Volume Shadow Copy

Ok, here's a fun one.

Imagine you have Outlook on your machine.  I know, this applies to almost nobody.

Run any given backup program, with Outlook open.

Your todaysfavouritebackupprogram will fail when it gets to a file like C:\Users\mark\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook\.ost - because Outlook puts an exclusive lock on the file.

So what can you do?

Well, you'll probably think that a technology like Volume Shadow Copy (which is DESIGNED to copy open files) will be your friend.

So you create a backup thingy (that's the technical term), and you create a volume shadow copy, and you try to backup your file, which is now called something like



Why?  I can hear you ask (yeah, from all the way over here)

Would you believe that it is excluded from the VSC BY DESIGN @ Microsoft.

So basically, you either close Outlook if you want to backup this file, or you don't backup this file.

Now, I know that OST files are basically just local caches, and you can regenerate them from the server, and whatever....but what if you want to get a mail back from two months ago that you deleted from the server?

Thanks, guys

Luckily, with AltexaBackup, you could write a small command to close outlook when it hits the OST file, then reopen it again when backup of that particular file is done.

Works, but it's ugly

Except, of course, since the OST file is just NOT THERE, you'd have to look for the lock file (~.ost.tmp) and act on that instead.

Works, but doubly ugly.

Come on guys, there could at least be an OPTION for this

AltexaBackup - Progress

Well it's been a while again. But I have actually been doing stuff behind the scenes. The backend DLL handling stuff is now a lot cleaner and doesn't load and unload DLLs all the time. The backup wizard is now much more pretty-er. The job handling code is much nicer, and foolproof. Logging is better too. The whole system will now compile and run properly for 64-bit as well as 32-bit Windows. Oh, and this:

Yes, Volume Shadow Copy creating is now working. On W10/8.1/7 in 32-bit and 64-bit mode.

It needs to be integrated into the worker (or I might actually do a separate .exe, it depends).

The only annoying thing is that when you use VSS on 64-bit Windows, you need to make 64-bit VSS calls, so you can't compile the application as a 32-bit application, because VSS just won't work. Putting the VSS stuff in a separate exe would keep the codebase cleaner, smaller, and easier to understand - and would allow the 32-bit app to run on 64-bit windows. I imagine that most users won't actually care about this detail, but hey, that's how it goes.

Altexa Backup : Password Storage

(Back to working on AltexaBackup - and quite some progress has been made)

One of the most complex things to do when storing credentials (think, ftp, or website credentials), is to figure out how to save them in such a way that a piece of software which needs them can get access, but someone snooping around on a computer can't.

Of course, AltexaBackup's ftp storage engine (amongst others) needs to save credentials, so i had to find a nice way of doing this.

Luckily, Windows provides a "Credential Manager" (I'd never heard of it either). You can call the credential API to save the password, and windows will save it. You can then see that a password is saved in the Control Panel. The process which saved the password can read it back. You can't get at it otherwise.


Now to do Volume Shadow Copy in a proper way (not a wrapper around vshadow, like the revious version of Altexa Backup used to). More on that later

Sinclair Research Software

Here's a list of software titles piublished for the ZX Spectrum, "back in the day".  Hopefully this list is exhaustive:

