Using a Seagate FreeAgent XTreme over eSATA with the ASUS P5B Deluxe motherboard.

Seagate FreeAgent XTremeI just purchased a 500GB Seagate FreeAgent Xtreme, hoping to take advantage of the super-fast eSATA port on the back of my ASUS P5B Deluxe motherboard. Sure I could have easily used the USB2 or Firewire 400 ports on the drive for a quick plug and play, but I wanted the blazing speed of eSATA. I’ve spent the last couple hours trying to get this thing to work right, so I figured I’d jot down my notes here in case any one else comes across the same problems.

First problem, the JMicron JMB363 SATA controller wasn’t enabled in my motherboard’s BIOS, so the drive wasn’t recognized. Easy enough: just go into the BIOS (hit DEL on bootup) and navigate the menus to Advanced > Onboard Devices Configuration > JMicron SATA/PATA Controller, and set to ‘ENABLED’. Set the JMicron Controller Mode to ‘IDE’.

With that enabled, Windows should now detect your drive. You should be able to see it under My Computer or in Disk Management as a Healthy Online drive. At this point, everything works fine as a drive, but I ran into a problem with the Seagate Manager software: Under the ‘My Drives’ tab, I received the error ‘No drives detected.’ Bummer. I ran Windows Update to make sure all my drivers were current (they were) and checked the ASUS site to see if there were any BIOS updates (there weren’t). At this point I was ready to give up on eSATA and just use the Firewire port. But after some detective work on the Seagate site, I found out that the JMicron JMB36X drivers need to be v1.17.46 or higher in order for the drive to work with Seagate Manager. Because this motherboard is a few years old, I was running an older driver. So after a few minutes of searching the JMicron site for updated drivers, I downloaded them, installed, rebooted, and PRESTO, my drive now works with Seagate Manager! Now all I need is a ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner.

One caveat to updating the JMicron JMB36X drivers: I had to re-activate my Windows install. So buyer beware for those of you running a ‘stealth’ copy of Windows XP.


HOWTO: Install a networked printer without all that crappy software.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to installing a network printer in Windows XP without having to install all the additional crappy software that vendors force onto your system. Often times installing all this additional software will compromise the stability of your system, slow it down, or both. These steps will bypass the vendor’s install disk and install only the drivers.

  1. Click: Start > Printers & Faxes
  2. Click: Add Printer
  3. The Wizard will start, click Next
  4. Select “Local printer attached to this computer” and uncheck “Automatically detect and install my Plug and Play printer” then click Next
  5. Select “Create a new port:” and choose “Standard TCP/IP Port”
  6. This will start another Wizard, click Next
  7. Type in your printer’s IP address, eg:
  8. Check “Always print to this device, even if its IP address changes” then click Next
  9. A summary of your settings will show, click Finish
  10. You’ll be back at the “Select a Printer Port” window. Select your newly created port from the “Use the following port” dropdown, then click Next
  11. Now you need to select your printer Manufacturer and Printer Model. If your model does not show, put your printer driver disk in your CD-ROM and click the “Have Disk” button. Browse to your CD drive and select your printer’s model. Once your Manufacturer and Model are selected, click Next
  12. Now name your printer, it’s probably best to accept the default. Choose whether or not you want to use the printer as the default.
  13. Chose whether or not to share you printer. Since this is a network printer, don’t share it. You’ll want to set it up to print directly from each of your machines.
  14. Print a test page and you should be good to go!

Now playing: My Bloody Valentine – What You Want
via FoxyTunes

iPod stuck with Apple logo on screen

My 3G iPod got stuck with the Apple logo on its screen. The way to fix this is to put the iPod into Disk Mode and restore it from there. Here is how:

  1. Reset the iPod by holding down the Menu and Play buttons simultaneously.
  2. As soon as it reboots, hold down the Fast Forward and Rewind buttons simultaneously.
  3. Your iPod will now be in “Disk Mode” and you should be able to plug it into your computer, open up iTunes, and restore your iPod.

iPod does not appear in iTunes.

I have an old 3G iPod, and all of a sudden it would not show up in iTunes when connected to my computer via Firewire or USB. It did show up in Finder. After some research, the only way I found to fix this is to format it using Apple’s Disk Utility. WARNING: Doing this will wipe everything off your iPod. You won’t be able to recover the files off your iPod, but at least you’ll be able to use it with iTunes again.

  1. Connect your iPod you to your Mac.
  2. Open up Disk Utility (Finder > Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility).
  3. Select your iPod in the left-hand window pane.
  4. Click the “Erase” tab, accept all defaults, then click the “Erase” button.

Your iPod will now be re-formatted, and you should be able to plug it into iTunes and Restore the updated iPod software.

UPDATE: For PCs, you may be able to do something similar with Windows’ Disk Manager. I haven’t tried though, so I can’t verify, but I bet it would work on Windows too.

Retrospect Express HD for Maxtor OneTouch: Assertion failure at tree.cpp-2528

My nightly backups kept failing with the following error:

Retrospect has encountered a serious error:
Assertion failure at tree.cpp-2528
A log of this error has been written to the file "assert_log.utx".
Please dell Dantz about this problem.

As with all Retrospect problems, the fix is easy. Simply remove X:\Retrospect Restore Points\RestorePoint.rbc (where ‘X’ is your external drive’s letter) and let Restrospect re-create it. This will often take several hours, so be patient. Once Retrospect has finished re-indexing everything, your backups should resume as normal.

Any time I have had a problem with Retrospect, it can always be fixed by re-building the .rbc file.

iPod on Windows XP: Delayed Write Failed (UPDATED)

A couple years ago I posted about a fix for Delayed Write Failed errors when updating an iPod on Windows XP. While my suggestions in that post worked for the most part, I still encountered the error from time to time.

So it’s been a couple years and now I NEVER receive this error. Here’s how I did it:

I used to connect my iPod to my PC via USB. However, I had purchased an external Firewire hard drive which required me to install a Firewire card into a PCI slot on my machine. The card had 4 Firewire inputs, and I needed to free up a USB port for some other peripherals that needed them. So I decided to move my iPod connection from USB to my new Firewire card (Koutech KW-582V2 – cost me $21 bucks from NewEgg).

Ever since then I have NEVER received the Delayed Write error. So if you’re having trouble updating your iPod and get the “Delayed Write Failed” error, perhaps it is your USB connection. Try moving your iPod to another USB port, and if you’re using a USB hub, try bypassing the hub and plug your iPod directly into your computer’s USB port. If THAT doesn’t work, try a Firewire port. If you don’t have one, grab yourself a Firewire card. You can get them cheap and are much more valuable than all the hair you’re pulling out trying to fix your Delayed Write Failed.

Retrospect Express HD for Maxtor OneTouch: “Can’t save setup…”

I was receiving the following error after completing the setup for Retrospect Express HD with my Maxtor OneTouch External Hard Drive:
Can't save setup, check the selected drive to make sure there is enough free space.
I had plenty of space on the drive, so I knew this couldn’t be accurate. After some research I found out that my config file was corrupt and it was an easy fix: Remove or rename the RestorePoint.rbc file in the Retrospect Restore Points folder on your external drive. Open up Retrospect Express HD and it will re-create a new config file, as well as re-create all your restore points. This can take a very long time (hours) but once it’s done you’ll be back up and running like new.