About Me

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Web person at the Imperial War Museum, just completed PhD about digital sustainability in museums (the original motivation for this blog was as my research diary). Posting occasionally, and usually museum tech stuff but prone to stray. I welcome comments if you want to take anything further. These are my opinions and should not be attributed to my employer or anyone else (unless they thought of them too). Twitter: @jottevanger

Friday, October 02, 2009

Unbuggering SQL Server - xpstar.dll fix (Feb '10 edit)

Having spent lots of time googling and going down various blind alleys, trying to fix an error on our live site servers where trying to run a DTS, looking at user properties and various other things all threw up a pretty uninformative error related to being unable to find xpstar.dll. Having sorted it I thought I'd post what worked for me in case it saves anyone else from too much time-wasting.

The root of the problem was the virus and trojan s***storm that hit us a few weeks back, but once that was remedied the SQL Server 2000 issues remained.
Lesson one
For a while I was looking on the wrong server, coz I assumed that the server running the DTS would be requiring its own copy, but turns out that the server it was targetting was the one lacking xpstar. Don't forget to check the other server!
Lesson two
Plopping a new copy of it into the relevant place didn't help. Perhaps it needed re-registering in some way. A couple of threads in Googledom talked about MDAC, and reinstalling it seemed like a good idea, but fooling round looking for Windows Components to reinstall led nowhere.
Lesson three
One of those threads mentioned reinstalling SP4. Fortunately we had copies of the installation media for both SP4 and SQL Server 2000 on the server, but first time we ran the SP4 install it transpired that the virus had actually messed with about with these too, deleting a crucial directory (Binn), not within the SP4 media but the SQL installation media. Once this was sorted out, an SP4 reinstallation was all that was required. It fixed the xpstar error without a restart.
Lesson four
Don't know if there is a lesson four, but if it turns out that we didn't get the virus off properly, or I should have done a restart after all, I'll let you know.

HTH Jeremy

January 2010: we had more problems which in part were related to, you guessed it, xpstar.dll "disappearing". All the SQL Server jobs disappeared, for one. Reapplying SP4 once more did the trick: turned out the jobs were just hiding when the server "lost" xpstar. I need to get to the bottom of why it happened a second time, but there you go: SP4 fix definitely works for us.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Google Translate widget: awesome

Some time back I had an abortive go at making a bookmarklet to do various things with Google Translate that weren't that straightforward. It all went a bit off the boil but thankfully it's pretty irrelevant now that Google's done what was needed all along and given us a dead easy widget to drop into your site and do good-enough translations on-the-fly. Links on the page are also appended with parameters so that it will translate subsequent pages too, as long as the widget is on them. Nice.
Have a look at the MOL pages. The layout is not optimal (it's down at the bottom) so I need to experiment with changing that, but it works nicely on the pages where the one footer I've changed is used. Took 2 minutes. I had to refresh the page after its first load to get it to work, which may be because I have the widget at the bottom and the javascript file didn't load properly or something. Wha'evah.
Actually I'd still like a bookmarklet (not G Toolbar) that lets me highlight a bit of text and translate to/from a language of my choice. Got a bit stuck with the whole IE prompt thing but hey, perhaps I'll have another go.