Sunday, March 27, 2022

Resolving Some Technical Difficulties

I have some computer issues to deal with, so I've got nothing else. 

This is a Windows 10 computer and I'm perpetually annoyed enough with 10 that I've felt no urges to upgrade to 11.  Pay them to torture me?  Is it gambling that 11 will annoy me more, or is it a mortal lock certainty it's going to annoy me more?

I try to remember to backup the drives on this computer weekly onto a local backup hard drive, a Western Digital "My Cloud" Network Attached Storage (NAS) which is within arm's reach, not to somebody else's computer (AKA - 'the cloud').  Windows 10 kept the completely serviceable Windows 7 backup and restore utility, so I've been running that for around five years.  It doesn't take long, and today it barfed for the first time ever.  It gave me an error message, "Backup encountered a problem while backing up file D:\Misc\. Error:(STATUS_WAIT_2 (0x80070002))," which told me absolutely nothing except that something went wrong.  Where I'd expect it to tell me which file failed, I see no filename, just a period (dot).  When I went to look at the D:\Misc directory to see if I could figure out what file it had trouble with, the entire directory was gone off this computer. 

The longer version of that story is that there are actually two backups on the My Cloud drive, one that I did by just copying every directory and every file from this computer to the network backup drive, and a totally different backup that Windoze creates on the backup drive.  The ones I copied are completely readable, while the Windows backup is compressed in some way into one giant file to save space.  The drawback to Windows' backup is that the backup isn't readable by humans.  That meant I couldn't check it to see if the D:\Misc directory was there in today's backup at all.  I looked at the backup I created and the D:\Misc directory was there, but the most recent files on there were from December of 2020. 

I could copy that directory from the My Cloud over to this computer, but it wouldn't be up to date.  How different was the one in the Windows backup?  For the first time ever, I tried to use the restore part of the Backup and Restore tools.  I was able to use the backup that Windows created last weekend to restore that directory.  The files are pretty much the same dates as my old backup except for the latest ten, which are dated from January of  '21 up to last weekend and not 12/20.  I typically run the backup routine weekly on Sunday, but it moves a day or so either way.

Why did Windoze Backup screw up my hard drive and how can I keep it from doing it again?  I have no idea.  So now I'm trying to understand it.

From the Podcast Macabre.


  1. Good luck. I stopped at Win 7, when they stopped supporting it I took my main desktop machine over to Fedora Linux. Thing is, though, my needs aren't complex and I can run everything that I need to in the Linux environment (still have a workbench Win 7 laptop for Windows specific programs).

  2. I feel you pain. The wife has a Windows 10 box without a Windows account so she gets the constant nag messages. I have used Win 10 in a business environment and it is crap. I am running a Win 8 laptop that is on its last legs as the cheap plastic holding it together keeps breaking or popping apart. It is living on hot glue and super glue. I am overdue for a full backup and I have been getting backup errors for a few months. I am living on borrowed time with this box. I am looking at a convertible pad but I owe just over a grand in taxes and I need to update my glasses prescription.

  3. I'm running Win10 on a number of my machines. After my main machine (Win7 upgraded from XP upgraded from 98se upgraded from 95) got so munged up that it wouldn't update, I switched to Win10. I found that SFC /scannow worked a treat.

    This site explains:

    I also run:
    DISM.exe /online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth
    (both in a batch file) about every week or two.

    May this help.

    1. I've been to "" before but it didn't occur to me until you said this, so thanks. That DISM routine sounds like a very good idea. I'll get back to this later today. Naturally, it has made me suspicious of the entire backup, and whether individual files had been lost or barfed up over the years.

      I suppose the ironic part is that I had been thinking for a while that since those backup directories I did manually are very outdated, I should just blow them away and make some more room on the NAS. After the oddity with the Windows 7 backup/restore utility, maybe I have that backwards and I should just backup everything manually with a (more or less) "copy D:*.* F:" and let it run all day if it wants.

