Fixing Bad Sectors

I work as an IT desktop support and one of the constant problems I come across is a hard disk drive with bad sectors and data loss.

I tried a lot of programs and the most efficient for me is Dmitry Postrigans MHDD. It’s a DOS application which has a lot of functions. Basically it scans the hard drive for bad sectors and writing delays. You can remap the bad sectors or erase them permanently. The good thing is that if you want to clone the disk to save the data, and save time, there are no bad sectors to report an error and end the clone operation. Still everything depends on the state of the disk. If it has up to 100 bad sectors you can delete them and still use the disk. If it’s above 100 all you can do is save your data and buy a new disk. You can also delete the whole disk down to the sectors low level format so all the sectors that have a response time over 3ms get restored to 3ms so the disk works faster. The program has a lot other options. You can cut the disk form one sector to another, work with the MBR, etc.


Cain is a leading security tool to scan your local network and your own PC for passwords.

It runs under Windows so the installation is quite simple. Furthermore, it comes with a detailed user guide to help you get started. You can configure Cain to intercept passwords for e-mail, Internet, database passwords and so on. What’s more, Cain is able to record VOIP, or telephone calls made over the Internet. It’s a very handy tool since you can use Cain to crack your own password protected files, such as Word or Access. It’s most powerful feature is the so-called “man in the middle” attack whereby you can intercept any traffic floating on your local area network. Combined with a powerful password intercepting technique, all you have to do is to sit back and watch the passwords appear of other users inside your network as well as the websites they visit.

Help Desk Solutions HEAT

The software tool I use frequently is Heat Plus Knowledge, by Front Range.

The software helpdesk side of the tool is simply HEAT. The Plus Knowledge component is a user friendly search database to find answers to their own questions. Knowledge databases are searchable databases in which users can search for the resolution to own problems. When dealing with user support systems, these are considered level 0. (Level 1, first level helpdesk tech, level 2, troubleshooting expert, level 3, a programmer, level 4, the software vendor).

1. Users can search for do-it-yourself help to fix their own problems
2. If the user cannot resolve their own problem, the solution tied to the error they are receiving can direct them to the correct helpdesk group to fix the problem
3. Users can search the knowledge database for how to instructions for new functions not covered in their training
4. The helpdesk staff can refer to the solution database to determine the correct second level solution to use to assist the user
5. The helpdesk staffs frequently search the entire database of solutions to determine what the root cause of a user’s problem is; this can lead to users being handed off to the correct support organization immediately, rather than being sent on a goose chase.

If a user can solve their own problem, they do not need to submit a ticket via the HEAT system to one of the helpdesk. Solutions that are Level 1 or higher are also in this database, directing users to the correct diagnosis and helpdesk. The solutions documents are created and maintained as filtered HTML documents. One benefit of this is that we can create the solutions, including screen shots, in Microsoft Word. Do a file save as to filtered HTML, and you have the solution document created. Move to the correct folder, and you’re done. Easy to use for support staff, straightforward for general users, and easy to maintain. That makes it ideal as a knowledge database and ticketing system. We already have enough problems to take care of without having to fix a buggy support tool, too.

Allway Sync File Syncronizer

I am currently using a software program known as Allway Sync 7.1.2 Pro.

The software allows you to automatically track changes and additions/deletions of files. I use mine to ‘sync’ my flashdrive with my desktop. The software works flawlessly and easily and allows me to be sure that I will never lose a copy of my important files. As a special educator I have report cards, IEPs (legal student related documents), lesson plans and materials. I need to know that my years of materials won’t get lost or corrupted. Recently I actually fell in a lake while fishing and I had my flashdrive in my pocket! Fortunately the drive was undamaged, but if it was ruined I am secure knowing that my files are accurately saved throughout my workday on my desktop! I LOVE this program. The program lets you set up specific folders to ‘mirror’ or ‘shadow’. The software works well with removable drives, second hard drives, networks/servers, etc. Best of all the software is FREE up to a certain level of usage. I monitor around 3,000 files so I had to pay for it, but the program only cost me $20.00! A great value for such powerful and solid software!

Light Weight Directory Access Protocol

LDAP is a set of open protocols used to access information over a network which is centrally stored. LDAP stand for Light Weight Directory Access Protocol.

Now a directory is a specialized database designed for searching and browsing and normally has added support for basic lookup and update functions. LDAP was first designed to take advantage of the complex X.500 directory services for light weight activities. Initially, it was seen as a very good tool for email addresses lookup in the net but owing to the problem of spam, this idea was dropped. LDAP got the new life with the advent of GRID COMPUTING which is set to change the whole scenario of resource sharing over the network. The LDAP information model is based on entries which is a collection of attributes that has a globally-unique Distinguished Name(DN).

The DN is used to refer to an entry unambiguously. Each entry further has a type which are mnemonic strings, like ‘mail’ for email or ‘cn’ for common name. In LDAP, directory entries are arranged in a hierarchical tree-like structure and this structure typically reflects the geographical and organizational boundaries over which the whole grid is spread. LDAP is optimized for read access which makes it suitable for a grid environment as more often than the operations are read than write. LDAP defines operations for interrogating,adding,renaming and deleting entries and updating the directory.The LDAP search operation allows certain parts of the directory to be searched for entries matching some required criteria. It also provides mechanism for a client to authenticate, paving the road to access control to protect the information contained in the server.

Spell Check Tip

When I am writing something outside of a word processor, such as a hand written note or writing in this blog, and I run across a word I am not sure how to spell, instead of loading up Word, which can take forever, I have found that it is much faster and easier to just pop open a new email message and use the spell check feature from Outlook Express.

This is much quicker since my computer almost always has a browser window open, if not Outlook Express itself. Just click “Mail > New Message” and paste in the word and bam, I’m done. No need to wait on MS Word to load with all its fancy features when all I need is a quick spell check.