Thursday, March 21st, 2013
I’ve had problems with my Toshiba Portege R600 for a few months now where when using it the display will corrupt from time to time. You can see an example of it below.
I’ve been thinking that it had some major hardware issue and was about to replace it. I discovered however that there is a fix for it. Microsoft has documented here about how systems with certain Intel Express chipsets and memory configurations are not symmetric (ie 2 or 4GB of RAM) will have issues. The solution – very simple. Disable the Virtualisation option in the system BIOS and the problem is now gone!!!
Wednesday, November 21st, 2012
I found out today that the command PING on Windows has some new options (thanks Sean). Did you know that you can now ping from a different source address than your default address? Well you can. If you use the –S option you can specify the source address for a system that has multiple IP’s assigned to it.
Apparently this snuck into the PING command some time back, but was limited to IPv6 only – now in Windows 7/Windows Server 2008 R2 it’s available for IPv4 as well.
I think it goes to show that we should not assume that new versions of old commands don’t have new options that could be pretty cool.
Friday, August 24th, 2012
Ok – so this has been seen a few times now. Long story short though is that when Exchange applies a Service Pack or Update Rollup, it sets a number of services to Disabled so that it can replace the exes involved. I’ve seen it where for whatever reason however the installation fails without notice. You think everything is ok till you reboot it and then you find out nothing works. For the record – here’s a list of services that Exchange Disables and their normal state. If you are faced with this issue, best advice is to set the services to the correct state, reboot and then try the Service Pack or Update Rollup again
Below are list of the services that will get disabled during the application of Exchange Service Packs and Update Rollups. You can now see which state they should be in should you have this problem.
Now – also for good measure here are my Trend WFBS Services
Monday, August 20th, 2012
There’s a lot of things that go on under the covers of a domain joined computer that you just don’t realise most of the time. One of the recent things I was involved in today was the investigation of a client network that had slow internet. Here’s how the problem was investigated.
Ok – hope that’s been helpful to you – let me know if there are more things like this that can help you investigate and troubleshoot better.
Monday, June 25th, 2012
My laptop is the subject of a lot of different software. I use it every day to do many things and often trial software on it. Over the last few weeks maybe more, however I have noticed a problem with it. I’ve noticed that the icons on my desktop simply stop responding… everything else works, but you can’t select or click on anything on my desktop. At first I suspected one of the guys in the office had replaced my background with a picture of my desktop and it’s icons, but a quick check confirmed that this was not the case. How did I troubleshoot this problem?
Well first off I rebooted. I checked to see if the problem was there and it was not. Everything worked fine. Ok – so I wondered what was causing it and went about my doing my work. It was not long before I had several applications open, Outlook, Internet Explorer, Word, PowerPoint etc. – all working fine. I then went to minimise things to get to an icon on my desktop and found it was broken. Ok – so I know something I did in the last 15-20mins broke it.
I checked my system for malware using Trend WFBS which I’ve got installed on this machine, and also MalwareBytes – both came back clean – so I figured I was safe there. I rebooted again and of course everything was fine. I noted down the apps I had run and did my work for 15-20 minutes – I was focused on Outlook for this entire time and I noticed that everything worked fine – including my desktop icons. I figured I could rule out Outlook. I then needed to do some testing for a client, so I opened up Internet Explorer and began testing their OWA (they had reported some issues). I remoted into their systems and fixed up the issues and at the end closed Internet Explorer. I want back to Outlook and then to my desktop at which point I noticed the desktop icons would not respond… ahhh – ok – so maybe it was something to do with Internet Explorer I thought. I opened up task manager and even though I’d closed Internet Explorer earlier, I found it was still running in task manager. I end tasked it and suddenly my desktop icons responded again. Interesting I thought.
So far I had a suspicion, that IE was causing the problem, but I had to prove it. So I rebooted again (notice that I try to do this so that I’m starting with a known clean base when troubleshooting). This time I used just Internet Explorer and accessed a few news sites, my own SBSfaq.com and the like. I then minimised IE and found that my desktop icons were in fact not responding at all. I closed IE and again noticed it was still running in task manager after it had gone. End task on iexplore.exe and desktop worked again – ok – so it’s something in IE causing the issue.
I started Internet Explorer in without any addons first up – you can do this by typing “Internet Explorer” into the search bar from the Windows 7 Start button and select the Internet Explorer (No Add-ons) option as you can see below.
IE 9 started up and ran without an issue. I surfed a few sites and then closed it. I checked Task Manager and iexplore.exe was gone as it should be. My desktop icons worked fine too. That to me confirmed that there was likely an add-on in IE that caused the problem.
I then went about eliminating which add-on was causing the problem. You can manage add-ons from the Internet Options menu and the Programs tab as below.
I listed all the add-ons and looked for the most recent dated ones first. They turned out to be the Skype Update that was updated a few weeks ago now. I disabled them and voila – the problem was gone!
I did some other testing by disabling all the other addons EXECEPT the Skype ones and the problem came back – so I was pretty certain that the Skype add-ons in my Internet Explorer was indeed causing my desktop icons to stop responding. For the moment, I’ll leave them disabled as there does not seem to be an update available for them.
I wonder how many others have seen this issue?
