MS Access Crashes on “SELECT ?” Query

I found another way to force MS Access to crash to desktop, and it’s shockingly simple.

Sub SQLTest()
    Dim Query As ADODB.Command
    Set Query = New ADODB.Command
    With Query
        .ActiveConnection = CurrentProject.Connection
        .CommandText = "SELECT ?"
        .Parameters.Append .CreateParameter(, adChar, , 1, "a")
    End With
End Sub
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Smart Host Config for Haraka

This is the 2nd post in a series about setting up an outbound SMTP server with DKIM signing and smart host forwarding. Here you will learn how to configure an existing Haraka server to forward all outgoing mail to another SMTP server.

Part of the credit for this solution goes to Matt’s Hacking Blog which got me pointed in the right direction after a morning of futile config file editing. It just needed some updates, tweaks, and longer explanations of how to make it work.

The core trick here is a custom plugin. I already had an SMTP service account with DNS Made Easy, so I used that as an example for my forward smart host. I created a file named /etc/haraka/plugins/dnsmadeeasy.js

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Installing Haraka in Ubuntu 20.04

This is the first post in a series about setting up an in-house outbound SMTP server with DKIM signing and smart host forwarding. Here you will find the steps to install the Haraka SMTP server, configure it to accept outbound mail, and run it as a system service.

Requirement: Node.js

You will need the npm command to install Haraka, and I found it was not available by default. To read the official instructions for this step, reference this page:

Node.js Binary Distributions

This is how I did it:

curl -fsSL | sudo -E bash -

apt install nodejs

The Haraka Application

With the prerequisites met, it’s as simple as this:

npm install -g Haraka
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MS Access Crashes on TreeView.Nodes.Clear

I found a specific situation where MS Access always crashes to desktop.  Here are the ingredients:

  1. A bound Form with a Microsoft TreeView Control, version 6.0.
  2. Form’s “Allow Additions” property set to “No”
  3. TreeView populated using the Form_Current() event.
  4. Prior to populating the TreeView, calling .Nodes.Clear on the TreeView object.
  5. To set up the crash, filter the form to an empty recordset.
  6. Click on the Home ribbon and the Toggle Filter button.

Download Testcase File: treeview-testcase.accdb


In the Form_Current() event, add a DoEvents command immediately before Nodes.Clear.

Set MyTree = Me.TreeView0.Object

InStr Performance for VBA

I solved a mysterious bottleneck last night while working with large string values in MS Access. My VBA code was reading a file to a string variable, checking several values near the beginning of the string, and then manipulating and saving the string to the database.

Oddly, one of the slowest parts of my code was the several InStr calls that were only checking the first few hundred bytes of the string. I could alleviate part of the problem by copying the beginning of my file to a shorter string value, but in so doing I also noticed unexpected results from the InStr return value.

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Forcing PHP to Sort Like MySQL

If you ever have to do a case-insensitive array sort in PHP, you will eventually notice that the results don’t match the MySQL latin1_swedish_ci collation. They just aren’t the same. The difference comes from a set of six characters that fall between the upper-case and lower-case alpha characters of ISO-8859-1.

Specifically, [ \ ] ^ _ ` are the troublemakers. A simple example would involve sorting the phrases “Hello” and “[Hello]”. In MySQL, “Hello” comes first. In PHP, “Hello” comes last.

If this is driving you crazy, all you will need to do is trick PHP into using an upper-case sort instead of a lower-case sort.

$strings = ['hello', '[Hello]', 'Hello'];
usort( $strings, 'mysql_simulator' );
var_dump( $strings );

function mysql_simulator( $a, $b ) {
return strcmp( strtoupper( $a ), strtoupper( $b ) );

I hope this will save you some of the research in solving that pesky little difference.

Cannot Use Dynamic Class Name

It seems I’ve discovered a new kind of PHP error that isn’t documented anywhere on the web yet. Here is a simple example and explanation to help correct your code.

class MyClass {}
$obj = new MyClass;
$test1 = MyClass::class;    // Right
$test2 = get_class( $obj ); // Right
$test3 = $obj::class;       // Wrong

That last line in my code sample produces the following error in PHP 7.4.

