Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Solution for Windows XP SP3 install failure

If you are having trouble installing Service Pack 3 on Windows XP here is a solution that has not failed me.

Head over to C:\windows and open the file name svcpack.log.

After a windows update failure you will see in this log file the reason for the failure. For every failed SP3 that I've experience it was the result of RDP 6.0 MUI PACK (Update for Windows XP (KB925877).

However, every time I checked Add/Remove Programs - it was never in the list. In order to 'remove' this update, you need to manually remove it from the registry. Open the registry (Start > Run > regedit), navigate to and delete the following entry:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Hotfix\KB925877

Reboot and try installing SP3 via Windows Update again. (Note: you might not actually have to reboot).

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Unassociate file type

Have you ever accidentally set the default program for a default file type and regretted that decision?  Well in Vista, it's pretty easy to change which program is the default for specific file types.  In the Start menu go to Default Programs.  Choose Associate a file type or protocol with a program.  You will be given a list of file extensions and then have the option to change which program launches that file type.

Well, what if you wanted to just delete a file type extension and remove any association with a program.  That is not possible without the help of this utility.  Its called, appropriately, Unassociate.

Its very simple to use.  Find the file extenstion you'd like to delete and choose delete file type.

That's it.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Hibernation in Windows Vista

One feature I never use in Windows is Hibernation. Unfortunately there isn't an option in the Power Options in Vista's Control Panel to turn it off. Just a simple line at the command prompt:

Note: you must run 'cmd' from the Run Menu as an Administrator.

Type powercfg -h off and press ENTER.

That's it.

Source: here

Friday, January 2, 2009

Windows Vista .. Finally

It's been about two weeks since I installed Windows Vista for the first time. There haven't really been any issues and overall I'm pretty happy. However, I haven't so far found many things that cause me to be more productive and therefore think anyone who is still using Windows XP and doesn't really have any issues, to stick with what works for them. There are little nuances in Vista that will be annoying for seasoned XP users at least initially.

One of the features of Windows Vista is the Aero user interface which causes the windows to have a glassy texture allowing you to see through them somewhat. Along the same lines are the themes. In Windows XP you were able to download third-party themes which changed everything about the user experience. In Vista, themes have to be digitally signed by Microsoft and therefore require a few extra steps in getting third-party themes to work. For detailed instructions you can see this blog post from How-To Geek.

I will say that Windows Vista does a pretty good job of protecting itself from users. Even in a user is technically and Administrator on the machine, in most cases he is running at a lower level and any tasks that require elevated privileges will be met with pop ups asking for permission to elevate the user for that task. More information on that here. By default if you wanted to rename or replace a system file (from \windows\system32) you would be met with errors. The solution would be to "take ownership" of a folder of specific files. Instructions can be found here.

I will hopefully have more to say about Vista and issues that I have resolved in the coming weeks.