How to install hMailServer on a modern computer

hMailServer is an extremely easy to configure mail server for Windows, and also extremely lightweight. Despite being free it has a lot of features, SSL, IMAP, user authentication with Active Directory, etc. Its only flaw, unfortunately, is that it is in a state of partial abandonment. Every few months the developer releases an updated version where only the OpenSSL library is updated, but the “heart” isn’t touched since a few years (decades?) ago. So, despite being an excellent product, it is not really recommended to install it on modern computers, because:

  1. It’s a program that is exposed to the internet on ports that are very targeted by bots, there is a bit of a security risk.
  2. It assumes that you are using outdated technologies.

However, it’s perfect for using it on your local network for “fun”.

To set it up with MySQL (or MariaDB) you need to consider three tricks:

  1. Fifteen years ago the app was freemium and not open source, the MySQL license did not allow DLLs to be included. Nowadays for some reason, even though the app is GPL and could include them, it doesn’t. So you need to go get libmysql.dll from the portable 32-bit version of HeidiSQL. (Or from the monstrous setup of MySQL for Windows, but I don’t recommend it).
  2. MySQL 8.0, for new users, sets an authentication system which is not recognized by hMailServer. You need to change it by executing this query: ALTER USER 'youruser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED WITH mysql_native_password BY 'youapassword';. I limited the user to localhost, but otherwise it should be set as it is on your server, for example `youruser'@'%'.
  3. Both MySQL 8.0 and MariaDB 10 report database versions that are not supported because they were up to 5.6 at the time. So you have to manually create the database by using the script located in C:\Program Files (x86)\hMailServer\DBScripts\CreateTablesMYSQL.sql.

After this the program works great!

Otherwise, you can use the internal Microsoft SQL Compact-based database, but I personally don’t like it.

After Windows Update, do you get error 0xc0000005?

Today I did Windows Update on my PC. I immediately saw that there was something wrong: it kept rebooting saying “error applying the update, aborting…” (or something like that)

After 30 minutes, it still was doing that loop, so I rebooted it.

BOOM! At startup I got a lot of errorsi 0xc0000005! Dropbox, Evernote, the Antivirus, even the Task Manager, would just give this 0xc0000005 error and just close!!!

In the beginning I blamed myself, I thought I was infected by some virus.

I was in panic, then I discovered that there is a “botched” update that renders your PC useless!

But, the fix is easy. Go to the start menu and write appwiz.cpl. You can open the uninstall programs panel. Select “show installed updates”. Search for that bastard, his name is KB2859537.

Right click on it, and then UNINSTALL. Restart your computer: now it should work! If it doesn’t, try removing the latest six updates.

The operating systems affected by this problem are Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2

Which is the lightest Antivirus?

Update 2017:

The lightest antivirus is Windows Defender, preinstalled in every Windows version after 8, like Windows 8.1, Windows 10, and so on…

If you have a new PC, with Windows 10, you don’t have to install another antivirus, it’s already integrated and it’s good

Which Antivirus uses less memory? tried TWENTYFIVE of them, and saw which uses less memory: Avast!

Watching the ranking, you can see that, unbelievably, Norton, known to being very heavy (the latest I tried it’s version 2003), has got much better, arriving in fourth position, even scoring better than NOD32, known to being very light.

Moreover it looks like Norton now sells for just 12$?? Wasn’t it around $50 / year??

How to go in safe mode with Windows 8 (and Windows 10)

Today I wanted to go in safe mode with Windows 8. I supposed that the right way to go there is like it worked for the past 20 years, I pressed F8 at the startup (it worked even with DOS, before Windows). But I didn’t manage to access it: I was pressing F8 and nothing happened.


Microsoft changed the way to access safe mode. 😡

Not only that. It’s no more a safe mode anymore. It’s just a recovery panel.

Anyway, now there are four different ways to access it:

  1. If you have a problem, hope that Windows will detect it and go it automatically 🙄
  2. Select it from the EFI BIOS – but on most computers, quick boot is enabled, meaning it’s going to be hidden – hard to reach 😑
  3. Select “reboot” from the shutdown menu while pressing the SHIFT key
  4. Edit the boot options in msconfig. I won’t explain this, because if your computer can open msconfig (read: it works fine), it means you don’t need to go in safe mode.

The easiest way is the third, rebooting while pressing shift (very intuitive, I’ll say… almost impossible to guess it!), but what to do if Windows does not load?

Unfortunately the solution is using the setup DVD or a restore disk that you made before…

How to solve the Adobe Shared Technologies failed install problem

I wanted to try the Photoshop Elements demo (it’s on sale for cyber monday for just $40!), but it wasn’t working.

Searching on the Internet, it looks like it’s a common problem to have an error like those:

 “The wizard was interrupted before Adobe Photoshop Elements could be installed. Below mentioned application has failed to install: Shared Technologies.”

“The Adobe Premiere Elements installation wizard was interrupted while installing Shared Technologies.”

“The installation process has encountered an error while installing Shared Technologies.”

Why? The reason is simple, but it’s not explained by the error message.

The installer does not run correctly if it has more than 255 characters in the file path.

This is because, usually, the setup is run from d:\setup.exe , and a few people gets the error.

