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Strange PortableApps Behavior Since Updating to 1.6.1 Platform

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VIC-20
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Strange PortableApps Behavior Since Updating to 1.6.1 Platform

As someone who has been using PortableApps for a long time and a PC for even longer, this following problem really has me baffled, extremely frustrated and on the verge of being ready to throw something.

Here's the scoop:

The problem began it seems when I upgraded my PortableApps Platform from 1.6 to 1.6.1 back in early June. I installed the first bunch of apps that were released on June 4 (Pidgin Portable 2.7.1, AbiWord Portable 2.8.5, PNotes Portable 6.0 and Sumatra PDF Portable 1.1) and immediately experienced issues with both Pidgin Portable 2.7.1 and AbiWord 2.8.5 freezing and not loading at all. When I installed Pidgin Portable 2.7.1 Rev 1 the freezing problem for that app went away, but an install of AbiWord 2.8.6 did not fix anything and caused the same behavior.

Here's where things start to get strange:

When I re-installed AbiWord Portable 2.8.2 (which worked completely fine prior to this) and tried to run it, the screen froze and would not load at all. Since I temporarily had no portable word processor to use, I elected to use OpenOffice Writer Portable 2.4.1 instead (which also worked fine previously) but it too froze and would not load. Huh???

I also tried to install the newest PortableApps versions of the following programs:

Task Coach (1.0.5 from 1.0.0)
Filezilla (3.3.3 from 3.3.2.1)
ClamWin (0.96.1 Rev 3 from 0.95.3)
Virtual Dub (1.9.9 from 1.9.8 )
uTorrent (2.0.2 Build 19648 from 2.0.0 Build 18620)

The only one of the above which installed successfully was Task Coach 1.0.5 and it works seamlessly; however, the newer versions of the rest of the list all froze the screen completely and would not load the programs. I had to revert to using the previous versions Filezilla, ClamWin and Virtual Dub, while uTorrent will no longer work at all. Again, Huh???

I was also going to update DOSBox to 0.74 and ConvertAll to 0.5.0b, but when I tried to load their already installed versions (0.73 and 0.4.3 respectively) this also lead to the screen freezing and neither one of them loading (Both of these also previously worked without any issues.) Did I mention, Huh???

Can somebody please tell me what exactly is going on here? I'm using a relatively new 4 GB Kingston USB drive (which still has over 50% free space on it) on a Windows XP Home SP3 system. I have not made any changes to my system's setup other than the normal AV updates, but I did find one rather odd thing:

I tried to update my local install of Firefox from 3.6.3 to both 3.6.4 and 3.6.6 and it froze the system and would not let me install either of them.

This is the first time anything like this has ever happened and all other aspects of the system are functioning as they normally do. Is there something simple that I'm overlooking here? It's not a firewall blocking issue as far as I can tell because I've checked the logs and the system is attempting to run the install programs for Firefox and the PortableApps programs in question, but for whatever reason these actions freeze the system. Again, everything I ran under PortableApps worked completely fine before updating the Platform from 1.6 to 1.6.1. I also re-installed PortableApps Platform 1.6, and even though it says it's this version it looks and behaves like the newer 1.6.1 version and the problems are still occurring.

Any help and insight here would be greatly appreciated as I really need to get AbiWord, OpenOffice, uTorrent and ConvertAll working properly again!

Thanks!

Chris Morgan
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Check disk for errors

It sounds to me like there could be two probable causes; the computer that you're running it on having something weird happening on it, or that your disk is packing up or has errors on it. The latter is far easier to check; in the Platform, in Options, there's an item to check disk for errors. Try running that and see if it picks up anything.

I am a Christian and a developer and moderator here.

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Proverbs 15:1

VIC-20
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Thanks for the reply

Thanks for the reply Chris!

As for my computer having something weird happening on it, isn't that a characteristic of ALL PC's that run any version of Windows? Shock

Seriously though, there seems to be no other odd behavior other than the problems I've described. I ran CHKDSK and everything came up clean but when you mentioned that the disk might be packing up, well...

I was a bit surprised to learn that I only have a mere 16.3 GB free on my at-one-time massive (or so I thought) 250 GB HDD. Could this indeed be the culprit that is causing all the hanging issues? If so, what would this have to do with installing PortableApps software on a USB drive?

