Archive for category Hardware

ASA 5500 series dropping TLS packets

I’ve had this nagging problem with our email for quite awhile now, maybe a year or so. I’m more of a desktop/server/software troubleshooter, not so much into the networking stuff. My boss is the network admin. I’ve been getting much more involved in our firewalls and routers as of late. I noticed that TLS hasn’t been working for some reason. I didn’t figure out why until today. It hasn’t been a big issue because we’ve been getting emails anyway, but someone from outside our organization has now sent me two emails in the last month and a half with bounces he’s received.

Diagnostic-Code: smtp; 510 Did not receive the expected protocol response.

It’s sporadic though, he didn’t always have this problem. I was determined to figure it out today. There are people out there who don’t really care if something is working well, as long as it’s working – I’m not one of those. If I’m responsible for it, it’s going to function properly.

We have a firewall in front of our email gateway, an ASA to be exact. I have spent all day working on this, bouncing between our email gateway and the firewall trying to determine where the problem is. I noticed that email from our email server to the gateway was encrypted and from the gateway to the email server was as well. But anything coming to the gateway from the outside and anything going out from the gateway was not. So, ding ding ding, it has to be firewall.

I’m getting more comfortable working with the firewall, but it always makes me anxious because I’m afraid to break something. Essentially what was happening was that the ESMTP inspection was dropping the TLS packets since it couldn’t actually inspect them. Which would be why their server wasn’t receiving the expected response. It’s annoying though, that I didn’t see any indication of packets being dropped in the logs. Maybe I wasn’t looking in the right place. It makes me wonder who else has been having this problem and just not reaching out to us to let us know. I used the GUI for this, but there are commands to run it as well that you can see here at Experts Exchange.

For the GUI: In ASDM go to configuration -> firewall -> service policy rules -> under Global; global_policy, right click on inspection_default and edit -> go to the Rule Actions tab -> uncheck ESMTP.

As soon as I did that and hit apply I went back to my gateway and saw everything being sent/received in TLS now. Mission accomplished.



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ATI HDMI – gap around the edges

I just bought a new graphics card, ATI Radeon HD 5770, and had a weird problem where what was being displayed was not filling the entire screen.  It left about a one inch gap around the entire monitor.  I’ve never seen that before so I had no idea what settings to even look at to fix this.  I went from connecting using a DVI cable to HDMI (woo!) so I know that had something to do with it.  After googling around a bit I found directions on where to look in the Catalyst Control Center to change the settings, but it isn’t the most intuitive thing in the world so I thought this might be helpful for some people.  I did not find anywhere in the Windows 7 display options to change this kind of setting.  So unless you have Catalyst Control Center installed I’m not sure you’ll be able to adjust it.

What you’re doing is looking for the scaling options and adjusting the overscan percentage.  The smaller the percentage, the more detail you’ll see. This screen shot that I found on wikipedia might help give you an idea of what that actually means.  Screen captures always make things easier to understand, so here are the steps in screen shots.

  1. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I found this to be the confusing part.  It says to click on the triangle on the desktop below that you want to configure but that doesn’t exactly work correctly.  You have to click on the triangle on the tiny display at the bottom, not the bigger one – you don’t get the same options.


Linksys router blinking power light of death

I’ve been having some odd problems with the router at home recently. I woke up yesterday morning and noticed that neither of my computers could get online. The thing that’s odd about this is that we also have a computer downstairs that has been able to get online while the others haven’t. There haven’t been any changes to the router that I’m aware of. I went through power cycling the router and modem, leaving it alone for a while, and going back through power cycling. But it didn’t work. So I finally decided to check the firmware version to see if there was an upgrade on the Linksys website.

