[TTT] PSA – All FossHub downloads are COMPROMISED – Includes Audacity and Classic Shell

I just wanted to send this out to all my followers because not only do I use Classic Shell but I am sure that many of you do.

DO NOT UPDATE from FossHub at all.

Earlier today their site was compromised by “CultOfRazer“.  Download the software DIRECTLY from the authors website. They replaced all the installers to just simply overwrite your MBR when you install the program. After you restart you will get the errors that are in the slideshow below.

Infected file from FossHub

 

If you need to fix your MBR after this please see the guide below. All the details can be found in this Reddit thread: https://www.reddit.com/r/pcmasterrace/comments/4vw21h/massive_psa_do_not_download_classic_shell_read/

Repair Master Boot Record MBR (Source)

The process is almost same for Windows 10 / 8 / 7. First and foremost you need a Windows 8 or Windows 7 installation DVD. Without that, it will be hard to proceed.  Please don’t ask where you can download it since we are not at liberty to discuss the sources, where we can find the installation DVD.

Step 1:

Press F8 while booting the system to go into the Windows Recovery Menu. Unlike other version Windows 8’s recovery menu has the Metro UI style.

Step 2:

Click on Troubleshoot.

Repair-Master-Boot-Record-3

 

Step 3:

Click on Advanced options to get into Automatic Repair menu.

3_thumb1_thumb

 

Step 4:

We need to use the Bootrec.exe tool. Click on command prompt and type in the following commands, one after the other:

image_thumb20

  • bootrec /RebuildBcd
  • bootrec /fixMbr
  • bootrec /fixboot
  • Exit

Now go ahead and reboot your system. In some cases you may need to run some additional commands.

image_thumb21

 

  • bootsect /nt60 SYS or bootsect /nt60 ALL

It’s wise to backup MBR or create a System Recovery Disk so that in case something like this happens you don’t have to run for the Windows Recovery Disk. To create a system recovery drive in Windows 8, follow these steps:

  • Press Win + R and type in RecoveryDrive.exe

image_thumb22

  • Click Next
  • Once you insert the USB drive it will start creating the Recovery for you’re USB drive.

[TTT] NetGear R7000 Nighthawk – Wireless and Firmware Issues + Review

Update: NetGear has officially confirmed this to be the case with the issues. Here is their reply: Nifer NetGear Forum Moderator Reply

Welcome to the first Tim’sTechTips article. I figured this would be a good one to start off with since I had issues with this awesome router and was able to fix them.

Just a little background before we get started. Firmware links are at the bottom of the post.

I do not use this router as an actual router and have it operating in Access Point mode so I cannot comment on it’s routing throughput personally. However, I have many friends and co-workers that I have recommended this router to and they have not had any issues with it. My issues started with I upgraded from the 1.0.4.30 firmware to the latest 1.0.6.28 firmware that NetGear released to add support for their Arlo cameras. There are numerous posts showing that they were having issues with the firmware as well, showing that this was not an isolated incident that just myself experienced. Below there is a guide on how to get your R7000 working as intended as well as the correct firmware you need.

As for how much I use the wireless for this router here is what I have running on it:

  • 4 Google ChromeCasts (1 first generation on the 2.4ghz band and 3 2nd generation on the 5.0ghz band)
  • Lenovo Stick 300 HDMI PC (2.4ghz band)
  • 2 Axis IP Cameras (2.4ghz band)
  • Linksys Wireless AC Bridge for a wired 720P IP camera (5.0ghz band)
  • EcoBee Wireless Thermostat (2.4ghz band)
  • Numerous Android Smartphones and tablets (we have a minimum of 7 Android devices connected when we are home)
  • Microsoft Surface Pro 3 (5.0ghz band)
  • Brother MFC-9130CW Printer (2.4ghz band)

As you can see the wireless on this device has a lot running on it. In addition, to that I live in a condo and the competition for the 2.4ghz band is high, luckily my neighbors have yet to discover the 5.0ghz band. Now that all that is out of the way lets get on to the review, issues, and resolution to said issues with this router.

Review

I purchased this router at the end of October 2013 when my old DIR-655 was failing after years of service as an access point. As I stated above I only use this router in access point mode, I run a custom SFF PFsense box for my main router. I will be going over the wireless performance of the router in my environment (3rd-floor condo, Flexi core building). The router is placed in the center of my 1500+Sqft condo for best coverage and performance.

Setup

The setup is OK. By that, I mean that if you are an IT professional you will be a little annoyed with their wizard-style approach to how it sets itself up. I really wish they had the option to bypass the wizard and go directly to the main login page. Basically, just let it time out and click through the wizard and you will get to the main screen.

