Category: technical support

Technical queries

Kaspersky Removal Tool (still) breaking Volume Shadow Copy and System Protection

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Spent tonight troubleshooting why my PC hasn’t successfully managed to do a System Image Backup in a few weeks – Event Viewer indicating an error 0x8000ffff and Backup indicating error 0x81000019. If you’re having problems with System Protection and have used Kaspersky for your antivirus, read on.

A merry dance ensued, the usual suspects ran (SFC, DISM). For a while, I thought the backup drive was just corrupt – a CHKDSK turned up a bunch of stuff. Sadly, not a solution in any of the above cases.

The real key turned out to be that I noticed that System Restore was also not working; error 0x81000203. This could be seen in the System Properties > System Protection tab. Some googling indicated possible issues with a tool called TuneUp Utilities, which I had used but a very long time ago. Those pages also tried to suggest turning off your antivirus.

On a hunch, I did some more searching based on my antivirus, Kaspersky. I found this old blog post – – and true indeed, I had used the removal tool to repair an issue I was having with my Kaspersky installation. So, despite the age of that post, and other links asserting that this bug had been fixed, it has not, as can be seen from my screenshot below.

The important hive path highlighted, with the offending key circled; it should include Windows’ own “volsnap” entry in addition

Appending ‘volsnap’ at the end manually was enough, after a restart, to fully reactivate System Protection and System Image Backup. Note, a restart is required – adding the key was not effective immediately.

Post-repair hive entry; all working!

Anyway, making this post mainly in case anyone else finds this issue and needs another search hit for the solution, especially a more recent example. If it saves someone a few hours, then I’ll feel more justified!

Windows 10 Start Menu not working?

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If so, try this simple test.

So I’ve been struggling with Windows 10 for a bunch of reasons, but the big one at the minute is that my start menu just stops opening. Along with that, the notifications pop-out and Cortana.

The biggest giveaway for me that a rogue process is at fault is that in safe mode its fine, and usually the first 5 to 10 minutes.

I got so frustrated that I opened task manager and started killing processes a few at a time and trying the start menu, including all but the key Windows ones and nVidia (because the last thing I need are MORE TDR errors…). Through this, I identified that the culprit is the “Runtime Broker” process.

Killed it, and the start menu, Cortana, notifications work again.
For at least 10 more minutes anyway.

In a tweet to me, Microsoft support say that the task involves the permissions for Metro-style apps. There’s probably a further root cause app at fault. But at least I can mitigate for now!

TLDR; try killing the “Runtime Broker” process.

Windows 10 – Upgrading an old laptop

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So I took an old laptop I used at university – about 5 or 6 years old but a good model in it’s day, a Dell Latitude E5510 – and decided to use it as a quick ‘test’ run of the Windows 10 upgrade since it hasn’t anything too important and my main PC is being stubborn over actually offering the update.

Unfortunately, it didn’t go so well really. Thought I’d write up a quick post about a 0xC000000F blue screen error that ended up happening.

I’m about to do a particular repair so will see if it works, but I’ve surmised that the issue is that the default Dell partition table looks like this:

– DellUtility (~40 MB)
– RECOVERY (~8 GB) (Marked as boot)
– OS (~130 GB)

What seems to have occurred is that the actual install proceeded reasonably well, I can see the signs of it being completed such as the presence of the “Windows.old” folder etc. However, what Windows 10 decided to do to facilitate the install is that it saw the boot partition and hijacked its boot to use as its boot sequence.

For some unknown reason, in so doing, it increased the “RECOVERY” partition size by 1 sector – encroaching into the “OS” partition and wrecking its MBR and boot sector. This left many tools, including Windows 10, unable to ascertain the structure of the drive as NTFS. Chkdsk understands the corruption but does not resolve the partition table overlap.

I’m going to manually adjust the recovery partition down and try to repair the MBR from its backup. Let’s see how that goes.

Microsoft – partition management: 0 out of 10 for wrecking my MBR!

Troubleshooting: Ice Cream Sandwich Bootloop

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I had a hugely frustrating experience very recently with my Galaxy S II, and whilst trying to find the solution I searched and searched and couldn’t find the answer. BUT!!! I have solved the problem, and I will share it now, in case you ever have such an issue. I’m currently typing with only one thumb (another story – broken thumb), so forgive any missed spelling errors!
TLDR instructions at the end, for the impatient.

