Windows Explored

Everyday Windows Desktop Support, Advanced Troubleshooting & Other OS Tidbits

Archive for July, 2011

Windows 7 Searches & Indexes Virtual Machines, Too

Posted by William Diaz on July 12, 2011


I was using mmc as the application launch criteria in the Windows 7 Start WIndows_7_Orb_icon_by_skyangels > Search programs and files and upon hitting Enter, it kept launching Windows XP Mode. I had no idea up until this point, but Windows Search will index applications in the virtual machine. It took a couple minutes for me to realize this because normally I don’t visually scan the Search programs and files list. In this case, because there is no BlackBerry Management mmc for Windows 7, I had to install it in my XP mode virtual machine.
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MMC.exe should work fine.

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Resolving Web Page Issues By Turning On Script Error Notifications In Internet Explorer

Posted by William Diaz on July 12, 2011


…and you don’t necessarily need to know a thing about web scripts!

My issue started when I came in one morning and went about making some aesthetic  changes to one of our SharePoint pages. First, I needed to clean up some of links in the navigation pane on the left hand of the site but all I saw was this:
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I should have seen all the various navigation menu heading and links like below:
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Running the System File Checker From A Network Share

Posted by William Diaz on July 1, 2011


I recently found myself needing to run the Microsoft Windows System File Checker on a workstation. If you don’t already know, the default behavior is to “Insert your Windows XP Professional Service Pack 3 CD now” if that is how the operating system was installed or imaged.
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To workaround this, create a drive mapping to the network share that contains the XP installation files, e.g. \\xx-fs1\Setups\Microsoft\Windows\Windows XP\32 Bit\SP\SP3\i386. Afterwards, go into the registry and navigate to HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Setups and edit the SourcePath & ServicePackSourcePath to the new network drive:
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Socket To Me (The Case of the Failed Stock Trading Program)

Posted by William Diaz on July 1, 2011


This case demonstrates the importance of understanding basic networking components in Windows and how they work in an environment that sits behind a proxy. The methods used to uncover the culprit did not involve a detailed analysis of network traffic or using any utilities or tools that do not already come with Windows. In fact, because this was time sensitive and I was not afforded the luxury of troubleshooting afterhours, I could not rely on any of the various tools I turn to, like Process Monitor, crash dumps, or Network Monitor. Previous troubleshooting steps taken before it got me involved timely uninstall and reinstall of the Java client, an IE Reset, and upgrading from IE 7 to IE 8, all to no avail and creating irate user syndrome.

To start my analysis, I used Process Explorer to easily see which processes were involved in starting the problem application (Task Manager makes it difficult to quickly see which processes are starting and stopping). An Internet Explorer shortcut to a login page actually initiates the launching of the stock trading application, and, after logging in, two processes are spawned, javaws.exe and javaw.exe:

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Error Installing Older Versions of Flash Player

Posted by William Diaz on July 1, 2011


I found myself needing to install an older version of Flash Player for troubleshooting purposes. After uninstalling the current Flash Player, I encountered the following error when trying to install the older Flash Player: “The installation encountered errors: The version of Adobe Flash Player that you are trying to install is not the most current version…”
6-20-2011 12-47-20 PM Read the rest of this entry »

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Inside Windows – Rundll32.exe

Posted by William Diaz on July 1, 2011


In an earlier blog, I spoke about Windows services and how they are hosted by svchost.exe so that functionality within these dll files can be executed. But what about non-Windows services? How do they execute functions within dynamic link libraries without the need to execute the program that it belongs to? By using the rundll32.exe process (commonly described as Run DLL as an App). An example can be easily demonstrated by opening any Control Panel extension such as the Internet Explorer options panel for IE (inetcpl.cpl).

When rundll32.exe starts, it looks into shell32.dll and launches the function (or executes the code) that is responsible for opening the Internet options panel with no need for Internet Explorer to open. You can see this by adding the Command Line column to the Windows Task Manager:
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Inside Windows – svchost.exe

Posted by William Diaz on July 1, 2011


Think of svchost.exe as a container for all the various services that run in Windows. An example of some these services are the Windows Task Scheduler, the DNS service, and the Plug & Play service. It use to be that all these services ran as programs (.exe) but Microsoft eventually decided to start moving all this functionality into the Dynamic Link Libraries (.dll), where they could run more efficiently. The only problem with this is that dlls cannot be launched like programs, they need to run from within an executable, hence the creation of the generic service host process.

Because svchost.exe is host to many services, you often see half a dozen or more svchost.exe’s running in the Windows Task Manager:
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Making Sense of Memory Metrics in the Windows XP Task Manager

Posted by William Diaz on July 1, 2011


Sometimes you want to make sense of memory usage to gauge its impact on system performance or to just get a better understanding how memory is being allocated. For that, we can turn to the Performance tab in the Windows Task Manager. Here is a quick rundown of the memory metrics the Windows XP Task Manager. Read the rest of this entry »

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