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Posted on: Friday, October 20, 2006 by Rajiv Popat

A huge Trace.Log file deleted and a couple of Gigs reclaimed!

There is one thing good about windows. What can be done, or sometimes... what happens ("seemingly automatically"), can be undone (and explained). Last week one of the 3 power-horse machine that I work on mysteriously slowed down. I'm a multi-tasker who has three instances of Visual Studio.NET open with at-least 10 other applications running simultaneously at any given point of time.

So, initially, this slow-down seemed "normal" and the tendency was to monitor the RAM usage. But Task Manager and Process Explorer did not reveal anything peculiar. After some more investigation and using FileMon it was evident that the bottle-neck was actually the HardDisk which kept constantly thrashing. The Instant reaction was to Defrag the disk which pointed out the real problem. The Defragmenter completed "successfully" with an error :)

The error (included in the Defragmenter report) was that it wasn't able to move a particular file "C:\WINNT\system32\LogFiles\WMI\Trace.log" (No, I'm not using the primitive Windows NT - that's just how I like to name my Windows folder :))

But the real shock came when I tried to get to the file using explorer and see what's going on. Here's what I mean:

Now, I have three problems with this picture here:

  1. That is a 80 gig disk that has cost Money to buy. If there's going to be a 2.5 gig file somewhere on that disk, I'd better know about it.
  2. What-ever wrote that darn thing on this disk, wasted quite a bit of processor and RAM writing it.
  3. I couldn't delete it. Apparently, some process seemed to be using it and locking it!

A little more Googling on Large trace files revealed that there's some utility out there let's you disable trace logging and then allows you to delete these files. Back, in my MCSE days and days of NT 4.0 people like me, who were both into IT and Development, used to talk a lot about Resource Kits and Option packs and things like that. But not a lot of people seem to be talking about Resource Kits these days.

As it turns out, there's a Resource Kit for Windows 2003 available here. And in that long list of tools and utilities is a tool called TraceLog.exe. A quick "TraceLog.exe -l" told me what was occupying the file and writing away to it. A quick "TraceLog.exe -stop" allowed me to stop the NT Kernel Logger from Trace Logging.

Once trace logging stopped I was able to Delete the Log file off my disk and re-run the defragmenter successfully without any errors.

What really bothered me was not knowing what had Enabled Trace logging and the creation of a 2.5 Gig file on my disk. With the file now wiped off and the problem solved I decided to read a little more and do some investigation into the possible causes of this problem.

Discussion threads like this one revealed that the real problem was BootVis

BootVis is a tool which is supposed to provide faster Boots with Windows XP. I Had played with it a few days ago and realized that it does NOT work very well with Windows 2003.

BootVis had started Trace Logging. And in all probabilities, the NT Kernel Logger had diligently continued logging since then (even after BootVis was uninstalled) just because no-one told it that it was ok to stop logging now.

Long story short, I have a couple of gigs won over from a Zombie file that I wasn't going to need / read anyways and the Defragmented disk seems much faster than yesterday; and that makes me a happy man for today.

posted on Friday, October 20, 2006 10:53:08 PM UTC by Rajiv Popat  #    Comments [5]
Posted on: Thursday, October 19, 2006 by Rajiv Popat

DeskTask - It's all about the "Feel Good Factor"! (Freeware)

There are Software, there are Shareware, there are Freeware and then there are FeelGoodware (ok, I think I just invented that term :)).

It's not about a tremendous productivity hike, becoming tremendously efficient with tasks or any of that... Of-course you could reach out for your Outlook to check your calendar and task-list but there's a "feel good factor" about having Deskjet on your desktop. And who doesn't like typing a couple of keystrokes less or a couple of seconds saved?  Here's what I mean:


The Good -

  • It looks awesome.
  • It works with Outlook 2007 (Beta).
  • It's free and didn't install any adware, spyware or crap on my machine.

The Bad -

  • Moving the position of the application on the desktop is a little tricky! You have to click "somewhere" in the transparent application window, drag and hope that it moves :). Once you get "used to" moving it around it's all good though.
  • Default refresh rate is 1 hour. That means Items added in Outlook calendar / Outlook task-list don't show up on the desktop for sometime. Of-course you can manually refresh or set a lower interval using the options dialog box.
  • Eats a 6.5 Megs off my 1.5 gigs of RAM (ok, now that's not that bad! :)) - I guess, that's because it needs to invoke outlook behind the scene. 
The Ugly
  • Actually... Nothing! 

