The Doctor Makes a “House Call!”

One of our “Dr. Bill” Podcast listeners writes with a problem:

“Hey, what’s up Doc! I don’t know if you’ve already talked about this, but I hope it’s OK to ask. The log file named “trace.txt” on my computer located at “C:\WINDOWS\system32\LogFiles\WMI” is always taking up space on my computer until it takes up all the room on my hard drive so that I can’t save or download anything. The only way I can get my space back is to restart and go through the same problem after I’ve logged in. I ran my McAfee Spyware and Virus Protection. And I also ran Ad-Aware and Spybot S&D. But none of them found anything. I tried deleting it but it said it was being used. So I found out that “wmiprvse.exe” was using it. I used Windows Task Manager to end the process, but every time I ended it, it kept popping back up. Is there anything I can do to stop this log file from taking up all the room on my PC? Your advice is needed.

Thanks,
Kai”

My answer:

No problem! It sounds like someone, at some point, ran the “Bootvis” program to trace Windows activities to debug something. Bootvis can be helpful at first, but also pretty “evil!” However, there is a way to disable it, in fact two!

Here are the two methods that seem to work for this issue:

An actual way of removing it is from Windows Registry, so Start->Run… and type “regedit” and click “OK.” From regedit go to:
‘HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE->System->CurrentControlSet->
Control->WMI->GlobalLogger’
and there you should find a key named “Start” double click it and you can give it a new value, put a zero (“0”) instead of the “1” that is there now. Now, Windows won’t start the Bootvis logger at startup.

The second solution is:

During boot, press the “F8” key twice to get Startup options.
Select “Safe Mode, with Command Prompt,” login as administrator. At the prompt, navigate to Windows\system32\logfiles\wmi\trace.log (Or, trace.txt, in your case) (you still can’t delete the file at this stage.) Use the command “attrib +r trace.txt” without the quotes (this stops Windows from altering this file anymore!)

Restart Windows normally.
Go to the file in File Manager/Windows Explorer.
Delete the file.
Create a new (empty) trace.txt file (using Notepad and save it in the same directory where you deleted the original)

Hope this helps!

By the way, the “wmiprvse.exe” program is the “Windows Management Instrumentation component of the Microsoft Windows operating system that provides management information and control in an enterprise environment. By using industry standards, managers can use WMI to query and set information on desktop systems, applications, networks, and other enterprise components. Developers can use WMI to create event monitoring applications that alert users when important incidents occur.”

Send me YOUR questions, and you can help me help others with the same problems!

The Dr. Bill Podcast – Optimizing Windows XP, Part One! #25

Dr. Bill Podcast – 25 – (02/25/06)
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The truth is out… Linux IS cheaper than Windows!, Advertisements that are “too smart” for their own good, Geek Software of the Week: CurrProcess!, thanks to Sam for recommending it, send in more GSoTW recommendations!, How to use Knoppix to for Linux (and Windows), “Mactel” Linux is up and running, so what?, security issues for the Mac (don;t be be so smug Mac users!), Windows: Top Server OS in 2005! Yikes!, Have you ever wanted to play with VMware? Now you can!, Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie present: “How to Buy a Computer!”… Geek Culture on display!, Part One of the Doctor’s Prescription on Optimizing Windows XP! The Podcast runs DOUBLE length to fit it all in!

Here’s the Windows XP Optimization Show Notes for this week! (Part One)

Use an Up-to-Date Virus Scanner
Grisoft AVG Free
http://free.grisoft.com/doc/2/lng/us/tpl/v5

Do a Good Spyware Cleaning
Ad-Aware
http://www.lavasoftusa.com/software/adaware/

Set up Spyware Protection
Spywareblaster
http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/spywareblaster.html

Remove Microsoft Java Virtual Machine
http://www.majorgeeks.com/download.php?det=4158

Install the real Sun Java
http://java.com/en/download/index.jsp

Use SP2 for XP
Update with all the critical updates from Microsoft

Use PC Wizard to find out about your hardware and make sure that you are running up-to-date drivers.
http://www.cpuid.com/pcwizard.php#directions

Instructions – Go to “Start”, “Settings”, “Control Panel”, “System”, “Advanced” tab, in the “Performance” section select “Settings”. Leave only the following checked:

– Show shadows under menus
– Show shadows under mouse pointer
– Show translucent selection rectangle
– Use drop shadows for icons labels on the desktop
– Use visual styles on windows and buttons

Then select “Apply” and “OK”.

