Windows – File Recovery How To

July 3, 2020

Ever needed to recover a file in the past … ?


First make sure the System Protection is turned on !


Assign enough disk capacity to store the restore points !

The more you assign to more you can go back in time.


Next you can click on a file or a folder and select PREVIOUS VERSIONS tab


When you click OPEN if it is a folder it opens a cmd box ?



This is not so handy… Sad smile




Download the nice NirSoft Utility called ShadowCopyView

This way you can browse through the folders more easily !


Bonus is that you get more folders and snapshot to see than you see in the File Explorer Smile



For a regular user this tool might be overwhelming…


But you can show him or her this option…

In any application where you can see the OPEN button and a drop down option, there is the SHOW PREVIOUS VERSION Smile



Even in older applications like Office 2010 Winking smile


Or you can wait for the latest and greatest Windows 10 version and download the File Recovery Tool

Enjoy !

Windows – Taskkill Error Access denied

May 17, 2018

Just a tip, sometimes when you run taskkill to kill a process you get the “access denied” Error.

Even if you run it with Admin privileges Sad smile

Example :

Taskkill /IM notepad.exe /T /F


Just use the WMIC cmdline tool instead Smile

wmic process where name=’notepad.exe’ delete

Enjoy !

Windows – How to delete Device Drivers

March 28, 2018

At some point I had big issues removing drivers from a Windows system.

After I removed the Watchguard MUVPN client software, I could not get Internet over LAN or WIFI.

You need to remove the NCP driver.

As you can see all the flagged drivers I needed to remove.


But after uninstalling they always came back automatically. Even if I did this in SAFE MODE … ?

Solution :

I used this PowerShell Script to find the incorrect drivers and remove them.

The cmdline utility used was PnPUtil.exe




$x = get-wmiobject Win32_PnpsignedDriver | where {$_.DeviceName -like "*Ncp*" -and $_.InfName -like "*oem*"}

foreach ($InfName in $x){

pnputil -f -d $InfName.InfName

write-host "Deleted - " $InfName.InfName " "$InfName.Friendlyname




If this does not work you can used the this alternative


Make sure you check the DELETE driver software for this device option.

Next do a SCAN Hardware changes and it will install again properly.

More information on how to remove drivers you can find here :


If this still doesn’t work use these steps :

Open the CMD with admin privileges

And run this command to list all Networks Components installed:

netcfg [-v] -s <a|n>
-s\tprovides the type of components to show
\ta == adapters, n == net components
netcfg -s n
shows all installed net components


netcfg -s n


You see that there is a Network Service Installed called *ncpfilt


To delete the Network Component use this command :

netcfg -v -u *ncpfilt


After this the network came online immediately … Smile

Enjoy !

Windows 10 – How to change the Library position in the File Explorer

April 6, 2017

One of the most enervating things I ran into in Windows 10 compare to prior versions, was the position of where the Libraries was in the Windows File Explorer

Before it was on top above “This PC”, now you find in at the bottom Sad smile


This makes you click and scroll like hell !


Open REGET and go for HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{031E4825-7B94-4dc3-B131-E946B44C8DD5}


Change the SORT ORDER form 84 Decimal to 56 RegKey

SortOrderIndex DWORD

54 (hex) = Below This PC
42 (hex) = Above This PC


More Tips  here :

Enjoy !

HP – How to Configure a Managed Switch

July 6, 2015

I recently bought an HP 2920 Managed Switch.

When reading the Quick Startup Guide to process should be simple to get you going ?

1. Connect the Serial to UTP connector to the switch and on the other end to the PC.

First challenge is to find a PC that still has a Serial connector (COM port) ? I found an old XP machine luckily Smile

2. Start up an Telnet session and connect

I used the PuTTY client to connect over the COM Port.


But no result ? Even after changing different settings, no response.



After looking around on the internet I found that the DHCP server on the Switch is set on by default Smile

Aha I plugged in the UTP cable in the Management port (9).


Make sure you don’t use the Console Port (6).

Start up the network scanner


And you will find it in a blink of an eye. Winking smile


From here you have full control over the configuration using the web interface.