G1/S  4000  Games 1 
G2/S   4001  Games 2 
G3/S   4002  Games 3  £19.49
G4/S   4003  Games 4 
G5/S   4004  Games 5 
G6/S   4005  Pastimes 1  £5.00
G7/S   4006  Pastimes 2 
G8/S   4007  Biorhythms  £4.99
G9/S  4008  Space Raiders 
G10/S  4009  Chess 
G11/S  4010  Flight Simulation 
G12/S  4011  Planetoids  £2.99
G13/S  4012  Hungry Horace 
G14/S  4013  Adventure A: Planet of Death  £7.99
G15/S  4014  Adventure B: Inca Curse  £5.99
G16/S  4015  Adventure C: The Ship of Doom
G17/S  4016  Adventure D: Espionage Island £4.00
G18/S  4017  Reversi 
G19/S  4018  The Hobbit 
G20/S  4019  Embassy Assault 
G21/S  4020  Horace goes Skiing 
G22/S  4021  Backgammon 
G23/S  4023  Cyrus-IS-Chess 
G24/S  4022  Horace & the Spiders  £4.99
G25/S  4024  Scrabble 
G26/S  4025  Flippit  £7.00
G27/R  4026  Jetpac
G28/S  4027  Pssst
G29/S  4028  Tranz Am eBay search
G30/S  4029  Cookie
G31/S  4030  Chequered Flag 
G32/S  4031  Bubble Buster
G33/S  4032  Driller Tanks £7.99
G34/S  4033  Eric and the Floaters
G35/S  4034  Stop the Express
G36/S  4035  Zipper Flipper £6.99
4036   4036  Match Point
4037 4037  ?????? no known title
4038   4038  Panama Joe
4039   4039  Return of the Jedi: Death Star Battle £7.99
E1/S   4300  History 1 
E2/S   4301  Geography 1 
E3/S   4302  Inventions 1 
E4/S   4303  Music 1 
E5/S   4304  English Literature 1 
E6/S   4305  Make a Chip 
E7/S   4306  Music Master  £19.99
E8/S   4307  Beyond BASIC  £12.47
E9/S   4308  Chess Tutor 1  £4.93
E10/S  4309  Learn to Read 1  £8.50
E11/S  4310  Learn to Read 2 
E12/S  4311  Learn to Read 3 
E13/S  4312  Learn to Read 4  £4.99
E14/S  4313  Learn to Read 5 
E15/S  4314  Cargo  £5.00
E16/S  4315  Glider  £3.49
E17/S  4316  Survival 
E18/S  4317  Magnets  £4.00
E19/S  4318  Early Punctuation 
E20/S  4319  Speech Marks 
E21/S  4320  The Apostrophe 
E22/S  4321  Capital Letters 
E23/S  4322  Castle Spellerous 
E24/S  4323  Alphabet Games 
4324   4324  Oil Strike 
4325   4325  Weathermaster  too much
4326   4326  Planet Patrol
4327   4327  Disease Dodgers
4328   4328  Alphabetter 
4329   4329  Wordsetter 
4330   4330  Spellbox 
4331   4331  Soundabout
4332   4332  Bodyswop
4333   4333  MacMan and the Caber Eater 
4334   4334  MacMan in the Treasure Caves 
4335   4335  MacMan's Magic Mirror
4336   4336  MacMan and the Great Escape 
4337   4337  Number Painter 
4338   4338  Estimator Racer £30
L1/S   4400  FORTH  £14.99
L2/S   4401  Micro Prolog 
L3/S   4402  Zeus Assembler  £12.48
L4/S   4403  Monitor and Disassembler 
L5/S   4404  Print Utilities  £9.12
L6/S   4405  Sinclair Logo £44.99
P1/S   4500  Cattell IQ Test  £9.99
B1/S   4600  VU-CALC  £3.84
B2/S   4601  VU-FILE  £2.93
B3/S   4602  VU-3D  £2.93
B4/S   4603  Collector's Pack  £3.99
B5/S   4604  Club Record Controller  £1.99
B6/S   4605  Small Business Accounts  £7.99
B7/S   4606  Which? Tax Calculator 1983-84 
4607   4607  Tasword Two 
4608   4608  Tiny Touch 'n' Go  £4.89
G9/R   5300  Space Raiders 
G10/R  5301  Chess 
G12/R  5302  Planetoids 
G13/R  5303  Hungry Horace 
G22/R  5304  Backgammon 
G24/R  5305  Horace and the Spiders 
G27/R  5306  Jet Pac 
G28/R  5307  PSSST 
G29/R  5308  Tranz Am 
G30/R  5309  Cookie

Been offline

The site has been offline for a while. Sorry about that.

I activated the comments feature in the blog, and of course, some joker(s) came along ant did....something or other.

Basically the machine on which the blog is running overloaded about half an hour after starting the blog software. Pain in the a*se.

Anyways, I deactivated comments, deleted the crap they put in the database (thank god for SQLite), and everything seems ot be back to more or less normal now