Symantec Enterprise Support: Troubleshooting by Screenshot



  • OK, now that Alex has finally approved my forum account (thanks!) I get to post this cute little WTF gem:

    Pro tip: If you can't decypher the screenshot, print it out and send it to Symantec by snail mail for thorough inspection.



  • Trwtf is Symantec, of course, but this strikes me as a reasonable way to get a good look at a window that only shows for a second or so.







  •  @PJH, one WTF begets another. There is no end.

     For those who can't see the MSDN article, it says:

    1. Open a cmd window (that's a shell, take this, Unix freaks!)

    2. Run the program

    3. Examine the output

     



    1. Look for the following error: "The database is not up-to-date".
    2. Forget about it.
    3. Run the same command again.
    4. WTF!


  • No, that's actually /p instead of /g.



  • @PJH said:

    @cforcode said:
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/894351/en-us
    Erm - WTF??:
     

    Funny thing is, what is there supposed to be disabled? I can see the page just fine, with or without javascript... (yeah yeah, the real WTF is MS trying to decide what's relevant to me or not. As if I don't have any Windows-using friends...)



  • @Monomelodies said:

    @PJH said:

    @cforcode said:
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/894351/en-us
    Erm - WTF??:
     

    Funny thing is, what is there supposed to be disabled? I can see the page just fine, with or without javascript... (yeah yeah, the real WTF is MS trying to decide what's relevant to me or not. As if I don't have any Windows-using friends...)

    It's not hiding anything from you, it's just saying "hey this article doesn't seem to apply to the computer you're using right now." That's not a WTF.

    Edit: Oh wait I misread it. Haha!

    99% of the time when I get that message, it tells me it applies to a different OS version, and provides a link to the same article for my OS. The message you posted is different, and I didn't read it carefully enough. Sorry.



  • @robbak said:

    Trwtf is Symantec, of course, but this strikes me as a reasonable way to get a good look at a window that only shows for a second or so.

    Several years ago, I installed Norton Anti-Virus on my system, and shortly thereafter it started bluescreening on me during startup. Problem was, the bluescreen showed up only very briefly, and then the screen went blank. I could boot in safe mode, but couldn't get enough information in the subsecond bluescreen in normal mode to even begin figuring out what was going on.

    I'm sure if I'd contacted Symantec at that time, they'd have told me to take a screenshot, but since the system wasn't up and running yet, that wouldn't have been an option. Finally I hit on the idea of pointing a video camera at the screen and filming the startup sequence. When I played it back, there were a couple of frames showing enough of the bluescreen message to get me started Googling, and I was eventually able to solve the problem.

    And no, I don't remember what the problem was. But I'll never forget the debugging technique. Nor will I will ever again put an anti-virus product from Symantec on any of my home systems

     Even though I ended up working there via acquisition for a couple of years.

    Yes, it was as bad as you'd expect.



  • @RobFreundlich said:

    I'm sure if I'd contacted Symantec at that time, they'd have told me to take a screenshot, but since the system wasn't up and running yet, that wouldn't have been an option. Finally I hit on the idea of pointing a video camera at the screen and filming the startup sequence. When I played it back, there were a couple of frames showing enough of the bluescreen message to get me started Googling, and I was eventually able to solve the problem.

    Did you discover anything else interesting in the video? Aliens, maybe?



  • @RobFreundlich said:

    @robbak said:

    Trwtf is Symantec, of course, but this strikes me as a reasonable way to get a good look at a window that only shows for a second or so.

    Several years ago, I installed Norton Anti-Virus on my system, and shortly thereafter it started bluescreening on me during startup. Problem was, the bluescreen showed up only very briefly, and then the screen went blank. I could boot in safe mode, but couldn't get enough information in the subsecond bluescreen in normal mode to even begin figuring out what was going on.

    I'm sure if I'd contacted Symantec at that time, they'd have told me to take a screenshot, but since the system wasn't up and running yet, that wouldn't have been an option. Finally I hit on the idea of pointing a video camera at the screen and filming the startup sequence. When I played it back, there were a couple of frames showing enough of the bluescreen message to get me started Googling, and I was eventually able to solve the problem.

    And no, I don't remember what the problem was. But I'll never forget the debugging technique. Nor will I will ever again put an anti-virus product from Symantec on any of my home systems

     Even though I ended up working there via acquisition for a couple of years.

