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Tips | Dan's Web Spot - Part 3

Entries in the ‘Tips’ Category:

Windows Update – SQL Server Express SP3 fails

I kept getting a Windows Update notice that SQL Server Express SP3 was ready for installation. Every time I ran the install process, it would fail. There are a lot of posts out there regarding this issue, but I did manage to find one that worked for me, and wanted to share it.

Other failed installations or problems with programs that you are unable to uninstall can be fixed by using Microsoft's Installer Cleanup Utility. This will purge the entries and files for programs that you can not uninstall automatically because some files are missing or corrupt. An installation that does not fully complete can create such issues as well. Just make sure that you are careful in selecting what to clean up because the changes are irreversible without using System Restore or the like!

I have posted a solution that includes this info and that worked for me on the TechArena website here. But consider yourself forewarned: My solution involved cleaning up only the SQL Server Express Installer files, NOT the actual installation itself (MSSMLBIZ).

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Booting From a USB External Hard Drive


WD MyPassport Essential 500GB USB Hard Drive

WD MyPassport Essential 500GB USB Hard Drive

If you've ever used disk cloning software such as Acronis True Image or Norton Ghost, you know that you can usually boot your computer from the product CD for backup (except Ghost) and restore operations. With an external hard drive attached (USB), you can typically back up a complete disk image to this destination as long as the product you are using has drivers that support external USB drives.

My favorite backup software is Acronis True Image, which I use to create periodic drive images so that in the event of a catastrophic drive failure, I can partition a new drive, restore the latest image, and be up and running in a couple of hours with little user interaction. This sure beats reloading Windows and all the applications and settings I have already invested the time into setting-up (at least one day, maybe two initially, and then countless moments spent tweaking from there).

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“Modem Tethering” Using Your Cell Phone

I found a link recently to an article about using your cell phone with your laptop (or desktop PC in a pinch) to get on the Internet. Maybe you're traveling and you can't find a Wi-Fi hotspot nearby, or you don't want to pay extra for Wi-Fi access somewhere, or maybe you can't afford to drop the money on a new wireless broadband card and services fees for your laptop.

If this sounds like you, then check out this article: How-To Roundup: Modem Tethering. Scroll to the bottom to select your phone type and download the appropriate software for free. (Note that you need to have a data plan with your cell service provider.)

The instructions worked out great for me and my Motorola V3m phone...

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Reset WordPress Passwords Using phpMyAdmin


In my last post, I outlined the XAMPP program and what it can do. Unfortunately, I hit a bit of a bump in the road, and wanted to share with others how I got around it.

Once I installed XAMPP, set up a new local database for testing, extracted a fresh copy of WordPress in the new c:/xampp/htdocs/wordpress folder I created, I opened wp-config-example.php to add my database and account info, and then saved it as wp-config.php.

All good so far, right? Well, not exactly. To begin the WordPress installation, I pointed my browser to http://localhost/wordpress/wp-admin/install.php
I entered my user name and email address and clicked on the next button.

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Test WordPress On Your Hard Drive with XAMPP

While I was performing some extensive WordPress plugin compatibility testing, I was getting frustrated with having to wait for what seemed like an eternity for page refreshes to occur. I did a little Google-ing and found an excellent open-source software package called XAMPP that runs on Windows.

XAMPP screen shot

XAMPP screen shot

It lets you run Apache (a web server program), PHP5 (a server programming language), MySql (a database program), FileZilla (an FTP program), and Mercury (an e-mail server program) on your local hard drive running a 32-bit version of Windows. You can manually start the programs/servers or run them as installed services. Here is a good XAMPP installation tutorial.

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