I recently purchased a Seagate 1TB Gaming SSHD SATA 8GB NAND SATA 6Gb/s 2.5-Inch Internal Bare Drive (ST1000LM014) (FYI:  this is an Amazon affiliate link) in hopes to provide my wife’s old Gateway NV79 laptop a new lease on life.

Here’s some background:

  1. The existing drive was still functional and served as the root drive (drive C).
  2. It had a capacity of 500GB but was short on space due to the massive amount of photos my wife was saving on her existing desktop.
  3. These photos are priceless.  I can’t imagine losing these pictures as they are irreplaceable.

Here’s what I planned in order to get the new drive to take over without having to redo everything (from re-installing the operating system and re-installing all her existing applications):

  1. Do a backup of her profile, along with all her files, create a recovery image of the system, and create a system repair disk
  2. Remove the old disk drive, then install the new larger disk drive
  3. Boot of the recovery/repair disk and restore the system image
  4. Done

Backing Up User Profile/Create System Image/Create System Repair disk

Using Windows 7’s built-in backup and restore utility, I proceeded to do three things:

  1. Backup my wife’s user files
  2. Create a System Image
  3. Create a System Repair Disk

Backup My Wife’s User Files

Of utmost importance is to first ensure my wife’s priceless photographs are safe.  To do this, I purchased a Seagate Expansion 5TB Desktop External Hard Drive USB 3.0 (STEB5000100) (FYI:  This is an affiliate link).  This should serve me well for storing file backups as well as the system image I will be creating in the next section.

To launch Windows 7 Backup and Restore utility, click START, then in the search field enter “backup and restore” and this will show the Backup and Restore utility.  Select it to open.  You should see this simple utility interface pop up:

Backup and Restore Utility

Backup and Restore Utility

Now click Set up backup and follow the prompts.  You should see a screen just like below.  In the image, you see arrows pointing to potential backup destinations.  In this particular example, my 5TB USB drive isn’t connected, but if it was, it would show up as another disk drive with over 4.5 TB of free space.  That was the drive I actually selected for my backup destination.

Target Backup Destination Drive

Target Backup Destination Drive

In general, you will want to select the target drive with sufficient space to take on large backups.  After you select the destination drive, click Next and follow the prompts.  At a certain point, you will have the opportunity to change any default settings, but in general, unless you really know what you are doing, you can leave default settings as they are.  Then invoke the backup now.  Depending how much data you have, it could take anywhere from several minutes to a few hours.  Mine took a few hours (around 3 hours I think).

Create a System Image

During the backup process, you will have the option to select to have a system image made.  Make sure to set that.  I did this to save myself a lot of time doing software and driver re-installs.  Believe me, it is worth it.

Note that I had problems creating a system image.  I figured that this was due to not having enough disk space left on the root drive (drive C) as my wife’s photos used up most of the disk drive space.  Having backed up the photos, I proceeded to delete all her photo folders.  This was a scary thing because at this point, I am putting my trust in Microsoft’s backup utility to save me should something go south with this process.  After doing this, I was able to build a system image.

Create a System Repair Disk

When the system finishes creating both the user file backups and the system image, it will prompt you about creating a system repair disk.  I opted to do this.  I readied my DVD-R disc; it takes one.

Remove Old Disk Drive and Install New One

At this point in time, I turned off the computer and removed the old disk drive and placed the new one.

Use System Repair Disk to Restore the Saved System Image

This is where the actual recovery process begins.  Before I using the system repair disk, I configured the system BIOS to seek the DVD drive first as the boot device, then pressed F10 to save and exit the BIOS setup. I placed my system repair disk in the DVD drive my Gateway NV79, then restarted the computer by simply turning it OFF then turning it ON.

The laptop began to boot from the DVD and determined that I will be doing an image restore.  At this point, I still had my 5TB external USB drive connected to the laptop.  After the utility gets started, you will opt to restore from an image.

It was at this point that I encountered the error that the system could not restore the image because the system repair disk says “No disk that can be used for recovering the system disk can be found.”  After seeing this, I thought perhaps I needed to match the partition configuration of the original drive, so I ran diskpart.exe and tried this.  It didn’t work.  After trying a few things that didn’t work, I finally gave in by doing a search on google.  I found the answer at  It turns out, all I needed to do on the disk drive was to run diskpart.exe, select the drive, and invoke CLEAR on it.

