Hack for a small size USB flash disk

I’ve one ONKYO entry level AVR HT-S3800 and it has a front USB port, mostly for playing audio files. This port has issues reading USB drives that exceed certain size limits. Say, if you plug a 16GB drive, there are high possibilities that this unit “may not” read it & I came across such a situation recently. To be quite truthful, I hardly ever tested this USB port & while repositioning the unit, I decided to give it a try.

After some deep scavenging I found an APACER Handy Steno, 512MB USB Flash drive from my collection of antiques, that I bought around 2004-2005. My AVR happily started playing from it, while it dissed my 16GB USB stick. So I thought of all possible solutions like ordering a 2GB USB stick online, getting one USB micro sd card reader etc etc.

After couple of days, at work I came up with a vicious idea. Got hold of my 16GB USB stick, removed the volume and created a 2GB volume, formatted with FAT32 and copied my audio files and took it home and connected to the AVR.

My unit started playing from the USB stick happily and no more hours long scanning or dissing the disk! The hack was fooling the unit to “think” the disk has only 2GB storage. The only downside of this hack is losing the balance storage. Who knows, this hack could be applied to other legacy devices as well, especially for car stereo head units that are few years old.

iPhone 11 stuck in the boot loop

Things go wrong, iPhones get in the boot loop & I had a nightmare two days back with the new iPhone 11 64GB, that was given to me as a corporate contract device.

As I don’t use Apple devices, I decided to exchange it with Wife’s Samsung Galaxy M30s. I setup up the device & came the menace. She had years long Whatsapp chats & asked the “Computer Guy” the question that hurts “You can’t do it right?!”

I bought iTransor & managed to “successfully migrate” the messages from Android to iPhone. The device restarted and that’s it. It got stuck in the boot loop, a partially eaten White Apple flashing againt a dark dark background. (iTransor is a pretty celebrated migration software & I believe things could get complicated at certain times & do not blame their software for the troubles I had. After all, I also develop software those act weird at times ;) )

I watched few YouTube videos, referred few articles etcetera and finally downloaded an app that claimed it would fix any boot related issues with iPhones and over 250 Apple devices. Following their neat instructions, connected the iPhone to my Windows Laptop using the provided cable & I reached to an instruction that asked me to:

  • Press volume up
  • Press volume down
  • Press and hold the Side button (right side single button on iPhone 11) “long”, even after the screen goes blank and Apple logo re-appears. Well in my case, after 10+ seconds, the iPhone screen shown me connect to PC image on the screen & finally I breathed. I was worried that I have to go back to my HR, get hold a copy of the invoice, approach a service center, wait for weeks until they “fix” the unit and returned to me..(Please watch the below video for a demonstration)

Once the connect to PC image appeared, I knew that I don’t need another paid software to “Fix” the unit. I repeated the cycle, this time with iTunes opened. iTunes immediately reported that the iPhone has an issue and to resolve, either the device should be updated or restored. Update failed, restore succeeded. My wife didn’t dare to challenge the computer guy once again and agreed that she would sacrifice her Whatsapp chats for the device.

So if you are ever stuck with an iPhone, have access to a computer & could follow few simple instructions, give the above a try. You may save some real bucks or end up with a truly bricked device ;)



Mitel | E1 Trunk noise issues after MiVoice Business Upgrade

Recently we faced an issue with our Mitel IP telephony system after upgrading from version 7 to 8, then to 9.

We’ve Nortel (Currently Avaya) legacy digital telephony system across our businesses and the Mitel IP telephony was implemented with an intention to roll out IP based telephones. Somehow, the solution was partially implemented, forcing us to integrate two different technologies, so that we can make and receive calls from and to both systems.

The digital trunk was created using E1 interface card and everything was working until the software upgrade. We started experiencing a kind of annoying noise, almost impossible to hear the other party & our support partner from Mitel spent 3 weeks trying to figure out what went wrong after the software upgrade.

After 3 weeks of involving different “engineers”, they gave us 3 different possibilities for the noise:

  • Controller’s motherboard have issues
  • Controller’s hard disk is having issues
  • LAN is having bad POE switches

We’ve downgraded from version 9 to 8, “successfully” inheriting the noise issues & and we had a new problem in addition to the noise issues. Handsets started reloading the application once in 2-3 minutes. This is the time we (internal IT team) decided to intervene.

