A replacement for Jasc Image Robot?

xnconvert-win-01Had an email recently from a reader

I found your page on Google (Jasc Image Robot – October 2009) and was just wondering if you still have Image Robot or if you know where I can get a copy of it?

No, and no.

But a quick look at Google shows that XnConvert might do what they want.  It will read 500+ image formats, and output to 100+ formats.   

And it’s freeware.

I also briefly looked at Advanced Batch Image Convertor, but the two problems I had with it were that a) it won’t read PaintShop Pro images (PSP) and b) only 5 export formats.

“Have you ever noticed that pictures that have been synced into an iPod, an iPhone or an iPad cannot be accessed nor copied back to a computer?”

DiskAid Or if you delete files on your computer by mistake, and want to retrieve your backup copy from your iPhone/iPad, you find you can’t.

A little program called DiskAid will let you retrieve those photos.  It saved me from losing about 900 photos today, so I’m very happy with it.  The function to copy photos is available in the “free” version of DiskAid.  The registered version allows you to additionally copy music, videos, SMS texts and other data.

Can’t find script engine “VBScript” for script

A user reported the following issue on Windows 7:
Can't find script engine "VBScript" for script

As it turns out, the user had deleted the McAfee Anti-virus program directory.  No mean feat in itself.  Which in turn led to the error message above when the user logged on.

So I knew McAfee was probably the cause.

When McAfee AV installs, it replaces the registry entry for vbscript.dll with scriptsn.dll.  When the user deleted the Mcfee directory, it deleted scriptsn.dll, which is why it couldn’t find the script engine.

The solution in this case, was to re-install Windows.  Deleting the McAfee directory will cause other problems.  Less desperate solutions can be found in these articles:

What to put in a script to check anti-virus program healthiness

The sort of checks you might want to put into a “PC Health Check” script, for anti-virus program healthiness is as follows

CA eTrust

  1. vet.dat has a recent* modified/created date.
  2. SigCheck is reporting a recent* version of the anti-virus signature file.
  3. PhonHome is reporting that “Phone home successful”
  4. eTrust services are running (at least INORT, INORPC, INOTASK)

McAfee AV client / EPO

  1. avvscan.dat has a recent* modified/created date.
  2. OnAccessScanLog.txt has a recent* modified/created date.
  3. McAfee services are running.

Microsoft Security Essentials

  1. mpavdlta.vdm & mpasdlta.vdm have recent* modified/created date.
    (Microsoft, bless ‘em, hide these files in a subdirectory which changes with each update, under C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Microsoft Antimalware\Definition Updates\)
  2. MSE services are running (at least MSMENG)

What’s this about recent?
In a corporate environment, I would define recent as anywhere from 4 –> 8 days.  This is because most users turn “their” PCs off on Friday night, and turn the PC back on 3 days later (Monday).  And people do go on holidays for at least a weeks duration …

The eTrust SigCheck.exe utility

CA eTrust has a utility called “SigCheck.exe”.  It’s purpose is to display the current version of the eTrust anti-virus definition which is on the local PC.

From a command line, you run it like this:

Sigcheck.exe Vet

Sigcheck will then return the command signature version

Sigcheck Vet version: 37.0.9825
(this was an eTrust AV version from 3 March 2012)

If you were to include the running of Sigcheck.exe into a “PC Health Check” type script, you’d have a quick way of determining whether anti-virus updates were reaching your fleet of PCs.

eTrust command line utilities

asutil.exe Imports subnet information into the ITM Server database.
compver.exe Displays the version of all installed components.
eavdisc.exe Causes a “free election” discovery to occur on the local subnet.
eAVreprt.exe Runs silently to cause reports to be generated.
EnableLogs.exe Turns logs on for CA Customer Support, for debugging purposes.
EnableWinICF.exe Opens all required Windows firewall ports needs for CA eTrust to function.
ITMRT_SupportDiagnostics.exe Diagnostic tool for eTrust Pest Patrol.
phonhome.exe Causes the eTrust client to try and “phone home” to the eTrust policy server.  Often this will resolve policy and update issues to be resolved.
polutil.exe Imports and exports policies.