I downloaded the newest firmware package, went into the router setup page and attempted to flash it. I got the “your settings have been successful” page then had to wait for the router to reboot. When it came back up one thing had changed, but not in a good way. I could no longer get to the router’s setup page. I went out to the garage and climbed a ladder up to where we have our modem and router, lugging my laptop up there with me so I could easily bounce between the modem and router. That is when I noticed the blinking power light of death. I had never seen this on a router before so I didn’t know what it meant. But after digging around online I discovered that it meant the firmware was corrupted, which would explain why I couldn’t get to the router’s setup page anymore. I have no idea what happened because I did get the page that said it was successful – a bad download maybe.

I’m sure I spent at least an hour on the ladder in the freezing cold garage figuring this out, but I did finally find a solution that worked for me here in this forum.

Problem: Blinking power light on Linksys router and unable to access setup page.

Solution: What you need to do is statically define your computer’s IP address in order to communicate with the router and flash it with the latest firmware. You will need a little file transfer program, which you can get from Linksys here and also the latest firmware package for your model of router. Plug straight into your modem to download those. I unplugged everything from the router so that the only thing plugged in was my laptop, that probably isn’t necessary though.

  1. Go to your control panel and select network connections… or go to network and sharing center, then click on where it says change adapter settings in the left panel.
  2. Under LAN or high-speed internet, you will see local area connection. right-click on it then select properties
  3. Under local area connection properties, look for internet protocol TCP/IPv4, highlight it and click properties.
  4. Once in the internet protocol TCP/IP properties, set it to use the following IP address and settings:
    • IP address: (it must be same range of your default gateway: 192.168.x.x)
    • Subnet Mask:
    • Default Gateway: (that is the default one. if not then enter the IP address of your router, to check it, open command prompt, then type in “ipconfig” [no quotes] the default gateway is equivalent to router’s IP address)
    • Also put in as the DNS server.
  5. Click ok and click the close button on the local area connection properties window.
  6. Now unplug the router and let it sit for a few seconds, plug it back in. I had to do this before I was able to ping the router.
  7. Open your start menu and go to run, then type cmd. For windows 7 or Vista, just type cmd in the search bar.
  8. Once the black box pops up type in ping We need to make sure your computer can communicate with the router before attempting to flash it again. If it returns 4 responses then you’re good to go, if not then check your settings again and power cycle the router one more time.
  9. Now you need to open the program you downloaded earlier, tftp.exe.
  10. In the server section you want to type the router’s IP address, which is the and the password for it. The default password for Linksys is admin, but if that doesn’t work you can try the password you set for it if you changed it.
  11. Now click the button next to file and find the firmware update you downloaded. Then click upgrade and it should flash the router. It was pretty quick for me.

I had to power cycle my modem and router one more time after this to get everything online again, luckily it saved me another 40 bucks by not having to buy a new router. I would guess that you could probably use tftp.exe with other router brands as well, you just need to download the correct firmware for whatever you have and know the default settings for it since those may be different.



Recycle old TVs, laptops, computers, and monitors for free

Electronics are popular Christmas gifts and we all love getting them but what do we do with the old crap it’s going to replace?  We used to have two choices, toss it in with the garbage or pay to get them recycled.  Paying for them could get pretty expensive depending on the size and weight of the item so that obviously was not a popular option.  According to the EPA, “In 2007, discarded TVs, computers, peripherals (including printers, scanners, faxes), mice, keyboards and cell phones totaled about 2.5 million tons.”

Now we have an easy way to get rid of all that old equipment, at least here in Washington State.  As of Jan. 1st, 2009 a new law came into effect allowing residents to recycle those items for free at various locations throughout the state.  Even if your item still works you can take it in and the company or store has the option of trying to resell it before sending it off to be chopped up and recycled.

I’ll be posting more links as I find them, but finding places to recycle this kind of stuff has turned out to be far more difficult than I thought.  These links are not only for Washington State residents as you can see.  I’ll be adding links from all over the country as I find them.

State-run  or local programs

  • 1-800-recycle – Washington State.  To find a place near you choose drop off and buy-back sites and to select multiple material types hold the ctrl button down while selecting them.
  • E-Cycle Washington – Has a lot more information about what can be recycled, why, etc.
  • – If you live in California you can go there to find a local recycle center.  I’m not sure what’s free, I’ll have to do a little more research into it.
  • Oregon E-Cycles – According to “you can recycle your old televisions, computers and computer monitors for free.”