Forgive my ignorance, but I didn't think the amount of free space on the host computer would affect how software got installed on a portable drive with lots of free space available on it. Given the 250 GB size of my HDD is there an optimal amount of free space that should be maintained at all times?

Thanks both again for your reply and in advance for any further insight you may have to offer.

Chris Morgan
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Hmm

If you want to take a look at how your disk space is allocated and what's the culprit for using it all up, you might like to try WinDirStat Portable. 16.3GB is oodles for temporary use, no portable app will be affected by only having that much - most will be able to cope perfectly with under 50MB free.

If the disk shows no error, that's probably good in one way but maybe not so good in another as that probably means there's something bad about the computer.

It's just one computer you're using it on, right?

I am a Christian and a developer and moderator here.

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Proverbs 15:1

Darkbee
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System Cleanup?

It never hurts to do some good old fashioned system cleanup.

I'd start with removing temporary files. Glary Utilities Portable (Development) or DiskCleaner Portable (Developement) will help with this task. (sorry I'm too lazy currently to link to them, shame on me). DiskCleaner contains an option to clean out the Windows Prefetch cache, normally something that isn't recommended but in your case it probably wouldn't hurt.

I'd scan your hard drive for viruses with your current virus software (make sure you defnitions are up to date). You might also want to get a second opinion of something like Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.

Then I'd use JDefrag to defragment the drive. (or even better the open source defragger UltraDefrag and do a boot time defragment including your page file and other stuff). You can also use PageDefrag from SysInternals (now part of Microsoft) to defrag the page file. Don't defrag your USB drive, just the hard drive, it isn't necessary and can actually cause unnecessary wear and tear to your USB Drive.

You could also use GlaryUtils again to do a registry defrag (you might as well since you're already going to town on the computer in question).

All of this is going to take a while and probably best done steps, when you're not planning on using the computer. Also over night in some cases where it could take considerable time (such as the hard disk defragmenting).

all of the tools mentioned are fairly self-explanatory and do not require any engineering degrees in computer-fudgery.

good luck.

Jimbo
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Did you check the USB Drive?

I rather suspect that Chris was suggesting that you should check the USB drive that the apps are installed on for errors, rather than the computer's HDD (though there is no harm in checking both).

Your message seems to suggest that you only checked the HDD, so could you possibly check the USB drive as well and let us know how it goes.

VIC-20
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More Info

Sorry for the delay in replying everyone, but here's what's happened so far...

First of all, to Chris, yes this is the only system I'm running the PortableApps platform on.

Next, using the Check Drive for Errors option from the Options menu of the PortableApps.com platform, this is the report that was generated:

============================================================

Checking PortableApps.com (F:) for errors...

The type of the file system is FAT32.
Volume Serial Number is
Windows is verifying files and folders...
Windows found errors on the disk, but will not fix them
because disk checking was run without the /F (fix) parameter.
Removing trailing folder entries from

\PortableApps\StellariumPortable\App\AppInfo
File and folder verification is complete.
Windows found problems with the file system.
Run CHKDSK with the /F (fix) option to correct these.

4,001,431,552 bytes total disk space.
20,480 bytes in 5 hidden files.
19,685,376 bytes in 4,645 folders.
1,784,582,144 bytes in 29,354 files.
2,197,139,456 bytes available on disk.

4,096 bytes in each allocation unit.
976,912 total allocation units on disk.
536,411 allocation units available on disk.

Press any key to continue . . .

============================================================

Regarding the above, what does the "Removing trailing folder entries from \PortableApps\StellariumPortable\App\AppInfo" line mean?

Also, when I tried to Run CHKDSK with the /F (fix) option to correct the problems that Windows found with the file system on the USB drive that I'm using, I got the following message:

===========================================================

The type of the file system is FAT32.
Cannot lock current drive.

Chkdsk cannot run because the volume is in use by another
process. Chkdsk may run if this volume is dismounted first.
ALL OPENED HANDLES TO THIS VOLUME WOULD THEN BE INVALID.
Would you like to force a dismount on this volume? (Y/N)

============================================================

Since I don't know the answer here, is it safe to accept Y in the above instance or is there an alternative or better method to run chkdsk on the USB drive?

I also ran WinDirStat Portable and I can see that the culprit(s) for gobbling up all my hard drive space are at my own doing and not the result of anything suspicious.

