Sunday, June 10, 2012

Asus L5GA

I have an Asus L5GA desktop replacement from 2004. It's old. It breaks. For posterity (and fixing it): here's the manual, and some useful bits of information.

F2 to enter BIOS

The default boot order is: floppy, hard-disk, dvd. You'll want to change this to: dvd, hard-disk.

I had a bunch of weird problems. This was eventually fixed by replacing the RAM. You can try to convince yourself that RAM is the problem via windiag (Windows Memory Diagnostic from Microsoft's Online Crash Analysis website). I forget exactly what I did, but it went something like this:

  • download mtinst.exe (memory tester)
  • download rktools.exe (for cdburn.exe)
  • cdburn e: d:/tmp/windiag.iso (burns windiag.iso to cd)

But you can't boot from that ISO, so instead I used winrar to get a file from the ISO then used Nero to create a boot disk with that file on it. I'm guessing mtinst was the file I wanted. I didn't note it.

Event Log Error

When my computer started flaking out, I went to and fixed a bunch of event log errors. None of these were my root problem, but it seems worth while to post the answers anyway.

The machine-default permission settings do not grant Local Activation permission for the COM Server application with CLSID {A4199E55-EBB9-49E5-AF1A-7A5408B2E206} to the user NT AUTHORITY\NETWORK SERVICE SID (S-1-5-20). This security permission can be modified using the Component Services administrative tool.

I looked at this forum which gave good advice. Then I found the CLSID in my registry (start > run > regedit) at HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{A4199E55-EBB9-49E5-AF1A-7A5408B2E206} which contained the element AppID = {6EF8E539-12E9-4595-A7C6-3DDA8A4069B2}. Then I looked up that AppID in dcom (start > run > dcomcnfg > console root > component service > computers > my computer > dcom config). At launch it gave an unrelated wmipvse warning that google suggest can be safely ignored (...Do you wish to record it? Yes). Select the detailed view (view > detail) and find the 6EF8E539-12E9-4595-A7C6-3DDA8A4069B2 entry, which is named RegSrvc. Google reveals that to be part of intel pro-set wireless. Edit it: (right-click > properties > security > launch and activation permissions > customize > edit). It seems that we need to convert the sid to username. Here's some advice. But that didn't make the problem go away. Note that I was also seeing these errors:

Intel(R) PRO/Wireless 2200BG Network Connection : The adapter has detected an Adapter Check as a result of some unrecoverable hardware of software error. Please contact your service provider.

I tried updating the drivers. My devide is: Intel(R) PRO/Wireless 2200BG Network Connection. I went to the intel website which let me: (check your system for the latest updates > always trust > run). That gave the following info.

Graphics Driver
Product Detected -- ATI MOBILITY RADEON 9600/9700 Series
This device is unknown or unsupported. 

Audio Driver for Intel® Desktop Board
This device is unknown or unsupported. 

Wireless Networking
Product Detected -- Intel® PRO/Wireless 2200BG Network Connection
Current Intel® PROSet/Wireless WiFi Connection Utility Installed: 12.1.2.0
Newer Intel® PROSet/Wireless WiFi Connection Utility Available: 12.4.4.0

Wired Networking
Current Driver Installed -- 1.0.0.44
This device is unknown or unsupported. 

I let it download and install the latest WiFi Connection Utility (ICS_x32.exe), but the event log errors continued to occur.

Looking at microsoft, it seemed like a user/local-system/admin problem. I tried changing regsrvc to login as admin but that didn't help, so I put it back.

Eventually I downloaded and installed LkupUserInfo.exe which is a freeware that converts sid to name. It said that S-1-5-20 is NETWORK SERVICE, so I have have domain/user = NT AUTHORITY\NETWORK SERVICE. So the problem isn't that the RegSrvc service (who logs on as local system) doesn't have the activation permission. The problem is that someone runing as network service doesn't have local activation permission.

Here's more fail: Back in dcom regsrvc properties, add the NETWORK user with local launch and local activation permissions. Doesn't help. Do like the kb article suggest on mycomputer in dcom, but use NETWORK. Doesn't help. Undo these two steps.

Back to that freeware sid tool:

USER NAME          SID        DOMAIN NAME
NETWORK            S-1-5-2    NT AUTHORITY
NETWORK SERVICE    S-1-5-20   NT AUTHORITY

(launch permission > select users or groups > advanced) seems to show all the users I can select, and network service isn't among them. This fourm says you need to do it as two accounts:

add newtork account with local launch and local activation
add service account with local launch and local activation
reboot
success!