To set the scene, my phone is the Samsung Galaxy S II, a fantastically powerful and capable phone that very recently got the upgrade to Android OS 4 (Ice Cream Sandwich). This was mostly trouble-free, however I have had probably slightly more phone crashes since the update, probably because the OS is relatively new and needs a few bugfixes. My phone features a large internal app space in contrast to many phones, having a full 2 GB of app space. It also has an SD card capable of up to 32 GB. Why do I tell you this? It will become relevant later.

So what happened exactly? Well, I was minding my own business, on my phone, late on Thursday trying to cure the broken-thumb-induced insomnia, and I have a facebook message from a friend who has changed his number. I want to copy his new number into his contact, so I click the hyperlinked number in his facebook message, and it dutifully opens my dialer and fills in the number. I highlight it, and go to press the copy button… and nothing. The system seems to have locked up. This isn’t unheard of, as I said I do encounter these, and usually they resolve themselves pretty quickly, usually at the expense of whatever program is running. So, I wait, tap the screen a bit to see if it frees up, and suddenly, I get the swirly video indicating my phone rebooting. “Crap” I think, but I don’t worry, this has happened and I get ready to just try again. So I wiat for my phone to reboot, not a long process. My background comes up, my pattern lock. I put in the pattern… and suddenly gone again, reboot. Once more, I don’t panic, I just assume that maybe my dialer app got fucked by the process, and wait.

Again. Again. Again, each time a short but variable amount of time after boot. Longer after a cold boot. Clearing my cache in recovery fixed nothing.

Now, I am rooted, and I knew I’d very recently updated to a slightly newer firmware. I pondered whether it was blowback from that update, although I was at a loss to explain why. I knew I could easily reflash using ODIN, but didn’t want to have to go through the rooting process for something I didn’t believe was at fault. I notice that the problem SEEMS to only occur once the mobile signal kicks in, so I try to boot without my SIM, to no avail.

I give up, and give in to the reflash. NOTHING!

By this point I begin to worry a little. I start going through scenarios; a data / factory wipe being most likely to bring success, but my inability to get in and run a backup to save all my shit making that daunting, and with the loss of root to the reflash I can’t do deep diagnostics or backups. I start wondering, what did I install recently? I had installed a load of FlipFonts recently, as well as a few apps updating themselves that day. I wonder if a corrupt font might be causing it, but I get no time to try and uninstall them before the reboots.

I start thinking about what I can backup – most of the stuff being in the internal storage space and therefore largely inaccessible. I take out my SD card and use my card reader to check what I can get off it before resigning myself to a data / factory restore. On an impulse, I turn on my phone without SD card. And what do you know, it works! So basically, the phone is stuck in a bootloop when the SD card is plugged in!

It becomes clear, the reboot occurs during the initial SD card media scan on boot – giving me a method of diagnosing the problem. First thing I try is to check the SD card for errors using Windows. No problems. I justifiably assume the problem isn’t MP3 files or video. The only other thing on the SD card? The “.androidsecure” folder, used to store apps that have been moved to the SD card. I rename the folder, and the problem is gone!

I go back into the folder and being to search for anomalies – I find one file that has an erroneous size of 0Kb which doesn’t solve the problem. Eventually I give up trying to isolate which it is, most apps on the SD card where installed there by default because they are big games, and I know I can easily redownload. I delete about half of my SD apps, and the problem is gone. I can only assume that one of the apps that updated itself earlier became corrupt.


I have to reroot, and clean up some of the mess I made, like settings etc that were lost, but well I couldn’t sleep anyway, and that would have bugged me all night.


Summary – Whilst there can be many reasons for a bootloop on an Android device, if your device only exhibits the problem when your SD card is plugged in, this may be your problem.

Take your SD card, remove it and plug it in using a card reader.

Locate the folder “.androidsecure”. It may be hidden.

If you know which apps changed recently, delete those ones and try putting the card back in. Otherwise, just rename or delete the folder.

If it works, hurrah! Redownload any apps you want and you are good to go.

If it does not, this is not your problem, sorry!


UPDATE: The problem happened again, and this time I noticed that on both occasions, the free game “Tanked” was updated, which was one of the SD card apps. Removing it instantly solved the boot loop. So there you go!


Hope I helped!

Matt (gyaku_zuki)

Christmas iTunes woes

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My brother got an iPod Touch for Christmas, and of course that means iTunes! He had previously not used iTunes, as he didn’t have an ipod and didn’t have a great music collection. So, as the older, techy brother, my job for Christmas morning is to set him up, ready to go…

Just one problem… iTunes was being a total whore. It seemed like it would do nothing but freeze, freeze, freeze. If opened from a desktop / start menu shortcut, it would load up but freeze as soon as you try to play a song, or download from the store. Read More