Monday, November 5, 2007

Windows Update Failure

How frustrating is it to have to constantly keep on top of those Windows Update security patches and fixes? Have you ever done a clean (Windows XP) installation recently (even with a slipstreamed SP2 CD)? There are loads of updates you will need to download in order to have a patched OS. Recently I was having issues with a PC that had many problems with it. One of the problems was that 'services.exe' was failing anywhere from 10 seconds to a few minutes after booting into Windows. To determine the specific service that was failing (services.exe can be an number of things), just look in your task manager and see how many instances of that file are running. One of the services failing was the Windows Update service. I did a system restore which stopped the services.exe file from failing, but Windows Update would no longer install any patches - neither through automatic updates nor the Windows Update website. The following solution from Microsoft Support solved my problem: To re-register Windows Update DLL Files.
  • Click Start, click Run, type 'cmd' without quotes, and then click OK. Type the following commands. Press ENTER after each command. You will receive a pop-up confirmation after each one.
  • regsvr32 wuapi.dll
  • regsvr32 wuaueng.dll
  • regsvr32 wuaueng1.dll
  • regsvr32 wucltui.dll
  • regsvr32 wups.dll
  • regsvr32 wups2.dll
  • regsvr32 wuweb.dll
You can find the original article here.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Security Warning Dialog Box

Have you ever tried to run a program or file from across a local network? If so you have probably received the Windows 'Open File - Security Warning' Dialog Box: Very often this causes delay in opening the program or file. If you would like to bypass this protection, follow these instructions: 1) Right Click on the IE logo (or go to Start > Run and type 'inetcpl.cpl' without quotes and click OK ). 2) Choose the Security tab at the top and then click on the Local intranet zone. 3) Click on the Sites button and UNCHECK the item 'automatically detect intranet network.' Leave the rest checked. I can't explain why, but for some reason windows is unable to automatically determine your local network when this is checked.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Computer Name and SSID

Over the weekend I was setting up a relative's wireless Network. The router was a Netgear WGR614. I configured the SSID and then I did a wireless network discovery. Several times. Not once did I pick up the actual SSID as configured in the router. Even with SSID broadcast and telling Windows which SSID to use, it would not find that network. I pulled out my Nokia E61 to try to find it and it was no problem. I was surfing via the Netgear within seconds. Then I took a look and some of the computer's settings. The Computer's name was the same name as the SSID. I really did not think that this could possible be an issue - why would it? I proceeded to change the SSID to something else. Next think I notice is a popup from Windows' Wireless Zero Configuration telling me it found the network and was connected. Has anyone ever heard of a computer name - SSID name conflict?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Outlook 2003 and Passwords

The issue I will describe below has inspired me to start a blog. This blog will discuss Windows-related issues as well as other problems myself and others have faced in the world of technology. The problem started when migrating a user from Outlook Express to Microsoft Outlook 2003. The import went without any issues. All folders, messages, and account details were all transfered. Even the message rules/filters were imported. The problem came when it tried to download messages from the POP server for the first time. As is usually the case, passwords are not imported. OK, not a big deal, just type in the password and click the checkbox telling Outlook to save the password. Five minutes later it asks again. And again. I spent about 3 hours researching this issue trying several different things that I found in forums and Microsoft Knowledge Base articles. Unfortunately, the KB article suggestion did not work for me. The only thing that did work was the following:

Important: this solution contains information about how to modify the registry. Make sure to back up the registry before you modify it. Make sure that you know how to restore the registry if a problem occurs. View the following article in the Microsoft KnowledgeBase for information about how to back up, restore, and modify the registry:

Follow the next steps to solve this issue:
1. Close all running programs
2. Click on [Start] » Run
3. Type “Regedit” and click [OK]
4. Open the following folder:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders
5. Now choose Edit » New » Expandable String Value
6. Enter “AppData” as a name
7. Double click the new entry
8. Enter “%USERPROFILE%\Application Data” in the value data field.
9. Close the registry editor.

It is possible that additional registry keys are missing. Below is a list of all keys that should exist in the “User Shell Folders”. There are different ways to add these keys again:
Use the instructions provided on

Add them manually by following the steps above. Export the keys from a computer/user on which the issue does not occur, and then importing them again.

To export and import:
1. Logon to Windows with a user account for which the issue does not occur (this may also be a different workstation).
2. Click on [Start] » Run
3. Type “Regedit” and click [OK]
4. Open the following folder:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders
5. Right click the “User Shell Folders” key on the left and choose “Export”. Specify a name and location of for the export file and click [Save].
6. Close the registry editor
7. Logon to Windows with the user account that experiences this issue
8. Double click on the exported registry key you created in step 5.
9. Click [Yes] when asked if you are sure to add the information, then click [OK]for the “successfully imported” message. Registry keys that should exist in the “User Shell Folders” key.
The list below has the format “Key Name - Value Data”. The type for all keys is “ExpandableString Value” (REG_EXPAND_SZ).*
  • AppData - %USERPROFILE%Application Data
  • Cache - %USERPROFILE%Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files
  • Cookies - %USERPROFILE%Cookies
  • Desktop - %USERPROFILE%Desktop
  • Favorites - %USERPROFILE%Favorites
  • History - %USERPROFILE%Local Settings\History
  • Local AppData - %USERPROFILE%Local Settings\Application Data
  • Local Settings - %USERPROFILE%Local Settings
  • My Pictures - %USERPROFILE%My Documents\My Pictures
  • NetHood - %USERPROFILE%NetHood
  • Personal - %USERPROFILE%My Documents
  • PrintHood - %USERPROFILE%PrintHood
  • Programs - %USERPROFILE%Start Menu\Programs
  • SendTo - %USERPROFILE%SendTo
  • Start Menu - %USERPROFILE%Start Menu
  • Startup - %USERPROFILE%Start Menu\Programs\Startup
  • Templates - %USERPROFILE%Templates


The “User Shell Folder” is a subkey of the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer registry. Entries in this subkey can also appear in the “Shell Folders” subkey and in both HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE and HKEY_CURRENT_USER. The entries that appear in user User Shell Folders take precedence over those in Shell Folders. The entries that appear in HKEY_CURRENT_USER take precedence over those in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.