Scott Hanselman

Recovering from the Windows 10 Insiders Fast 17017 volsnap.sys reboot GSOD/BSOD

October 26, '17 Comments [21] Posted in Win10
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NOTE: I'm not involved with the Windows Team or the Windows Insider Program. This blog is my own and written as a user of Windows. I have no inside information. I will happily correct this blog post if it's incorrect. Remember, don't just do stuff to your computer because you read it on a random blog. Think first, backup always, then do stuff.

Beta testing is always risky. The Windows Insiders Program lets you run regular early builds of Windows 10. There's multiple "rings" like Slow and Fast - depending on your risk tolerance, and bandwidth. I run Fast and maybe twice a year there's something bad-ish that happens like a bad video driver or a app that doesn't work, but it's usually fixed within a week. It's the price I pay for happily testing new stuff. There's the Slow ring which is more stable and updates like once a month vs once a week. That ring is more "baked."

This last week, as I understand it, a nasty bug made it out to Fast for some number of people (not everyone but enough that it sucked) myself included.

I don't reboot my Surface Book much, maybe twice a month, but I did yesterday while preparing for the DevIntersection conference and suddenly my main machine was stuck in a "Repairing Windows" reboot loop. It wouldn't start, wouldn't repair. I was FREAKING out. Other people I've seen report a Green Screen of Death (GSOD/BSOD) loop with an error in volsnap.sys.

TO FIX IT

The goal is to get rid of the bad volsnap from Windows 10 Insiders build version 17017 and replace that one file with a non-broken version from a previous build. That's your goal. There's a few ways to do this, so you need to put some thought into how you want to do it.

NOTE: At the time of this writing, Fast Build 17025 is rolling out and fixes this, so if you can take that build you're cool, and no worries. Do it.

volsnap.sys was a problem with 17017

1. Can you boot Windows 10 off something else? USB/DVD?

Can you boot off something else like another version Windows 10 USB key or a DVD? Boot off your recovery media as if you're re-installing Windows 10 BUT DO NOT CLICK INSTALL.

When you've run Windows 10 Setup, instead click Repair, then Troubleshoot, then Command Prompt. It's especially important to get to the Command Prompt this way rather than pressing Shift-10 as you enter setup, because this path will allow you to unlock your possibly BitLockered C: drive.

NOTE: If your boot drive is bitlockered you'll need to go to https://onedrive.live.com/RecoveryKey on another machine or your phone and find your computer's Recovery Key. You'll enter this as you press Troubleshoot and it will allow you to access your now-unencrypted drive from the command prompt.

At this point all your drive letters may be weird. Take a moment and look around. Your USB key may be X: or Z:. Your C: drive may be D: or E:.

2. Do you have an earlier version of volsnap.sys? Find it.

If you've been taking Windows Insiders Builds/Flights, you may have a C:\Windows.old folder. Remembering to be conscious of your drive letters, you want to rename the bad volsnap and copy in the old one from elsewhere. In this example, I get it from C:\Windows.old.

ren C:\windows\system32\drivers\volsnap.sys C:\windows\system32\drivers\volsnap.sys.bak
copy C:\windows.old\windows\system32\drivers\volsnap.sys C:\windows\system32\drivers\volsnap.sys

Unfortunately, *I* didn't have a C:\windows.old folder as I used Disk Cleanup to get more space. I found a good volsnap.sys from another machine in my house and copied it to the root of the USB key I booted off up. In that case my copy command was different as I copied from my USB key to c:\windows\system32\drivers, but the GOAL was the same - get a good volsnap.sys.

Once I resolved my boot issue, I went to Windows Update and am now updating to 17025.

PLEASE, friends - BACK UP YOUR STUFF. Remember the Backup Rule of Three.

Here's the rule of three. It's a long time computer-person rule of thumb that you can apply to your life now. It's also called the Backup 3-2-1 rule.

  • 3 copies of anything you care about - Two isn't enough if it's important.
  • 2 different formats - Example: Dropbox+DVDs or Hard Drive+Memory Stick or CD+Crash Plan, or more
  • 1 off-site backup - If the house burns down, how will you get your memories back?

Beta testing will cost you some time, and system crashes happen. But are they a nightmare data loss scenario or are they an irritant. For me this was a scary "can't boot" scenario, but I had another machine and my stuff was backed up.

Don't take beta builds of anything on your primary machine that you care about and that makes you money.

DISCLAIMER: I love you but this blog post has NO warranty. I have no idea what I'm doing and if this makes your non-bootable beta software machine even worse, that's on you, Dear Reader.