Different people will download this for different reasons. For me, it's the "feel good factor" :) - Uber-cool idea that's brilliantly implemented! Get it Here.

posted on Thursday, October 19, 2006 1:33:08 PM UTC by Rajiv Popat  #    Comments [0]
Posted on: Thursday, October 12, 2006 by Rajiv Popat

The Train-Person... and a Train Trip that Rocked!

Dad is a "Train-Person"; simply put, A Train-Person is an individual who takes a train when he travels from Point A to Point B. Period.

Other mere-mortals like me or for that matter, mom or even you, (if you are not a Train-Person) would do some So-Called-Analysis which would be usually based on a set of “worldly” questions:

  1. How far Point B is from Point A? - or vice-a-versa.
  2. How long will it take to reach from Point A to Point B by train? - usually counted in Man-Days (with a Capital M and a capital D).
  3. Are there other faster (and/or cheaper) modes of transportation? - e.g. metal things that move on 4 wheels or metal things that fly, (depending on what the answer to question number 1 works out to be)?

To a "Train-Person" these questions are nothing but trivial worldly details. A Train-Person sees the "higher picture"; A Train-Person will ask a completely different set of non-worldly questions:

  1. Is There a Point A?
  2. Is There a Point B?
  3. Is There a Train Between Point A and Point B?

But the "worldly" questions asked become profoundly important; especially if Point A and Point B are located somewhere in India.

As an Indian who occasionally reads the news-papers :) and along with the papers, the Advertisements of the crazy Discounts a lot of Indian Airlines offer, I knew for sure that there were cheaper and faster ways of getting to Point B. But we (mom and me) pretty much agreed to the Train Plan without any arguments. Mainly because:

  1. I don’t have get to have a lot of vacations with family – for the past few years I have been nowhere on this map, every time a vacation was planned - mostly work and American hurricanes (long story) have kept me ‘on the move’ and when I do return to India the holidays have usually ended. So, the "going on a vacation" part was more important than how we got there.
  2. You can’t convince a Train-Person that there’s a better way to get to Point B from Point A other than a train. It has never been done in History of man-kind. Never.
  3. And honestly (on a slightly serious note), I liked the whole idea of "enjoying you journey as much as your destination".
Long story short, we surrendered to the train person and boarded a train that would take us to Point B for an awesome vacation. The Train trip to the destination was "sofa king" (to be read very fast, repeatedly) lousy that I wouldn’t enjoy it even if I was on a highest dosage of Nitrous Oxide (a.k.a. Laughing Gas) that can be given to any two legged creature before that creature… anyways, I digress. The point is, the trip to Point B sucked! Why?

Other than Mom, dad and me, the train compartment we had boarded consisted of the following other “things” which happened to accompany mom, dad and myself:
  1. A Mommy thing – this thing was usually quite, barely spoke, but would fight for luggage-space of 9 people because Daddy Thing had paid his “hard earned money” to buy 5 tickets.
  2. A Daddy thing – with obnoxiously loud voice and sick jokes, which by the way, were so-not-funny.
  3. 3 Teenage things – all three of which, had something in common. A Taste for bad and loud cell phone ring-tones. I’ve seen people listening to some strange music, but ring tones!!? How can you listen to ring tones, even if you are just a... a... “thing”? And of course the use of ear-phones was so-not-necessary… Anyways, am I sounding mean here? I think I’ll leave it at that :)
The part of the trip that sucked the most was that these things happened to be in the same compartments as us. There was one good part to that train trip however – It Ended.

We Reached Point B. Took connecting buses to our final destination (my happy-place) and I had the best uber cool, rocking, relaxing and thought provoking vacation of my entire life (long story).

Good times slowly ended and it was time to head back to home to Point A to enjoy home, life-as-usual and interesting work. The return tickets had been booked and I was getting “prepared” for another lousy experience of having to spend another 38 hours with god-know-what kind of creatures and “things” which would share the train cabin with us this time.

