Lenovo System Update breaks Windows Update

Monday, August 29, 2011 

An unfortunate series of events afflicted my poor Lenovo W500. At some point I started to get odd errors and ran sfc /scannow and found a large set of uncorrectable errors in a variety of packages. Nothing caused me too much trouble, so I ignored it. I kept hoping some giant windows update would overwrite all the broken bits and save me the trouble of debugging it, so I was happy when Win 7 Service Pack 1 was finally available – at 70-400MB it has to overwrite just about everything, but my happiness was short lived.

windows update broken.PNG

sfc scannow fail.PNG

Sadness… somewhere in the preamble updates something got hosed and a check of my disk showed bad blocks. Chkdisk confirmed it and it seemed a failing disk was likely the cause of many of my woes. I strapped as many belts and suspenders around the disk as I could – windows backup, clonezilla, copying files. Clonezilla couldn’t read all the blocks, so I had to use the recover option, but that version still had problems. Dang.

Windows recovery was fail, rollback, in place upgrade, system restore. All fail. Fine. Life sucks – reinstall from scratch and then reinstall all my applications. This is a huge pain in the ass, but windows just get sluggish in a year or so without a complete reinstall anyway; it isn’t like Microsoft cares whether you can get your work done or not, what are you going to do? Pay 100% style premium so The Steve can dictate what you can do? When choosing one evil empire over another, pick the cheapest.

So I do a reinstall from scratch. Windows reinstalls more than a few weeks out from the release of the OS are a monumental undertaking as the updates take forever. Bringing a windows 7 computer up to date takes between 1-1.5GB of updates, after installing a DVD’s worth of software. There’s the endless reboots as patches are installed and removed and whatever, multi-hour downloads. But eventually, you get a perfect, up-to-date OEM blessed configuration. Or so you think… duh duh duh.

I finished the whole mess, including the Lenovo System Update drivers and windows update stopped working and sfc /scannow gave me errors. Crappenfest. Reverting to the first system snapshot failed, uninstalling every single thing – all windows updates, all Lenovo updates was fail. Whatever did this can’t be fixed after it is done. You’re screwed.

Nothing to do but try again from scratch, this time paying attention and not using the computer at all until everything was installed, including anti-virus. Another 36 hours of updates later, same result. CRAPPENFEST.

How could that be? Some OEM/M$ update is breaking the system, and so began the hunt: reinstall from scratch #3. I used a binary search algo, saving disk images between each iteration so I wouldn’t have to do install from scratch 4. All windows update updates were fine, so the problem was with Lenovo. Updating only essential components was fail, restore windows. Installing just the really important bits one or two at a time (not quite binary splitting the install batch) got me through about half the useful lenovo updates, so time to create an image.

Reviewing the Device Manager, I saw 5 “?” devices – and searching around I found they were related to 3 drivers:

4-in-1 Card reader
Setup from “4in1” folder

  • Base system device Ricoh Memory Stick controller
  • Base system device Ricoh SD/MMC host controller
  • Base system device Ricoh XD- picture card controller

the above 3 unknown devices in device manager will be resolved by the Ricoh cardreader drivers.

Turbo Memory
Some models may or may not have a turbo memory module.
To verify, open “device manager” and check for a unknown device listed as “PCI Memory Controller”.
If such a device is listed, then install the Turbo Memory driver via setup from “turbomem” folder.
You may see a hardware device install popup from systray.
Reboot is required.

If Intel’s Adaptive Management Technology is implemented in anenterprise enviroment, then the AMT drivers can be installed viasetup from the “AMT\MEI” folder.
If AMT is not employed, AMT can be disabled via Bios.
The drivers from the AMT setup will resolve the unknown devices within “device mananger”, the PCI Simple Communications Controller.

I install just those.


recover using windows system recovery tools (format disk, reinstall from image)

One of those three. AMT I don’t want anyway, so I tried to disable it in BIOS, but there were no entries in my BIOS for AMT so I just disabled it in device manager. ?->! np. I don’t trust it, too deep in the OS. This seems like the problem.

Install Ricoh, seems benign. Reboot, system works. Just Turbo Memory to go.

Turbo Memory is kind of cool, especially for a laptop. As Intel says:

The benefits of Intel Turbo Memory include:

  • Faster application load and run time when multi-tasking
  • Faster boot time
  • Lowers PC power consumption by reducing hard drive spin

It uses some special on the mobo Intel cache memory to speed up disk access like a hybrid SSD/Rotating disk. I want this to work ’cause it cost money to put in the computer. Since it had to be that evil AMT security thing, no problem. FAIL. The problem is Intel’s Turbo Memory driver. If you install it, you’re screwed. Now that I know what the problem is, I find I’m not the only one with it.

