Fix for “Invalid Pointer” error when attempting to login on Windows 7 on a HP ProBook

A colleague at work had a problem on her HP ProBook after applying the HP Updates.

When attempting to logon to Windows you would get a message saying “Invalid Pointer” and then be taken back to the login screen, just pressing enter at the login screen (blank password) would do the exact same thing.

All my Googling showed that other people had the same problem and the recommended solution was to re-install Windows, which seemed overkill.

I’ve found a different way to fix the issue that is a little less drastic but will take a few minutes and some registry editing to fix. It appears to be the HP add-on/plugin that is wired into the login process to support the Finger Print reader that was failing.

These are the steps I followed to fix this issue:
Please be careful, this requires registry editing and other tasks that should only done by someone who knows what they’re doing.

  • Boot into Safe Mode (During bootup press F8 and then select Safe Mode or Safe with Networking)
  • Login normally using your password. (You’ll see that this login screen looks different and works correctly.)
  • Follow these steps to allow uninstalling of applications under Safe Mode.
  • Open Programs and Features in Control Panel, find the HP Client Security Manager application and select it. Then select Uninstall/Repair and perform a Repair following the onscreen instructions.
  • Reboot the laptop and it should allow you to now login again.

Quickbooks 2006 on Windows Small Business Server 2003

This morning we had a problem and needed to get Quickbooks 2006 running on Windows Small Business Server 2003, after the install we kept getting the following error when you tried to launch Quickbooks.

Error: Quickbooks failed to load required file!

Error: Quickbooks failed to load required file!

A bit of searching online only turned up one forum entry where someone mentions that they got round the error by right clicking and choosing “Run As” and running it as there current user. Continue reading

Unmountable_Boot_Volume BSOD on Windows XP

A friend brought round her computer today that was constantly rebooting while Windows was trying to boot. After a bit of fiddling I got it so that I could see the error message which was a BSOD (blue screen of death) with the message “Unmountable_Boot_Volume” on it.

A littile googling found this post on MSGoodies with the following details:

Start the recovery console. If you do not have it installed – or when that version does not work – like in this case, boot from an installation CD and select R for repair. You can easily mix languages – I used an English CD on a Danish Windows

Run these command –
chkdsk c: /r /p
exit (to reboot)

And it worked great, saved me alot of fiddling. I’ve put the details up here in case I need it again in the future.

Remote desktop to console session on Windows 2003 Server

One of our clients Windows 2003 servers was doing strange things, on connecting to the server via Remote Desktop all you got was a blue screen (default windows background colour). My guess was that a session or 2 was still running in the background and needed to be killed off, but because we couldn’t get access to the server via Remote Desktop or physically we had a bit of a problem. Thats when I remembered the following neat trick.

If you pass /console (/admin on newer versions of the Remote Desktop Client) to the Remote Desktop Client (mstc.exe) and then connect to the server you connect to the servers console and not a new terminal server session. I believe there are ways to specify that you want to connect to the console in the hostname field but I haven’t gotten that working yet.

In my case it allowed me to kill off the troublesome Sessions and get access back to the server.

Found this info on this site. (Which BTW is a useful site.)

Synergy Rocks!

If you’ve never heard of Synergy its a pretty awesome application. Basically it allows multiple computers to share one set of Keyboard, Mouse and Clipboard. It’s cross platform so it works very nicely if you’re running a mixed environment.

I set it up today at home (had to work from home as our office ADSL went down.) between my desktop PC running Ubuntu Linux and my laptop running Windows Vista. You install the Synergy app on the various PC’s that you want to be clients, in my case thats my laptop, you then setup a machine as your “server” and point the clients to the server. On the Server machine you decide in which direction the various clients are and then hook everything up.

At the moment I have it if I move my mouse of the left hand side of my linux machine the cursor continues moving across onto my laptop screen and now my laptop has focus, so I can type and work on it using my desktop keyboard and mouse. I? can even copy something and then move right again onto my linux machine and paste it.

The laptops keyboard and touchpad continues working, but its much better than having another keyboard and mouse cluttering up the desk.

If you do plan on trying it out I would suggest you get QuickSynergy for your Linux/MacOSX machines as it makes configuring things much easier.

Windows Console Replacement

console2I spend a lot of time at the command line in both windows and Linux, I guess I feel more at home or perhaps more in control. On Linux I have Gnome-Terminal which is a perfectly adequate container for a command line. On windows though I only have the standard cmd.exe which is seriously annoying, you can’t have things like tabs etc.

Over the weekend I went in search of a replacement, something that more closely resembles gnome-terminal and I found console2, and so far I found it perfect. I’m not hardcore enough to install one of the many ports of bash to my windows machine and I haven’t tried power shell yet, it?s not so much script ability that I need as much as the ability to run my command line apps from a nicer looking window and consolidate all of them into one window.

Open Source/Free Utils and Applications

I thought I would list a bunch of Open Source / Free utils and applications that I use almost every day. I’m excluding the obvious ones like Linux (in my case Ubuntu).

The list below is what I use in my day to day job, normally on my laptop running Windows Vista, the order really doesn’t matter its just as I thought about them. Everything listed below is available for Windows and most are also available for Linux and other OS’s. I’m a programmer, web developer and computer geek so I’m sure the list of software below reflects that, but no matter what you do there is probably at least one application that might be handy.

If you have a favourite please add a comment and share it with us. Continue reading


Paint.NET ScreenshotI stumbled across this one while I was looking for a solution to an odd problem in .NET 2.0 (C#, trying to save a changed datasource.)

What’s cool about Paint.NET is that it’s a free Open Source photo editing software. The other cool part is that it’s written in .NET… that makes it really cool. It currently is only available for Windows but Miguel de Icaza (of Evolution and Mono fame) did try porting it to mono and it was mildly successful. As Mono improves they hope eventually to be able to get it to run on Mono properly, which will mean that it will become available on Linux (and the other *nix that can run Mono) and Mac OSX.

Paint.NET is not a direct replacement for something like Adobe Photoshop or the Gimp but rather a photo manipulation application thats easy to use and does the stuff that most of us really want to do. This is going to be the photo editing software I recommend to all my friends for there Windows machines (replacing the Windows port of the Gimp) simply because it’s so much easier to use.

Paint.NET Official Website.
Paint.NET Wikipedia Entry.
Rick Brewster’s Blog – One of the developers of Paint.NET

Open Source Desktop Publishing Software

Having once run my own small business I know all about doing things yourself to save money. One of the things that we did alot of was brochures, manuals and other printed documents. When you’re a small company you can’t always afford all the fancy expensive software so alot of our documents were generated in Writer or Microsoft Word now theres nothing wrong with either of these but they not exactly the “best” in desktop publishing applications.

That was all 2 years ago and alot has changed since then. I no longer have my own business so I don’t need to do any desktop publishing and the opensource world has now caught up and there are alot of awesome applications available for free. This doesn’t mean that I’ve given up on making and designing things I still am constantly tinkering with things although now it’s more a “just for fun” thing.

Below is a list and short description of some opensource applications that I’ve played with. This isn’t everything available and these are not necessarily the only applications available but these are the ones I know about.

Continue reading