But this time I was be prepared; with my MP3 player, Audio Books and the loudest set of headphones I could buy. At least sick jokes, mobile phone ring tones and requests for “a little bit more space” weren’t going to get me down after such a rocking vacation.

When we boarded the train Mom was concerned about the seats we had. Dad (being, the Train-Person) was concerned about all the other points between Point A and Point B (such as X, Y, Z etc.) in which the train was going to make brief stops and kept looking for an official Time-Table. I was concerned about the lousy company I was going to get and kept buying books just in case my Mp3 player lost charge. So, basically, all of us were... concerned.

After more than 38 hours we reached home. So, after my long rant about train-trips you would think that if I had a chance to choose between a flight and a train journey, ever again, I would choose the flight any-day, right? WRONG! Wait, I didn’t describe the train trip back home yet.

On the train journey back home other than me, the train compartment we had boarded consisted of the following “interesting individuals”:
  1. An incredibly lively girl who could speak on-and-on-and-on-and…and-on, for hours; Quite literally :). About sun-signs, face-reading, religious conversations, bhajans, jokes, cards, movies, travel (the list goes on). If you didn’t talk to her, when she was getting bored and if you were brotherly enough, you ran the risk of having her pluck a hair out of your head or hand to make you talk.
    If she was my sister I would feel proud (no offense to my existing cousin sisters :)). If I was concerned about recruiting guys for HR of any company, I would choose this girl with eyes closed.
  2. Her sister - who would ask questions, listen, explain what she knew rather well (I saw her giving some sound career advice to yet another individual) and was curious to know about things when she heard them. I casually mentioned the word Blog in a conversation and ended up describing what a Blog is and beyond.
  3. A Bubbly Girl who would laugh at jokes and then couldn’t stop laughing.
  4. Mom – Mom was “interestingly different” with these girls than she is with most other people in her first meeting. With most other people she takes a couple of days to break the ice (much like me). Here, she was singing bhajans, playing cards, talking, laughing away and having fun. We’ve (dad and me, well, at least me) never seen her get this friendly with people in the first meeting.
  5. Dad – He was putting his solid hold of English vocabulary to good use - the guy is a living walking dictionary and the reason why we never looked up the dictionary when we were young (we usually just asked him). There was this game of making words which start and end with a particular letter and Dad was in action!

During a short span on one day as the train was taking us home; people in the compartment (me included) were engaging into one or more of the following activities:

  1. Having conversations, cracking jokes, pulling legs. (Including my leg, which got pulled more than once :)).
  2. Singing bhajans.
  3. Playing court-piece - a card game (I learnt that I suck at it!).
  4. Career discussions and advice.
  5. More conversations, more jokes, more pulling legs.
  6. Stories about heart surgeries, discussion on recipes, face reading, sun-signs, studies… (Long list). 
  7. Gambling - not with real money, but with a deck of cards which everyone pretended was money.
  8. People teaming up to plan to steal my personal diary when I sleep (and then asking me if I was asleep and if it was OK to steal my diary) :)

This trip was the first time, since my school life, that I wrote my thoughts on paper and the first time in a long time, when I went anywhere for more than a week without my laptop. I paid the price for it by getting my legs pulled for using a paper pad :) – But a deal was struck.... They would have access to an “edited version” of whatever-it-is that I was writing and in return the idea of stealing my diary would be completely dropped.

There are very short extracts of the thoughts I was scribbling there 'embedded within this post' so I guess I’ve kept my part of the deal... "Technically" :).

The next day after a trip of 38 hours or so (albeit, it appeared much lesser than that) we reached Point A again. If I was to version myself and say that I was “Rajiv 0.1” when I started out for this vacation it would be ok to say that this vacation has been a solid Elaboration Phase for “Rajiv 0.2” – people will notice Major “design changes” as Construction begins :).

This was a vacation where I came back without a lot souvenirs or pictures but with many interesting stories. And the train trip back home? Well, that was an icing on the cake!

Moral of the story: When a Tain-Person tells you to board a train, you board a train. Chances are, in the end of the story, you won't regret you did what he told you to do. :)

posted on Thursday, October 12, 2006 2:41:26 PM UTC by Rajiv Popat  #    Comments [0]
Posted on: Saturday, September 16, 2006 by Rajiv Popat

About this Blog

What the Heck does ThousandtyOne mean?