As for the suggestion of doing an old fashioned system cleanup, that is something that I perform regularly and have just completed again which turned up nothing.

The one exception here is that I haven't done a thorough defrag lately and when I tried to do so using MyDefrag 4.3.1, the program "crashed" telling me that there was not enough disk space to allow the defrag. (Again, this is at my doing and not the fault of something else. Time to delete and/or archive I guess!)

BTW, I wasn't aware of either UltraDefrag or GlaryUtils prior to your mention of them Darkbee, so thank you very much for that. I intend on trying both of them as well.

Finally, to keep me scratching my head, here's what happened as a result of trying to install some of the latest updates to some of the PortableApps software:

BonkEnc upgraded from 1.0.14 to 1.0.15 without incident and runs seamlessly.

Firefox upgraded from 3.5.9 to 3.5.10 and 3.6.3 to 3.6.6 both without incident and both run seamlessly.

KVirc 4.0.0 both installed successfully and runs without any issues.

Miranda upgraded from 0.8.19 to 0.8.27 without incident and runs seamlessly.

Notepad upgraded from 5.6.8 Rev 2 to 5.7, but froze the screen when I tried to run it after the install. I had to revert to 5.6.8 Rev 2 which works as it always had before.

PChat upgraded from 1.0.3 to 1.1 Rev 2, but froze the screen when I tried to run it after the install. I had to revert to 1.0.3 which works as it always had before.

TaskCoach upgraded from 1.0.5 to 1.0.7 without incident and runs seamlessly.

VLC upgraded from 1.0.5 to 1.1.0 Rev 2, but froze the screen when I tried to run it after the install. I had to revert to 1.0.5 which works as it always had before.

FWIW, Firefox 3.6.6 is still freezing when trying to do a local install, but both Winamp and Foxit Reader upgraded successfullt to their latest versions locally without incident and also run seamlessly.

Finally, I had mentioned that I had reverted to using version 1.6 of the PortableApps platform, but it is still behaving like the 1.6.1 version. What is the reason for this?

Thank you to everyone who has replied so far with their suggestions as I greatly appreciate them. I just can't seem to understand what is suddenly causing the PortableApps platform to behave like this in terms of updating and trying to run the latest version of software, as I have never had any problems with it in the past.

I look forward to any other info or suggestions which will help me better understand just what is going on here. As you can appreciate, I am certainly not enjoying this hit and miss install game and I simply want to have everything back to functioning normally with PortableApps as it always did.

Jimbo
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Ok, there ARE errors on the drive

Right, what that tells us is that there are definitely errors on the filesystem of the drive. It is really important that you repair them as soon as possible, since they could potentially lead to data loss.

The "Removing trailing folder entries from" line means that there are unused directory entries in that folder's definition on the disk that need to be cleaned up.

To fix the errors, you will need to do the following
1) close down ALL applications that might be using the flash drive. That includes the menu, all apps run from it, windows explorer, everything.
2) open a windows command prompt (Start-->Run, type cmd.exe)
3) run the command
chkdsk /f :
where : is the letter of your flash drive.

That should then be able to lock the drive and clean it.

After that completes successfully, I would recommend that you run the command again, to make sure that it then reports that it did not find any more errors.

Once that is done, you should be able to re-install any apps that are giving you problems, and they should work properly.

Hope that helps.

Darkbee
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No Flash Drive Defrag

Don't defrag your Flash drive. Completely unnecessary and may actually harm the drive.

As Jimbo mentioned above, you need to determine if the cause of the problem is the flash drive or your computer. Do you say that you've tried the flash drive on other computers and it works fine? (I"m assuming the flash drive is where you're running the apps from)

VIC-20
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So Far, So Good

Thank you both Jimbo and Darkbee for your advice and instructions.

No need to worry Darkbee, I would never defrag the flash drive. I've used this flashdrive on three other computers that weren't mine which were running XP Pro SP3, Vista SP1 and some version of Win 7 and it always worked fine. Since these systems weren't mine, I never downloaded or tried to install any upgrades to any of the PortableApps software except for updates to the ClamWin virus definitions.

After following your instructions Jimbo, here are the results:

============================================================
The type of the file system is FAT32.
Volume Serial Number is CED9-8165
Windows is verifying files and folders...
Removing trailing folder entries from \PortableApps\StellariumPortable\App\AppInfo
File and folder verification is complete.
Windows has made corrections to the file system.

