May 26, 2021

FortiFone FON-175 Silent Ring Mode


On the FON-175, the MUTE button does more than just mute the microphone, as I recently discovered. The MUTE button also places the phone into "Silent Ring Mode."

When the MUTE button is activated while NOT in a call (that is, when the handset is on the base), the MUTE button will toggle the Silent Ring Mode feature. This prevents the phone from ringing audibly during a call. The red light will flash during an incoming call, but the phone will not ring.

In order to toggle the setting back again, press the MUTE button while the handset is in the base and is not in use.

Hope this helps, as this terminology (Silent Ring Mode) is NOT referenced in the user's guide. 


May 14, 2021

Remove and/or Disable the Preview Pane in Windows 10

Registry Editor Image

a) Press “Windows Logo” + “R” keys on the keyboard to open the “Run” command box.

b) Type “regedit” in the “Run” command box and press “ENTER”.

c) Now, navigate to following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer

d) In right-side pane, create new DWORD “NoReadingPane” and set its value to 1.
(To create a new DWORD, click on the option “Edit” at the top, select “New” and then select the option “DWORD” from that sub-menu.)

e) Restart or log off your system and "Preview Pane" button will get removed from Windows Explorer command bar.


To restore the "Preview Pane" button, you can either remove DWORD or change its value to 0.


(Taken from: https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-desktop/how-to-hide-the-file-preview-pane-on-the-browse/36e8da9c-10c0-4ac0-ab16-284fea930075 and placed here to make it easier to find.)

May 5, 2021

Windows 10 Prints Only One Copy

tldr; Change the Print Driver to "Windows Software Printer Driver"

 I had a user with an issue where their Windows 10 computer would only print ONE copy of a document regardless of how many copies they specified. 

I researched the problem and found that for anyone using HP, there is usually an option under Device Settings to disable Mopier. That's great of you are using an HP. But, this person was using a Lexmark MFP network device. So, no Mopier setting.

The computer did NOT have the Lexmark Universal Driver installed. Frankly, that probably would have solved the problem. Instead, the system had found the printer and installed the driver using the Microsoft Windows IPP Class Driver:


The ultimate solution was to change from the Windows IPP Class to the Microsoft Software Printer Driver:


This allowed the user to print all the copies desired.

Apr 15, 2021

Thin Client: devonIT TC2D

 


I picked up a DevonIT TC2D "Zero Client" device for about $5.00 on eBay. It came new in the box (or appeared new) with a power adapter, instructions, and a DVI/VGA adapter. Let's look at some specs:

CPU - VIA Eden 1 GHz

GPU -VIA VX855

RJ45 (Wired Ethernet) -Realtek 8110SC

Sound -Azalia HDA Controller (VT1708s)

Storage -1GB DOM (2.5-inch IDE riser connector)

RAM - 1xDDR2 SODIMM 

USB Ports -4x USB 2.0 (2 on back, 2 on front)

Video Ports - DVI Connector 

Power Requirements - 12V, 3A AC Adapter 

Other Ports -PS/2 Keyboard connector on back, Kensington slot on back

BIOS: Phoenix AwardBIOS

OS: DeTOS 7.1.1 20120508

Notes: HDD Auto Detection, Provisions for IDE Slave Device, Set Boot Priority, Boot from USB, Azalia Disable Feature, USB Settings (KB/Mouse can be set to USB), Power Management Options.

OPERATING SYSTEMS:

 DeTOS 7.1.1 (05082012) (1GB RAM, 1GB DOM) - The unit came with DeTOS 7.1 installed. I did a complete post on my experiences with it: HERE 

Briefly, DeTOS brings you to desktop with very limited options: Control Panel or Reboot/Shutdown. The Control Panel allows for some basic configuration and includes Firefox Aurora browser.

ZeroClient WORKS (1GB RAM, 1GB DOM) -  Selecting this option during setup reboots the system to a simple login page. Note: After trying to revert back to DeTOS, system boots to blank desktop.*

DOS 6.22 PARTIAL (1GB RAM, 2GB DOM) - Installed from bootable USB floppy. PC Speaker only since the audio is HD. I tried various TSRs, but none worked for sound. Games like Doom and Duke3d run very nicely! I was able to run VESA800x600 Duke3d smoothly.

WFW 3.11 PARTIAL (1GB RAM, 2GB DOM) - Installs fine, but has weird screen issues upon boot. Changing the driver to VGA Version 3.0 helps get into the system. PC Speaker only since HD audio is HD. I tried to use HDADRV9J, but I never heard sounds.

Windows 95 PARTIAL - (2GB RAM, 16GB DOM) - Booted from DOS USB. Copied setup files for Win95. Ran setup. After first reboot, had to edit the system.ini file [386enh] with MaxPhysPage=3B000 due to 2GB ram. Windows installed Active Desktop (blech!) which I promptly removed. Tried to install various Chrome9 Drivers, but none worked. Could not find network drivers. Sound would not work either, since it is HD audio.