    Yes, it was as bad as you'd expect.

    Dude... I'm speechless, you do know that you can tell the system to halt on a blue screen instead of rebooting so that you can take all the time in the world to look at the error, right?

    Please let it be a slip up, I don't want to consider the posibilities if otherwise.  My universe view might shatter

    A WTF solution to a non existant problem because, you know MS never imagined you would need to see the error (this contains sarcasm)



  • @serguey123 said:

    A WTF solution to a non existant problem because, you know MS never imagined you would need to see the error (this contains sarcasm)

    I'm 99% XP only does the auto-reboot-on-bluescreen thing if it's successfully stored the bluescreen info in the system log. In which case, there's no point in not-rebooting. If it can't store the bluescreen data, it doesn't reboot.



  • @serguey123 said:

    Dude... I'm speechless, you do know that you can tell the system to halt on a blue screen instead of rebooting so that you can take all the time in the world to look at the error, right?
    You can tell it to do so, but that doesn't mean it'll work. If you have, say, a dodgy graphics card causing the bluescreen, it might decide to do some dodgy power-saving or some such and switch off the bluescreen as soon as it's displayed. Or something, anyway. The solution is to enable logging of bluescreen errors.



  • @intertravel said:

    If you have, say, a dodgy graphics card causing the bluescreen, it might decide to do some dodgy power-saving or some such and switch off the bluescreen as soon as it's displayed. Or something, anyway. The solution is to enable logging of bluescreen errors.
    Really? I've seen a bunch of machines with dodgy hardware (including graphic cards), but if I disabled automatic reboot on bluescreen (either through system properties, or temporarily through boot menu), it always showed up. After all, blue screen appears in the most basic VGA mode (the same one that's used for Windows 2000, XP and Vista boot screen - 640x480, 16 colours).



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @Monomelodies said:

    @PJH said:

    [quote
    user="cforcode"]http://support.microsoft.com/kb/894351/en-us
    Erm -
    WTF??:
     

    Funny thing is, what is there supposed to be disabled? I can see the page just fine, with or without javascript... (yeah yeah, the real WTF is MS trying to decide what's relevant to me or not. As if I don't have any Windows-using friends...)

    It's not hiding anything from you, [/quote]

    Bollocks. It's telling you it's hiding stuff. Whether the stuff it's hiding is still served up, or not delivered is not clear.


    @blakeyrat said:

    it's just saying "hey this article doesn't seem to apply to the computer you're
    using right now." That's not a WTF.

    That is the wtf. You're, for example, researching a MS problem using a non MS OS. MS say effectively "you're using a browser on something that isn't Windows. So we won't show you the solution."



  • @serguey123 said:

    Dude... I'm speechless, you do know that you can tell the system to halt on a blue screen instead of rebooting so that you can take all the time in the world to look at the error, right?

    Please let it be a slip up, I don't want to consider the posibilities if otherwise.  My universe view might shatter

    As a matter of fact, I had no clue that was possible! How do you do it?

    And, btw, sorry to shatter your universe. It's mine too, and I'm kind of fond of it ...



  • @RobFreundlich said:

    @serguey123 said:

    Dude... I'm speechless, you do know that you can tell the system to halt on a blue screen instead of rebooting so that you can take all the time in the world to look at the error, right?

    Please let it be a slip up, I don't want to consider the posibilities if otherwise.  My universe view might shatter

    As a matter of fact, I had no clue that was possible! How do you do it?

    And, btw, sorry to shatter your universe. It's mine too, and I'm kind of fond of it ...

    like so
    Control Panel -> System -> Advanced.

     



  • @RobFreundlich said:

    As a matter of fact, I had no clue that was possible! How do you do it?
    Press F8 during bootup:
    Disable automatic restart on system failure



  • @ender said:

    Press F8 during bootup

    There's a caveat. In case of NTLDR->2000/XP combination, as opposed to BOOTMGR->Vista/7, you see that option only in the "first" F8 menu.
    The one you can get to when you press F8 during the NTLDR "Select system to start" screen. After you choose an option, you get back to the OS selection list, whenre you can select your Windows.
    The other menu, that you get when you hit F8 immediately AFTER selecting OS (In Win2000 you saw an textmode progress bar and "Press F8 for sttartup and recovery options", in XP there's only the bar, and often so fast you don't even see it) doesn't have the option.
    Of course, in the most common case of only one OS installation, there's no NTLDR menu, so it all depends on the timing of pressing F8. It's easy when BIOS doesn't look for that particular key. You can just hold it pressed. If it does, it's a matter of careful timing.