The term was Actually invented by my very young and smart nephew, during his first few math and counting lessons. He had been taught to count up to hundred when he suddenly figured out that if Twenty plus One is Twenty-One; Thirty plus One is Thirty-One; then Thousand plus one has to be Thousandty-One. I liked the Idea!

Why this Blog?

As of this posting, I've been blogging for more than 3 years at different Free online blogging services including Blogpsot and GWB (My Old Blog). While most of them, are great, it was becoming increasingly difficult to backup my posts, comments, logs and everything else. I needed (ok. wanted.:)) a little corner where I can keep a track of what I am working on, my thoughts and things that I feel passionately about.

What is this Blog About?

Everything. Anything. I wanted a little corner where I could talk about anything I was working on, thinking of or felt passionately about. I Live and breathe in the World of .NET so a lot of this Blog is going to be about .NET. A Lot of it is going to be about tools and technologies that I like or review and a Lot of this Blog is going to be about my thoughts and my Life.

Blogs are a Two way Conversation. And I Love getting (and replying to) Comments / Emails on my posts. If you do find a post useful, have a question, comment, suggestion or just want to drop a line please feel free to leave a comment or drop me an email.


The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent the views of any friends, colleagues or employer.

posted on Saturday, September 16, 2006 8:22:29 PM UTC by Rajiv Popat  #    Comments [0]
Posted on: Saturday, September 16, 2006 by Rajiv Popat

About Me

My Passion for Programming and Fish-tanks started at the age of 10 when I wrote my first few Programs in GWBasic (my school teacher seemed particularly impressed) and got my first fish tank (with real fishes) as a B'day gift. By the time I was 14, Dad realized that I was getting obsessed with that fish tank and time was right to make me an offer (a VERY wise decision motivated by divine intervention, we believe).

He would buy us (me and my brother) a Desktop but I would have to get rid of my Fish tank and all the fishes. The deal was sealed instantly. Everyone was happy :) - The next day the fishes found a new home and A few days later a spanking new desktop with some 8 odd MB ram and 300 odd MB HDD arrived (those were the good old Ms-Dos days, and a 8 Meg PC-XT was a POWER HORSE back then)... and as they say, the rest, is history. :)

With my graduation honors in commerce and accounting, over 15 certifications (MCP VB6, MCSE, OCP, OCA and many others...) in anything that looked interesting to learn, and my heart (and years of coding) in .NET development, the fellows @ eFORCE (where I work) often refer to me as the "the guy who NEVER uses the mouse" or the "Night Time Coder and Watchman" :)

I am also the self proclaimed "Notepad Specialist" of eFORCE (whatever that means) and I often like saying "Interestingly enough, typing 'start / run / iexplore.exe' is MUCH faster that clicking the internet explorer icon on your desktop". Honestly. It is!

I've has been around in eFORCE (where I work as a "Principal Officer, Technology"), for about 10 years which have seen me doing some really interesting things like writing a software adaptor for MFD scanners using Microsoft Technologies, writing a software for a RFID reader using Microsoft Technologies, Formatting Ms-Word documents :), Writing a DAL that hooks up VC++ layers to .NET, writing a .NET Remoting Bridge that securely connects world wide oil rigs of a drilling company (the list goes on; more mumbo gumbo can be found on my resume) and passing strange comments on beautiful designs done by the highly capable graphic designers of eFORCE. It keeps my creative sprits alive and they don't seem to mind – in fact they’ve even taught me a few tricks at Photoshop. :)

I live and breath in the amazing world of .NET (which I have been working on since the beta bits 1.1, 2.0, 3.0, 3.5 and 4.0) - and I've been so involved with Code that my obsession for .NET comes pretty close to my obsession for my first fish tank. Apparently this time, Dad doesn't have a problem with it. :)

When I'm not working (or Traveling :)), I am is busy maintaining this site, blogging, writing (code, articles and thoughts), planting trees, reading or spending time with family and nephew who prefers to call me ‘Rajin’ and gets utterly annoyed when 'someone' (I?) deletes PPTs that he saves on My Hard disk. :)

posted on Saturday, September 16, 2006 8:19:56 PM UTC by Rajiv Popat  #    Comments [4]