Source: CA eTrust Implementation Guide – Utilities and Troubleshooting

So you’re missing the MSI source package

It is one of the great annoyances with Roaming Profiles and MSI-based installs, that if you reformat your PC, you can lose the link to your MSI package.  Here’s today’s example:
Missing MSI Source

I got the above dialog box when I tried to install the latest version of AWESync.  Not that it’s an AWESync caused problem, but the lack of the original AWESync 4.9.1 install file.

Now I could grovel around in the registry and manually fix the problem, or I could cheat and fix the problem quickly.

Let’s cheat; and use the Microsoft Windows Installer Cleanup Utility.

But do note the following from Microsoft:

“While the Windows Installer Cleanup utility resolved some installation problems, it sometimes damaged other components installed on the computer. Because of this, the tool has been removed from the Microsoft Download Center.”

We’re all adults here, and since we’re obtained a copy of MSICUU2.exe from elsewhere, let’s continue:

Windows Installer Clean Up

It’s as simple as selecting the package you want to “clean up”, and then clicking Remove.

Windows Installer Clean Up - Warning

Read the warning, and then click OK.

After a minute, the selected program MSI registry keys will be removed, and you’ll be able to install the MSI package you want.

References:
More on Haack’s Troubleshooting Windows MSI Installers
Uninstall without the MSI file

“I recommend we build a tracking database”

18211.strip.print

I am always reminded of this Dilbert cartoon whenever a customer has a large complex problem at work, and some genius suggests “We’ll build a database”.  Or frequently, we’ll implement a replacement database because the old database product is 3 versions behind.

It’s 3 versions behind because we’ve not paid for product maintenance.

Because we’re 3 versions behind, the current database has gotten a bad reputation amongst the customers, and our internal users.

The fix?  We’ll purchase a new database system from a different vendor.  This ensures that much project work will occur, contractors will be able to charge massive daily charge rates and we’ll be all happy as pigs in poo because we’re playing with something new.

(I found this 1996 Dilbert cartoon via the excellent Dilbert Strip Finder website).

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How to select a good anti-virus product

Well, if you didn’t receive emails with viruii attached, or surf to “dubious” websites, you wouldn’t get infected. For the rest of us, we would be looking at either Microsoft Security Essentials, or something which costs money.

Or you’re a corporate customer, who has “business” needs, you’ll be needing to spend money.
If for no other reason that most anti-virus prohibit the use of their “free” products in a commercial setting.

The following are the questions I ask myself when I’m looking at an anti-virus product.

Personal use.

  1. Does it have a history of “false positives”?
    False positives are when the anti-virus product detects “good” files as being a virus.
    For personal use I wouldn’t buy Symantec, McAfee or CA eTrust products.
    Far too many false positives for my taste, which I wrote about here.   Heck, McAfee can’t even be bothered to test their product updates against known good Microsoft Windows PCs.
  2. What choices does the product give me if it finds a virus?
    Does it give me the choice to ignore the issue, quarantine the file, or just delete it?
    This is an important point for me, after having had McAfee delete some files I wanted to keep.
  3. Is it from a vendor I trust?
    This is a personal choice, but I wouldn’t ever buy McAfee products.  Ever.
  4. Will it slow down my PC if I install it?
    You used to pay a performance penalty for running an anti-virus product on your desktop.  But not so much now, with computers having gotten faster over the years.
    It is useful to be able to exclude programs from anti-virus monitoring, if you know the program is trustworthly.

For home use, I’d recommend Microsoft Security Essentials.

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Disabling Adobe Flash Player updates

Fast on the feels of the Acrobat Reader post I wrote, Flash Player decided to start annoying the users with

Adobe Flash Player Update - An error has occurred while downloading the installer.  Please make sure you are connected to the internet and try again.

Arghhhhhhhh!

Adobe has a “new” method to disable auto updates.

Long story short, create a mms.cfg file with the following contents:
AutoUpdateDisable=1

and drop it into the %windir%\system32\macromed\flash directory

Much longer Adobe update story here.

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