After I did this, the image restore process worked as it should have in the first place.

Everything that was on the original disk drive was restored, less the photos.

To fix this, I simply invoked the file/folder restore within the backup and restore utility and selected the photo folders to be restored.


What I thought was going to be a routine process turned out to be one heck of an effort.  What really screwed me up was Windows 7 image restore now working the way it should in the first place without having to execute the DISKPART utility’s CLEAR command on the new drive.


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admin on June 20th, 2016

There have been many first person shooters that try to simulate the military experience like these console and PC gems:

  1. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six
  2. Battlefied
  3. Counter-strike
  4. Call of Duty: Black Ops
  5. Call of Duty:  Modern Warfare

In these games, teams have no pre-designated functions or hierarchy .  The playing field is very small, and there really is no combined arms that is integrated well in the game.  The closest thing these games have to simulating the military experience is the chaotic way things happen in the game. These games are also characterized by very fast paced action where the person with the most hand and finger dexterity, as well as game experience, generally dominantes the game.  The best one I’ve seen that come close to a good military simulation is the free FPS created for the US Army called America’s Army.

None of these come close to ARMA 3.  What makes ARMA 3 especially unique and realistic in terms of the player’s experience are these two main things:

  • Modding community support (e.g. through Steam and Armaholics)
  • More mature military simulation gamers (in public games and in clans)

This trailer from Bohemia Interactive (maker and producer of the game) gives you a good taste for the game’s military immersion:

Below is a short gaming session so you can get a feel for the military immersion.  Warning:  the audio below has some 4 letter words sprinkled in there.  Just be aware.

It is very easy to put in several hours in one session.  The players in the game can talk to each other via the built in voice over IP communication or via chat.

I just joined a clan recently and I’m seeing more and more of this game’s potential–more than what the videos above show.  I may write more about this at a later time.

If you have any opinion about this game, please feel free to share.

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admin on February 8th, 2016
XCOM 2 Custom Character

XCOM 2 Custom Character

XCOM 2 was recently released and is generating a lot of interest on the web.  The interest comes not from the mods produced for it, but from the ability of players to create their own custom pool of soldier recruits.  This seemingly small feature adds an interesting twist to the game.  Already various content providers have created their custom pool of recruits.  One such example is PC Gamer magazine with their best custom set of XCOM 2 characters.  Check out some celebrity names you should easily recognize.

To install the binary files, simply copy the downloaded binary and move them to C:\Users\yourLoginNameGoesHere\Documents\My Games\XCOM2\XComGame\CharacterPool\Importable.  From there, the custom recruits will become visible from XCOM 2’s Character Pool’s Import Character tab.  There you can open the pool, select the characters you want, then click the import button.

By the way, I created 4 characters of my own and was able to export them to a .bin file.  This file ends up in the same location as the binary files you can import.  Here’s a mission I played that included one the custom characters.

If you enjoy playing games of thinking strategy, you will like XCOM 2.  It is definitely challenging.  You can buy it on Amazon for just about $60.


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admin on January 24th, 2016
Clicker Universal Garage Door Opener Remote

Clicker Universal Garage Door Opener Remote


This article documents the steps I took to program the Clicker Universal Garage Door Remote (model # KLIK1U) with my GeniePro Screwdrive garage door opener (model #CM7600IC/A).  It covers the following:

  • Tools you need to do the job
  • Steps to program the remote with the garage door opener


Recently my GeniePro Screwdrive garage door remote control started failing.  I know it wasn’t the battery since I have replaced it and it still fails to work.

Lately my wife has been opening the garage door for me to that point that when I leave work, she gives me 30 minutes to get home and she starts checking once the 30 minutes is up.  Then as I arrive, the garage door miraculously opens, thanks to my patient and thoughtful wife.

Well, I love that the door opens without me using a remote, but I would not impose such a task on anyone.  So I ordered a universal garage door opener–specifically the Clicker Universal Garage Door Remote (which I ordered through for about $25).  It came in on time as advertised by Amazon.

