Slipstreaming Service Packs into XP

I needed to create a BartPE Boot disc, but got the error “Source files wrong version. File version of d:\i386\intdll.dll is 5.1.2600.0 should be 5.1.2600.1045 or higher. You must use Windows XP Service Pack 1 or Server 2003 version of windows”

In order to update the files on a Windows installation CD, you need to go through a process called ‘Slipstreaming’. This is the process of including the Service Pack files into the original disk. I tried following the instructions at WinSuperSite, but ran into a problem as my XP disk is an OEM version from Dell, which already includes their updates. When trying to update the original, I received the error “This ServicePack cannot be integrated into a destination that also has integrated SoftwareUpdates.”. I therefore needed to use the nlite utility instead which miraculously removes the hotfixes and painlessly slipstreams the Service Pack into the original. Oh Happy Days :)

nlite will also do all the hard work to create a bootable image for you.

error EA3905FE Cluster Not Allocated when restoring Drive Image

I recently restored an old Powerquest Drive Image in order to retrieve some old files. The Drive image was made when I suspected problems with the hard drive, so I was not too surprised to receive the error “EA3905FE: Cluster Not Allocated”. I had previously restored the same disk image (without checking the file system) and received the error “NTLDR is Missing, Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to restart”.

This time, I rebooted the PC with the original Windows installation disk in the CD drive and pressed a key when prompted to boot from CD. Once setup had run I selected the Repair option and booted into the Recovery Console, which is effectively a very basic DOS window with a limited set of commands. I tried to list the contents of drive C by typing DIR at the prompt. However the directory was obviously corrupt as the “Documents and Settings” folder had zero size and there was an error message at the end of the listing.

I had restored the disk image of three partitions. By default, Windows had allocated these to C:, D: and E: despite the fact they were originally located at C:, P: and S:. The CD Drive was therefore allocated to drive F:. I extracted chkdsk from the CD to drive C and repaired the drive (Command sequence: F:, cd i386, expand chkdsk.ex_ c:\, c:, chkdsk /r). All the files now appeared correctly.

While I was there, I also check the status of the other drives I had restored and although not flagged as dirty, they both had problems. (chkdsk d: /r, chkdsk e: /r)

When I rebooted, the installation started up but died with the dreaded BSOD and instantly rebooted. This is probably because I have restored my disk image onto different hardware… So off to create a BartPE Boot CD. More on that here

Solving Twitterfeed issues

I use Twitterfeed to spread another blog around the internet via Twitter and Facebook

This normally works very well, but sometimes Twitterfeed seems to miss a series of posts. To understand why, we must look at the raw RSS feed. Each item in Blogger’s RSS feed has the following parameters:

  • <item>
    • <guid> (unique identifier)
    • <pubDate> (timestamp)
    • <atom:updated> (timestamp)
    • <category> (one per tag)
    • <title>(of article)
    • <description> (text of article)
    • <link> (to article)
    • <author>
    • <thr:total> (number of comments)
  • </item>

The problem is that Blogger feeds its posts sorted by Update time (<atom:updated>), while Twitterfeed expects the feed to be sorted by pubDate.

In order for your posts to appear, you need to change some of the Advanced settings. Change the ‘Post Sorting’ parameters so that new items are posted based on GUID and clear the checkbox ‘Feed is sorted’

Improving Accessibility

While looking through the HTML code generated by WordPress, I have come across several tags I was unfamiliar with. One of these was ACCESSKEY. At first sight, this would appear to be a very useful way of moving quickly about the page; indeed the Connections theme I use here uses accesskeys of a (About), c (Contact), h (Home/Recent), l (Links) and the UK Government came up with some standard definitions

  • S – Skip navigation
  • 1 – Home page
  • 2 – What’s new
  • 3 – Site map
  • 4 – Search
  • 5 – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
  • 6 – Help
  • 7 – Complaints procedure
  • 8 – Terms and conditions
  • 9 – Feedback form
  • 0 – Access key details

However, the use of ACCESSKEYs can cause problems as described by the RNIB due to the fact that they override the default Browser keystrokes, so their use has rather fallen out of favour, especially on pages where data entry is required.

Useful resources for improving accessibility are:
BBC – http://www.bbc.co.uk/accessibility/
Abilitynet – http://www.abilitynet.org.uk/
Equality Commission – General web accessibility guidance – BS 8878, PAS78
BECTA (Archived) – Making Accessible Software