We’ve identified the application reload was happening due to a power failure, which resulted in the IP address used by the Layer 2 (L2) Switch being issued to one of the PCs in the network as it was not excluded with DHCP scope. After spending couple of hours being assigned to address this situation, support partner concluded that “it looks like a hard disk failure”

We took over & started checking for the IPs assigned to the controller and found that it was merely an IP conflict and fixed the reloading issues by releasing the IP (added an exclusion scope with the DHCP server to avoid future conflicts)

However, we had the bigger issue still not resolved, about the noise. As we realized that the support partner is JUST making vague and unrealistic conclusions, requested for the details about codecs and the settings for trunks, which they happily shared with us.

By default, the codec settings for our controller running version 8 has values as seen with the below image.

We toggled all the switches (allowed ones) to No first (Saved), then Yes (Saved) followed by the default settings (refer the image)

Went ahead to “Trunks -> Digital -> Digital Link Descriptors” & re-assigned Voice Encoding to “ADI” (Which the “engineers” set as Nil during their extended support efforts)

Saved the changes and 3 weeks long noise issues were gone in a second.

Although we can’t confirm (technically), it looks like the backup restore after the software upgrade somehow interferes with the codec filtering that needed a manual intervention like the one we did by toggling the switches to NO and Yes & defaults under Codecs section.

If you were frantically searching for solution such a situation like ours, before falling victim to your support partner’s offer to replace the current controller for a discounted price like 4000$, please spend a moment to give what we have tried and succeeded a try.


Windows | Monitors do not wake up after “long” sleep

Hi guys

Recently I faced similar issues with 2 of my new monitors. Both were Samsung S2Nf350 Slim series LEDs (S22F350 & S24F350) & the issue was same.

After a long sleep/idle time the monitors will not wakeup with a mere keypress or mouse movement. I had to reach to the back of the monitors and press the power on button to awake the monitors!

I had chats with Samsung support & they asked me to take the monitors to nearest workshop as the LEGENDS at 1st level support decided that it was a hardware issue.

Then I decided to go through the user manual & came to an area where it narrated about a feature called “Off Timer”. This MUST be a new feature that is available with new generation LED monitors, helping them to turn off automatically after a pre-set period (default 4 hours)

Turning the feature to OFF state has resolved my weeks long “issues” with the monitor not awakening from a sleep.

May be that’s your solution also.


kernel-power|Event id 41 | Windows 10

Hi guys

So? You have few years old hardware & opted to upgrade to Windows 10, when it was offered free? don’t worry, you made a wise choice. Although the OS is not perfect, it is better than Windows 8.x, definitely feature richer than predecessors…until your box starts rebooting once in few minutes or few times per day.

Your event logs for system will plainly say “kernel-power” and about an unclean restart, which is a critical event.

There could be a number of reasons, starting from the OS’s new power management “features” conflicting with your legacy hardware, components like additional audio or video cards behaving strangely after being there for last many years etc. This post is not a single stop solution for all your “kernel-power” issues, instead, few guidelines those may help you to narrow down the issues and resolve them in a timely manner.

My semi-server type desktop machine is 6+ years old. I never bought myself a branded desktop machine as I always needed powerful (please read affordable to my budgets) boxes for database development & virtual machines. I opted to go with the free Windows 10 upgrade when it was offered and never had many issues with the box or OS until last month. My kids (who are using the desktop mostly now days for their entertainment) started complaining about the machine rebooting quite often & I suspected the poor wall point (which truly required a replacement along with the extension board) & immediately changed it. Things were better for a while and then came the October update build 1809. The unexpected reboots were sporadic, sometimes once in just few minutes time! I scavenged through the event logs and found multiple “kernel-power” event entries. So I started going through many articles those were patiently explaining what are the factors those could cause “kernel-power” events

  • Bad power supply units
  • Conflicting Audio components
  • Old base boards (motherboards)
  • Bad power sockets
  • and Windows power management

I was sure that my XFX 850W PSU cannot be wrong ;), so without wasting much time, I moved on to audio. My motherboard has RealTek audio built-in and I have extended my box with a Creative Sound Blaster Zx card almost year back when my Audigy gave up. So I removed the Creative sound card and the box started behaving properly for approximately one and half days before giving up to random reboots.

Slowly I started building up a pattern for the reboots. I noticed that the machine only rebooted when I was streaming youtube videos and ONLY while I played videos the box rebooted. My box had a nvidia GT 520 card to play the only one game ever owned “Swat 4”!