    Can you guess I've had to do exactly that way too many times?



  • @bannedfromcoding said:

    The other menu, that you get when you hit F8 immediately AFTER selecting OS (In Win2000 you saw an textmode progress bar and "Press F8 for sttartup and recovery options", in XP there's only the bar, and often so fast you don't even see it) doesn't have the option.
    Actually, from what I can see, 2000 doesn't have that option at all (neither in the first, nor in the second menu), while XP's boot menu offers you the choice in both:




  • @ender said:

    @bannedfromcoding said:
    The other menu, that you get when you hit F8 immediately AFTER selecting OS (In Win2000 you saw an textmode progress bar and "Press F8 for sttartup and recovery options", in XP there's only the bar, and often so fast you don't even see it) doesn't have the option.
    Actually, from what I can see, 2000 doesn't have that option at all (neither in the first, nor in the second menu), while XP's boot menu offers you the choice in both:

    Windows 2000 is ancient. Also it doesn't even have the reboot-on-bluescreen option, so obviously it doesn't have the option to turn it off.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Windows 2000 is ancient. Also it doesn't even have the reboot-on-bluescreen option, so obviously it doesn't have the option to turn it off.
    Hmm, then what is this:
    Automatically reboot



  • @ender said:

    @blakeyrat said:
    Windows 2000 is ancient. Also it doesn't even have the reboot-on-bluescreen option, so obviously it doesn't have the option to turn it off.
    Hmm, then what is this:
    Clealy, it is a figment of a deranged imagination.

     



  • @DaveK said:

    @ender said:

    @blakeyrat said:
    Windows 2000 is ancient. Also it doesn't even have the reboot-on-bluescreen option, so obviously it doesn't have the option to turn it off.
    Hmm, then what is this:
    Clealy, it is a figment of a deranged imagination.

     

    I apologize for not remembering an obscure feature in a product I haven't touched in a decade.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @DaveK said:

    @ender said:

    @blakeyrat said:
    Windows 2000 is ancient. Also it doesn't even have the reboot-on-bluescreen option, so obviously it doesn't have the option to turn it off.
    Hmm, then what is this:
    Clealy, it is a figment of a deranged imagination.

     

    I apologize for not remembering an obscure feature in a product I haven't touched in a decade.

    Apology accepted!

     



  • @boomzilla said:

    @RobFreundlich said:
    I'm sure if I'd contacted Symantec at that time, they'd have told me to take a screenshot, but since the system wasn't up and running yet, that wouldn't have been an option. Finally I hit on the idea of pointing a video camera at the screen and filming the startup sequence. When I played it back, there were a couple of frames showing enough of the bluescreen message to get me started Googling, and I was eventually able to solve the problem.

    Did you discover anything else interesting in the video? Aliens, maybe?
    A shot of Peter Norton laughing.



  • @ender said:

    @bannedfromcoding said:
    The other menu, that you get when you hit F8 immediately AFTER selecting OS (In Win2000 you saw an textmode progress bar and "Press F8 for sttartup and recovery options", in XP there's only the bar, and often so fast you don't even see it) doesn't have the option.
    Actually, from what I can see, 2000 doesn't have that option at all (neither in the first, nor in the second menu), while XP's boot menu offers you the choice in both: first, second

    Huh... I wonder where I saw it with Win2k then... maybe it was on a dualboot with XP's ntldr...
    Anyway, the machines I have that show the discrepancy (option in first menu, not in the second) are XP SP2 (yes, they have to be SP2) semi-embedded devices, with the OS installed off Win2003 RIS. If NTLDR is in this case provided by RIS/OSChooser, and is the XP SP3 (or Win2003) version, but the option was added to second menu only in SP3, and wasn't there in SP2, that'd explain it.
    All I know is that I have a hundred devices that have the option in first, but not in the second, and often end up in a boot->bluescreen->reset->boot->bluescreen loop.
    One learns something new every day, I guess.