Even the HP Manual does not mention this simple procedure anywhere ?

Next Confusing thing was, I finally assigned an fixed IP Address to the switch. But still could not reach it ? Sad smile


The reason is that if the network cable is in the Management Port it is picking up an IP address from the DHCP server in you network.

Even if you have assigned a fixed IP address ?

Solution is just to move the UTP cable out into the regular ports 1 to 48 (or 24 depending on the model you have)

Took me hours to find it.

Very Frustrating Devil

Virtualbox – How to Install version 4.3.26

May 13, 2015

Getting Virtualbox installed on a Windows 7 x64 was not that easy ?

Especially this version 4.3.26


I saw similar issues relating to earlier versions as well on the net.

Here are the fixes :

1st issue was running the installer that ended up in an error, and next did a ‘complete rollback’ in the installed files Sad smile

To fix it follow these steps:

Uninstall Virtualbox

  1. Uninstall Any Virtual Box Network Adaptors from Device Manager


  1. Go into the registry at: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Control\Network
  2. Change “MaxFilters” from 8 to 20 (decimal)”
  3. image
  4. Reboot your PC (I don’t think this is needed but can’t hurt)
  5. Install VirtualBox 4.3.X (Run as Administrator)

After this change the installation ran just fine.

2nd issue

Once installed I got an other error when launching the VM.



First run this command : sc.exe query vboxdrv

If you see that it can’t find the vboxdrv driver, you need to check this registry key :


Check the ImagePath key, and make sure it holds this value

\??\C:\Program Files\Oracle\VirtualBox\drivers\vboxdrv\VBoxDrv.sys


If not change it and run this command as Administrator :

sc start vboxdrv


Once the service is RUNNING all is working fine Smile



Windows – WBADMIN Restore Image & DOUBLE DRIVER Lifesaver

January 20, 2015

Restoring Windows from a previous System Image is normally a piece of cake !

But when most new small size pocket Laptops, which are designed for maximum energy savings and ultra light weight. There are basic components lacking like a DVD drive for example.

As well the introduction of USB 3.0 and SSD drives makes that a set of specific drivers are needed to get you connected to the location of where you saved the System Image.

So here we go, let’s say you saved it to server in your network.

I imagine that you already took your precautions by creating a bootable USB stick to start Windows repair console from.

And made a copy of the drivers when the system was still running ?

A perfect tool for this is Double Driver Backup Portable version.


Once you copied all needed files and drivers to the USB stick you are ready to go.

The procedure looks like this :

Once you are in the System Recovery Console


Select to restore a previous image option.


The problem is that the drivers to connect to special disks or network adapters are not loaded by default.

Even if you click the LOAD DRIVERS in most cases it will not work ?! The screen will stay blank.

Solution :

Loading drivers – using the Command line prompt

In case you don’t have the drivers on the disk, you can download the drivers to an USB disk.

And use the command line tools to load them.

1. Load Drivers

If your network adapter is not included with Windows you need to load the driver using drvload cmd.

Go back in the recovery console to the Command Prompt option.


Type : Drvload Path\driver.inf

Specify the path or use the ‘cd’ command to move to the folder where the .inf is located.

(For HP you can find it in C:\swsetup\ if you want to reimage an existing drive.)


The same goes for USB 3.0 Host Controller and Hub drivers, or SATA controller drivers.

Here are the Intel drivers and the ones from HP

When the drivers are installed, you may need to wake the HDD up by physically disconnecting HDD power and USB the plugging back in.

In case you don’t have a USB 3.0 driver available, you can try to disable it in the BIOS setting and make sure you have the USB Legacy.

An other option I read on the internet was this :

When it ask for the driver hit cancel, you should be brought back to the welcome screen. Now unplug the USB stick and plug it into a different USB port. Then select install again. You should be good after that.

2. Next Initialize WinPE.

To initialize the WinPE type this command :

Start /w wpeinit

3. Check the connection details

After loading the network drivers you can check the connection settings.

Using ipconfig if you have a DHCP server around you should have gotten a correct IP address.

