Archive for the ‘currports’ tag

XAMPP Apache Won’t Start on Windows: Pando Media Booster

without comments

I attempted to start XAMPP, which includes Apache, and it failed.  It used to work correctly.  This was bad.

Sharing the solution might be useful to others, so here it is:

First, this large post “Apache Won’t Start on XAMPP” over on has a lot of information about how to fix the problem.  There are a lot of comments that provide useful addition information; in fact, too many comments as it would take too long to read them all just to find your particular potential issue.  So, here’s what a summary of what I found…

Problem: a common cause of Apache failing to start is a port conflict with another running program.
Solution: track down which program is conflicting with Apache and get it to stop using that port*.

(*Or, of course, you could change the port Apache is using.  However, the assumption being made here is that some other program has started using one of the Apache ports and “shouldn’t” be.)

Steps to fix the issue:

(1)  Track down the port in conflict that Apache needs.

Of course, a port conflict might not be your issue: but it’s common, so that’s what this post will describe how to fix.

XAMPP unfortunately fails silently when Apache fails to start.  However, Apache keeps an error log at c:/xampp/apache/logs/error.log.  If it’s a port conflict, check the last line and likely you’ll see something like the following:

(OS 10048)Only one usage of each socket address (protocol/network address/port) is normally permitted.  : make_sock: could not bind to address
no listening sockets available, shutting down

Note: I’ve added emphasis to the port number in conflict.  In my case, the port was 443.

(2) Track down the program or service using that port.

From the comments on the Netshine blog post, there’s a link to CurrPorts, a standalone freeware tool that lists was programs and services are using which ports.  Sure, you can use netstat, the Windows Administrative Tools, and  Task Manager to figure this out yourself, but CurrPorts does that all for you: why make it harder for yourself?  CurrPorts is literally a standalone EXE – it doesn’t have an installer, won’t throw trash in the Windows registry, etc. so there’s no real reason not to simply use it – and delete it when you’re done if you like.

(3) Disable the program or service using that port

For many people, based on the original post, Skype was the offending application.   See the original post for details on how to fix Skype’s port usage, if that’s your problem.

In my case, it was Pando Media Booster.  I will neglect to elaborate on the idea of how the words “Media” and “Booster” in the same product title make me highly distrustful of that product, but rather simple confine my frustration to the fact that something installed it on my system without notifying me (or at least without notifying me clearly enough at it was installing something that takes exclusive control of well-defined ports whenever my computer is running).

Since I don’t install much, it was faily easy to track down that Lord of the Rings Online (which had a free trail period a while back) was the offending application that installed Pando Media Booster.   Since I played the game about twice and never again, the  fix was easy: uninstall Lord of the Rings Online.   Oh wait,…

…the Lord of the Rings Online installer doesn’t actually uninstall all the software that installed on my system.  Step 2: go to Uninstall Programs and also uninstall Pando Media Booster.

(4) Solved: Apache starts correctly

The main takeaway from the experience?

Don’t install software on your main system until you know you actually want to use it.   Simply based it’s a popular commercial product doesn’t mean it’s good, well-behaved software.  I’m sure this isn’t news anyone.

The second takeaway is another reminder that most software has many flaws.  Developers make many assumptions about what they are free to do on the users’ systems, resulting in poorly behaved programs once they have to run in the real world.   It’s disappointing, but it’s a reality.

Written by arthur

November 29th, 2010 at 2:07 am