Monday, April 23rd, 2012
Analysing a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) crash is not for the feint hearted. I did some training with Microsoft a few years back that showed me how to do it, but to be honest, I so rarely do it these days that I’m a bit rusty. My laptop however has had increasing issues over the past week or so and has had a couple of BSOD’s that I figured I’d “get around to looking at real soon now”. The most recent one happened overnight while I thought it was turned off. It’s shown below for reference.
When a computer BSOD’s, it leaves behind a dump file of the status of the computer. It’s those files that we need to analyse in order to understand what went wrong, and how we can fix it. Rather than break out the debug tools, I decided to take another approach. I employed a tool called Whocrashed to do the analysis of the BSOD DMP file and tell me what went wrong.
Whocrashed is available free for home users from their website here. They also have a few other tools which look quite cool as well and I’ll check them out later.
Anyway – I downloaded the tool and let it analyse my DMP files. It took less than a second and came back with the information below.
Ok – so I know where it crashed (it reviewed the previous BSODs too and said the same thing). Now I just need to figure out WHY it’s crashing in that area…
Friday, April 20th, 2012
I was working on this issue today with one of our team. A client reported that they could not login to their Windows Server 2008 Terminal Server from their iPad. He is using iTap on his iPad. The error message we kept getting was “The requested session access is denied”.
We verified that we could access the Terminal Server / Remote Desktop server using our Admin account and thought that maybe it was linked to the clients account. He brought his iPad into the office and we tried the Admin account from the connection he had created. It worked. We then thought that we’d try it from a desktop using our admin account – that too worked, but when we tried it with his account it didn’t work. Strange we thought – I mean we just launched mstsc.exe from the shortcut we had on our desktop… After a little bit of digging and thought though, it finally clicked. Access is denied… We checked and found that our shortcut used the /admin switch which meant that it would try to take over the console session on the server. Given that we got the same message with both the desktop and the iPad, we then checked the iPad to see that it had a similar console option in the iTap configuration. Changed that and sure enough it worked!
Friday, April 6th, 2012
I’ve got a few D-Link cameras around my home and home office, and I’ve played with different software along the way to use them for recording external views from home for security purposes. Recently however I moved the recording functions into my QNAP NAS and therefore have no need for the D-Link software on my computer. When I attempted to remove the D-Link D-ViewCam software from the computer I got an Error 1316 as the screenshot below shows.
I checked the path the screen mentions and could not see the MSI. I decided instead to do a search for the MSI mentioned and found it in an alternate location – C:\Windows\Downloaded Installations.
I decided to copy the MSI over to the C:\Windows\Installer path mentioned in the original error.
I was then able to remove the software without any other errors!
Thursday, April 5th, 2012
Been doing a bit of work recently for a customer in migrating their physical environment into a virtual test environment. We’ve used ShadowProtect IT Edition as part of that solution. On some of the servers, we’ve received one of two errors.
Info: The boot selection failed because a required device is inaccessible.
Info: the selected entry could not be loaded because the application is missing or corrupt.
To resolve both of these is quite simple. Inside ShadowProtect, from the Tools menu, select Boot Configuration Utility. You will get the screen below. Initially the status of our servers was Broken, but you can select the Auto Repair button and it will resolve the boot problems for you.
Tuesday, March 20th, 2012
Last night, I was patching a server for a new client. The server was built with SBS 2008, but had not been properly patched at all and as a result had given them no end of problems. I began the installation of Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 (SP2) onto the SBS 2008 server. Up until this point, the server had performed quite well. Naturally, I was doing this after hours, and given this is a client that works until 10:30pm, I was not able to start until after that. I was doing this remotely as the client is a 2 hour drive from home.
Anyway – the installation of SP2 normally takes around 45 minutes including the required reboots. The first 30 minutes or so of the installation went fine. After the reboot, the screen displayed “Installing service pack: Stage 3 of 3 – 65% complete" and it sat there. It sat there for another 30 minutes. By this time it was getting close to midnight and I was getting somewhat concerned as to why it was doing this. I started to review my fallback plans in case I needed to use them. Did I have a good backup? Of course – I did one just before installing the Service Pack using ShadowProtect. Did I disable the Antivirus software before installing SP2? Yes – given the scope of files being changed, I always aim to do this. I then started to look at the what if’s for the next morning. I figured that if there were issues, that I’d need to be onsite to resolve them – that would put a major dent in the day, but if things went wrong, what else could you do?
It was at this point that I stopped. I stood back from the problem and did some digging. I found reference on the Internet to someone who had experienced a similar issue. His server also stalled at 65% complete, and it was only while he was looking for his SBS 2008 DVD’s that it moved to 70%. I reasoned that given the server had given me no problems at all until this point, that it was likely that it was just slow for some reason. By this time however, it was well after midnight and the server had been at 65% for well over an hour. I decided to do the best thing I could do… and that was to leave it alone and go to bed. I figured I’d get up in the morning and see what the situation was and go from there. I knew I had backups. I knew I could restore the server if need be. I knew I could get the customer running in a few hours and there was no point in losing more sleep over it right now. So I went to bed. As it happened, the cat decided to wake me around 4am (bloody cat…grrr…) so I took advantaged of it to check on the server. Sure enough it had finished without an error.
The morale to the story is don’t rush things. Don’t go second guessing yourself. If you’ve done the preparation first with backups and the like, then you are well prepared for something to go wrong. Had I interrupted the system when it was stuck at 65%, it might well have turned out to be a recovery situation.