Fatal error: Cannot use ::class with dynamic class name in […][…] on line 5

This is the PHP way of saying that you have to switch to the get_class() function when retrieving the fully qualified class name of an object.

Note: An existing RFC proposes to change this behavior in PHP 8, so this particular error message might not exist in some future versions.

Server Crippled by Updates Again

February update cycle again sent my server into a reboot loop, shutting down all services until I could diagnose the problem on site.

Following the same steps as in my previous post, I switched the boot choice to Safe Mode, and observed another boot failure. This time instead of getting into the weeds of troubleshooting the update system with a second Safe Mode boot, I decided to let the server go back to the normal boot mode, because some other websites have reported this as a good solution.

In this case, the failed Safe Mode boot followed by no other action did successfully restore the server.

After reviewing the Event Viewer logs, I could only find a repeated Event ID 1074, “TrustedInstaller.exe has initiated the restart”. KB2992611 and KB890830 both installed successfully before the loop, then KB4502496, KB2822241, and KB4537814 installed after the loop.

My current recommendation is to disable automatic updates for Windows servers and only perform update checks while on site. Also, run the update check twice in a row. The servicing stack update from December didn’t show up until after recovering from the reboot loop and then checking again for more updates.

Reboot Loop After KB4525246 Update

Several other sites confirmed recent server failures after running Windows Updates. Here are the basic steps I used to recover.

Attach a keyboard and enter BIOS setup. Make sure Quick Boot is disabled.

Press F8 while restarting the server to open the Advanced Boot Options menu.

I tried Safe Mode, but did not see a successful boot there.

Next I tried Repair Your Computer, which brought me to the “Choose an option” screen.

Select Troubleshoot, then select Command Prompt. Follow the instructions to log in as one of the administrators.

Continue reading Reboot Loop After KB4525246 Update

Solving Disconnected Folders Over Wi-Fi

Avoid the First Default Setting for Share Caching

I’m starting to realize that the Offline Files feature in Windows causes more problems than it solves when it comes to unreliable network connections.

In 2016, I described how to minimize the effects of an occasionally high ping when the slow-link mode goes into effect: Offline Files Stay Disconnected

But that doesn’t solve the problem.  Fine-tuning or even disabling the slow-link mode forces the Client Side Cache (CSC) to use its “Action on server disconnect” configuration any time the network isn’t performing perfectly.  The default behavior, “Work offline”, treats each affected (meaning cache-enabled) share as being totally unavailable and then the CSC attempts to retrieve cached copies.  This happens even if the server is still available but failed a single ping check.

Why is this still a problem?  Well, in practice, most files don’t need to be available offline.  By default, the Windows file server is configured, and the Windows client is designed to allow each user to select individual files as “Always available offline” from the file context menu.  When a user selects this option, that one file is copied to the CSC, and in theory that one file is always available.  This allows for targeted use and minimal sync time.  The problem arises with all the other files.  When the CSC goes offline and marks the shared folder as disconnected, it effectively blocks access to all the files that were never cached, even if the server and its files are still available.

At this point, you and I now understand the situation that needs to be avoided.  We don’t want to have a large number of files under the unnecessary clutches of the CSC, regardless of network quality.

Update 08/17/2018

At first, I thought the solution was to change the file server’s default configuration of allowing users to decide which files are cached.  I changed folders that needed maximum online availability to be set to “No files or programs from the shared folder are available offline.”  This server setting automatically disables the CSC.

Unfortunately, the result was that the folders configured for offline caching worked great, but the folders configured for no offline caching only worked until some network error or server reboot.  In this configuration, once a path became disconnected, an Offline Files message is logged in the Event Viewer, and even though no files are being cached the entire path becomes unavailable.  At that point, the workstation persistently throws Error 0x80070035 any time that particular path is accessed, until the workstation is rebooted.

The only solution I’ve found that works now is to completely disable the Offline Files feature on the workstation.  With Offline Files disabled from the Control Panel, the network and server errors are now transient and I am not having any problems with disconnected paths or persistent errors.

Offline Files is ultimately broken and does not improve the Windows experience.