Category Archives: Bookmarks

Handy links to tools, services and goodies I don’t want to live without

Format a Linux system drive on Windows

The other day I tried to format a USB drive for use with Windows. I had previously tried this on my Mac to no avail. But now even Windows was telling me that it too could not format my drive.

I was stumped! I had in fact never seen anything like it before. Was that USB drive broken? Had I turned stupid overnight? Well perhaps… but more importantly, it dawned on me what I had used this USB drive prior to this formatting nightmare: it was a Linux installation that could run directly from the stick.

This is important, because as part of the installation, a protected EFI system partition is installed. This is used for booting if I understand correctly, and hence rather important. So important in fact that the ordinary user tools in both macOS and Windows do not allow us users (even Administrators) to erase such partitions.

Lucky for us, the friendly folks at WinAbility have provided a detailed guide on how to remove such a protected partition on Windows. Enjoy the article!

  • http://www.winability.com/delete-protected-efi-disk-partition/

How to update Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 – despite Microsoft Database Daemon and SyncServicesAgent errors

Every time I try to update Microsoft Office 2011 on my Mac I get this ridiculous window popping up. No matter how hard you try, those two services – Microsoft Database Daemon and SyncServicesAgent – keep relaunching themselves, forever preventing you to apply the update.

Clearly Microsoft (or Apple) don’t want us to update Office for Mac:

Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 14.49.45Usually I give up and live without such updates. I only use M$ Office once in a blue moon and really don’t care. Today I got curious and researched this phenomenon – and thought I’d tell you about it.

Several suggestions are available to combat this superb example of a terrible user experience:

  • rename those processes
  • log out, then log back in with the shift key held down
  • go offline just before this message comes up
  • kill the processes with the Activity Monitor Utility

None of those suggestions worked for me, and besides: what a hack any of these solutions are to apply a simple security patch.

What did work was a very clever suggestion by someone named vrleboss: Use a while loop on the command line and continually kill those processes until you’re done.

Here’s how to do it: Open the Terminal utility on your Mac and paste the following code:

You can do this without quitting anything else, even while the pesky “close applications” window is displayed. Make sure the whole command is on the same line. The is a BASH loop that will find both processes and kill them as soon as they start up again. Don’t worry about the continuous text output in the window.

Back in the Microsoft Updater window, hit “Close Applications and Install”. Now it works!

Once the update is applied, head back to the Terminal window and press CTRL+C – this will stop the killing loop. Close Terminal and Office for Mac is finally updated.

Then repeat this process next week, when another 140MB of updates will have to be applied.

Watch the Screencast

  • https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3928408?start=30&tstart=0

Update May 2015

Looks like Microsoft have finally found a way to make updates happen without the necessity for such backdoor hackery. Since version 14.5.0 I was able to update both my systems without the above code.

I thought I’d take a screencast on this happy occasion (because I still can’t believe it myself):

Catch this episode on my WP Guru Podcast: