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'[OT]: Windows2000 bootup sequence'
2002\06\20@173630 by Tom Messenger

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Hoping someone on this list knows the answer to this...

We have a software ap running on a notebook computer with Windows2000
system. There is a pcmcia card with a serial port stuck in to interface to
external hardware. The customer has it setup to startup automatically into
the application program.

The problem is that about 10% of the time, the program starts up and either
hasn't found the plugin card yet or it somehow gets configured wrong. Then
the program runs but won't allow comms. The user must exit the program and
restart it.

It appears to be simply due to how windows starts up and how/when/where it
recognizes the plugin card. If this is so, does anyone know how to control
this behavior so the card is found 100% of the time?

Thanks,
Tom M.

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2002\06\20@175825 by M. Adam Davis

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You need to do more testing.  If the app is started up by hand after the
computer is fully booted, then do you ever have a similar problem
(nevermind 1 out of 10 times)?  (ie, not autoloaded)

Is there special software (other than a device driver) that the serial
card uses that is loaded in the registry RUN, startup, etc?

If, as you postulate, the problem is that the program is loading before
windows finishes intitializing the serial driver then you likely only
have two options - either modify the app to detect when it is configured
incorrectly and rety the connection until it works, or make a seperate
program that determines when the serial port is working and then lauches
your app.

Either way I'd spend some time figuring out whether the program loads
fine after a full boot by hand a few dozen times just to make sure it
isn't another problem - best to determine the real cause then fix it
than to try and fix phantom causes.

-Adam


Tom Messenger wrote:

{Quote hidden}

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2002\06\20@180121 by Peter L. Peres

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On Thu, 20 Jun 2002, Tom Messenger wrote:

>Hoping someone on this list knows the answer to this...
>
>We have a software ap running on a notebook computer with Windows2000
>system. There is a pcmcia card with a serial port stuck in to interface to
>external hardware. The customer has it setup to startup automatically into
>the application program.
>
>The problem is that about 10% of the time, the program starts up and either
>hasn't found the plugin card yet or it somehow gets configured wrong. Then
>the program runs but won't allow comms. The user must exit the program and
>restart it.
>
>It appears to be simply due to how windows starts up and how/when/where it
>recognizes the plugin card. If this is so, does anyone know how to control
>this behavior so the card is found 100% of the time?

Write a wrapper that tries to access the card and keeps trying until it
succeeds, then when it succeeds it runs the app. It can also take other
action if the card is not detected, like, reboot (again), and/or write a
log. These things are extremely common on Unix (not because the OS fails
to recognize something though ;-).

On DOS/W32 the easiest wrapper is a batch file with a ERRORLEVEL
conditional goto after the test program to jump aruond the application to
be run if the test failed. On NT you would use shell scripting I think.

hope this helps,

Peter

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2002\06\20@184205 by Tom Messenger

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Thanks, Peter and Adam.

As far as I know, there have been no failures to see the card correctly
when starting up by hand. The customer has put the ap in their windows
start-up directory and they see failures around 10% of the time. We may
have been lucky, of course. (Or unlucky, depending on how you look at it...)

Thanks for the suggestions. We may use the wrapper idea if further
investigation doesn't turn anything else up.

Tom M.

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2002\06\20@191051 by Dave Tweed

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Tom Messenger <kristspamspam_OUTTHEGRID.NET> wrote:
> We have a software ap running on a notebook computer with Windows2000
> system. There is a pcmcia card with a serial port stuck in to interface to
> external hardware. The customer has it setup to startup automatically into
> the application program.
>
> The problem is that about 10% of the time, the program starts up and either
> hasn't found the plugin card yet or it somehow gets configured wrong. Then
> the program runs but won't allow comms. The user must exit the program and
> restart it.
>
> It appears to be simply due to how windows starts up and how/when/where it
> recognizes the plugin card. If this is so, does anyone know how to control
> this behavior so the card is found 100% of the time?

Is there another program that runs to configure the PCMCIA serial card?
If so, then there's probably a simple fix, if you're comfortable with
editing the registry.

Look in the registry for the key
 HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

See if there's an entry for the PCMCIA serial card. (I assume you'll also
find an entry for the application program here.)

If so, move the entry for the PCMCIA card to the following key:
 HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce

The difference is that the programs in ...\RunOnce are guaranteed to run
to completion before all the programs in ...\Run start. The latter programs
multitask normally and are not guaranteed to run in any particular sequence.

This may cure your problem.

-- Dave Tweed

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2002\06\20@193015 by M. Adam Davis

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According to
support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;q137367
runonce entries are run once then deleted from the registry.  They are
used for setup programs, etc.

-Adam

Dave Tweed wrote:

{Quote hidden}

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2002\06\20@195707 by Dave Tweed

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"M. Adam Davis" <TakeThisOuTadampicEraseMEspamspam_OUTUBASICS.COM> wrote:
> According to
> support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;q137367
> runonce entries are run once then deleted from the registry.  They are
> used for setup programs, etc.