If you want to assign a static address use the netsh command

“netsh interface ipv4 set address name = “<idx>” source=static address=<staticIP> mask=<SubnetMask> gateway=<DefaultGateway>”

If you need to get the INDEX (IDX) of the Interface use this command.

netsh interface ipv4 show interfaces


4. Make a mapping to the drive

Use the Net Use command to map the drive to where the Image is residing on your network.

Example :

Net use \\server\d$ (enter)

next => Domain\user name + password


Remember that you always have to use a UNC path if you are restoring from a network share.

Only when restoring from an USB drive you can use a drive letter.

4. Use the WBAdmin command line tool to restore.

Once you have connection you need to use the WBADMIN command to restore the image.

5. Next check for available backup / Image versions

wbadmin get versions -backuptarget:\\server\share –Machine:HP_PC

If you add the –Machine Parameter you get the versions listed for that PC Name.


6. Restoring the Image Backup

Recover All Volumes – use SYSRECOVERY command

For this cmd you must have the Version Identifier for the next step. So copy it from the previous cmd window (step 5).

Note this basically wipes the drive so be careful when you use the next command.

wbadmin start sysrecovery –backuptarget:\\server\share -machine:HP_PCversion:01/07/2015-11:45 -recreatedisks –restoreallvolumes -quiet

Set back and relax, the image restore process can take a while.

7. Last resort in case of Corrupt Images :

In case this all does not work you can simply get hold of the VHD drives within the Image folders.

Map them as virtual drives and make a new backup from this virtual drives.


The first is to use the Disk Management UI:



  1. Open the Start menu
  2. Right click on Computer and select Manage
  3. Expand Storage and click on Disk Management
  4. Click on the Action menu and select Attach VHD
  5. Enter the Location and name of you virtual hard disk (there is a browse button you can use)
  6. Click OK


To unmount the virtual hard disk you just need to right click on Disk entry for the virtual hard disk and select Detach VHD.

The other option is to use diskpart.  To do this you will need to:

  1. Open up an administrative command prompt.
  2. Run diskpart
  3. Type in SELECT VDISK FILE=insert your VHD file path and name here
  4. Type in ATTACH VDISK

When you are done you can unmount the VHD using the DETACH VDISK command using diskpart.

RAID – Server Down, RAID 5 failing – life saver !

November 5, 2014

Recently I saw that my ClustrMap was not showing up in my blog ?


Next thing when I clicked the link I got redirect to this page.

SUMMARY: Major disk crash affects maps on; a very lengthy (several days) recovery procedure is underway using reliable backups. The original post and updates below are in chronological order, so the latest updates are at the bottom.

[Original post]: We received an alert at 10:15 GMT 1st November 2014 that one of our servers ( was not responding. The means that anyone who has a map on that server (you can tell because the link to your big map begins with www3….) will be experiencing a data outage during this period [no visitor counting], for which we apologise. Our hosting provider ( is ‘on the case’, and it looks like there is a problem with the RAID disk array that requires a disk swap and rebuild. This normally takes a good few hours, but additionally it has taken some extra time to locate the fault. Please return to (and refresh) this blog posting for updates. Many thanks for your patience and understanding.
-The ClustrMaps Team

Explaining they had a server down for several days, because of a failing RAID 5 !?

Well if you thought RAID 5 was there for reliability I can tell you are wrong !

I had a similar surprising incident myself a couple of year ago.

Luckily for me I was able to escape the disaster dance like this :

Solution :

1. First try to replace a failing disk as normal in a RAID 5. Which should start rebuilding automatically.

2. In my case it failed, because of a bad sector on one of the 2 remaining disk Sad smile

Pull out 1 of the failing disks, wait a bit and try again.

3. If it Fails again to rebuild. Power down the server.

Pull out all of the disks that belong to the faulty Logical drive (not the other ones).

4. Restart the server without the disks. This will clear the ARRAY controller ROM RAID configuration.

5. Start putting in the disks again, and the server will start to a new RAID configuration, based on the ROM data that is on the old Disk ! Smile

6. If this still does not work Sad smile

Shut down the server. Remove all disks and delete the ARRAY config.

