Re: NTLK Very strange Package Soup problems

From: Laurent Daudelin (
Date: Wed Jun 21 2000 - 10:08:06 CDT

Victor Rehorst wrote:

> I've been having very strange problems with backups, my Package soup, and NCU for PC.
> This all started when I wanted to backup my Newton to my desktop. But no matter how many times I tried, NCU would fail with the infamous -1 error, while trying to backup either System Information (the System Soup) or Packages. I fixed the System Information problem by firing up TrashPak and toasting some old entries. But I was still getting the -1 error every time I tried to backup. I decided that maybe it was time to order SBM utilites and make good use of its Doctor and Cleaner functions, so I ordered it.
> While waiting for my reg code, I mentioned to Paul Guyot that I was having this problem, and that I hoped that SBM Utils would fix it. He informed me that a corrupt Package soup is basicially impossible to fix; I'd have to brainwipe and install all of my packages from scratch (thereby re-building the Packages soup). This is something I really didn't want to do.
> So, my next idea was to try deleting some packages and then trying the backup again, hoping that I had toasted the nefarious entry. No dice. Around this time my reg code came from SBM, so I put it to good use, and it found some old invalid references in my System soup, but no problems with Packages. Damn.
> I finally decided to brainwipe and reinstall my packages. I made two card backups (which worked, since card backups just make a copy of every soup, corruption and all), brainwiped, and started to reinstall. (I made sure I had a copy ov everything first). First though I restored all of my data (no packages) from the card, so that I'd keep my settings.
> When I had reinstalled every package back to internal, I tried an NCU backup again. And STILL got the -1 error while backing up the Packages soup. ARG!
> So I'm basicially out of ideas. I'm wondering if installing packages first and then restoring data from card would make a difference, but I don't see how it could.
> I'm open to any suggestions, offers of help, kind words, etc. I'm waiting for two 6MB cards from Paul Braham, so if all else fails I guess I'll just use these cards for backups, live with the corruption, and never make an NCU backup again.
> (Oh - this is on my MP2100, using NCU 1.0 under Windows 2000, NewtonOS patch 710031)

Well, I usually install packages first, since they're likely not to change, as opposed to the data that get constantly created and deleted. So, here is what I would do. Might be time consuming, but I think you might find the culprit this way.

First, make sure you have a couple of backups. Then, "hard reset" your MP2100. Then, start installing your packages. After every package installation, try to make a full backup. I haven't used Windows2000, but if it has a TaskManager application, then make sure you use it to give NCU a "high priority". At some point, you should get the error.

On a related note, I did post about a couple of weeks ago a message where I was looking for help with backup. After I got a new PC at work, I started having communication errors, no matter if I gave NCU "real-time priority", or used SlowDown.exe, or faster serial connection speed of 57600 baud. So, I thought that something was corrupted on my Newton. That very same day I tried at the office to backup, once at home, I fired up NCU on my Macintosh and attempted to backup the same MP. At my first attempt, the backup
succeeded without any problem! I haven't tried another backup at the office, but I'm pretty sure it would be the same problem than before. There are a few factors here that can make for the outcome. Using NCU for Windows as opposed to NCU for Macintosh. Using very different connections, serial at 57600 kb as opposed to ethernet.

So, I guess I'm trying to say that, even if your MP seems to be OK, there might be other external factors that might prevent a backup on one platform or the other...

Laurent Daudelin
Developer, Adaptive Infrastructure, CIS Fannie Mae
Phone: 703-833-4266
           ********** Usual disclaimers apply **********

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