Windows 98SE WORKS (2GB RAM, 16GB DOM) - Copied Win98 install files to Win95 DOM above. Booted Win95 to Command Prompt only. DELTREE c:\Windows then started Win98 setup. After first boot, fix the memory error by adding the MaxPhysPage=3B000 to system.ini (Safe Mode Command Prompt). I found Realtek "universal" drivers for the LAN Card (HERE). Go to Device Manager and on the General tab, use the "Reinstall Driver" option then find the INF file. I also installed "LANLights" to display network connectivity in the system tray. I tried to install Win98 USB drivers, but the system locked up and reported no mouse connected upon reboot. I reinstalled Win98 on top of the currently installed OS. I used the "Generic PCI to USB Host Controller" driver from Windows and USB started working. I installed VBEM VGA drivers to help with display resolution and color depth.

Windows XP w/SP3 WORKS (2GB RAM, 16GB DOM) - Booted from USB installation (made from XP ISO and Rufus 3.x). Installation went normal, though VERY slow in places. After setup, three devices were missing. The drivers for these can be found HERE.

Windows 7 WORKS (2GB RAM, 16GB DOM) - Booted from USB installation (made from Win 7 ISO and Rufus 3.x). Had to clear the partitioning. Installation started. SLOW process. Win 7 detected all but the video card. Had roughly 6GB free upon first boot. I tried several different ways to install the VX855 driver for Windows 7, but each time it told me that the software was "not compatible with this version of Windows), even though it was asking for 32-bit Windows 7 in the error. Weird. I found VX900 C9-HD IGP drivers that worked! I had to go to the VGA adapter in Device Manager and force it to update the driver from a folder I chose. It wasn't happy about the driver, but let me install it anyway and after reboot, resolution was set to 1440x900 (matching the monitor I was attached to). Nice! I did run into an issue with DOS games in that these video drivers would not allow the system to switch to full screen mode. Here is a link to an article about how to fix that (basically, revert back to the generic vga drivers).

Windows 8.1

Windows 10 FAILED (32-bit) (2GB RAM, 120GB SATA Drive) - I attempted to install Win10 32-bit on the device, but kept getting an "IRQ Not Less Or Equal" blue screen error. In order to use the SATA drive, I bought an IDE-to-SATA adapter. I swapped the SATA drive for a 16GB DOM, but had the same result. 


*Feb 25 2021: I ran into issues with the system itself after switching over to the "ThinOS" option. I reached out to Clientron in Japan and was sent a link to a reflash utility. I ran the utility, installing the flash software onto a usb drive. After booting the device from the drive, I followed the prompts to reinstall the software onto the original DOM. I recommend NOT having a mouse plugged in. My system screen was filled with connects/disconnects coming from the USB mouse which didn't seem to affect the install process, but made following along difficult. After it finished, the system rebooted. I was greeted with the DevonIT boot screen and then the screen went blank for a bit. I tapped an arrow key and was met with the OS selection screen as above!

Mar 8, 2021

Thin Client: Neoware CA10 (BL-Q2-JD & BK-00-00) (Updated: 03/17/2021)

Rear view of opened ca10

 NOTE: Updates appear at the bottom of this article.

 I bought this version of the CA10 because, well, it was blue. I hadn't seen a blue version before. Turns out that the reason it is blue is that COMVoice had them painted that color. I bought it "as is" for about $10USD.

SPECS:

CPU - VIA C3 800MHz / 1Ghz

GPU - Apollo CLE266 (VIA UniChrome) (shared memory up to 64 MB)

RJ45 - VT6103 Built in PLUS a PCI 3COM NIC

Sound - VT8235M/VT1612A AC97 (Selectable MIDI port addressing and IRQ)

Storage - 256MB DOM (44-pin IDE PATA)

RAM - 1x256MB PC2100 (2 DIMM slots total, 1 available)

USB Ports - 4 Total (@ on back, 2 on front)

Video Ports - VGA / DVI

Power Requirements - 12v 4A, though I was able to use 12V 3.5A

Other Ports - PS2 Keyboard, PS2 Mouse, Line in, Mic out, Two 9-pin serial, 25-pin parallel (printer), PCI

BIOS/CMOS - Phoenix AwardBIOS P640 V:5.03.20F-110205, Ver 6.00 PG, 11/02/2005

Installed OS - Just enough FreeBSD to boot, then system hangs.

The BIOS in this thing allows you to boot from just about anything - HDD0/HDD1, floppy, LS120, SCSI, CD, a slew of USB devices, and more. I could *NOT* use a USB keyboard. However, the BIOS has an option to enable USB keyboard support and that was disabled. I enabled it and was instantly able to use the USB keyboard while still in BIOS. Whoa. The BIOS allows the user to set memory speed timings, theoretically opening the door for some overclocking.

Crystal sound card shown along with ide-to-sata cable and 768mb RAM.

