This was a very random and strange occurrence, suddenly my wife’s PC would no longer boot from the SSD drive, instead, it kept trying to boot from the secondary disk. Even when I accessed the boot menu in bios and told it to boot from this disk, it still refused.
So I booted from my Windows 10 USB stick and used command line tools. When I used diskpart, it was also reporting that the disk was empty and unformatted as well. I went through the usual repair procedures, but could not detect the previous Windows installation.
So since I did not fancy spending ages trying to fix this, I went to do a Windows re-install, which is really the easy option now we store all our data on onedrive cloud storage anyway, so nothing gets lost. But this is when I received the above error 0x80300025, We couldn’t install Windows in the location you chose.
The first thing I did was to disconnect my secondary drive, so that the system could not keep trying to boot from it. I then went into the bios to set the boot drive, but this time received another message telling me I could not boot from this disk with the current settings. So I had to go into my bios and change the CSM settings to allow legacy devices as well as uefi.
Why this suddenly happened, and why I had to change this setting is a mystery, my best bet is that maybe my 5 year old accidentally got into the BIOS and fiddled with the settings when the system was booting. Although TBH I do not recall having EVER set this CSM setting before, I am pretty sure it has always been in uefi mode by default.
So the 2 steps if you get this issue are: disconnect other drives, check your bios/uefi settings.
Dodgy WIFI signals are a royal PITA, and with so many devices in your home now using WIFI, such as phones, tablets, Fire TV, PC’s, printers, every bit of speed matters. While none of the tips in this article are new, most of them can all be carried out for free or very cheaply, and they might just help you get a little bit of extra performance from your wireless network.
1. Find the right spot for your router
This might not be something you’ve thought about, but properly positioning your router can make a significant difference when it comes to ensuring good coverage around your home. It can be difficult to move your router around too much when its location is somewhat dictated by the location of your master socket, but ideally, you might want to consider some of the following.
First of all, try to elevate your router as much as possible. At the very least, it’s not a great idea to keep your router on the floor, so try to keep it on top of a cabinet or desk. If your router is upstairs, you won’t need to worry about elevation, but at least keep it off the floor.
If possible, try to move your router to a central point in your home. If your router is by a window, or in a corner, a good deal of the signal is going to be lost. Positioning your router centrally means a more even coverage around the home. This can be difficult depending on the location of your master socket, but if it is easy to achieve and doesn’t look unsightly, investing in some longer cables to give you a little more room to play with can pay off.
Finally, moving your router away from obstacles can also help. So don’t keep the router in a cupboard, or close to furniture that might block the signal. Where possible, try to allow for some clearance around the router.
The biggest problem here is then connecting your WIRED devices to the router. More often than not, these devices tend to be in the lounge, such as your TV, Fire TV, skybox, games console etc. In which case the best solution is to get a small ethernet switch and connect all your devices to this, and 1 cable to connect your switch to the router.
The NETGEAR GS205-100UKS 5 Port Gigabit Ethernet Desktop Switch is the #1 best seller at Amazon, with 5 stars out of 5 and 1758 customer reviews. And at only £11.97 it is certainly a steal.
2. Use 5GHz if possible
If you have a modern dual-band router, you’ll have the option to connect at the 5GHz frequency instead of 2.4GHz. Lots of routers will take care of this for you automatically, but they also allow you to manually control which frequency you want to connect to (you’ll need to set up two SSIDs in your router settings).
As a rule, 2.4GHz will give more range, but connections will be faster at 5GHz. The other advantage of the 5GHz spectrum is that it will generally be less congested. That is, there will be less interference from things like home appliances and your neighbours’ WiFi.
3. Change the channel
No, we’re not talking about the TV here. Rather, your router will transmit its signal on particular channels chosen from an available range. If other wireless networks in your vicinity (i.e. your neighbours) are transmitting on the same or adjacent channels there is a possibility that you might run into interference issues.
You can use a WiFi analyzer to scan nearby networks for interference, look for SSID’s running on the same channel as yours.
To help you do this, download the WiFi Analyzer tool from the Windows Store and install it onto your laptop.
Here also is the one I use for Android and a few options for iPhone.
These tools take the guesswork out of improving your router’s signal settings by looking for interference caused by overlapping signals broadcasting on the same channel and letting you know how to change the channel. This article gives more detailed instructions.
4. Check those antennae
Lots of modern routers have internal antennae, so there’s not much you can do about that (though they should be optimally set up, so there probably isn’t much need for worry). However many routers (new and old) still use external antennae.
Crucially, when it comes to positioning these antennae, the general advice is to place them perpendicularly. So if one antenna is pointing straight up, the other should be positioned horizontally, at a right angle to the first antenna. This is because reception will be better on your tablet, smart phone, laptop, etc. if their antennae are oriented the same way. So, positioning your antennae perpendicularly ensures better communication with your devices no matter their orientation.