Instead, when you download a demo from the Internet, you can run it from a long path, as this:


The file path it’s too long, and it doesn’t work.

So, if you get this error while installing Adobe Shared Technologies, move the setup in another folder, for example c:\temp

Emoji on Windows 7!

emoji updateistartedsomething let me know that, thanks to the update 2729094, finally Microsoft added the japanese emoji in Windows 7!!!

What are the emoji? It is a set of smileys and symbols very popular in japanese messages. It is gaining popularity in western countries as the iPhone made simple to use them.

Once installed the update, go to the test page to check if you can see them (not all are supported).

I was waiting this from years!

Shame on Microsoft to describe the update as “Install this to solve problems in Windows”.

I wonder if Microsoft has ever see how Apple behaves. Ma in Microsoft hanno mai visto come fa Apple? Why write solve problems, while a new feature is added??? Why not write “new emoji feature added”???

In this way it looks like Windows has a lot of problems, every month it requires a dozen of patches to fix them…

What to do if Windows 8 does not run any app

(Long introduction, click here to jump to the solution)

Yesterday, when I was running Windows 8 in VirtualBox, I tried to run the default applications.

They hid all the classic application replacing them with others, more stylish, but less functional.

There is no calculator, but why use it when you can see the weather forecast in full screen with an animation of the clouds?

And then, why bother with complicated programs when you can play the piano in full screen with the mouse?

Anyway, with all of those really useful apps, the new user it’s very tempted to try them. So, I immedietely try the new Stocks app.

I click and nothing happens.

I click again, and nothing happens.

Wow, that’s more useful than I thought! 😅

After some minutes of trying some different settings, I discovered that the minimum resolution to open any application is 1024×768. The default resolution in VirtualBox, or with an unsupported video card is 800×600, too low to run any program except for Internet Explorer

So, if you want to run any Metro program, just increase the screen resolution:

  1. Click desktop and go to desktop
  2. Right click and choose screen resolution
  3. Increase the screen resolution

Done! Now you can enjoy the new apps! 😉

Photoshop can’t save file – disk full

Sunday I upgraded my Windows Home server with a new 2TB hdd, because it was becoming full.

Then, I saved an image in Photoshop 7, and i get an error “Disk full”

What?? The server has more than 1.3 TB free!

I search for a solution from Adobe and I find:

“Adobe recommends that you not save directly to servers, because writing directly to servers adds a level of complexity to the function of saving.”

Oh, great! They won’t fix the bug!

It happens that Photoshop has a known bug from year 2002 that won’t save a file in a disk that has more than 1 TB free!

How to fix the problem? Unfortunately, the only way is to create an huge garbage file to have less than 1 TB free.

How to create an huge garbage file in a short time? It’s very easy, using the command prompt! 👍

First open the command prompt with administrative privileges (On Vista and Windows 7, select “run as administrator”, on XP and below, just run it)

Then, write:

net use z: \\server\yoursharename

The share will be temporarily connected as z:, and going in z: and writing dir this comes out:

Directory Z:\

17/01/2011  19:31    <DIR>          .
17/01/2011  19:31    <DIR>          ..

0 File              0 byte
0 Directory  1.282.964.344.832 byte available

We must have less than 1000 billions of bytes available to have Photoshop working on this drive, so we have to create a file that has a size of at least 283 billions of bytes.

For creating an huge file in seconds, we use fsutil, that has this syntax:

Z:\>fsutil file createnew 12000

Where 12000 is the size in bytes

I wrote this è:

Z:\>fsutil file createnew photoshop.bug 290000000000
The file Z:\photoshop.bug has been created
Directory Z:\

24/05/2011  10:59    <DIR>          .
24/05/2011  10:59    <DIR>          ..
24/05/2011  10:59 photoshop.bug
1 File byte
0 Directory  992.930.263.040 byte available

After that, Photoshop 7 allowed to save files in that location 😉

How to open a *.vem file

Very often, people give me a VEM file that they had on their USB drive

I am a bit stunned, what is a *.vem file??? 😕 The original file owner said it was a word file… 😖

It is very easy: USB drives from Sony, are bundled with a “compressor” software that automatically compresses files during file copy. So, you might believe to have copied a *.DOC file, you will end to have a *.VEM file on your MicroVault…

To decompress it, you have to use the bundled decompressor, but… what if you are using the drive in a guest computer? Or what if you have received a VEM file by email?

So easy, just download the VEM Decompressor! No install, plain and easy, just select the file that you need to decompress, and you are done! 😎👍

The best video converter EVER!

SUPER is an awesome video converter. It can convert any kind of video without problems. Even rare containers like *.NSV, *.STR, *.VIV!

It can produce any video format:


Once chosen the video container format, we choose the video codec, the audio codec, the video resolution, the framerate, the bitrate, and presto! In just a few minutes, it converts ANYTHING!


SUPER (acronym of “Simplified Universal Player Encoder & Renderer”), can be downloaded from the official Website, but, that Website is a kind of a mess, so you can download it from here (version updated to April 2009).

Update 18th august 2016: their latest installer contains adware. Be careful and read carefully what are you agreeing to, don’t install toolbars and other useless and deceiving adware.