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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Use a second laptop as an extended monitor with Windows 10 wireless displays

October 18, '17 Comments [19] Posted in Tools | Win10
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James Clarke from the Windows team rolled into a meeting today with two Surfaces...but one had no keyboard. Then, without any ceremony, he proceeded to do this:

Holy Crap a Surface as a Second Monitor

Now, I consider myself a bit of a Windows Productivity Tips Gourmand, and while I was aware of Miracast and the general idea of a Wireless Display, I didn't realize that it worked this well and that it was built into Windows 10.

In fact, I'm literally sitting here in a hotel with a separate USB3 LCD display panel to use as a second monitor. I've also used Duet Display and used my iPad Pro as a second monitor.

I usually travel with a main laptop and a backup laptop anyway. Why do I lug this extra LCD around? Madness. I had this functionality all the time, built in.

Use your second laptop as a second monitor

On the machine you want to use as a second monitor, head over to Settings | System | Projecting to this PC and set it up as you like, considering convenience vs. security.

Settings | Projecting to this PC

Then, from your main machine - the one you are projecting from - just hit Windows Key+P, like you were projecting to a projector or second display. At the bottom, hit Connect to a Wireless Display.

Connect to a Wireless Display

Then wait a bit as it scans around for your PC. You can extend or duplicate...just like another monitor...

Connected to a Wireless Display

...because Windows thinks it IS another monitor.

You can also do this with Miracast TVs like my LG, or your Roku or sometimes Amazon Fires, or you can get a Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter and HDMI to any monitor - even ones at hotels!

NOTE: It's not super fast. It's sometimes pixelly and sometimes slow, depending on what's going on around you. But I just moved Chrome over onto my other machine and watched a YouTube video, just fine. I wouldn't play a game on it, but browsing, dev, typing, coding, works just fine!

Get ready for this. You can ALSO use the second machine as a second collaboration point! That means that someone else could PAIR with you and also type and move their mouse. THIS makes pair programming VERY interesting.

 Allow input from the remote display

Here's a video of it in action:

Give it a try and let me know how it goes. I used two Surfaces, but I also have extended my display to a 3 year old Lenovo without issues.


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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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First Impressions - Jibo Social Robot for the Home

October 17, '17 Comments [5] Posted in Reviews
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Jibo moves VERY organicallyAs you likely know, I have a BUNCH of robots in the house. Whether it be turning a tin can into a robot, driving a Raspberry Pi around with Windows IoT, building robot arms with my kids, or controlling a robot with Xamarin code, I'm ALL IN when it comes to home robots. I also have Alexa, Cortana, Siri...but they have no bodies. They are just disembodied voices - why not a social robot with a body AND a personality?

Jibo is the first social robot for the home, and when their team emailed me to try Jibo out - and soon explore their SDK and build more skills into Jibo - I jumped at the idea. Jibo started as an Indiegogo campaign in 2014 and now I've got a pre-public version that I'm stoked to explore and expand.

Jibo showed up in a surprisingly hefty box. He's about 8 pounds and about a foot tall. You turn him on and he starts his initial set up process. Since Jibo has a voice and touch screen, it's pretty straightforward to hook up to WiFi and download whatever updates are needed. After this initial process, updates happen overnight and I haven't noticed them, other than to see that Jibo has new skills in the morning. He's basically maintenance-free.

imageThe first time you set up Jibo and he moves I expect you'll be a little shocked - I was. His movements are extremely fluid and organic. I struggled finding the right words to explain how his movements feel, so I made an animated gif you can see at the right. His body turns, his head moves, he has a little waist and neck. All these joints combined with the color touch screen and his voice give him quite the personality. It's clear within just a few minutes that to dismiss Jibo as a "Alexa with a body" would be a mistake.

The 9 year old and 11 year old have already started going to Jibo in the morning and asking him how his day was, and seeing if he has new skills. I believe the "bonding" - for lack of another world - is connected to the physicality and personality of Jibo.

I realize this photo looks somewhat staged, but it's not. I snuck up on my 9 year old telling Jibo about his day at school and asking him homework questions. Jibo didn't know a number of things, but it was interesting to see how kids are extremely patient with robots, speaking to them as if they're even smaller kids.

