Windows Explored

Everyday Windows Desktop Support, Advanced Troubleshooting & Other OS Tidbits

Archive for September, 2011

Isolating Disk Activity To A Process

Posted by William Diaz on September 21, 2011


The other night I noticed the hard drive light on my laptop was solid for several minutes, indicating some fairly aggressive disk file IO. There were no open applications and I didn’t have any scheduled services running, not even the Windows 7 defrag (yeah, I still like to do everything manually). I also had a virtual Windows XP machine running inside Windows 7 but there were no open applications there, either. A knee-jerk reaction of mine when I see this is to open the Task Manager and look for any processes that are using an excessive amount of CPU time, but there were none, and the system remained mostly idle with respect to the CPU counter in both Windows 7 and the virtual machine it was hosting.

To see what was causing the unknown disk IO, I started by adding a few more columns to the Windows 7 Task manager: I/O Read, I/O Writes, I/O Read Bytes, and I/O Write Bytes. I sorted the columns by both read bytes and write bytes and the process using the most disk IO was the vpc.exe process, the Virtual PC:
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An Exercise in Troubleshooting the Mundane

Posted by William Diaz on September 21, 2011


Many errors or warnings you encounter in the Windows event viewer may not really have an impact on the operating system, such as causing performance bottlenecks or application errors. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t bother me when I encounter rather vague, mundane, or unexplained errors, such as the Userenv event ID 1041 errors encountered here while recently reviewing some newly deployed workstation images at our helpdesk: “Windows cannot query DllName registry entry for {insert guid here} and it will not be loaded. This is most likely caused by a faulty registration.

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The Case of the Missing Dependency

Posted by William Diaz on September 9, 2011


We recently began the deployment of an add-in for Active Directory for the IT department (Defender Console). A considerable number of workstations, however, were failing to run the installer, encountering the following error: “The following dependencies are required before some application can be installed: Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 SP1 Redistributable Package.
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Examining Windows 7 Boot Performance

Posted by William Diaz on September 7, 2011


Boot performance in Windows Vista and 7 has become such a focus that a whole area of the Event Viewer is dedicated to it. Here, you can investigate boot metrics and troubleshoot causes of slow boot up times. You can find these events under Diagnostics-Performance by going to Event Viewer > Applications and Service Logs (this part of the tree will take a few seconds to expand) > Microsoft > Windows. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Inside Windows, Troubleshooting, Troubleshooting Tools | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Attach A Task To A Windows Event

Posted by William Diaz on September 7, 2011


I often find myself needing to track events on various user workstations when some operation takes places that triggers a specific event. In XP, this required that you be proactive and periodically check the Event Viewer logs or wait for the user to reply if they encountered the issue you are tracking. Keeping track of this across several workstations can be a little overwhelming, especially if you are tracking different issues.

A new feature of the Windows Vista and 7 Event Viewer is the ability to be notified of a specific event. To do this: Read the rest of this entry »

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Get the XP Event Viewer in Windows Vista\7

Posted by William Diaz on September 7, 2011


For the Windows minimalists, the classic XP style Event Viewer can be found in Windows Vista\7. To enable it, run an elevated command prompt and type regsvr32 els.dll. Now open the MMC and from File > Add/Remove Snap-in select Classic Event Viewer: Read the rest of this entry »

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The Case of the Installer Run-Time Error

Posted by William Diaz on September 1, 2011


To make it easier to fix, reinstall, and install the most common applications we support in our environment, we have a front end tool that is launched from the run menu to facilitate this without the need to go digging around on the file server for batch files or scripts. While trying to reinstall an application, one of our helpdesk technicians was running into the following error while trying to run the tool on a user’s workstation: “Installer. Run-time error ‘-2147024770 (8007007e)’: Automation error – The specified module could not be found.”
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Printing Directory & File Lists In Windows 7

Posted by William Diaz on September 1, 2011


There is no native built-in way (still) in Windows to print a list of files displayed in Windows Explorer from Windows Explorer. For occasional use, though, there is a command line method which utilizes the DIR command and piping the results to a text file. To do this:

  • Open the command shell
  • Navigate to the directory you want to print a list of using the cd\ path command
  • Then use the Dir >listing.txt to pipe the results to a file
  • The file can be found in the directory you where the command was run
  • If access is denied, you will need to run the command shell with elevated rights, even if you are already an administrator

If you have user that is going to need to do this frequently, you can need to create a context menu option, which can be used for any folder, on the desktop or Explorer. If you had done this previously in Windows XP, the method is slightly different, since in Windows 7 you do not have the File Types tab available in the Folder Options menu of Explorer.

There is a Microsoft KB article on how to perform this for both operating systems, but the Windows 7 method does not seem to work as advertised … for me at least. I have modified the bat file so that directory list remains open in Notepad so it can be quickly printed in addition to creating a listing.txt file in %temp%.

The steps for doing this involve: Read the rest of this entry »

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Printing A List Of Outlook Folders

Posted by William Diaz on September 1, 2011


Besides taking screen shots of the Outlook navigation pane, there is no built in way to print or output to a file a list of folders. However, you can work around this by creating a macro in Outlook using the Visual Basic editor.

In Outlook 2010:

  1. Enable the Developer tab by going to the File tab > Customize Ribbon.
  2. Check the Developer option under the right column and click OK.
    image
  3. The Developer tab is now part of the Outlook Ribbon.
    image
  4. Select the Visual Basic button (or ALT+F11).
  5. Right-click the Module folder, then Insert > Module and name it.
  6. Copy and paste the code at the bottom of this post into the VBA Project window
    or
    Import the attached .bas file below by going to File > Import File
  7. Run the macro by clicking the Macro button. There are two options available, ExportFoldernames and ExportFolderNamesSelect:
    image
    The first one exports the currently selected folder and the second one allows you to specify a folder (or the entire mailbox). You can choose to structure or not to structure the output and a text file will be written to the desktop named outlookfolders.txt.

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Registry Tips & Tricks

Posted by William Diaz on September 1, 2011


Opening multiple instances of the registry

I often find myself needing to compare registry data between different workstations using the remote registry but you cannot simply run regedit.exe more than once to open multiple regedit windows. To work around this, run regedit –m or /m to your heart’s content to open multiple registry edit windows.

Connect to the registry of another computer or an online user

You probably already know this one. In case you don’t, File > Connect Network Registry. You won’t see the same hive you do on the local computer and there is no HKCU. Not to worry, HKCU is a subkey of HKEY_USERS. It contains the active profile on the remote computer. The profile name is based on its security identifier, or SID, e.g. S-1-5-21-156…
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