DAX problem

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  • Updated 2 months ago
Another great bit of technical support from Tim, 90 mins into his working day that fixed the DAX driver errors, etc, using remote access to my PC and Flex.

Thanks again for excellent Customer Support
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John, G3WKL

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  • happy

Posted 2 months ago

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peter

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That's great John, Wish I could get Tim to fix mine by remote access
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Who ever thought almost all the time spent by customer support would be fixing Windows problems?
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Lee - N2LEE

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Bill, this doesn't suprise me becasue Windows has always been oversold and very poor operating system.

I would venture to bet that Flex (and other companies) spend more money and time resolving Windows issues more so than for their own product.

The Biggest reason Microsoft and Windows has succeeded is because their products have created an entire support industry. Dell and others have made millions building and fixing PC's. And others are solely in business get rid of viruses, upgrading and rebuilding Windows computers.

Its too bad Flex didn't start off with a cross platform development strategy. Putting all their eggs in the Windows basket has turned to be problematic in my humble opinion.



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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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@peter - you can always check on your help ticket status (you did put one in, right?) so see where you are in the queue.  

@Windows - I agree with Lee that Windows has been oversold and that its own problems are a huge cost to all of us.  

@Other OS - the technical aspects of fully open-OS are a complication that largely shuffles a new set of variance & foibles for the Windows problems.  But most closed-OS have limited marketplace penetration and many be lacking technically.  

@Cross-platform - this needs to happen.  It is telling that FRS uses in M-model Front Plates and Maestros a locked down version of embedded Windows rather than Win10.  And FRS uses a flavor of Linux under the hood.  The very open API and developer's support by FRS has given us SmartSDR for iOS and DogparkSDR, but each has its limitations - they are not straight up function-by-function substitutes for SmartSDR for Windows (yet at least).  The DAX and CAT components (as well as soundcard management) have other program dependencies, may come from other developers, and are not very plug-n-play for the iOS/macOS user who largely expects to never touch Terminal or other system level OS components.  

@the DAX problem - others have posted suggestions on either a "FixDax" application (essentially capturing the skills of Tim, Erik, Jay and the other DAX-gurus) and an idea of doing a Signed-Driver which somehow escapes Windows periodic mischief.  I'm guess, but I think FRS has spent ***hours*** looking at options get out from under the DAX repair overhead costs.  

"FixDAX" is elusive as Windows breaks DAX differently machine-by-machine, requiring a lot of human judgement in fixing the problem in a good percentage of broken DAX instances.  That is not to say a "FixDAX"application is impossible, but rather that the variety of broken-DAX problems would require a massive application with the risk that running that app might trash your system if the process comes off the rails.  Personally the risk-management warns me off automating a delicate and variable process.  Automation is best where OS level micro-surgery isn't required.

I cannot comment on the Signed-Driver possibility as I only know what little I've read about the process and the results.  It is hard to tell as a lay person reading about it if this is a done-once and forgotten process or if it has a lot of ongoing overhead.  Knowing that the DAX we started with with SmartSDR is nothing like the DAX we had at v2.4.9, and that it upgraded again when we moved to v2.5.1/v3.x.x one wonders if a Signed-Driver risks locking all of out of future DAX capability improvements or at least limits the roll out of improvements as easily?  And from what I've read the costs are significant, which may be an issue.  That said I'm thinking I'd pay a reasonable amount for a more bulletproof DAX.

@Tim & FRS - again after watching Tim fix the DAX issues that I couldn't fix on one of my machines, thank you!  Even if armed with the knowledge it would have taken me many hours to handle what was expertly handled via Teamviewer.  I wrote about the experience at https://k9zw.wordpress.com/2019/06/03/an-experience-of-flexradios-remote-access-helping-a-corrupted-dax-issue/ and in another thread here in our community.  Thank you!

73

Steve
K9ZW

Blog:  http://k9zw.wordpress.com  
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Jim Gilliam

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I've never received a satisfactory answer why Flex cannot design the program so that that it can be COMPLETELY REMOVED. Regardless of the version of Windows, I  have never had a problem installing it for the first time.


Jim, K6QE
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Lee - N2LEE

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Jim I don't know for sure but my best guess is this is not easy to automate.
For example, how do you indentify real Audio and Comports from Virtual Ports ?

Also if one of the problem appears to be Windows screwing up the mapping between Device ID's then having a program that identifies the Flex ports from other ports would be near impossible.

Lets face it, Windows does a lousy job of managing comports and audio ports. In fact I would venture to say this might be an industry problem. As a Mac user I know they have some weird audio port issues as well. And I am not a Unix guy but what little I have worked with it, the device naming and managing is no piece of cake.

I might be wrong but bus type devices such as Thunderbolt 3 / USB C might have solved some of these problem but I don't know that for sure.
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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Doing a truly complete removal of many complex programs is non-trivial. Some hams have reported good success with specialized removal tools, but whether these programs remove absolutely the smallest and last vestiges is uncertain.

Many programs leave components behind. If you want to read about a particularly nasty case: https://www.schneier.com/blog/archive...

I’ve been told that some programs bury in when installed but are hard to dig back out.

On device naming the conventions get trashed by clever folk who work around conventions to find just that little bit more performance.

At one point I had the idea of basically a remote end user’s hardware device where software and hardware were locked down, then the actual PC would hook to that device. Uncertain if the added complications would really make the user experience any better.

73

Steve
K9ZW
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k3Tim

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Steve,

Your last paragraph sounds like the ol' Timeshare DEC PDP-10 days.

_..--
k3TiM
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David Decoons wo2x, Elmer

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Windows trashing virtual audio drivers is not affecting just DAX. It also affects Virtual Audio Cable. (vAC) and affects the virtual audio for the K3 USB interface. Not sure about Icom and Kenwood.

Dave wo2x
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John, G3WKL

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Some interesting comments, guys.  A solution to the core issue doesn't seem to be easy.

Over night I've been wondering what we can do to minimise the call on FRS' time to fix these DAX problems.  One option, which I know from the Community some do, is to hold off the Windows updates, but presumably that might build up other problems. In my case, I use Windows Defender and it holding off updates means that I won't get the definition updates.  This wouldn't be good. 

The other option I thought of was to check to see if I was following the latest 'best practice advice', which can be found at https://helpdesk.flexradio.com/hc/en-us/articles/360015816552-Best-Practice-for-Surviving-a-WIndows-...

The key paragraph is: 

"What we recommend is to uninstall all previously installed versions of SmartSDR, but select the option to keep the DAX drivers installed - except for the last or latest version you uninstall - then you want to select the option NO when asked if you want to keep the DAX drivers."

I get it that one has to uninstall all installed versions of SmartSDR, but it isn't clear to me what to do with the DAX drivers.  Is Tim advising us to keep all but the most recent drivers that were installed?  Is there a missing "that" after "latest version", that makes this more clear?