5. Keep your router away from other electronic devices
At this time of year, your Christmas lights are likely to be a big culprit, but other electronic devices like computers, TVs, power adaptors, and even fluorescent lights can all cause interference to your wireless signal. So it pays to keep your router as far away as possible from these sources of interference, even from the electrical sockets. Entirely isolating your router might prove to be an impossible task, but try to reduce exposure as much as you can.
6. Check for bandwidth hogs
Do you sometimes find that despite having a strong WiFi signal, everything is slow as hell, or just stops working altogether? And does this often seem to happen at the same time every day?
One common cause I found was Windows updates, check the related posts below for more details on this one.
Another cause is video streaming. If you have multiple people in your house, all streaming video on their laptops, tablets, Amazon Fire Sticks then this is going to suck all your bandwidth and leave not much for anyone else.
Torrent downloading is another one, if you have someone in your household who likes to download files via torrent, then this can easily consume all your bandwidth due to the way it works.
If you have a decent router, then there should be tools in your router admin to show you all the connected devices and how much bandwidth they are using. You may need to enable QOS (quality of service) to get this data.
7. Extend your WiFi
If there really is nothing that can be done about your existing WiFi signal, then you could consider using a WiFi extender or powerline adaptor to extend your WiFi into poor signal areas of your home.
A Wi-Fi range extender sometimes called a range expander, is a type of wireless repeater used to expand the reach of a wireless LAN. The device is situated in between a base router or access point and a client that is not close enough to receive acceptable service or one that is on the other side of a barrier.
A popular not so well known brand is Coredy, of particular note is the Coredy E300 N300 Mini Wi-Fi Range Extender/ Access Point / Router with External Antennas, which has a 4.5 star rating from 504 reviews at Amazon.
Powerline adaptors turn your electrical cables into a speedy network.
Simply plug one end into a power socket next to your router, and connect with an ether cable, and plug another adapter into any other socket in your house. Voila, you now have your broadband connection extended to that socket, which you can use via an ethernet cable or WiFi if it also has a built-in WiFi extender.
One of the most popular brands is TP-Link, such as TP-Link TL-WPA7510KIT 1200 Mbps Dual Band Gigabit AC750 Powerline Adapter, Range Extender, Broadband/Wi-Fi Extender, Wi-Fi Booster/Hotspot with 4 stars and 931 reviews. There are also other models with more ethernet ports, as well as pass-through power sockets.
Modular Whole Home Wi-Fi Mesh System
Wi-Fi extenders have long been a popular option when it came to solving Wi-Fi dead spots in homes, but with the introduction of mesh Wi-Fi systems over the last couple of years, many casual users have been eyeing these new systems instead, mostly due to how easy they are to set up and use.
For example, if you set up the first and second mesh unit in your house, you don’t have to worry about placing the third unit close to the first unit, since it can simply just get the signal from the second unit that you set up, allowing you to create a much larger range than you could with Wi-Fi extenders. Think of it as a relay race where runners hand off the baton to the next runner to advance down the track—mesh Wi-Fi systems work the same way.
Furthermore, if you were to open up a Wi-Fi analyzing app, you would notice that your mesh Wi-Fi network is actually transmitting separate Wi-Fi networks, one for each unit that you have set up. This is how traditional Wi-Fi extenders work as well, but with those, you would often have to switch between networks manually (between Network and Network_EXT, for example). However, a mesh Wi-Fi network still acts as a single network, so your devices will switch between mesh units automatically.
For the last few weeks my son has been unable to use his gmail, gdrive or in fact any part of his g suite account using Google Chrome, due to getting this dreaded #400 bad request error.
The 400 Bad Request error is an HTTP status code that means that the request you sent to the website server, often something simple like a request to load a web page, was somehow incorrect or corrupted and the server couldn’t understand it.
I googled this errors for hours, but none of the solutions I found worked.
- I completely uninstalled chrome and started from scratch, no dice.
- I even tested this on my own PC, and had the same issue.
- Tested with other browsers, but they do not have this issue.
After troubleshooting the issue extensively, what I discovered was that this problem was only affecting my son’s google profile and only occurred after I created his profile in chrome and synced it. If I logged into Gmail without creating the profile, everything worked, If I used the guest profile, or if I used incognito, everything also worked fine. So the issue is clearly with the Google profile and what chrome is trying to do after it has downloaded/synced it for the first time.
I contacted Google support (as I have a paid g suite account), and had some painful exchanges, with them insisting that a #400 error is a client-side error and so the issue is with my environment and not a problem with any of their services. It has taken a lot of perseverance and repeating the evidence over and over to show that it is not a local environment issue, but finally, a solution has been found.
All you need to do is reset your google profile sync.