4,001,431,552 bytes total disk space.
20,480 bytes in 5 hidden files.
20,189,184 bytes in 4,720 folders.
1,876,684,800 bytes in 31,785 files.
2,104,532,992 bytes available on disk.

4,096 bytes in each allocation unit.
976,912 total allocation units on disk.
513,802 allocation units available on disk.

After re-running chkdsk /f F:

The type of the file system is FAT32.
Volume Serial Number is
Windows is verifying files and folders...
File and folder verification is complete.
Windows has checked the file system and found no problems.

4,001,431,552 bytes total disk space.
20,480 bytes in 5 hidden files.
20,189,184 bytes in 4,720 folders.
1,876,684,800 bytes in 31,785 files.
2,104,532,992 bytes available on disk.

4,096 bytes in each allocation unit.
976,912 total allocation units on disk.
513,802 allocation units available on disk.

============================================================

Again, thank you both for your assistance in this matter. I'm off to try to re-install the "problem" apps and I'll report back to let you know how everything goes.

Darkbee
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try, try again

Try plugging your Flash drive into a different USB port e.g. if you use the front, use ports on the back. If you plug into a hub, plug in directly into the computer.

Did you rule out Anti-Virus or some other like-software interfering? Try temporarily disabling any running software like that.

As Jimbo pointed out it seems like your Flash drive does have some issues though so running a chkdisk might have help cure the problem. (although I'm assuming not since you've continued posting Smile Sad )

Jimbo
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He only just ran chkdsk

I don't believe he has tried the app reinstallation yet, but was just giving us a courtesy update that the chkdsk had found and fixed some issues.

VIC-20
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I Found The Culprit

Yes, that is correct Jimbo, I only did a chkdsk on the flash drive to see if there were any problems with it. Before I re-installed any apps though, I tried once again to install Firefox 3.6.6 locally and the system froze again.

Since the PortableApps version of Firefox 3.6.6 installed OK, and even though the logs checked out OK, it dawned on me per your suggestion Darkbee to try disabling the Online Armor firewall to see if Firefox would install locally then. Presto! Everything worked like a charm. I then went on to install some 20 plus apps that I either hadn't had a chance to or were re-installs of the ones that were causing me trouble. All this was done with Online Armor disabled, but when I shut down the computer for a few hours and then restarted it, the following message popped up on my screen:

"The application or dll C:\ProgramFiles\TallEmu\OnlineArmor\OAwatch.dll is not a valid Windows image. Please check this against your installation diskette."

Well, I checked it against my installation diskette alright - I simply uninstalled it. Now everything is working for me as it always had prior to Online Armor going wonky for some reason. (This never happened to me with Online Armor before, so I might do a fresh install of it or simply wait until the next version of it comes out, I don't know yet.)

In any case, after all this, there are still three apps that are misbehaving for me:

AbiWord 2.8.6
PChat 1.1 Rev 2
Atomic Tanks 4.6.

I had to revert to using AbiWord 2.8.1 Rev 2 and PChat 1.0.3, but Atomic Tanks has NEVER worked for me on this computer - I always get the quick flash of purple on the screen and it fails to load. I seem to recall reading here that some others running XP SP3 were experiencing this issue with Atomic Tanks, but in my case this app runs fine on Vista SP1 and Windows 7. Go figure. I guess someone is trying to tell me that I shouldn't be playing Atomic Tanks on this system. Wink

So there you have it: insight into the problem and a finely tuned system to boot. (Pardon the pun.)

Thanks again to Chris, Jimbo and Darkbee for your assistance with this. Here's hoping it won't happen again.

Jimbo
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thanks for the feedback

and glad to hear that you're more or less sorted. Since I don't use any of the three appps you're still having issues with, I'll have to leave it to others to help there, I'm afraid.

Darkbee
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Good news

Good to hear that you partially resolved your issues at least. I don't use PChat but I do use the other two on Win XP so I guess I'd better check to see if they're up to date and report back.

VIC-20
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Was It Just Me?

Thanks Darkbee.

It would also be interesting to hear from anyone else that may have experienced any problems running PortableApps while running Online Armor 4.0.0.44.

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