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Lets Get Familiar with Log Files & Error Reporting

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#1 ispy


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Posted 05 April 2008 - 10:09 PM

Winbuilder [074] "Lets Get Familiar with Log Files & Debug Files for Error Reporting" (Time of writing 05/04/08)

:thumbsup: Once upon a time there was a program developer called "Nuno Brito" who decided that he would write program called WinBuilder to aid everyone in the production of custom boot disks & minimal operating systems, (just to mention a few of the many activities he was engaged in). However, Nuno's intentions also drew a lot of like minded attention, from other talented helpers, called "the Boot-Land members" from various countries & many unique backgrounds, (the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker) so they all got together to form a little co-operative community!

So Nuno, with the aid of Mrs Brito & these little helpers ventured forth, made a web-site & a program called WinbBuilder, which incidently is happily in an ongoing state of development. The dilema that Nuno & his little helpers faced is there is myriad of hardware PC configurations, operating systems, & some very sophisticated programs that supposedly rely on sharing each others resources quite happily (Yeh right!).

Even faced with these daunting obstacles, & the virus writing goblins, the greedy monopoly orientated corporations called..., nah! I won't say it, you know who I mean, "Nuno", his Mrs & all these little helpers were undeterred, they worked feverishly, day in, day out, often into the small wee hours of the morning trying to develop the best Boot disk maker they could!

They struggled & struggled with teething problems & minor bugs, niggles & challenges until one bright spark jumped up & said, "Why don't we incorporate a Log file generator & debug text file generator that would, "IF" selected, create these diagnostic files, whilst WinBuilder was churning through the building process, of the custom boot disk! "Not a complete solution to all our problems, but it certainly would give the senior advanced members, a great resource for the solving of inevitable problems that would crop up from time to time"!

Now this is not the end of this little story, because along came many new starters who through recommendation & interest also wanted to join the Boot-Land co-operative community. Nuno said to them, "You are all welcome to join in, we are pleased to see you all, we have a few positively implied rules to help things run smoothly but the emphasis is on collective learning & enjoyment" (Not wanting to put words into your mouth Nuno, but I think this covers the basic ethos???).

However some new users (myself included!) got a little panic stricken when they created a Winbuilder project & for one reason or another failed to create the "Magic custom Bootdisk" that their hearts desired. Armed with these feelings of disapointment, confusion & impatience, the new starters then would post their problems in the forums in the hope of being rescued by a senior member passing by. But alas, problems of communication (international forums, language barriers) & barriers of ignorance & unfamiliarity all added up to further difficulties etc.

So to cut a very long story short what can we, "the New starters" do to help?

1) Keep the forum posts short & sweet (in a word "comprehensive" not lengthy like this post. Do as I say & not as I do! LOL!)
2) Make sure you have the debug text file generator option ticked if you use PENetwork.
3) Make sure you select the option at the end of the project build, "save as log.html file".
4) When you post these files, some may be rather large (Particularly the log.html file so it is good practice to compress the contents with a zipping program, there are plenty of freeware alternatives out there before you attempt to upload them.

So okay, "Mr Smarty pants" where are these features in WinBuilder?

Mr Smarty pants answers, "I was hoping you were going to ask that. The first option you undertake, is prior to selecting the blue triangle entitiled "Play" (Which incidently kick starts the whole building procedure). Using the scrollable explorer window on the left hand side, within WinBuilder, navigate through the explorer tree structure until you encounter PENetwork, move your mouse cursor over it, left click it, to highlight it in blue & hey presto in the right hand window, if by magic, you should observe the settings to PENetwork. On the right hand side of the page you will see a vertical scrollable page bar that you will need to move in a downwards direction to the bottom of the settings page. At the bottom of this page you should notice under a heading entitled Other: a tick box to the left of "Debug Mode (Some infos are written to PENMDebug.txt)"
N.B. Please ensure this box is "Ticked" if it hasn't already been done!
Make sure that you also "Add Drivers from this directory (including subdirs):" click on the open folder icon button & navigate to the directory where your NIC (Network Interface card drivers are installed). Make sure these are added to the build. The rest of the default PENetwork setting should suffice to acquire internet/network access.

What will this do, Mr Smarty Pants?

Well once you have completed the construction of your custom bootdisk, burnt your resulting iso file to CD media, you will presumeably want to reboot your PC with your new creation in your CD drive. Then watch it load up to the point where you should observe a "Desktop". Now if all has gone to plan no error messages will be generated by PENetwork. If however PENetwork fails to load, you will have the advantage of a file called PENMDebug.txt, which is usually generated within the ram disk specifically within the %TEMP% folder.

You will need to copy PENMDebug.txt from the ramdisk to suitable read/write media like a hard disk (because if you don't when you close down the session all that is on the ramdisk will be lost including the PENMDebug.txt file) for example so that you can post in the event of possible errors! The easy way of locating this file is to use the search option, within say, LiveXP & point it towards the path of the ramdisk, once located you know the rest, copy and paste!

What about item 3 above Mr Smarty pants, how do you generate a Log.html file then?

As a quick answer you would download all the scripts whether from a recommended profile or from a custom profile as determined by the WinBuilder user, then press the blue "Play" arrow & the following stages of the build would present themselves:

1) You will be asked for your selected source directory (e.g. mine is C:\XP+SP2 folder where all the contents of my XP Home install CD are stored). Enter the path with the folder browse button, the "Continue" button will activate. Then depress the "Continue" button then
2) Within WinBuilder you will presented with the Processing Scripts... page with 2no sliding progress bars, the Process tab will be in the for- front.
3) Once the "Processing scripts" has completed you will be taken back to the main WinBuilder screen where you will observe a log Window, predominently on the right hand side of WinBuilder window. At the bottom will be three rectangular buttons, select the "save as Log.html" button & depress it. You will need to wait for several seconds whilst the log.html file is being generated & is also being stored within the folder where you have installed WinBuilder.

Whilst the Processing Scripts... part of the process is underway you will be given a hint as to the likelyhood of any errors as they will be displayed & generally the user will be asked to confirm the continuation process, with the selection of the OK button! The Log.html file is good for diagnosis & prognosis for advanced users on the general forums. Obviously if error messages are generated you would not want to burn the iso to a CD until the errors have been eradicated!

Item 4) How to zip files is beyond the scope of this tutorial, as it is far long long anyway! Needless to say, zip the file up & upload it with any error message enquiries you may have!

And with all that, "They all lived happily ever after!"

Regards & Best Wishes,

ispy :tabletalk:

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