- Visit http://chrome.google.com/sync (you need to be logged in to the affected Chrome profile).
- Review if there is anything needed to keep on your profile. For example, Bookmarks which you can backup by following the steps from here http://support.google.com/chrome/answer/96816.
- Make sure to check every item in that list (most of them is like clear browsing history).
- After checking what needs to be exported and download, the next step would be to click on “Reset Sync” button on the bottom and this will delete all the sync data that cannot be recovered.
I did not need to delete the profile from the browser, but if the above solution does not solve your problem, then I would give that a go as well.
I hope this helps the many other people who are having this error and never found any solution.
Every few weeks, we hear the news that another major corporation and their website has been hacked, just last week we heard about Equifax being hacked and data on millions of users being compromised. We of course only hear about the major newsworthy hacks which have been discovered or disclosed, but the scary truth is that around 30,000 websites are hacked every single day.
Often these hacks mean your personal information has also been compromised, most likely without your knowledge as often website owners either do not know they have been hacked, or choose to keep it quiet. In this post, I cover the important reasons for why you should use a password manager to protect your online identity, and how to get started with LastPass, a free password manager.
Passwords & Online Security Best Practices
Most websites rely on a simple login process for a user to gain access their account–a username and password.
As an online security best practice, you need to have long, complex and unique password for every web account you use.
Strong passwords need to be:
- Long – The more characters in a password, the longer it would take a hacker to guess your password.
- Complex – By adding additional characters to your password you add complexity or password entropy. Password entropy is a measurement of how unpredictable a password is, based on the character set used (a combination of lowercase, uppercase, numbers and symbols) as well as password length. Basically, your password needs to be something you could never pronounce.
- Unique – You need a different password for every web account you use. Yep, that’s right. Every login on every website needs to be unique and never reused.
Unfortunately, in the real world, meeting all three criteria for strong passwords is basically impossible without the use of a password manager.
Why Use a Password Manager? The Nightmare Scenario
So why is having a long, complex, unique password important?
If you use the same email address and passwords for multiple websites that you log into (as a lot of people do), what happens when one of those websites gets hacked?
The hackers now have your username and password on a list that will be used to try to log into thousands of other websites around the internet. If you use the same email address and password for all your websites, now the hacker will be able to log into all your accounts at once and get access to all your personal data and details. If those same login details are used for your email account as well, they can now access
If those same login details are used for your email account as well, they can now access pretty much anything. Any site they cannot get into, they can simply issue a password reset, which will come to your email, which they now have access to. Identity theft at this point is a high possibility.
Once your password has been compromised, you now have the challenge of updating your information individually on every single website that has the same login information. Do you even remember them all? If you use the same email and password again on each one, you’re probably going to have to repeat this process again in the future.
Don’t Use Common Passwords
Here’s Keeper Security’s list of the most common passwords of 2016. Do you recognize any of them?
These are all lazy password, achieved by just pressing keys which are next to each other on the keyboard, and are easily hackable in seconds by automated hacking tools.
Password Managers vs. Browser Password Storage
A Password Manager such as LastPass not only remembers your login information but also helps you generate long, complex passwords and stores them and other useful information securely.
You may have noticed that your browser prompts you to save login details, but be warned that the password storage built into your browser is a solution of convenience, but is not secure. Anyone using your computer can access those saved details and login to websites, plus you will not have access to those details from other devices. Also bear in mind that if you lose your device or it is stolen, or your hard drive dies, or any disaster, you have lost all those details.
LastPass vs. Other Password Managers
There are numerous excellent options for Password Managers available:
It is also worth mentioning that if you use BitDefender Anti-Virus then this includes a simple password manager called BitDefender Wallet.
Ultimately, using any one of these password managers is a good choice, but I personally recommend LastPass, especially for business users, because it offers the most value in free vs. paid features and is the most configurable with additional security options and options.
So as well as passwords, it is great for storing bank details, licences, card details etc and is very easy to share passwords with other people. It is also very secure, you can set your LastPass to auto lock after xx minutes so that anyone else using your computer cannot access your passwords without your master password. You also have the option of 2-factor authentication.
However, it can be over complicated for the same reason if you are not very competent with computers, in which case one of the simpler solutions might be better for you for personal use.
Here is a review of the top password managers for 2017
Watch LastPass Tutorial for Beginners
LastPass Free vs. Premium
LastPass Free has everything you need to securely store and fills passwords on a single kind of device (for example, a Mac computer, a PC Computer, an iPhone, an Android Phone).
But if you want to access LastPass on different kinds of devices, you will need to upgrade to LastPass Premium for $24/yr. LastPass also offers Business and Enterprise versions that focus on sharing data among multiple users and creating rules and policies for your staff/users.
If you need help to get LastPass configured or require some training, then please contact me.