 

The unit I got had high corrosion and would only post every so often. I swapped DOM cards and tried IDE/SD Readers, but the system always corrupted the drive data. Instead, I created a bootable microsd with DOS 6.22 and tried with that plugged into the USB port in the back. That, too, eventually quit working at random intervals.

Below is what I could make work for short periods of time:

Operating Systems:

DOS 6.22 PARTIAL (256MB RAM, 2GB DOM) -  DOS installs. None of the sound drivers I downloaded would allow the audio to play in DOS games. Sound only worked via PC Speaker. However, I installed a Sound Blaster Live! PCI card and the DOS driver. It works very well! Games like Wolf3d, Duke3d, Doom, Ultima Underworld 1, etc had digital sound and music.

WFW 3.11 PARTIAL (256MB RAM, 2GB DOM) - Installed fine, but again no sound drivers.

Windows 95 PARTIAL (256Mb RAM, 256MB DOM) - I had to delete everything except just enough to boot DOS with HIMEM.SYS after copying the Win95 installation folder to the drive. I also deleted AOL*.*, MSN*.*, CHL*.CAB, and possibly a few other files from the Win95 setup directory. I chose the "Compact" installation. I chose to select options not to install, but the only options were Disk Defrag and Disk Compression. So, I deselected them. Setup asked for the now-deleted AOL files, but I told it to just Skip them. When Windows installed, it wanted to set up active channel. ctrl-alt-del to bring up task manager. Kill IE4Setup then kill the Active Setup. You are now at the desktop! At the end of the install, I had 82 MB free. No sound, etc since sound is HD. (Though could install the SBLive and use Win95 drivers).

Windows 98SE WORKS (768MB RAM, 2GB DOM) - This took a bit of creative problem solving. When you boot from a USB stick, the computer treats it as a hard drive (C:), so installing Windows would mean installing to the USB. So, I booted to a DOS-ready USB, FDISK and formatted the 2gb DOM. I then copied the Windows 98 setup files to the DOM. After that, I rebooted with a Win98 CD. Because the setup does not recognize USB drives, the CD defaulted to A: which allowed me to switch to the C: drive (DOM) and run the setup from there. I installed the Vinyl-7b sound drivers and the UniChrome VGA drivers.

Windows XP WORKS (768MB RAM, 120GB SATA) - I installed a DOM-to-SATA adapter then plugged in a 120GB 2.5 SATA HDD. I booted from a WinXP setup disc. This is a SLOW process. I don't think I have ever seen every single pre-loaded driver's name on the screen before. Usually those whip by. Not with this device. The network card was detected during setup. I disabled everything but TCPIP when prompted, as I had encountered blue screening during certain phases of the installation. After installation, I installed Vinyl7b (v700b.zip) drivers for sound. For video, use the UniChromeIGP driver. Video supports DX7, DX8, and DX9. I did not test anything beyond DX9. Research shows that XPEmbedded was the OS of choice for this, so it makes sense that XP does moderately well once installed.

Windows 7 WORKS (768MB RAM, 120GB SATA) - I installed a DOM-to-SATA adapter then plugged in a 120GB 2.5 SATA HDD. I booted from a Win7 setup DVD. This was *NOT* fast!  It took nearly 10 minutes to get to the partitioning screens.  Once setup finally finished, I was able to install Crystal CS4281 drivers to go along with the PCI sound card I had installed using the riser adapter. Unfortunately, the system always reported "not enough resources." I thought this was an IRQ/DMA issue, but after disabling a bunch of built-in devices, I believe the issue is simply that no Windows 7 driver exists (that I could find) for the card. The system functions, but is much too slow to serve as anything other than novelty.

TBD: Windows 8.1

TBD: Windows 10

*NOTES:

03/17/2021 - I installed a SBLive (CT4830) using the PCI slot and a 90-degree adapter. I installed the DOS drivers for it and after a reboot, I had Sound Blaster emulation running for DOS games! 

03/16/2021 -  I received a replacement unit that was a slight "upgrade" from my original board. This one has the "BK" designation, indicating it had the DVI connector on the back in addition to VGA and the processor is bumped to 1Ghz. Everything else, so far as I could tell, was the same.

03/12/2021 - Unfortunately, after the initial Win95 install, the unit would no longer POST. I think the corrosion on the motherboard finally caused the thing to bite the dust. 

I do plan to get a replacement motherboard, though. I just can't help myself. I love this blue case and the form factor will make for a fun little retro machine.

I received a new board on 3/11/2021, but it was DOA - it would show a red light when plugged in and I could press power, but it would never boot. The company I bought it from is doing a cross-shipped RMA, which is very nice of them!

The original board went through some more testing. I was able to get it to boot so long as it was out of the case AND the power button panel was no longer screwed into the case. I surmised we had a grounding problem. This was confirmed by experimenting with various configurations on the system inside the case and out. I eventually laid a piece of anti-static bag under the system board. This works intermittently, but more often than not working.