Add brand new disks in the server. Restart the server and create a new exact ARRAY config from scratch.

7. Stop the server again. Pull out the new disks and put back the old disks.

Start the server again.

This should start the rebuild without a problem.

Because the RAID controller cache had now being fully cleared.

This little trick saved my day back then ! Smile Smile

PS : in case it still does not work try first to do a firmware upgrade for the RAID controller. And start again as of step 6

In case all of these did not work, you are unfortunately in the same position as the guys from ClustrMap.

And you need to rebuild the server from scratch.

Install the OS software next the backup software, and do a restore.

Will take you a long time.

Windows – Creating a USB System Repair Disc

October 27, 2014

More and more laptops are getting smaller and light weighted. Meaning they are running on SSD hard disks, but lacking a DVD drive in most cases.

So bottom line, even if you created a System Image (Win 7).


You will need a System Repair Disk to install the image again.


Unfortunately Win 7 only gives you the possibility to write to a DVD drive Sad smile

Solution Windows 7 :

Download TotalMounter from KernSafe (don’t use this on Windows 8 or later ! )


After installing the software, you can start it, and choose Mount.


Next select Virtual CD/DVD-RW


Create a new file of type CD, leave the Size default, and point to a folder where you want to create the the ISO file (give it a name like Repair in this case).

And finish


It will show up as a physical DVD Drive (F:)


Next start the create System Repair Disc.


It will recognize the DVD drive. Run it and check the result.


If all goes well you will see the ISO file that contains the Repair Disc files.


Open it using for example 7-Zip and extract the files.


Once extracted you can copy the files to a USB pen drive.

But make sure you have your USB drive properly prepared (be aware that it will erase all existing data on the USB drive) :

Open the command prompt: “Run” -> CMD
And then type the following commands:

    • (This command will open a new window called “diskpart”)
  • Type => list disk
    • (Look for the No. assigned to your USB key from the list that appears. Based on the size you are able the find it)
  • Type => select disk 1
    • (Where No. 1 correspond to your USB key. And No. 0 might be your hard drive)
  • Type => clean
    • (This will delete this partition)
  • Type => create partition primary
    • (Create a new partition)
  • Type => active
    • (This will make your partition active – bootable)
  • Type => format fs=fat32 quick
    • (Quick format in “fat32”)
  • Type => assign
    • (To assign a letter to your USB drive)
  • Type => exit
    • (To exit diskpart.exe)
  • Type => exit
    • (To close the initial command prompt)
  • Now your are ready to copy the files accross


That’s it, you just created a USB repair drive for Windows 7.

A Different method you can use is to run the create System Repair disc as is.


Since you don’t have a DVD drive it will fail. But if you go to the %Temp% folder you can see the file being created


You need use a File Unlocker to get hold of it.

Solution Windows 8 :

For it is a bit easier, because it can natively write to a DVD and a USB stick.


But you can use the old school method as well, using recdisc.



Some Tips :

Now that you have the repair tools, you are not out of the woods yet?

When booting you may have saved the Image to a network drive or NAS in your network.

Well don’t be surprised that you won’t get access to the drive, because the network driver you need is not loaded during booting.

So my tip is download the drivers and store them as well on the USB drive.

Or use the Double Driver Backup Tool. Which extracts all drivers and saves them in a ZIP or in Folders.


This tool is available as a stand alone tool no installation needed as well.

So now you are fully equipped.

Hopefully you will never need it, but you never know !

Saved me some headaches Smile

Windows – Offline Synchronization not available outside of the Domain

September 23, 2014

Some user forgot the select the Make Offline Available option when he left the office using a VPN connection.


1. Make sure you have connected to the domain using a VPN client.

2. Once Connected right click the folder that you want to sync. And choose Always Available Offline.


But when the option is NOT Available in the shortcut menu.

3. Just press the button Work Offline.


And the option will come available, that’s it.

Sometimes the solution is right in front of your eyes Winking smile

PS :  See here for the Windows 10 Solution