Windows Explored

Everyday Windows Desktop Support, Advanced Troubleshooting & Other OS Tidbits

Archive for April, 2012

When You Can No Longer Paste From or To that Remote Desktop

Posted by William Diaz on April 19, 2012


Most of the day I am connected to a lab or another workstation through Remote Desktop. Often times I need to copy (or cut) and paste from the remote desktop session. And sometimes this just straight out fails. When this happens, it’s usually just a simple matter of killing the rdpclip.exe process on the remote system and restarting it. If I am unable to copy (or cut) to the remote session, then I make sure to check that rdpclip process in running. If it is, then I need to close the session and reconnect to correct.

Often, the issue being encountered is caused by the so-called viewer chain. I found an old MSDN blog on the issue here: Why does my shared clipboard not work? (Part 1) & Why does my shared clipboard not work? (Part 2). Vista and up have done more to mitigate these issues.

As for why the clipboard stops working locally, it a shared service so probably some application has it opened and will not let go. In that case, your best bet is to start closing suspect applications until it works again (no straight forward ways I know of for identifying the guilty process).

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IE Error: “Could not complete the operation due to error 800a03e8”

Posted by William Diaz on April 5, 2012


This might present itself as a generic IE error: “Internet Explorer cannot open the Internet site <URL>. Operation aborted
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You will need to check the option to Display a notification about every script error in the Tools > Internet Options > Advanced tab to see the details as this dialog box will prevent the error from being revealed otherwise. Afterwards, reload the page and you should see the details: “Could not complete the operation due to error 800a03e8.”
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Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer 8 for Windows XP (KB2618444) should address this issue, as well as various other javascript issues with IE7 and IE8. It also addresses the HTML Parsing error blogged about earlier here: HTML Parsing Error

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Citrix Receiver Excessive Registry Polling?

Posted by William Diaz on April 4, 2012


While running Process Monitor on my primary workstation, I noticed repetitive registry operations coming from Citrix Receiver application on the same keys:
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How repetitive? 13,000+ registry operations per minute on my idle workstation with no active Citrix connections:
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This applies to the Windows 7 client. I don’t see the same activity for the Windows XP client.

I recalled a reading in the Windows Internals 5th Edition:

“Because the registry implements the RegNotifyChangeKey function that applications can use to request notification of registry changes without polling for them, when you launch Process Monitor on a system that’s idle you should not see repetitive accesses to the same registry keys or values. Any such activity identifies a poorly written application that unnecessarily affects a system’s overall performance.”

I don’t know the internals of the Receiver application, but this leaves me wondering if there is some room for improvement by implementing RegNotifyChangeKey to make it less “noisy”.

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Quickly Find Those File Handles part II (Remote Handles)

Posted by William Diaz on April 4, 2012


In addition to local processes locking up files and preventing their usage by other processes, files can also become locked by remote processes, too. Finding the remote system that has a handle(s) on the file can be a little bit more more involved. I mean this literally: a little a bit more involved. Knowing which tools to use or where to look can make this task just as simple as isolating it to a local process as outlined in part I.

This example is a recreation of an issue I encountered while working on a workstation remotely. It manifested itself as a failure to logon as the user: “Windows cannot load the locally stored profile…”

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Resolving Missing or Stubborn System Tray Icons

Posted by William Diaz on April 4, 2012


A co-worker asked me a question recently after a user he was talking with put him on the spot by mentioning that one of the icons in the Windows System Tray, specifically the McAfee tray icon, had gone missing. She thought something was awry and wondered if something was done overnight to her workstation to make it disappear or if we had suddenly decided to get rid of it.

Missing:
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Present:
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Quickly Find Those File Handles

Posted by William Diaz on April 3, 2012


Every now and then some app somewhere is going to hook into some user file and prevent it from loading when its host application is opening up, resulting in some kind of error. A common one is when opening Outlook: “The file C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\outlook.ost is in use and could not be accessed. Close any application that is using this file, and then try again.
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The Case of the Missing Web Page Menus

Posted by William Diaz on April 2, 2012


From time to time we have often received complaints about this particular issue. I never really got a chance to troubleshoot beyond the standard “Clear IE cache” rhetoric1 that somehow is the magical non-solution to all IE woes. Well, alas, I finally encountered the issue on the lab PC and spent some time poking around. Here is what the problem looks like:

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As Good as AutoRuns is, Sometimes You Still Need to Manually Search the Registry

Posted by William Diaz on April 2, 2012


I love Autoruns. Think msconfig on steroids. It truly reveals everything that starts up with Windows. Well almost everything. A couple days ago a user complained to me of a popup error they were receiving after logon. I had no doubt I would find the offending process in Autoruns, since the error message revealed the process name:
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Hung Up In Outlook

Posted by William Diaz on April 2, 2012


One of the most common complaints your going to encounter in the desktop support role is when Outlook becomes unresponsive while a user is performing any random task in Outlook, whether it be switching between folders, going into a delegated mailbox, or sorting messages. Often, the knee-jerk reaction by the front line technical support is to assume something is wrong with Outlook and begin the gamut of what I term “blind-troubleshooting”. This usually involves running an range of scripted fixes (that is meant to address issues with some of our in-house or 3rd party add-ins), followed by a repair, reinstall, and/or creation of a new Outlook profile. Over the lifetime of this incident(s), the issue can drag out to several days because usually the issue cannot be reproduced immediately after the first fix, so each additional fix is tried at some point later when the user calls back. In some cases, this drags out for a couple weeks to where the user’s workstation is replaced or Windows profile is recreated.

And all to no avail.

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