This router does support acting as a NAS with it’s available USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports. However when I tried a few external drives the router would not see them. This wasn’t a dealbreaker for me as I have ‘servers’ in the house but I was just seeing if it would work with the drives I have, it did not (they were generic, externally powered USB drives). From what I read online, this router is pretty particular about what drives you connect to it and none of the ones I have are compatible with it. It did work with every USB2.0 and USB 3.0 flash drives I installed on it and I got between 20-30MB/s on the flash drives.

Once you are logged in you can configure it like any other router. There is even an access point mode of operation in the advanced settings section. I am using this option for my home setup. When enabling the Access Point operation mode, the WAN port is bound to the LAN ports, effectively making it a 5 port gigabit switch with an access point built in. I have one device connected to the router for LAN access and the throughput is 90-100MB/s.

Wireless Throughput

I used multiple devices that I had on hand to test the wireless throughput. Here are the average results. The tests were done by transferring an ISO file from my local file server to the device. I was about 100feet away from the router with 1 wall in between the devices and the router. All the above devices were connected and in operation at the time of the test. Firmware was the 1.0.4.30 firmware with the wireless channels set to the least crowded in my building. Speeds are in megabytes per second, not megabits per second.

Microsoft Surface Pro 3

  • 2.4ghz – 10mb/s
  • 5.0ghz – 60mb/s

Droid Turbo 2

  • 2.4ghz – 5mb/s
  • 5.0ghz – 20mb/s

Linksys AC Wireless Bridge

  • 2.4ghz – 12mb/s
  • 5.0ghz – 70mb/s

Lenovo Stick 300

  • 2.4ghz – 8mb/s

As you can see the speeds are pretty good on the 2.4ghz band given the load on the router and the interference in the building. The 5.0ghz (all 802.11AC devices) is pretty stellar and I can almost max out my gigabit network through the wireless.

Despite all the devices and interference I have in my building I am able to get a reliable connection in my garage that is 4 floors down on the 2.4ghz band. I can even pick up the 2.4ghz band in my parking lot that is a goo 600feet from where the router is.

Comments/Thoughts

As I stated above I am not using this as a router. However my brother, 2 of my friends, and one of my co-workers are using this as their ONLY router/access point and they are able to fully use their internet lines (25mbps-150mbps) with no issues. The router even has OpenVPN built in so you can setup remote access to your network through it, I have tested this and it works as expected. Given that it has a 1.0ghz dual core ARM CPU it has more than enough power for even a heavy home network. Multiple reviews online have stated that they were getting between 400mbps-500mbps for WAN to LAN throughput.

Issue & Resolution

About a month ago I had updated the firmware to the latest one that NetGear released, this is version 1.0.6.28. The firmware installed correctly and there were no issues right away. Fast forward 2-3 days after I installed the firmware all of our 2.4ghz devices started losing connection. The devices would connect for about 1 minute and then drop off the network. I restarted the router and it would start working for about 30-45 minutes and the same issue repeated. I factory reset the router and reconfigured it with the 1.0.6.28 firmware on it but it kept happening.

I called NetGear support and they recommended to do a factory reset again and that seemed to help for about 2-3 days, then the issue came back. Seeing as the router only has a 1-year warranty I started changing settings on the wireless side myself to get a better connection but it did not resolve the issue.

I looked online and started finding many forum posts having the same issue, 2.4ghz dropping out and 5.0ghz working fine. There were multiple people saying that factory resets were working on the new firmware and there were a few that were saying to roll back to an older firmware if you did not need the “Arlo” support that the new firmware added. I did a factory reset again and flashed the 1.0.4.30 firmware that I was on before the update. After reconfiguring the router with my settings, it has been working for over 2 weeks now with no issues.

The funny thing is that I went to the NetGear site before writing this article to get the firmware files to mirror here and they pulled firmware versions that they had released after the 1.0.4.30 version. I think they realized that their firmware was making the routers unstable. See here: What happened to the R7000 firmware 1.0.6.28?

Closing

All that being said I have and will continue to recommend this router for people that want great performance, reliability, and wireless coverage for their homes. Just make sure you are on the 1.0.4.30 firmware version. Anything after that is unreliable. However, SOME people on the NetGear forum have said that they are having no issues with 1.0.6.28 after a factory reset. YMMV.

I attached the 1.0.4.30 and 1.0.6.28 firmware for the R7000 that NetGear released. They have pulled all versions after 1.0.4.30 from their site as of 2/9/2016.

