guest for shares etc now will be guaranteed to go via the correct virtual interface.

After doing this I used the host Task Manager’s Network window to check the transfer speed for file writes to the host’s share from the guest, this showed about 200mbit/second on the vmnet1 (host only) interface.

I guess given crash issues others are having with XPSP3 (AMD related it seems) I should consider myself lucky if this is the worst issue I have with it.

Swapped Parhelia video card back in

I was getting a crash starting Premiere (some internal quicktime module) and reinstalling it didn’t fix it, so I rolled back to an early image of my system and reinstalled the NVidia drivers. The good news was that Premiere now started but I’d lost access to the QuickZoom feature, which I really need sometimes. It seems it uses the keystone feature but the software no longer enabled that after the reinstall.

Reading on the nvidia forums, its a problem others have and moreover, it explained why my system went so juddery after using the zoom feature – keystone.exe doesn’t unload once loaded. I decided to give up on the NVidia and reinstalled the matrox card. Wow, now I realise what a great 2D card the Matrox is. Smooth, and runs cool.

So I’ve lost my Compiz Fusion cube under linux but as a consolation, the latest 1.4.6 Matrox linux drivers installed without a hitch on the latest kernel.