Optimize the Page File
“Virtual Memory is the space on the hard disk Windows uses as RAM. The Page File (Pagefile.sys) serves as temporary, virtual memory storage for code and data.” – Source

Instructions – Go to “Start”, “Settings”, “Control Panel”, “System”, “Advanced” tab, in the “Performance” section select “Settings”, “Advanced” tab, in the “Virtual Memory” section select “Change”. Change the values to:

– Initial size (MB): 1.5 x the amount of RAM in your system
– Maximum size (MB): 3.0 x the amount of RAM in your system (PF Size Limit = 4095 MB)

Then select “Set” and “OK” and reboot.

Disable Indexing Service
The Indexing Service in Windows XP indexes your files presumably to shorten the time needed to search your hard drive if you are looking for a specific file or part of a phrase inside a file. However, the constant indexing of files actually slows down system performance and does not benefit search performance except for extreme complex searches. – Source

Instructions – To disable the Indexing Service go into “My Computer”, right-click on all your hard drive partitions one at a time, left-click “Properties”. Uncheck “Allow Indexing Service to index this disk for fast file searching”. Select “Apply changes to subfolders and files”. If any files cannot be updated select “Ignore All”.

Instructions– To disable all Windows XP task sounds go to “Start”, “Settings”, “Control Panel”, “Sounds and Audio Devices”, select the “Sounds” tab, under “Sound Scheme” select “No Sounds”.

Reduce Recycling Bin Drive Space Usage
In Windows XP the Maximum size of the Recycle Bin is set by default to 10% of your hard drive, when full, this can be a big waste of drive space. Reducing the Maximum size prevents excess space from being wasted. It is quite common to have hundreds of MBs of deleted files in the Recycling Bin and it is never emptied.

Instructions – To change the Recycling Bin Size, right-click on the “Recycle Bin”, left-click on “Properties”, select the “Global” tab, then “Use one setting for all drives”. Move the slider to “3%”.

Reduce System Restore Drive Space Usage
System Restore creates periodic snapshots of your critical system files (like the registry files, COM+ database, user profiles, and such) and stores them as a “restore point.” In case something goes wrong with your system you can revert back to a previous working state. The default size that System Restore can take up can be quite large.

Instructions – Go to “Start”, “Settings”, “Control Panel”, “System”, “System Restore” tab, for each drive partition highlight it then select “Settings”, under “Drive Space Usage” adjust the slider so System Restore is only using roughly 5% or a minimum of 1000 MB of disk space per partition and select “OK”.

Increase the Mouse Pointer Speed
By default Windows sets the Mouse Pointer Speed to an average speed, which can slow down the time it takes to move the cursor around the screen. Increasing this will allow you use your computer quicker and more efficient with less mouse movement.

Instructions – Go to “Start”, “Settings”, “Control Panel”, “Mouse”, “Pointer Options” tab, under “Motion” adjust the slider 1 to 5 steps closer to “Fast”. Only 1 to 3 steps is recommended. Then check “Enhance pointer precision” and select “OK”.

Notes: This is a personal preference and should be decided by the user. The tab that the Motion setting will be under can change with third party mouse drivers. Novice Windows users or users with Motion Disabilities will not want to adjust this much, if at all. Cheap and worn out mice can give poor responsiveness, it is recommended to be using a precision optical mouse.

That’s it for this week! Join us next week for Part Two!

Fixing Linux with Knoppix

Knoppix Linux boots and runs entirely off a CD. It is extremely useful for fixing systems that normally won’t boot at all… Windows or Linux! This article has a good tutorial on fixed a broken Linux box with Knoppix:

Fixing Linux with Knoppix

I like the fact that you can use Knoppix with Windows systems that won’t boot by booting with the CD, then mounting the Windows drive (even if it is NTFS) and then copying the data off the machine to a USB thumbdrive. Nice! Then, you can blow away the system, and rebuild it, and copy your data back after it is “humming along!” Knoppix! A nice tool! And, of course… FREE! Here’s the link:

Knoppix Linux

Geek Software of the Week: CurrProcess

This week’s GSotW comes from “Sam” one of our faithful Podcast listeners in Germany! This is very neat! You can monitor processes on your Windows system and it even “flags” processes that are “bad!” Here’s what Sam says in his e-mail:

“…However here’s my recommendation for the Geek Software of the Week:

CurrProcess by NirSoft

the program is freeware, it’s called CurrProcess and it shows the running processes on your computer, similar to the Task Manager.

The advantage over the Task Manager is that it still shows the processes that are hiding itself and are not shown in the Task Manager which are usually viruses or spyware.

It even marks suspicious processes red, so they are easy to spot.

This program has helped me a lot locating all kind problems on my customers.”

CurrProcess

Great suggestion, Sam! Thanks for sharing… and thanks for listening! Keep those e-mail suggestions for GSotW coming in, folks! Send them to: DrBill [AT] TheComputerCurmudgeon.com (Of course, replace the [AT] with a “@” sign… thanks!)

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