Downloads

 

Relevant Links

R7000 New Firmware 1.0.6.28 released

R7000 1.0.6 – They should call this the Nightmare WiFi Router, are firmware updates always this bad?

R7000 Firmware Version 1.0.6.28 – strange 3rd SSID

R7000 Firmware Version 1.0.6.28 – Arlo SSID Signal Interference with Existing Signals

R7000 2.4ghz not working but 5ghz is fine

What happened to the R7000 firmware 1.0.6.28?

AMD/ATI R9 Series Flickering Issues – Things I Tried and What Worked for Me

For about 9 months now my desktop has been experiencing flickering at the desktop with my dual R9 290X setup. I figured out what the issue is, but sadly I am going to have to part ways because it is very annoying and wastes power. At the bottom of the post, you can see the issue that is being discussed in this post.

Issue:

AMD PowerPlay is clocking the GPU at 300mhz and the RAM at 150mhz while at the desktop. This is too low for computers with 2 or more 1440p displays and it causes corruption and stability issues when at the desktop.

Troubleshooting:

I have spent close to 26 hours collectively (probably more) trying to get a permanent resolution. I have tried the following:

  • Rolling back to older drivers, 15.6 seemed promising but it still happened
  • Modifying the video card BIOS to not have profiles for the lower speed. This was the most promising, but it caused stability issues as I believe the voltage was still the lower voltage for the slower clock speed
  • Updating the BIOS to a newer revision from a similar reference board
  • Rolling back to Windows 7 (issue was present on 7, 8, 8.1, and 10)

The modified BIOS seemed to work but then the AMD software took over and started clocking the cards down again and/or crossfire stopped working. The common thing I noticed was 1 or more R9 series cards running 2 or more 1440p monitors. If you run other monitors and have the same issue try the fix anyways.

Resolution:

In the video I show the ASUS GPU Tweak II utility and clicking the “Always 3D Clocks” button fixes it. This works if you have ONE card but does not always set on boot up. Instead download the MSI Afterburner Utility and install that. The options you need to set in settings are (pictures are below as well):

  • Enable Start with Windows
  • Enable Start minimized
  • Disable ULPS
  • Unofficial overclocking mode – Select “without PowerPlay support”
  • Set your Core clock to 10mhz over stock
  • Set your Memory clock to 10mhz over stock
  • Set the fan speed curve to 100% using the user defined settings
  • Click the User Define icon for the fan speed
  • Save the settings to Profile 1
  • Check the “Apply overclocking at system startup” on the main screen

Closing:

Using these settings my system has been 100% stable. I have aftermarket coolers on my cards that are quiet so setting the fan speed to 100% is fine. Those of you with the stock reference coolers will not enjoy this but if you do not set the fan speed the card will overheat. My 2 cards are sitting at 65C(top) and 55C (bottom) at the desktop and hit about 75C and 65C under load.

While I found this fix I am not happy with wasting power and running the cards at full speed. I will be replacing these with a pair of 980 TI’s and leaving AMD for a while. I hope this helped someone out with this weird issue.

Just for reference this is my build:

  • ASUS Z97-WS
  • Intel Core i7 4790K
  • 32GB Crucial DDR3-1600
  • 500GB Samsung EVO SSD
  • 3x 3TB Western Digital Red HDD
  • HIS R9 290X Reference card with Accelero Cooler Installed (Stock BIOS)
  • Sapphire R9 290X Reference card with Accelero Cooler Installed (Stock BIOS)
  • EVGA 1000W Gold PSU
  • NZXT H630 Case
  • 3x HP Z2740W Monitors (1 via DisplayPort, 2 via Dual Link DVI)
  • Windows 10 Enterprise x64

MSI Afterburner Settings:

 

 

Video showing the display corruption:

Fixing Sonicwall SSO Agent/Directory Connector Connection Issue

I have been having repeat issues with the Sonicwall SSO Agent/Directory Connector showing offline (red) in the SSO Agent settings in the Sonicwall. After trying multiple fixes I finally found one that works. The issue is caused by the default configuration that the installer creates having issues and these steps below will re-write that with the correct information and allow the service to work properly.

Start by loading the Directory Connector Configurator application and then change the Shared Key using the auto-generated key. Copy the key and paste it into the Sonicwall SSO Agent configuration and apply the new settings in the Sonicwall and the Directory Connector Configurator. Once this is done follow the steps below in the screenshots. Once these steps are complete it should show as online (green) in the SSO Agent settings. If it does not please let me know and I’ll see if I can find a fix. Also if you have Sonicwall support I would suggest giving them a ring and see what they say.