I opened up the box again and removed the PCIE2.0x16 card out to realize that the card was totally packed with dust. Without giving it another chance booted the box with on-board display to insure that the issues were related to the GPU (This was the wild guess part)

Well, for me, all the kernel-power events stopped ever since I removed the nvidia card from the box. Not a single reboot after hours of streaming or playing downloaded video clips.

So, is my nvidia display card really faulty? I don’t know for sure. Nvidia didn’t push new drivers for this card from last many months & the issues could be from conflicting software components between the OS and the card driver (could be!). I’ve to find some time very soon to be sure!

In the same scenarios, you can try the following in case if you also own an extended desktop that experiences “kernel-power” events once after upgrading to recent builds of Windows 10

  • Remove all additional cards from the box
  • Remove all software related to the cards those you have removed from the box
  • Make sure to dust off your box from inside (Use a powerful blower, and from a safe distance to dust off)
  • Insure all the cables are tightened securely in places
  • Keep playing videos for extended periods of time (To insure there are no reboots)

In addition to above few, a computer could start acting weird when any  of the component used within starts having hardware or software issues. If none of the above tests resolves your issues, may be it is the time to start thinking about a new box (unfortunately)

I hope few out there find the above useful!



Upgrade or replace your computer?

Hi guys

My last build was 6+ years back. I did many upgrades, mostly with the memory & storage as I have a number of virtual machines through Oracle VirtualBox & from last three years I stopped taking office work to home, in order to have a better family life. So the PC is mostly used for YouTube & studies related activities by my kids. Once in a while (when I am allowed to use), I use it for work.

I’ve been thinking about an upgrade dearly, as the desktop started giving me a feeling that it was lagging, especially during the Windows startup.

I did a quick assessment and realized that the Intel OEM motherboard supports DDR3 32GB memory (Currently I have 16GB memory) and has SATA standard 3. I already have 5TB+ storage and one 850W PSU. A studio standard sound card from Creative and supported by an Intel i7 generation 2 processor which made the an “Awesome” unit when I built it initially.

From the investment point (both money and efforts), a new PC (Assembled) would cost me approximately 250-300 Kuwaiti Dinars (800-950$) & as the Desktop accessories market is slowly dying, the chances of finding all the items for assembling would be kind of time consuming and tiring activity.

Although a new motherboard and latest processor & memory means support and performance that existing PC could never offer after any number of upgrades, I decided to “upgrade” my current PC for one last time.

This upgrade included a single item and the total expense expected was 36.5KDs (36.5*3.2 = 116USD approximately), and the item was a Crucial MX500 500GB SSD!


I used EaseUS ToDo Backup free’s  cloning utility to clone my existing 512GB mechanical drive (approximately 220GB data) which took around 1.5 hours & realized that I never felt my desktop PC such fast and responsive.

10-July-2020. Now crucial has their own Acronis based clone software for the cloning. Please visit this link and watch all their videos to understand how to install the SSD, clone and switch. https://www.crucial.com/support/ssd/ssd-install/ssd-install-steps/part-2-copy

From my last 48+ hours assessment, following are few of the changes I have noticed.

  1. My Windows 10 Pro 64Bit OS (Build 1809) starts and ready in 5-10 seconds time (Fast boot enabled), which was approximately 4-5 minutes prior the SSD inclusion.
  2. My desktop machine shuts down within a time frame of 2-3 minutes, which was never less than 10 minutes (with almost no active database services other than an instance of MySQL and Google’s drive sync software. I found the later being one of the culprits)
  3.  The overall responsiveness has tremendously improved & the constantly nagging delays with starting software like Microsoft word & Excel are not anymore existing.

I know from my previous experiences with SSDs that, after a while, I would start feeling the PC turning slow, which is more psychological than technical.

So, if you WERE planning to replace your PC that’s is less than four years old, for it being “too slow”, “lagging” consider a SSD or NVMe M.2 (if supported). One of the major realities you should be considering when opting for a SSD is whether the OS & Processor support the SSDs. I’ve read somewhere that Windows 10 OS, starting from build 1703 has patched up with better support for SSDs and flash based storage.

One important note for Laptop users. Yes, you can also replace your mechanical drive with a SSD and enjoy the above said performance gains. Just make sure that your Laptop supports an SSD (read manuals, ask manufacturer forums or write to their support).

All the best with an upgrade & saving some real money folks!