Thursday 25 October 2012

Restore Office Accounting 2009 on Windows 8 and SQL communication error

A Windows 7 PC that had been happily running Office Accounting 2009 refused to boot and couldn't be repaired, although all the files could be accessed ok by slaving the hard drive off another PC.

Just to make matters interesting, the replacement PC is Windows 8. I installed SQL Express 2008 (with loads of warnings about compatibility - just agree and make sure you load SQL 2008 SP3).

When I tried to restore an accounting backup it failed with SQL communication errors. Typically;

A network-related or instance-specific error occurred while establishing a connection to SQL Server. The server was not found or was not accessible. Verify that the instance name is correct and that SQL Server is configured to allow remote connections. (provider: Named Pipes Provider, error: 40 - Could not open a connection to SQL Server)

Also tried creating a new accounting database and got the same SQL error about not being able to communicate.

I ran through the standard procedures for enabling remote access to SQL and ensuring the SQL protocols were setup correctly. Thanks to Beth Massi for a really helpful article about installing SQL Management Studio. But still no luck.

I eventually tracked it down to the Office Accounting Data Tools (remember to Run as Admin), look in Settings and there was a blank entry for the SQL instance name. I updated to SQLEXPRESS to match the instance name installed earlier (you can see it in the Control Panel > Programs list or any of the SQL tools) and communication was established.

I was then able to restore a backup ok.

Also able to copy the SBD and SBL files over from the old drive and use the Data Tools > Advanced Tools > Attach Data File to reconnect the latest Office Accounting database so we didn't lose any transactions since the previous backup. That's covered in Microsoft's move accounting database article. Worth noting that the Data Tools now list the SQL instance as MSSMLBIZ

Tuesday 26 June 2012

Intel 330 SSD in Dell Latitude D830 with Windows XP needs AHCI not ATA mode

Just fitted a 120GB Intel SSD model 330 into a 3yr old Dell Latitude D830 running Windows XP Pro. The drive imaged over and loaded ok (although I wasn't able to use the Intel Data Migration Software - it crashed on install). Imaged it with some third party software instead and a cheap USB SATA adapter.

I noticed the boot time wasn't improved as dramatically as I'd expected. Ran the AS SSD Benchmark test and some of the figures were on the low side, especially the 4K-64Thrd Read value of 17.26MBps. But it did remind me in the top left that the controller was using the BAD old PCIIDE driver (dated 2006) and so wasn't in AHCI mode.

Switching ATA to AHCI isn't straightforward, however check out the post from kent1146 here.

This method worked perfectly, even down to the identical Intel 82801HEM/HBM SATA AHCI controller. I used the current Intel Matrix Manager 8.9 download (note Rapid Storage Technology isn't compatible).

After rebooting back in AHCI mode, the AS SSD Benchmark came in at 103MBps for the same test - now thats more like it. And boot time is rapid.

Tuesday 10 April 2012

Windows 7 Devices and Printers icons take forever / missing

Had this on a Win 7 Pro desktop PC in an SBS 2011 network. Couldn't print from Outlook or Excel reliably. Then spotted Devices and Printers appearing to hang.
Starting BlueTooth and disabling AV made no difference. Cleared temp files and ran chkdsk, no luck. Same problem when logging in as a different user with admin rights.
Finally tracked it down to corrupt System Restore. In Control Panel > System > System Protection there were two entries for C: drive, one listed as off and one listed as missing. Click Configure for the missing one and turn it off. Then click Configure for the remaining C: drive and turn System Restore back on, allocate 5% disk space (or similar).
Did a reboot to be sure and the Devices and Printers was working ok again.
Some more info at TechArena about corrupt system restore and error 0x8007007b 

Saturday 21 January 2012

Lenovo Z370 laptop Atheros AR9285 wireless not connecting to networks

Strange problem with two identical Lenovo Z370's (well one pink, one black). The pink one always connects, the black one sometimes fails to connect - it just reports a generic connection failed error. Tried reinstalling drivers, deleting wireless settings, removing anti-virus/security.

It also fails on other wireless networks, so its not down to the router. Both laptops had dentical drivers - the AR9285 v9.1.0.314 dated 12 Aug 2010 (Windows 7 64 bit) which is the latest that Lenovo list for that model. I also tried imaging the laptop from pink to black - but same problem, which started me thinking it was a hardware fault.

However before I went down that route I spotted an updated HP driver for the AR9285, which seemed to go as high as for the EliteBook 6930p. Having a good search around the Lenovo site uncovered a dated 24 Nov 2010 for a Lenovo G470 (also available for the IdeaPad Z570)
I had to run the installer twice (first time uninstalls) and then the laptop connected immediately.

Wireless connects reliably now.

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