  4. Windows 11 will certainly annoy you. I bought a new-to-me computer a month ago, and it came win W11. I tried it for a few hours, then wiped it and installed Linux. (The Linux install and customization took about a quarter of the time it took to get W11 running on a computer that already had it pre-installed.) I'm not going back to an OS that feels the need to change everything just for the sake of change, spies on everything I do, and shows me ads in the file manager.

    Plus, Linux has various backup aps that you can actually inspect, which generally add an option to restore from backup at system boot.

    1. This is really apropos for both you, McChuck, and bd after you, but I have been down the road of trying to replace Windows with Linux, but not seriously down that road in years. I have a small handful of programs that I use for my design hobbies (CAD, CAM, radio electronics, and such) that just aren't available for Linux, and the emulators didn't do well. That could be all better now.

      Yeah, I go all the way back to MSDOS 2.something. The thing that annoys me the most about Windows 10 is that I have three machines around the house that I call mine. Same user name, same password, and every machine insists on wanting to be everything in my life. Every machine wants to pair with my Android phone, every machine wants access to my microphone and camera. I don't even have any one of those. You'd think an operating system could take a look at what it's actually controlling and realize there is no camera or microphone.

      The one that nearly drove me nuts was that each computer has a different desktop picture, and the first time one of them suddenly changed the picture to the one on this computer it really upset me. "Who told you I wanted to do that?" I had never copied the picture off this computer onto any other computer anywhere, so how did it get it? It took a long, deep search of that computer to even find the picture and delete it. Yeah, that computer is on the WiFi network that ties to this computer not by WiFi but by Ethernet, but how does it decide that it can get that picture and how can it get that file without using the network logon, which I've never used on it? Again, it had to connect to this computer, find that picture, and copy it to itself. All without my approval.

      The second time it did that, copying the picture to the third computer, it took me less time to get rid of it, but it still annoyed me.

      The philosophy of Windows is always, "we know what you want better than you do; you're just a stupid-ass user."

  5. I've used Microsoft operating systems from DOS up to Windows 10 and have had issues with EVERY SINGLE ONE. I went over to the dark side (Apple) years ago and have really had no problems at all. I still have Win 7 and Win 10 machines, play around with multiple version of Linux and mess around with various OS's in multiple VM environments. My 10 year old Mac Pro remains my primary system. Even though this machine continues to do everything I really need it to do, I do plan to purchase a new Mac this year since the decade old Mac Pro hardware will not support the latest Mac OS's.

    In regards to NAS devices, I started way back when with a Buffalo LinkStation, then "upgraded" to a WD MyCloud which was a performance dog and not very user-friendly (in my opinion). I recently upgraded to a Synology DS920+ and am amazed at the difference. I back up my Mac Pro drives 1 and 2 to a third internal drive as well as to the 920 using Time Machine. The 920 also gets backups from any other machine I have on my LAN as I see fit.

    I don't work for either Apple or Synology. I'm just a retired telecommunications guy that fools around with computers and radios.

  6. You know, that's a funny thing about backup systems: when they screw up just once you never trust them again.

    Learned how to hate them back in the days of tape. We would religiously run backups on our engineering computers every couple of days, and they appeared to work fine...until we actually tried to read one of the tapes and discovered missing bits all over the place.

    After that, we didn't bother. We just made copies of everything on another hard drive, and two copies if we were really paranoid about something valuable. In this modern life, cheap thumb drives make this method simple, reliable, and painless. Just saying.

  7. Trying to get Windows to work can be a short-term win, but is always a long-term loss. This is just like trying to get government to work, and for the same 'concentrated-benefits beats dilute-costs' reasons. I once saw a rant written by a conservative about 60 years of 'each election I voted for president Y who was slightly less bad than president Y, and now here I am'. Similarly, 2022-1981 = 41, and the Linux-native replacement programs are just as far away as they ever were because the paying users have been paying for Windows versions the whole time. Soon, humans will be on Mars and getting blue screens of human death from life support equipment. Has someone drawn Tux in a bubble helmet yet?

    Xenix is a discontinued version of the Unix operating system for various microcomputer platforms, licensed by Microsoft from AT&T Corporation in the late 1970s. The Santa Cruz Operation (SCO) later acquired exclusive rights to the software, and eventually replaced it with SCO UNIX (now known as SCO OpenServer).

