WinToGo 8.1 on rMBP mid 2012

This blog has detail instructions to install USB WinToGo for Mac. But things won’t go that smooth on pre-2013 rMBP.

Firstly, diskpart from Windows cmd within Virtual Machine seems to have limitations, especially for Win8.1. Partitioning can work sometime but formatting will probably fail. Therefore, diskutil in Mac is the solution for disk handling. But another problem occurs. FAT32 partition is tried but found to cause errors during imagex transfer due to large file size restrictions. But disktuil doesn’t support NTFS. At last, NTFS partition is formatted with diskutil with the help of Paragon-NTFS 14 in El Capitan.

Secondly, “bcdboot /f ALL” will create EFI boot mode for usb drive, under which Win2Go can be successfully installed but instantly turns into black screen when installing bootcamp/nvidia drivers. It’s because that pre-2013 MBP is not fully compatible with UEFI crashing the graphics/audio drivers under EFI boot. The solution is to boot with CSM-BIOS mode. That means when booting MBP with alt, “Windows” is the only menu choice not “EFI”. Clearing the boot partition and “bcdboot /f BIOS” for BIOS boot mode section. However, the “none system disk” error shows when booting the “Windows” option.

Finally, this article sheds the light. “bootsect /nt60 x: /force /mbr” to force using the win8.1 bootmgr will boot your MBP into Win8.1, with all bootcamp drivers ready to be installed.

Enjoy the Win2Go, thanks for the almighty Google and a whole day of rebooting!

Rescue Black Screen Fusion VM

My windows 2003 vm in vmware fusion turns into a black screen after an OSX crash. The guest system seems bootable but starts with total blackness. Fortunately safe mode works. Event log shows it’s unable to load vmx_fb.dll, which is the graphics driver of vmware tools.

The paradox is that vmware tool is unable to install in safe mode, which will always fail even though MSI service can be enabled with this method. Then manually deleting vmx_fb.dll and vmx_mode.dll in system32 folder also not works.

It seems the only way is to roll back vm to 2-month-ago snapshot losing all the intermediate stuffs. But this thread is the rescue. Additional vmx_svga.sys in drivers directory should also be deleted. Then the guest 2003 system can be started with the default vga driver.

Now enter the vm, reinstall vmware tools, and make a new snapshot for such emergency case.

Fix 10.11.4 mysterious trackpad reset problem after reboot

Just encountered a mysterious problem after upgraded to 10.11.4 that every time MBP reboots and logins, my trackpad settings like tap-to-click are lost. It’s mysterious because during the very beginning time after login it worked as normal, but a few minutes later trackpad settings were reset automatically. It also affected the Mac AirPlay to AppleTV which would not work except for the first few minutes after reboot.

Googling the airplay problem leads to login items. But removing all of my existing login items doesn’t fix the problem. (Of course, the trackpad plist is the first try which also doesn’t work.)

And the console log during possible resetting trackpad has messages like “kernel[0]: Sandbox: CommCenter(3359) deny(1) file-read-metadata /Library/Developer” and “otherbsd[4246]: Could not submit LoginItem job com.XXX.XXXYYY: 119: Service is disabled”;

More googling doesn’t find much useful info. Similar keyboard reset problem exists but has no fix yet. When analyzing the details of the console logs, one interesting thing is that there’re two login window app started msg around that time, when the failed login items are all at the second login window session and possibly kill my trackpad settings and airplay.

Then why on earth exists another login window session? The culprit is _xcsbuildd. As 10.11.4 upgraded Mac Server, with XCode server service included, which will run as user _xcsbuildd at background. The upgraded service’s second login session breaks some login items which seems indeed killing airplay and resetting the trackpad settings.

Simply disable xcode service in Server.app will not remove _xcsbuildd related stuffs. Use this methods to totally get rid of it.

Finally reboot and enjoy the hassle-free trackpad and airplay again.

Fix iTunes Restore iPad2 Error 9 Problem

One of my relative’s iPad2 got stuck in the iTunes logo interface and stayed unusable for a while. Just tried to get it restored by iTunes via USB. However, it failed, always auto rebooted after progress bar showed under the Apple logo.

Tried with DFU mode and restore process still failed with “Unknown Error 9”. This thread googled suggests about the unbelievable culprit: the latest iOS 9.2.1 is incompatible to restore iPad2.