Company or business-run programs

  • – Go there for info about recycling your iPod or cell phone, regardless of the manufacturer, for free.  If you buy an Apple computer or monitor they will also recycle your old monitor and computer for free, regardless of the manufacturer.
  • Best Buy recycling – If you buy some new appliances from them or new TVs, they’ll take the old ones for free.  There is also a link at the bottom for recycling events where you can take computers and other larger items.
  • Best Buy trade-in – You can trade items in for Best Buy gift cards or just have them recycled.  I had an old laptop recycled for free that they wouldn’t give me anything for.  I just printed the shipping label right off their website, pretty simple.
  • Dell – They recycle Dell products for free.
  • Green Disk – You do have to pay to ship things to them, but $6.95 for 20lbs or less is a pretty good deal.  I’ll be using them in the near future if I can’t find a free alternative.  They also have options for businesses and bulk recycling.
  • Toshiba – They have a similar program to the Best Buy trade-in.  Get an estimate on what it’s worth, if it’s worthless you can print a free shipping label.

A lot of stores like Office Depot, Best Buy, and other stores that sell electronics take ink cartridges, batteries and cell phones for free.  Typically they have little drop boxes directly inside their doors for that kind of stuff.

If you have any links to add please feel free to leave them in a comment and I’ll add them to my list, whether it’s a Washington State thing or not.

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Code 10: device cannot start

Another awesome error message from Microsoft.  I came home for winter break and plugged my mp3 player in to recharge it and edit some music files to get this error message in the device manager.  The most irritating thing is that I’ve plugged this mp3 player into my computer I don’t know how many times before without any sort of problem at all – I have no idea where this came from.  The first thing I thought was maybe the cord is dying or the device itself is tweaking out.  I went downstairs and plugged it into my Dad’s computer to test it and within seconds his computer recognized the device perfectly, Sansa e280.  Now this really irritated me because it works on my Vista laptop and my Dad’s XP sp3 machine which is exactly like mine.

So the research began and the ideas I saw until I luckily came across the actual solution were to:

  1. Update the firmware on the mp3 player (FAILED)
  2. Update my computer’s BIOS (FAILED)
  3. Update the mobo’s chipset drivers (FAILED)
  4. Uninstall/reinstall everything listed under universal serial bus controllers in the device manager (FAILED)
  5. Manually install it through add hardware in the control panel .  (FAILED sort of)

As you can see nothing worked except #5, but that was only part of the solution for me.  Finally after getting fed up and taking a break I came back to it and updated the firmware using my Dad’s computer since it detected the device properly to begin with.  I think this was part of the solution, either that or I’m completely blind because in the Sansa mp3 players, at least the e280, there is supposed to be a setting where you change how it’s detected.  There’s MTP and MSC (I don’t honestly know the difference and don’t care enough to look it up) or just automatic.  But in mine I couldn’t find that setting anywhere until I updated the firmware.

Now that I had the detection options I tried switching them around to see what worked.  I got all excited when, in MSC mode, that happy little bubble popped up in the bottom right saying my device had been installed and is ready to use.  But when I looked in the device none of my music was in there anywhere.  MTP and automatic still didn’t work and by that time I was pretty pissed off and just about ready to chuck something out the window.  Then I found this forum which suggested adding the hardware through the control panel and changing it so that it looks for the driver in C:\Windows\inf.  Every other time I tried adding hardware manually I pointed it to the drivers folder – who would’ve thought that drivers would be in the drivers folder?  Why the hell wouldn’t Windows search there to begin with?  Anyway, That worked, but only when I had my mp3 player set for MTP mode.  It still doesn’t work in MSC mode, but now automatic works as well.

Make sure you play around with the USB detection settings in the mp3 player itself and tell the computer to search in C:\Windows\inf when installing the hardware manually or if a prompt pops up when you first plug it in.

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