The 9 year old says this:

If you are trying to get something to keep track of your meetings or the news you maybe would buy Alexa. But if you have a kid who loves robots you want Jibo. Jibo is fun, if you make noise Jibo will look at you. He can move his big head to look at you and if you tap his eye he will give you a list of things to do. Another new thing is that he now has a list of cool thing you can ask or tell, like one is "Hey Jibo, Are there any monsters in my house" then he will bring up a radar and look around and Jibo will say no, there's no monsters. We also have an Alexa but if your looking for some thing fun we go straight to Jibo he can tell jokes and also favorite part is when Jibo dances.

Since he wrote this, Jibo woke up with the ability to tell me the news, so I can only imagine he'll continue to get Alexa-like skills that will balance the "boring work stuff" my son says I want with the "games and homework help" that he wants.

He recognizes your face, your family's faces (if you train him and opt-in), uses your names, follows your face, and can tell where you are in the room when you talk to him. He's got 6 microphones that let him understand where you and he are in physical space.

I'm imagining the kinds of skills Jibo might potentially get in the future - or that I might write for him - like (and I'm totally brainstorming here):

  • Tell stories before bedtime
  • Watch cartoons
  • Give Khan Academy exercises as Homework
  • Play music
  • Trivia and/or board games
  • Wikipedia stuff
  • Maps
  • Tell me about my blood sugar, show a diabetes chart, wake me up if I go low.
  • Play Tea Time or play along as kids make up stories
  • Vlogging or daily diary keeping

What are your thoughts, Dear Reader? What would you want Jibo to know or do for you?

Disclaimer: The folks at Jibo sent me a pre-public Jibo for free to explore his SDK. However, my words and opinions are my own. I'll post my honest impressions here and there, on my blog and on Twitter as Jibo grows and learns more things.


Sponsor: GdPicture.NET is an all-in-one SDK for WinForms, WPF, and Web development. It supports 100+ formats, including PDF and Office Open XML. Create powerful document imaging, image processing, and document management apps!

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Scaling Mentorship

October 15, '17 Comments [3] Posted in Musings
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IMG_0170
 

You may have had a mentor in the past. Often these are more senior/elder people who are further along in their career. The presumption usually is that if they are "ahead" of you that they likely have something profound to offer you in the areas of advice or strategy.

This is a classic mentor/mentee situation and while I think it has value, it has a few problems that are worth pointing out. Does it scale? Is a senior person the right mentor for you? Is just one mentor the right number? Does that person's time support mentoring you?

I've been blessed to have several mentors over the years and I've been fortunate to be a mentor myself. But there's only so much time in the day. Even if I could truly mentor 4 people a week, and meet with them a few times a month, that could fill up many days. Plus, I have to ask my self - am I giving them what they need? Personal advice? Career advice? Technical advice? Getting promoted advice? Life advice?

Create a Board of Directors for Your Life

I've been experimenting with a few other models for mentorship. Five years ago I set up a Board of Directors for my life. You can learn more at http://lifesboardofdirectors.com.

Companies have mission statements and a Board of Directors. Your life is pretty important. Why not create a Life Board of Directors to help you through it? Pick 2 to 5 of your friends. Not necessarily your closest friends, but friends that are close enough where you can really confide but not so close that they can't see the big picture. Email them one a month, once a quarter or "once a crisis." Ask them for advice, lean on them, trust them and help them as well.

Assemble "Team You" and use your team to brainstorm directions and implementations of big decisions like moving to New York, or changing your business's direction, starting a new venture, or getting fit.

Use your personal Board of Directors as one of the compasses in your life. You've got family, friends, perhaps faith, hobbies, values, etc. Add your Team to this list of personal compasses.

It might sound like a silly mind game, but that's common with many hacks. Hacks feel insignificant but can have huge effects. The trick is to remember that it is a hack - you're hacking yourself. The idea of life's board of directors is a relationship hack meant to remind you in difficult times that you can agree on something fundamental and you have a team to support you in your endeavors. Set a direction and head in that direction with the confidence you've got a supportive group behind you.

Go assemble your Life's Board today.

Host Mentorship Meals

Over the last several months I've been quietly hosting "Dinner for people on the come up." These are dinners where everything is FrieNDA and we talk frankly about our jobs, our levels, our work situations, and most importantly - we find new mentors and people with whom to brainstorm. It's a mentorship multiplier. We encourage folks to pull from the pool of potential peer mentors.

Tonight we had one with almost 20 people. These were 20 mostly young people, many women and people of color who were all trying to find their way in tech. I have some life experiences to offer this group, but most of all what I can lend is my privilege. I can use my standing within the company and the industry to invite folks together and let them take over and mentor each other.