I tried both the Lenovo supplied Turbo Memory Driver and the Intel supplied one here . Both are fail. No Turbo Memory For You. There are some hints in forums that maybe Turbo Memory isn’t compatible with advanced format disk drives, so possibly replacing my older 500GB disk with a newer 700GB uncovered a latent incompatibility.

Given how much of a disaster installing it is–the only recovery method is to restore a previous disk image–I suppose that’s one feature of my MoBo that is obsolete now. Bummer. Ate just about a week of work time to find this little monster of a driver. Thanks WinTel.

(my sfc /scannow log was filled with entries like:

POQ 119 starts: 0: Move File: Source = [l:192{96}]"\SystemRoot\WinSxS\Temp\PendingRenames\a52557019366cc01d63500006c0a3c08._0000000000000000.cdf-ms", Destination = [l:104{52}]"\SystemRoot\WinSxS\FileMaps\_0000000000000000.cdf-ms" 1: Move File: Source = [l:162{81}]"\SystemRoot\WinSxS\Temp\PendingRenames58759019366cc01d73500006c0a3c08.$$.cdf-ms", Destination = [l:74{37}]"\SystemRoot\WinSxS\FileMaps\$$.cdf-ms" 2: Move File: Source = [l:224{112}]"\SystemRoot\WinSxS\Temp\PendingRenames58759019366cc01d83500006c0a3c08.$$_microsoft.net_3296b36dbe4c7fa3.cdf-ms", Destination = [l:136{68}]"\SystemRoot\WinSxS\FileMaps\$$_microsoft.net_3296b36dbe4c7fa3.cdf-ms" 3: Move File: Source = [l:244{122}]"\SystemRoot\WinSxS\Temp\PendingRenames\c6495e019366cc01d93500006c0a3c08.$$_microsoft.net_framework_83386eac0379231b.cdf-ms", Destination = [l:156{78}]"\SystemRoot\WinSxS\FileMaps\$$_microsoft.net_framework_83386eac0379231b.cdf-ms" 4: Move File: Source = [l:266{133}]"\SystemRoot\WinSxS\Temp\PendingRenames\26ab60019366cc01da3500006c0a3c08.$$_microsoft.net_framework_v2.0.50727_e9368840261e60ee.cdf-ms", Destination = [l:178{89}]"\SystemRoot\WinSxS\FileMaps\$$_microsoft.net_framework_v2.0.50727_e9368840261e60ee.cdf-ms" 5: Move File: Source = [l:288{144}]"\SystemRoot\WinSxS\Temp\PendingRenames\860c63019366cc01db3500006c0a3c08.$$_microsoft.net_framework_v2.0.50727_redistlist_2e6ab8b35e9ef953.cdf-ms", Destination = [l:200{100}]"\SystemRoot\WinSxS\FileMaps\$$_microsoft.net_framework_v2.0.50727_redistlist_2e6ab8b35e9ef953.cdf-ms"

POQ 119 ends.

Posted at 17:12:45 UTC

Category: Negativetechnology

Rsync corrupted MAC on input

Saturday, August 27, 2011 

I am migrating my FreeNAS 7.x to a 8.x, which means copying the ZFS tank as there isn’t a tool for migrating the disks right now and upgrading them to the version of ZFS in 8.x. Kind of a pain in the butt that was made worse by the endless recurrence of an error like:

Received disconnect from xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx: 2: Packet corrupt
rsync: writefd_unbuffered failed to write 4 bytes to socket [sender]: Broken pipe (32)
rsync: connection unexpectedly closed (23734 bytes received so far) [sender]
rsync error: unexplained error (code 255) at io.c(601) [sender=3.0.7]

or something like:

Disconnecting: Packet corrupt
rsync: connection unexpectedly closed (581052724 bytes received so far) [receiver]
rsync error: error in rsync protocol data stream (code 12) at io.c(601) [receiver=3.0.8]
rsync: connection unexpectedly closed (202 bytes received so far) [generator]
rsync error: unexplained error (code 255) at io.c(601) [generator=3.0.8]

I figured my 7.x install had to be fine as I’ve been RSYNCing my server to it without error for about a year now, so the problem had to be in the new box and poking around for “packet corrupt rsync” on google was turning up a lot of *shrug* maybe bad RAM or a bad NIC. Hmmm… I tried command line push and pull from both boxes via SSH to see if I could get better results, no luck: a few files would transfer, maybe 10 seconds, maybe 5 minutes, then blop, bad packet, broken pipe, oh so informative “unexplained error” at io.c, start over. No way I was going to be able to transfer 3.5 TB 100MB at a time.

