Windows Explored

Everyday Windows Desktop Support, Advanced Troubleshooting & Other OS Tidbits

Archive for December, 2011

Exploring IE’s Form Data

Posted by William Diaz on December 22, 2011

A while back I was troubleshooting a user complaint about disappearing form data in Internet Explorer. This provided me a chance to explore some of the internals of IE and how it handles this data. Form data is AutoComplete information that is stored locally on your computer to make it more convenient to input commonly used data into forms in web pages. This information can be username logins, passwords, and other common fields like First Name, Last Name, Address, etc…

To begin, Forms data is enabled or disabled from from Internet Options > Content > AutoComplete:
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What Does File Contention Look Like?

Posted by William Diaz on December 20, 2011

Every now and then someone calls in and complains about terrible performance. Often times, the tech handling the call will try to recover performance by killing CPU intensive processes or closing unused applications1, especially those with large memory footprints2. More often than not, though, the issue can be described as file contention, a condition where performance is “penalized” because the disk cannot keep up with file IO demand.

In the example here, an unexpected virus scan kicks off in the background (these are usually scheduled to run after hours), and examining the two most common aspects of system activity, processor and memory, the workstation is well within the envelop of what is considered acceptable and the technician is left scratching his head as he tries to gauge why the system is so slow even though memory usage is minimal and CPU usage averages about 15%. I advise him to start Performance Monitor (perfmon) and connect some remote performance counters, mainly disk counters like read and write time, but most importantly average and current disk queue length:
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Exploring Video-Graphics Performance – Event IDs 500 and 501

Posted by William Diaz on December 8, 2011

If you had a chance to review the Diagnostics-Performance logs, you may have encountered warning events coming from event ID 500 “The Desktop Window Manager is experiencing heavy resource contention. Video memory resources are over-utilized and there is thrashing happening as a result…” or 501 “…Graphics subsystem resources are over-utilized.”
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Some (More) PDF Internals

Posted by William Diaz on December 7, 2011

I already discussed a different form of this error (One or more documents could not be opened) when trying to open PDFs from our document management system in Outlook in an earlier blog here.
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Change Outlook Contacts “File As” En Masse

Posted by William Diaz on December 6, 2011

In Outlook, there is no native built-in method for changing the “File As” type for all contacts at once. Normally, if you need to do this, you open the contact and change to the File As field for each contact.
Think of someone with several hundred or several thousand contacts who, all of a sudden, realizes that he rather look up his contacts by FirstName instead of LastName (or vice versa). Or take someone who has been filing as one type for a while now and then decided to start filing as a different type later and is then presented with a scenario like that below where sorting by the File As column mixes last and first name alphabetically:
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What Happened to My Windows XP NTLDR?

Posted by William Diaz on December 6, 2011

One morning we started encountering complaints of several Windows XP workstations that booted with the following message: “Windows failed to start… File: \windows\system32\boot\winload.exe. Status: 0xc000035a. Info: Attempting to load a 64-bit application, however this CPU is not compatible with 64-bit mode.”
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MMC Tips for Showing Exchange Tabs, Adding the ESM snap-in, and Speeding Up Opening of ADUC in Windows 7 64-bit

Posted by William Diaz on December 5, 2011

Missing Exchange Tab in Windows 7 64-bit
I was a bit annoyed by this when I switched my main workstation to Windows 7 64 bit: the absence of the Exchange tabs in the account properties. I have no idea why Microsoft doesn’t officially support this with the RSAT tools. To work around this, though: Read the rest of this entry »

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The Case of the Missing SharePoint “Connect to Outlook” Action

Posted by William Diaz on December 1, 2011

This one originally came to me as a complaint from a single user about his inability to connect one of his SharePoint calendars to Outlook 2003. In most SharePoint lists, there is an Actions menu that should contain this option:
Often, this problem is resolved by installing the SharePoint Services Support for Office and/or simply repairing Office. You can also find a good guide to troubleshooting this issue here. But none of these options were resolving the issue. Additionally, as I began to investigate to see if the problem could be recreated on various tech workstations, I realized that the impact was not isolated to a single workstation, but almost all workstations in our helpdesk. Of the systems that were not affected, one of them resided on my desk, a lab PC that had since departed from the standard Windows XP Pro image we deploy firm-wide. Read the rest of this entry »

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