Tools Needed

To get the job done, I needed the following tools:

  • Scissors — you need this to open the typical molded clear plastic used in the remote’s packaging
  • Phillips screw driver — you need this to open the light cover of the garage door opener; this will expose the smart/learn button of the garage door opener
  • 6 foot ladder — in order to comfortably reach the garage door opener, I used a 6-ft ladder

The Steps

Basically, you need to do the following tasks in order to get this job done:

  • Review the Clicker remote setup instructions
  • Open the garage door opener light cover
  • Push the garage door opener learn button
  • Push the buttons on the remote
  • Test the remote
  • Done

Getting it Done!

I reviewed the setup instructions multiple times.  One key thing you need to remember is that you need to determine which set of instructions you need to follow–Smart/Learn Button or DIP switch instructions.

For my case, I followed the Smart/Learn Button set of instructions.

GeniePro Screwdrive Smart/Learn Button

GeniePro Screwdrive Smart/Learn Button

Here’s a list of the steps I took:

  1. Open the light cover of the GeniePro Screwdrive garage door opener.  You’ll need the 6-foot ladder and the phillips screw driver for this.  This will expose the garage door opener smart/learn button.
  2. Slide down to open the Clicker front cover; it will expose the program button.
  3. Press and hold the program button until the remote LED turns ON.
  4. Press and release the garage door smart/learn button; the garage door opener LED will start flashing
  5. Press the remote button 1 six (6) times; on the sixth press, the garage door opener LED will stop flashing, but will remain lit.
  6. Press and release the Clicker program button.  The garage door opener LED will turn off.
  7. The remote is now programmed for the Genie garage door opener.  Press the #1 Clicker remote button to test if the garage door opens and closes.  If it works, you can re-install the garage door opener light cover, and you’re done; otherwise, you may have to repeat the above steps.


I needed a new garage door opener remote.  I bought the Clicker Universal Garage Door Remote (model # KLIK1U) for about $25 and it worked perfectly with my GeniePro Screwdrive garage door opener (model #CM7600IC/A).

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admin on January 4th, 2016

In the process of updating my grandson’s new computer (an Acer Nitro V15 laptop) from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10, I ran into the error C1900101-20017—some error about Windows failing to update.

I tried to update it again, but I ended up with the same result–Windows 10 upgrade failed.

Finally, I realized that there is a UEFI firmware interface option called Secure Boot, an operating system protection mechanism against root kits, which could probably be blocking the update.  To get to this, I needed to get to UEFI by pressing F2 (your computer may have a different means to get to this) while the computer is powering up.

Once in UEFI, I disabled the Secure Boot option in the Boot tab, saved the settings, and restarted.  I again attempted a Windows 10 upgrade, and this time it worked!

If this worked for you, let me know by commenting below.


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This is an account of a half marathon I did on 01 Nov 2015.  I didn’t prepare for this run.  On top of this, my left foot ankle felt sore, and I put on a pair of shoes I’ve never used in a training run before (i.e. new pair of shoes).  It was Halloween the night before, and so I stayed up late–sleeping past midnight.

All these things didn’t align with running a 13.1 mile course.  In this article, I will share with you the result of this run.

The Result

I completed the run in 2 hours and 17 minutes (2:17:36 to be exact).

The weather was mild, but got hot after one hour of running.  My Nike Air Pegasus 30 actually held up well–meaning that it felt great and its newness was not a factor in my run.  As a matter of fact, it helped keep the soreness on my left foot and ankle under control.  It felt very comfortable, and it felt great over the varied terrain (concrete, asphalt, dirt, and gravel) the run presented.

My lack of training really kicked in at around mile 7.  There my pace started to leave the sub 10 minute pace and into the 10+ and 11+ range.

Mile 6 to 7 Splits

Mile 6 to 7 Splits

Below is my splits chart.  It has more pace data point and provides a visual on where things went south for me.  At point 1 below, my pace just started to go up almost linearly over distance and reached a plateau of 11:40 pace at around 11 miles.  Coincidentally, 5 miles was probably the longest distance I have run recently in my sparse running schedule.

Splits Chart


The are three things you can conclude from my half marathon experience.

  1. It is possible to get a new pair of shoes that would help reduce the effect of some form of injury on a run.  The injury wasn’t bothering me enough that I could not run.
  2. Even without training for a half marathon, you can complete one.  Especially if you are in good heath.
  3. Without training, your body isn’t tuned enough to handle the prolonged run.  In my case, my pace degraded after mile 5, and settled to a pace that I could maintain to the end.

