Dec 052018

We highly recommend using CrashPlan Pro as part of your disaster recovery plan.  After seeding your initial backup, it continuously backs up changed files every 15 minutes.  You get unlimited storage and customizeable file versioning and retention.  For example, let’s say you accidentally delete a file and don’t notice it for say 9 months.  No problem, you’ll be able to restore it using default retention policies.

In some scenarios with some users, we occasionally see the CrashPlan service hang.  Sometimes this occurs after an automatic software update.  In most cases, a restart of the CrashPlan service fixes the issue.  The user could also reboot their computer, but that takes time and is often inconvenient.

We recently had a customer who would need to restart the service every 2-3 weeks.  We did a clean re-install with no improvement.  This computer is used by a heavy internet user with lots of installed software that may be conflicting with the proper running of CrashPlan at times.  Instead of getting on the machine and restarting the service every 2-3 weeks, we made a scheduled task to restart the service every 3 days.

Here’s how to do it:

(1) Open Notepad, enter the following, and save as “CrashPlan Restart.bat” (or similar).

net stop CrashPlanService
net start CrashPlanService

(2)  Open Task Scheduler and schedule running this batch script as a task. We scheduled our job to run at 11:15 PM every 3 days.

crashplan restart scheduled task

(3) Change the CrashPlan Backup Schedule to not run when you’ll be restarting the service.  You might also want to change the file verification scan to run when the backup resumes.  In our case, we set the file verification scan to run at 12:00 AM.  For more information, see Update file verification scan schedule

Since we’ve started running this script, we haven’t received any alerts that CrashPlan stopped working on this user’s computer.  It would be nice if CrashPlan added a Watchdog to restart the service if it stops responding.  Until then, we’ll use this little hack when necessary.


 Posted by at 3:41 pm
Sep 202018

We recently had a Mid 2010 Mac Pro in the shop which had three 3TB hard drives.  We did a fresh install of High Sierra on the first 3TB drive.  The goal was to install Windows 7 on the second 3TB drive.  The third 3TB drive was to be added to the macOS installation as a data disk.

To install Windows 7 on this old Mac Pro, the drive needs to be formatted with a MBR partition scheme.  If you formatted it with Apple’s Disk Utility, you might get the following error message when trying to install Windows: “Windows cannot be installed to this disk.  The selected disk is of the GPT partition style”.

If you attempt to format a 3TB drive MBR using the Apple Disk Utility in High Sierra, you’ll get the error message “The disk is too large to be supported by the given partition scheme.  Operation failed…”. What a pickle.

There’s no shortage of blog post hacks out there describing methods of how to install Windows 7 on old Mac Pros.  Boot Camp was completely useless.  It would have been much easier with a 2TB drive. Here’s what I did:

  1. Formatted the disk intended for Windows 7 as Mac OS extended (Journaled) with Guid Partition Map in Apple’s Disk Utility for the fun of it.
  2. Boot to the Windows 7 installation DVD.  Note: Bootable Windows 7 USB sticks and external USB optical drives will not work on this old Mac.  You need to boot the Windows 7 installer from your internal DVD drive.
  3.  When Windows Setup asks you “Where do you want to install Windows”, press Shift F10 to get a command prompt.
  4.  Format the drive intended for Windows MBR using the Windows command line.  Be careful to select the correct disk.

list disk
select disk n (where n is the disk you want to install Windows 7 to)
convert mbr

The result is the selected drive will be erased and formatted MBR.  You’ll have a 2.2TB partition which is the maximum size for MBR.  The rest of the disk will be unused space.  Click Refresh on the Windows installer to see your changes.  You can now format that partition NTFS and select it as your Windows 7 installation destination.

But wait… after clicking Next, I immediately got the message “Windows is unable to install to the selected location.  Error 0x8030024”.  This is a Windows 7 installer issue.  Power down the machine, disconnect any other drives attached to the system, reboot to the Windows 7 DVD again, and you’ll be able to complete the installation.  When finished, re-attach the other drives, no issues.

When the Windows installation is complete, you can download the Boot Camp Windows support software manually.  For more info, check the Compatibility Tables. Here’s the link applicable to this mid 2010 Mac Pro: Boot Camp Support Software 5.1.5621.  For this old Mac Pro, I only needed to install the Windows Bluetooth, ATI video, Realtek sound and Intel chipset drivers.

I’m confident this Windows 7 installation could be upgraded to Windows 10 since it’s on its own disk.  That’s an experiment for another day.