Yeah, that occurred to me right after I sent the message.

OK, forget what I said. I don't see a simple way to force to commands to
run sequentially on every boot, without writing a wrapper as someone else
suggested.

-- Dave Tweed

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2002\06\21@042043 by Alan B. Pearce

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>On DOS/W32 the easiest wrapper is a batch file
>with a ERRORLEVEL conditional goto after the
>test program to jump aruond the application to
>be run if the test failed.
>On NT you would use shell scripting I think.

I do not think this will work as it sounds like the app is being started as
a service, and not waiting for someone to login.

If it is being started as a service, I think there is a way to determine the
order of starting, but have never gone digging into this. It may be
necessary to have a time delay or retry built into the app as others
suggest, as it sounds like you have a race condition occurring between the
app and the drivers it relies on.

Another solution may be to have the app start at a real low priority level,
and retry on the dependencies, and then once the link is made push its own
priority level up to something suitable - just a thought, again not
something I have tried.

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2002\06\21@074021 by Peter L. Peres

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On Fri, 21 Jun 2002, Alan B. Pearce wrote:

>>On DOS/W32 the easiest wrapper is a batch file
>>with a ERRORLEVEL conditional goto after the
>>test program to jump aruond the application to
>>be run if the test failed.
>>On NT you would use shell scripting I think.
>
>I do not think this will work as it sounds like the app is being started as
>a service, and not waiting for someone to login.

The item that you start as a service can be any program. Like the wrapper
for example.

{Quote hidden}

It is presumed that source access is not available so something external
needs to be fixed.

Peter

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2002\06\21@103013 by Bob Ammerman

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> >If it is being started as a service, I think there is a way to determine
the
> >order of starting, but have never gone digging into this. It may be
> >necessary to have a time delay or retry built into the app as others
> >suggest, as it sounds like you have a race condition occurring between
the
> >app and the drivers it relies on.

The service manager allows you to mark a service as dependent on another
service IIRC.


Bob Ammerman
RAm Systems

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2002\06\21@114532 by Jon Baker

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----- Original Message -----
From: "Alan B. Pearce" <A.B.PearceEraseMEspam.....RL.AC.UK>

> I do not think this will work as it sounds like the app is being started
as
> a service, and not waiting for someone to login.

Windows can be configured to automagically log a user in without them having
to enter their password, so the app doesn't necessarily have to be a
service, however making it a service may be advantageous if you can set it
as dependant on something, although I dont know which service it could
depend on as the plug'n'play / pcmcia services may have started but not
necessarily finished their configuration of the peripheral.


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2002\06\21@120625 by Josh Koffman

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Any idea if you can do something similar with windows98? I have a laptop
that runs fine, but if you leave the PCMCIA network card in, then turn
the unit on, partway through bootup you loose sound, and all you get is
static. If you wait until after the boot is complete to insert the card,
everything works fine. This seems to happen with 3 different network
cards. I haven't had the chance to try different PCMCIA slots though.
Any ideas anyone?

Josh
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Bob Ammerman wrote:
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2002\06\21@130132 by Peter L. Peres

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On Fri, 21 Jun 2002, Josh Koffman wrote:

>Any idea if you can do something similar with windows98? I have a laptop
>that runs fine, but if you leave the PCMCIA network card in, then turn
>the unit on, partway through bootup you loose sound, and all you get is
>static. If you wait until after the boot is complete to insert the card,
>everything works fine. This seems to happen with 3 different network
>cards. I haven't had the chance to try different PCMCIA slots though.
>Any ideas anyone?

I had compatibility woes on laptops before, most recently with an ancient
Aero 386 ;-). A BIOS flashed with the newest revision software fixed that
(and broke a few other minor things). Back up the old flash version and
hang on to it. You may want to unflash depending on what the upgrade
breaks. Hanging on includes using a thoroughly formatted (several times)
floppy. Now guess why I say this.

Peter

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2002\06\21@134215 by Paul Hutchinson

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Maybe the key named RunServices is the one you were thinking of instead of
the RunOnce key.


Paul

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2002\06\21@141534 by Dave Tweed

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Paul Hutchinson <RemoveMEphutchinsonEraseMEspamEraseMEIMTRA.COM> wrote:
> Maybe the key named RunServices is the one you were thinking of instead of
> the RunOnce key.

No, that one doesn't guarantee execution order either; I checked.

Besides, the OP still hasn't told us whether or not there is a separate
program that configures the PCMCIA card, so this entire sub-thread may be
moot.

-- Dave Tweed

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2002\06\21@142154 by Joe Farr

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In the words of Sherlock Holmes, "It should be a criminal offence to act without first knowing all the facts"


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