If you think this was useful, let me know.  If you have had a similar experience, please share by commenting below.

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admin on September 25th, 2015

I’ve been looking for a nice but cost effective gaming laptop for some time now.  After over a month of searching, I found  the ASUS ROG G751JL-DS71 17.3-Inch Gaming Laptop which my wife purchased for me at  At the time of purchase, the unit cost $1199.  For this price I got an awesome ASUS gaming laptop with the following specs:

  • 17.3″ display screen
  • 1TB of 7400 RPM hard disk drive
  • 16GB of RAM
  • Intel i7 processor
  • NVIDIA 965M with 2GB of video RAM

At the time of this writing, I’ve had the laptop for a period of over one month.  To date, I’ve used it to play awesome games like Guild Wars 2, The Witcher: Wild Hunt, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Minecraft, and Grand Theft Auto V.  My experience with the unit and the games has been great to say the least.

The laptop performed extremely well.  Specifically, I didn’t perceive any lag in any of the games I’ve played.  Even with the graphics settings set to maximum, the laptop ran and displayed the games smoothly.  In addition, the fast 7400 RPM 1TB hard disk drive really showed off ASUS ROG G751JS’s speed in terms of boot time.  I could really perceive its fast boot speed having used a solid state drive on a work laptop.

I could easily run a benchmark test on the unit, but my own senses really could really tell that this unit is a computing and gaming workhorse.  At the price my wife purchased this for, $1199 is well worth the price.  Depending on supply and demand, the price for this awesome gaming laptop could go up or down.

I highly recommend this laptop, especially if you are looking for a cost effective entry level gaming laptop.  Note that the only “entry level” about this laptop is its price.

If you have the same laptop, please share your experience by commenting below.

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admin on September 3rd, 2015

For the last several weeks, I thought that Windows 10 had a problem with detecting mobile devices when connected via a USB cable.  First I thought it had something to do with Windows 10 not having the latest driver for mobile devices.  But when I connected the same mobile devices on my Windows 7 machines, the same error message popped up.

I’ve never seen this problem before, but one thing for sure…the common denominator between the Windows 10 and Windows 7 computers is the USB cable.  Fortunately, I had another USB cable to try out.  Low and behold, all my mobile devices started to connect with all my computer!

As it turns out, the issue wasn’t driver related, but was the USB cable.

I was starting to lose hope until today, trying different things to somehow get the driver working.

The moral of the story…don’t miscount anything, even when it doesn’t look broken.

If you found this article useful and helpful, please share it and make sure to let us know by commenting below.


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admin on August 2nd, 2015

On July 29, 2015, Microsoft released the long awaited Windows 10.  Anyone who has Windows  7 or higher gets the upgrade for free.  This is a great move for Microsoft in order to quickly get the masses to move over to their supposedly last main Windows version.  From here on, Windows 10 users will get updates much like apps get updates.

Anyway, overall the update from Windows 7 to 10 on my computer went pretty smooth.  The main hiccup during the update was mainly to the process of switching to an online Microsoft account as the computer login.  I followed the steps as prompted, yet the process would just take me around in circles, always coming back to asking me for the my Microsoft account, my password and looking like it was going to work.

I got tired of trying to make it work, so I just cancelled out of it and restarted my computer. Then it happened.  It prompted me to login using my online Microsoft account.  I typed my password and was able to get into my desktop.

S0 far all the programs I use on it are working except for the PC version of Minecraft.  After the upgrade launching Minecraft causes the error “The application was unable to start correctly (0xc0000018).”

At first I thought that I needed to update my version of JAVA.  I did that but the error continued.  Then I did a search on the web for that error message and I found my answer at  I asked that you delete the Windows registry entry APPINIT_DLLS located at:


After I deleted that entry and restarted Windows, I was again able to run the PC version of Minecraft on my computer.  Note that I’m not 100% sure if this issue was caused by the update to Windows 10 because I installed the BETA version of Minecraft for Windows 10 before trying to run the PC version.  Regardless, if you happen to run into this issue, the solution requires the deletion of the APPINIT_DLLS parameter located at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\­Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\Windo­­ws.

Thanks for reading.  Let me know by commenting below when you started experiencing this issue when launching the PC version of Minecraft.

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