Windows Explored

Everyday Windows Desktop Support, Advanced Troubleshooting & Other OS Tidbits

Archive for February, 2012

The Case of the IE Web Page Redirects

Posted by William Diaz on February 28, 2012


One of our techs reported that when trying to go to the home page of a specific website in IE 7-8, they were instead being routed to a slightly different URL. She did some minor troubleshooting by trying the same site from another workstation with no problems. We also tried the same URL and were not able to recreate the problem. We took a few different approaches and after an hour we gave up.

Still curious, I connected after hours to the workstation exhibiting the problem. I started by logging on as a local admin account, which would ensure that domain account policies would not interfere and could be eliminated as a cause, and I was able to reproduce the problem. This was telling because it meant that we were likely dealing with an issue that was workstation specific, not user, otherwise when the tech logged into the other workstation when she tested earlier, her roaming profile would have included the user specific settings, i.e. the suspect setting was not residing in HKCU but instead likely present in HKLM. Earlier tests also further isolated the issue specifically to IE since other browsers were not being redirected.

The breakthrough came when I decided to stop ignoring the site content. The site in question was wageworks.com. Here is the site you should be directed to when you type this into your browser:

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A Quick Look at IE 9 Tracking Protection

Posted by William Diaz on February 9, 2012


While visiting my blog the other day, I noticed one of my widgets wasn’t displaying on the sidebar. Instead, it was occupied by a blue “banned” logo image where the Revolver Map should have been:
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I also noticed the same thing in the address bar. Hovering over the icon tells me Some content is filtered on this site:
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Dealing With An Un-Killable Process

Posted by William Diaz on February 9, 2012


The other day while trying to remove some add-ons from Internet Explorer, Windows DEP was kicking in and closing the IE Setting control panel box (rundll32.exe process) for whatever reason:
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Or at least it was trying to. Read the rest of this entry »

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Getting the 32 Bit Stacks in a 64 Bit Dump

Posted by William Diaz on February 8, 2012


After loading up Word today, I noticed it would become hung each time I went to the Insert tab. I was able to reproduce the behavior after killing the process and starting it up again. To troubleshoot, I started by going to the Windows 7 Task Manager, right-clicking, and selecting Create Dump File from the context menu:
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Where’s My Email Attachment?

Posted by William Diaz on February 7, 2012


One of my co-workers forwarded me an email from a user that should have contained an attachment, specifically a PDF. However, the attachment and the even the paperclip icon in Outlook was missing. Surely, then, the message didn’t contain the attachment, right?. Actually, it did. I could see by the size of the message there should be something else to the message:
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Besides a few lines of formatted text and a couple hyperlinks, there was nothing else to indicate that the message body was causing the message to appear this large, and looking under the hood, I didn’t see any odd html tags like I had seen in an earlier post. If you’re in doubt, you can also look at the Internet Headers of the message to see if contains attachment. Attachments are indicated by the presence of “winmail.dat” in the Content-Type field:
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A Quick Glance At The UserAssist Key in Windows

Posted by William Diaz on February 6, 2012


I recently found myself needing to examine a workstation in an attempt to determine what had taken place on it before it started to act up. I was curious what programs were run or what objects were accessed. All kinds of data is spread across the registry, but a good place to look when you want to forensically gather what was happening within the context of a user session is to look in HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\UserAssist. Within UserAssist, you will find a few {GUID} keys that each have a corresponding Count key:
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When A GUI Goes Missing (and Worse, It Has No Presence in the Taskbar)

Posted by William Diaz on February 3, 2012


…you might find yourself scratching your head as to why some application seems to not be responding. Normally, when a GUI or an application opens off the screen and cannot be seen, you can just right-click (Shift + Right-Click in Windows 7) the task in the Taskbar and Select Move and drag it back into focus. This area off the screen can be thought of as the virtual desktop area. But what if the GUI does not have a presence in the Taskbar?

For example, we have an in-house developed GUI that connects Word, Excel, and PowerPoint to our document management system for opening or saving documents to it. Unfortunately, the GUI doesn’t have a presence in the Windows Taskbar. Because of this, every once-in-a-while when someone opens the GUI via Save or Open, it fails to appear and the application that it was opened from acts as if it has become unresponsive. Looking in the Task Manager, though, reveals the application is, in fact, running:
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Posted in Inside Windows, Troubleshooting | 1 Comment »

The Case of the Failed Chkdsk

Posted by William Diaz on February 1, 2012


After logon, a user was being notified by Windows that the master file table was bad. The error presented was: “The file or directory C:\$Mft is corrupt and unreadable. Please run the Chkdsk utility.”
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Enable Remote Desktop Connections Remotely

Posted by William Diaz on February 1, 2012


Occasionally I encounter a workstation that I cannot connect to via Remote Desktop even though the computer is up and on the network. In Windows XP, you will encounter this as the following message: “Remote Desktop Disconnected. This computer can’t connect to the remote computer…”
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