Event Log Error

Here's another one:

Generate Activation Context failed for C:\Program Files\Western Digital\WD SmartWare\WD Drive Manager\MFC80U.DLL

Solution from this fourm:

This event occurs in conjunction with EventID 32 from source SideBySide and it is caused by an application that was not packaged with all of the necessary runtime files. In my case this was caused by the Logitech SetPoint software and was solved by getting the appropriate C++ 2005 Redistributable Package.

I downloaded vcredist_x86.exe from here, and that fixed it.

Earlier Problems (probably same root cause)

One day my laptop just wouldn't boot. It powered on and flashed its status lights and the CPU fan and the DVD drive spun up, but nothing happened. After a few attempts I just gave up. The next morning I gave it another try (without power plugged in) and it got to the boot screen. It gave the below info and has behaved normally ever since. Just to be safe, I opened it up and cleaned up the CPU fans and heat sinks. Weird.

american megatrends
press f2 to run setup
press esc key for bbs popup
dr frequency 400 mhz, dual-channel, liner mode
checking nvram
1024mb ok

sodexho & fortunes

auto-detecting pri slave...atapi cd-rom
auto-detecting sec master..ide hard disk
pri slave : 1720 toshiba dvd-rom sd-r2512
ultra dma mode-2
sec master: pa001g toshiba mk8026gax
ultra dma mode-5 s.m.a.r.t. capable and status ok
auto-detecting usb mass storage devices ..
00 usb mass storage devices found and configured.

resuming windows
for troubleshooting and advanced press f8

cmos setings wrong
cmos date/time not set
press f2 to run setup
press f1 to load default values and continue

My only guess is that a power serge, or just old age temporarily disrupted a motherboard battery that is responsible for the CMOS time. Who knows when it'll happen again. If I have to get a new box, I'll wan't it to be quiet.

Motherboard Battery

I can no longer boot while an external USB drive is connected because the BIOS setting thinks it should boot from the external USB. I tried changing the BIOS but the problem recured. My guess is that the moterboard battery is dead so it's stuck on the default BIOS settings. This analysis may be incorrect as the problem was intermittent.

ehow describes the Asus L5GA motherboard battery (bios battery). They claim that ASUS motherboards typically use a lithium CR2032 battery. The motherboard's battery is a flat, round 3-volt lithium battery. It is situated in the socket approximately in the center of the motherboard.

hardwaresecrets has some details on the socket. computing.net also has some not very useful details.

I decided it wasn't worth the trouble and stopped using the external drive.

RAM

crucial.com says the following about the RAM capabilities of the ASUS L5GA.

Maximum Memory: 1024MB
Slots: 2 (2 banks of 1)
Each memory slot can hold DDR PC2700 with a maximum of 512MB per slot.
Your system does not support dual channel.
Your system does not support ECC.

The crucial store suggests you replace your ASUS L5GA RAM with two of these.

Module Size: 512MB
Package: 200-pin SODIMM
Specs: DDR PC2700
       CL=2.5
       Unbuffered
       NON-ECC
       DDR333
       2.5V
       64Meg x 64 

The ASUS L5GA Notebook Review Specifications from devhardware.com contradicts the above "does not support dual channel" and states the following.

266/333 MB DDR SDRAM
2x SO-DIMM socket expandable to 1024 MB
Dual Channel DDR

sparepartworld.com says:

RAM 1 GB DDR-RAM PC 333 200pin for Asus L5GA
The highest-quality CSX brand memory SO- DIMM 1 GB 333 Mhz ...
RAM 512 MB DDR SO-DIMM 333 Mhz for Asus L5GA
The highest-quality brand memory SO- DIMM 512 MB 333 Mhz ...

My ASUS L5GA was shutting down and failing to restart at random times. I replaced my RAM with two 512MB sticks from kingston.com and my problems went away.

Search Results for: ASUS/ASmobile L5000GA (L5GA) / L5000GX (L5GX) Notebook 
KVR333X64SC25/256	256MB 333MHz DDR Non-ECC CL2.5 SO DIMM
KVR333X64SC25/512	512MB 333MHz DDR Non-ECC CL2.5 SO DIMM
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