Finally I found this and checked the lovely graphical status monitor on the FreeNAS 7 box. It has 4GB of RAM, whichhas been plenty so far, but looking at the graph it was using about 95% of that memory. It had been up for 59 days so I was reluctant to reboot it, I mean uptime is a competition after all. But I took a dive and rebooted. Now, even with CIFS/SAMBA cranking some backup files simultaneously, RSYNC is running flawlessly at a nice steady 300mb/s, apparently limited by CPU (seems to be single threaded, maxing out one CPU and leaving the other idle, hmmm… problem for another day). I feel bad for doubting my FreeNAS 8 box, it was never the problem.

So if you’re getting RSYNC problems consider rebooting the server to free up RAM or even upgrading. The new box will have 12-16GB, which is about what is recommended for ZFS (1GB/TB) and things are looking pretty good. My RSYNC was running just -a –progress, no resource intensive -z option.

Posted at 00:24:53 UTC

Category: FreeBSDtechnology

Cambridge Morning

Wednesday, August 17, 2011 

Breakfast in the euphonic Wolf Abdias and Stanley Esdras Jules Square

Posted at 05:39:23 UTC

Category: placestravel

Is it time to leave FaceBook

Tuesday, August 16, 2011 

So somebody added me to a FaceBook group – I haven’t yet looked into how, but facebook lets me opt out later (rather than opt in) which means I’m getting dozens of messages a day and I’ll have to get around to unsubscribing when I can.

Wow…. this is amazing. Somebody you don’t like? Subscribe them to high volume facebook groups. Their inboxes will fill with random crap. That’s awesome – other people can put you in a group and you have to opt out. That’s even better than G+ leaking “circle” names; fortunately, I read about that one before populating my “annoying morons I follow only because I have to for business reasons” circle. Now where are those “Fans of Pedobear” and “10% For Al Queda” groups? Lets see how long it takes to get all the FaceBook employees on the no fly list.

Seems like Facebook is responding badly to the perceived pressure from G+ (isn’t that dead yet?). I have no idea how long the groups opt out has been in place, but one of my favorite recent moves is the mobile snarf function whereby your facebook mobile app scrapes your mobile phone directory to populate everyone’s mobile phone numbers in their database and then default suggest that direct messages be sent to mobile devices. If nothing else convinced people that facebook messaging is a horrible substitute for email, this should.

This is a great example of why putting information in the “cloud” means ceding all control to entities who’s motivations may not align with yours. Facebook has decided that their best interests are served by snarfing mobile numbers, running up phone bills, and stuffing inboxes and there’s nothing you can do but write a whiny letter. They have your data on their hardware, so they own it.

Posted at 14:46:01 UTC

Category: technologyvanity sites

PHP default Lat Lon

Saturday, August 13, 2011 

Odd choice for the default lat/lon in php.ini

Posted at 02:14:29 UTC

Category: FreeBSDtechnology

All Your Virus Are Belong To Us

Thursday, August 11, 2011 

There’s an article in PLoS one (cited from /.) by some MIT Lincoln Lab researchers (Go Beavers!) published under the title “Broad-Spectrum Antiviral Therapeutics.” Typically the media reports of such articles vastly overstate the claims in the paper to make exciting headlines, but in this case the reports seem fair to modest.

If the approach they are describing, Double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) Activated Caspase Oligomerizer (DRACO), works as well as in vitro tests and mouse tests indicate so far, viral infections could be as easy to manage as bacterial infections have been since antibiotics. Basically DRACO is a compound that can be introduced into a mouse (and very likely a person) infected with a virus or prophylactically in advance of risk of viral infection. Any infected cells will die within 24 hours. DRACO remains active for about 8 days and has prophylactic value when administered up to 6 days in advance of infection.

Posted at 01:34:02 UTC

Category: technology

Yard Berries are Fruiting

Wednesday, August 10, 2011 

The urban blackberries and raspberries are starting to fruit.

Posted at 11:57:36 UTC

Category: Geopostphoto


Sunday, August 7, 2011 

I’m sure it tastes fine, but don’t Google the name.
Posted at 00:10:34 UTC

Category: funnyphoto

Gaylords coffee puppy

Wednesday, August 3, 2011 

Posted at 16:31:03 UTC

Category: photo