  • @boomzilla said:

    @RobFreundlich said:
    I'm sure if I'd contacted Symantec at that time, they'd have told me to take a screenshot, but since the system wasn't up and running yet, that wouldn't have been an option. Finally I hit on the idea of pointing a video camera at the screen and filming the startup sequence. When I played it back, there were a couple of frames showing enough of the bluescreen message to get me started Googling, and I was eventually able to solve the problem.

    Did you discover anything else interesting in the video? Aliens, maybe?

    No aliens, but one frame had some blurry text that seemed to say something like "Ennyn Gatesin aran Microsoftia. Pedo mellon a minno". There was also a very faint drumming sound ...



  • @ender said:

    After all, blue screen appears in the most basic VGA mode (the same one that's used for Windows 2000, XP and Vista boot screen - 640x480, 16 colours).

    I thought it was in actual text mode, as in 80x25 or 80x50? I had a BSOD earlier this evening (XP: played a YouTube video in full screen, I think my graphics card is stuffed (lines from me scrolling) I want to upgrade this 9600GT: waiting for tax refund in a few months) but it rebooted - I only just turned it off and rebooted again before reading this thread. It hasn't BSOD'd again - yet. I don't remember



  • What OS is that? It looks like Vista/7 with Aero off, but not sure. Odd to have a line of noise only taking up one channel like that in the client area of a web browser. Does Chrome use hardware rendering for pages? Stuff like that is typically dead VRAM or framebuffer but it's hard to be sure...



  • @nexekho said:

    What OS is that? It looks like Vista/7 with Aero off, but not sure. Odd to have a line of noise only taking up one channel like that in the client area of a web browser. Does Chrome use hardware rendering for pages? Stuff like that is typically dead VRAM or framebuffer but it's hard to be sure...

    Could be dead VRAM, but I'd check for overheating first. I had a laptop that did exactly that when it overheated, and only in a couple of columns like you're seeing... plus fixing overheating is a $3 can of air and a screwdriver, instead of a $120 replacement video card.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Could be dead VRAM, but I'd check for overheating first. I had a laptop that did exactly that when it overheated, and only in a couple of columns like you're seeing... plus fixing overheating is a $3 can of air and a screwdriver, instead of a $120 replacement video card.

    This is also true, though I've never had a GPU live for long after doing something like this even if it's totally cleaned out and spotless. I wonder if the column of garbage is the result of a single core messing up intermittently or something like that...



  • @nexekho said:

    @blakeyrat said:
    Could be dead VRAM, but I'd check for overheating first. I had a laptop that did exactly that when it overheated, and only in a couple of columns like you're seeing... plus fixing overheating is a $3 can of air and a screwdriver, instead of a $120 replacement video card.

    This is also true, though I've never had a GPU live for long after doing something like this even if it's totally cleaned out and spotless. I wonder if the column of garbage is the result of a single core messing up intermittently or something like that...

    Good point, after it started doing that it also crapped out for good like a week or two later, so maybe fixing the heat issues would have been too late. (In my case it was one of the original, extremely buggy, 14" iBooks, so I just had Apple replace it for me. Then that one broke in the same way, and they replaced it. Then that one broke in a slightly different way, and they finally said "fuck it" and gave me a different model.)



  • @Zemm said:

    I thought it was in actual text mode, as in 80x25 or 80x50?
    Maybe in the early NT versions. Windows 2000 and above use graphic mode (with XP and newer actually using the Lucida Console font to render the text).@Zemm said:
    had a BSOD earlier this evening (XP: played a YouTube video in full screen, I think my graphics card is stuffed
    That looks like how my 7900GT died - started with a single pixel like that, ended with dots everywhere in graphic mode, and jumbled characters in text mode (and Windows BSODing with nvidia drivers installed - booted fine with the built-in VESA driver - as long as you didn't mind the slow display updates and dots appearing everywhere). But it took around a year and a half since the first dot appeared until it went to unusable within a week.@nexekho said:
    I wonder if the column of garbage is the result of a single core messing up intermittently or something like that...
    It's most likely VRAM, and it's probably a single dead bit that's causing this - it's just when you scroll smoothly that that one pixel turns into a line (if you'd drag the window around, you could instead draw on it).


Log in to reply
 

Looks like your connection to What the Daily WTF? was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.