    In the mid-to-late 1980s, Xenix was the most common Unix variant, measured according to the number of machines on which it was installed. Microsoft chairman Bill Gates said at Unix Expo in 1996 that, for a long time, Microsoft had the highest-volume AT&T Unix license.

  8. If all else fails, the new version of "reset this PC" with the "Save My Data" option works pretty well. (I did this in February because the issues were getting annoying.) There is a minimum update version (21H2 or something) before this is an option.

    Then of course you have to reinstall everything that is not Microsoft. They did give me a handy HTML file of what wasn't installed, making that easier than it could have been)

    The official Win 10 backup is different from Win 7 - in what way I cannot say.

    Here's a link to my Windows 10 Refresh - After Action Report

  9. It may not have been backup that screwed things up. Every Update Tuesday introduces a chance to screw things up. Which is why MS worked so hard on the "lets make it easy to fix this mess" via the Windows refresh.

    If you haven't reinstalled Windows in 5 years... Well, I hadn't waited that long and I was overdue in Feb.

    I would make sure you have a backup of all your files - not the operating system - before you try.

    And I did mine specifically before I started on taxes, just in case something went wrong.

    Failing that there is a procedure to download a new copy of the OS from Microsoft and reinstall. That WILL format your drive, though maybe not the D: drive

    Best of luck. You need luck when dealing with Windows...

    As for Win11 - they have added ads into the OS, because they can.

    My next stop is some flavor of Linux. I know a lot of the HAM software is Windows-only but for what I am doing everything is available for Linux

    1. Reminds me of that Win 3.1-era joke about what's the difference between Windows and a virus? You don't have to reinstall the virus over and over.

      This computer just turned two back in December, so the installation is pretty short of five years. It doesn't have much on it. C: with all the program files and Windows itself is an SSDD, about 50% full, while the big main storage drive is a 1TB hard drive, out of which I'm using 150 GB.

      I do have annoyances with its behavior besides being Windows and pestering me about things I don't care about or like the way they are. Every time I go to start my email program (Thunderbird) it warns me I don't have an email program installed and once I click on the box acknowledging that, it dutifully opens the program it just said I didn't have.

      There's a lot of ham software for Linux now. I use one that's Windoze only - Ham Radio Deluxe and it's even pay by the year (which I always avoid). The last time I spent a month or so trying to get along without Windows and just use Linux, there were a couple of things that I couldn't get a replacement for. That was in early '16, though, so things might have changed.

  10. Sorry I have no solutions; only best wishes for you.:(

  11. Hrmm... used to be you required a login to comment?

    First off, for me, Wine is a dead end. Maybe it works OK for some things, but I tried it again about 6 months ago and it still just sucked for my purposes. IIRC, what I tried was the Anytone CPS. It functioned, but font rendering and focus issues made it unbearable to use. I never did find out whether it could access the USB/tty port.

    For backups, my go-to on Windoze boxen, back when I had to worry about that, was SyncBackFree, from 2BrightSparks. It works by synchronizing changed files over to you backup device. Once you get your backup source and target directories set up and the initial copy done, it's very quick. Restoring is simply a matter of copying files from the "clone" area. It'll sync files both ways, if you want it to. My only gripe about it was that even after I labeled the "left" and "right" panes to "source" and "destination", it changed the names right back to left/right. Lots of options for things like syncing deletes or not, and a time frame for how long to keep deleted files in the clone copy.


    1. Hrmm... used to be you required a login to comment?

      Not me. Not that I know of. Which isn't to say Google Blogger didn't do that on its own; it's not like the mere users have control over much of this.

      I've run the utilities from Microsoft mentioned above and the first one found (sfc /scannow) found a bunch of issues. It said it was able to repair them all. I'm trying to determine if that makes any difference.

  12. Some of the Windows programs will run in Wine inside Linux. For those that won't, I have setup a virtual Windows machine to run within Linus (Linux Mint). The software for programming my TK-790 will run within Wine.

    The newer versions of Linux Mint are much better than the older versions from two or more years ago.