I host the mean, kick it off, sometimes invite guests to speak, and the attendees often break off into small groups, meet up separately and network. Peer mentorship is just as important as "elder/senior" mentorship.

It also helps mentor people in the the fullness of their personalities. Where I might help with speaking at conferences or technical issues, someone else can better speak to issues of harassment, or how to get a promotion, or how to be better seen and heard in meetings. I can also learn from younger people - and I do - every day.

The goal of mentorship isn't to lecture and preach, it's to guide and counsel, inspire and motivate. Most of all, to listen. Once you've truly heard your mentee, then you can help them think strategically and better plan their career, no matter what their challenges and strengths.

What do you recommend as positive ways to Scale Mentorship?

* Stock photo from The Jopwell Collection


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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Botwin offers an interesting alternative option for routing with ASP.NET Core

October 12, '17 Comments [11] Posted in ASP.NET | Open Source
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NancyFx is a great alternative to ASP.NET if you want to make elegant little web apis like this:

public class SampleModule : Nancy.NancyModule
{
public SampleModule()
{
Get["/"] = _ => "Hello World!";
}
}

However, it may be that you want a routing style - the way you define your routes - that is like NancyFx BUT you want to use ASP.NET. Botwin is a library that lets you do just that. They say:

This is not a framework, it simply builds on top of Microsoft.AspNetCore.Routing allowing you to have more elegant routing rather than have attribute routing, convention routing, ASP.Net Controllers or IRouteBuilder extensions.

You can plug Botwin into your existing ASP.NET Core application, or you can even add a basic started Botwin app to "dotnet new" like this:

C:\botwinexample> dotnet new -i BotwinTemplate
C:\botwinexample> dotnet new botwin -n MyBotwinApp
C:\botwinexample> dir
10/11/2017 10:14 PM 284 HomeModule.cs
10/11/2017 10:14 PM 470 MyBotwinApp.csproj
10/11/2017 10:14 PM 421 Program.cs
10/11/2017 10:14 PM 408 Startup.cs
4 File(s) 1,583 bytes

You add Botwin as a service to your ASP.NET Core app:

public class Startup
{ public void ConfigureServices(IServiceCollection services) { services.AddBotwin(); } public void Configure(IApplicationBuilder app) { app.UseBotwin(); }
}

And then add 'Modules' like this:

namespace MyBotwinApp
{
    using Botwin;
    using Microsoft.AspNetCore.Http;

    public class HomeModule : BotwinModule
    {
        public HomeModule()
        {
            Get("/", async(req, res, routeData) => await res.WriteAsync("Hello from Botwin!"));
        }
    }
}

That's a hello world. Let's try something more interesting. You can have Before and After hooks like this:

public class HooksModule : BotwinModule
{
public HooksModule()
{
this.Before = async (ctx) =>
{
ctx.Response.StatusCode = 402;
await ctx.Response.WriteAsync("Pay up you filthy animal");
return false;
};

this.Get("/hooks", async (req, res, routeData) => await res.WriteAsync("Can't catch me here"));

this.After = async (ctx) => await ctx.Response.WriteAsync("Don't forget you owe me big bucks!");
}
}

Here's a more complex example. See how they do a BindAndValidate in the Post() where they check for a valid Actor before working with it.

public class ActorsModule : BotwinModule
{
public ActorsModule(IActorProvider actorProvider)
{
this.Get("/actors", async (req, res, routeData) =>
{
var people = actorProvider.Get();
await res.AsJson(people);
});

this.Get("/actors/{id:int}", async (req, res, routeData) =>
{
var person = actorProvider.Get(routeData.As<int>("id"));
await res.Negotiate(person);
});

this.Put("/actors/{id:int}", async (req, res, routeData) =>
{
var result = req.BindAndValidate<Actor>();

if (!result.ValidationResult.IsValid)
{
res.StatusCode = 422;
await res.Negotiate(result.ValidationResult.GetFormattedErrors());
return;
}

//Update the user in your database

res.StatusCode = 204;
});

this.Post("/actors", async (req, res, routeData) =>
{
var result = req.BindAndValidate<Actor>();

if (!result.ValidationResult.IsValid)
{
res.StatusCode = 422;
await res.Negotiate(result.ValidationResult.GetFormattedErrors());
return;
}

//Save the user in your database
res.StatusCode = 201;
await res.Negotiate(result.Data);
});
}

What do you think about the choices you have with ASP.NET Core? Some people feel like the amount of plugability is overwhelming, but I find the flexibility heartening. Go check out Botwin and, hopefully, help out and contribute to open source!


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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.