Since older iOS version cannot be signed and updated by Apple now, latest iOS 9.3 beta 4 works fine to restore iPad2 successfully.

Unbelievable.

Annoying iCloud Photo Library Upload Stuck Problem

My iPhone6+ got stuck when uploading some photos automatically to iCloud Photo Library. It’s quite possible if the phone’s available free space is lower than 400MB when using optimizing size option, which might be required by the mysterious blackbox photo upload process. But after cleaning up disk space, it still paused at the “uploading xx photos” phase.

Tried everything googled: reboot phone / disable-enable iCloud Photo Library / delete videos / logoff iCloud account, nothing worked.

Finally, forget about the iCloud synchronization. Disable Photo Library, transmit these photos to Mac and manually upload photos to iCloud.com, then delete all existing photos from the phone. And at last re-enable the iCloud Photo Library to download all photos again to the iPhone.

Hope it will sync next time.

Fix 10.11 key chain prompt with deny only

Just encounter a strange problem of key chain access. When prompting for access to credentials, the dialog can only be dismissed by Deny. In the console, “Ignoring user action since the dialog has received events from an untrusted source” was logged.

According to this post, 10.11.1 contains a security patch to prevent synthetic clicks on keychain dialogs. Try disabling all apps in the privacy settings of accessibility-mac-control, but not works.

Therefore manually quitting such apps one by one will be the trick to check for the culprit. It founds that BetterTouchTool is the problem.

Update: 10.11.5 will correctly prompt for administrator password and shows the blocking app.

MX Master bluetooth pair problem with Yosemite

Just bought the latest Logitech MX Master mouse, which is quite powerful for Yosemite to natively support Mission Control and Spaces with its mouse gesture button, together with the interesting Smart Shift scrolling feature.

But also encountered the problem of pairing it with my MBP Retina on Yosemite 10.10.3. One discussion thread in the logitech forum suggested to delete all existing bluetooth devices to fix the connection. However, some hidden devices remain in the bluetooth paired list for Alt-Click menu. In this case, a complete bluetooth plist delete will finally help to pair the mouse with MBP.


Update:

Yosemite Bluetooth sometime freezes after wakeup, which then cannot be turned on/off and receive connections until reboot. If you want to manually restart it, do it by command line:

sudo kextunload -b com.apple.iokit.BroadcomBluetoothHostControllerUSBTransport

sudo kextload -b com.apple.iokit.BroadcomBluetoothHostControllerUSBTransport

Or you can use my Bluetooth Restart Alfred Workflow or similar AppleScript.


El Capitan UPDATE:   Above bluetooth kext restart method will make the bluetooth driver unusable in 10.11, so restart your mac seems the only way to fix bluetooth freeze.

fix himedia player to add nas files into media library

My HiMedia 910a player doesn’t support adding nas files (samba/nfs) into its media library. Browsing thru folders is quite tedious for media enjoy time. And 900 series players seem auto overwrite some system files when booting. Therefore customize your own firmware is the choice. Following is the solution after two days of search and configuration:

  1. Make sure you have squashfs-tools installed, if you are on Mac, then build yourself with this code from vasi.
  2. Download your device’s latest firmware, which is named as install.img but actually a tar file. Use tar to extract img’s contents files, in the “packageN” (N=5 or other number) folder, find squashfs1.img
  3. use unsquashfs to extract squashfs files, in the output folder rtk_rootfs/etc/init.d, modify file rcS to uncomment this line:

    /usr/local/etc/rcS>/dev/console&

  4. in rtk_rootfs/user/local/etc.org/, modify file rcS to add a line at the end:

    /usr/local/etc/myinit.sh&

  5. make sure it is executable: chmod +x rcS
  6. use mksquashfs to create back squashfs1.img file, and use tar to create back install.img
  7. upgrade this new created firmware, then myinit.sh will be auto called when booting
  8. Insert a sdcard or usbdisk to player, so that himedia system will allow add to media library button from these “local files”. I use a sdcard, so following location will be /tmp/usbmounts/mmcblkop1
  9. telnet into himedia, go to /tmp/usbmounts/mmcblkop1, mkdir a folder like “nasfiles”
  10. go to /usr/local/etc, vi myinit.sh to mount nfs share after sdcard is ready:

    #!/bin/sh

    sleep 35

    if [ -d /tmp/usbmounts/mmcblk0p1/nasfiles/ ]; then

    mount -t nfs -o ro,nolock 192.168.xx.xx:/folder/ /tmp/usbmounts/mmcblk0p1/nasfiles

    fi

  11. make sure myinit.sh is executable
  12. Now when himedia player is starting, it will auto mount remote nfs files into sdcard folder, then go to storage card’s nasfiles folder, the system will allow you to add nas folders or files to media library!
  13. However, sometime the system media library handling will not work properly. You can also manually fix the media library database when some folder or file is grayed out. Take the sdcard out and insert into your PC.
  14. Go to the sdcard root folder, go into “.Theatter” hidden folder, there’s stx.db file, which is in sqlite format. use sqlite3 to open it. Backup if you don’t want risk library corrupt.
  15. Mostly the ExtHddFolder table is your target, check full_folder_name to be correct; change folder_type to 3 will show the folder in “My Movies”; if you just want folders shown, delete all files item.
  16. Insert back, reboot and wait some time for network up and mount up, browse into My Movies, you have a neat and direct display of Nas folders and movie files!

Fix TimeMachine on Buffalo LS-CHLv1

Since Lion, the TimeMachine support on the Buffalo LinkStation LS-CHL v1.0 was broken because the new Netatalk protocol is now used in Lion TimeMachine backup process which is not compatible with the old NAS firmware’s atalk version. With such a long time passing, Buffalo only updates a few products’ firmware (including LS-CHL v2.0) to support Lion’s TimeMachine, and leaves a lot of old NAS model unsupported. And according to this thread, there WILL NOT be any official firmware updates for my LS-CHL v1.0 in the future.

However, as user boing in the previous forum thread suggested, it could be done by self installing new netatalk protocol to your old NAS device. After two days of configuring, now my old LS-CHL v1.0 could successfully backup my MBP now. Here’s the detail steps:

1) use acp_command to allow telnetd on the LinkStation device, logon to it under root user

2) ipkg update, ipkg upgrade, and then ipkg install netatalk protocol, which should be version 2.2.0-2

3) stop old default atalk service by: /etc/init.d/atalk.sh stop, and killall cnid_dbd and cnid_metad service

4) copy old /etc/atalk/*.* to /opt/etc/netatalk/, but don’t overwrite new installed uams folder (before copy, backup the new installed ones for reference if you wish)

5) remove .AppleDB .AppleDesktop .AppleDouble in the root folder under your time machine backup volume, the new cnid_dbd service will recreate these database upon the first access

6) modify file AppleVolumes.default, find the time machine backup volume line, append “options:tm” to it

7) modify AppleVolumes.default, afpd.conf, netatalk.conf to change MAC_CHINESE_SIMP to MAC_ROMAN if these ones contain such localization encoding before

7.5) because I use guest account to access NAS time machine volume, new uams_dhx2.so in afpd.conf is added but not used and tested actually, try use old firmware’s uams if logon to your network volume fails

8) start /opt/sbin/cnid_metad , /opt/sbin/atalkd and /opt/sbin/afpd service, now TimeMachine on your mac should work to connect your old friend NAS backup volume. Try do a backup first, as the Lion will update the old backup sparsebundle a bit, and you could enter into the new Time Machine with all your old data out there!

9) if you want linkstation to have boot time new afp service, modify /etc/init.d/atalk.sh, copy or create symbolic link to use new installed atalk ones

10) if TimeMachine won’t connect but prompts you “must create new backups” dialog, try this method , it takes several hours but works.

It’s a bit tedious to figure out all the configure steps after trying with several different time machine failures, but it’s not so complicated after all, requiring no recompilation or coding. It’s a REAL SHAME for Buffalo to abandon its longtime users without giving any efforts and notice.

Fix QSB Freeze with Lion

Google Quick Search Box will freeze in OS X Lion and alloc huge memory if you input long words in search box. Only forcing to kill the QSB process could free up the memory, which makes QSB almost unusable in Lion.

After a few trials and thoughts, I found that the issue seems related to spotlight integration, which is apparently upgraded in Lion. Try to deselect spotlight results and disable spotlight plugin in QSB preference to work around it.

Works for my QSB 2.0.0.3789 and freezes no more.