Windows Explored

Everyday Windows Desktop Support, Advanced Troubleshooting & Other OS Tidbits

Archive for March, 2013

Program Icons Shouldn’t Look Like System Folder Icons (and while you are at it, lets not name filenames with file extensions)

Posted by William Diaz on March 6, 2013

It confuses the users. Normal folder icon in Windows Explorer:

Then digging down into the folder the user encounters another folder:

Its described correctly as an Application but the average user is probably not going to distinguish the difference between a real Windows system folder icon and a program folder icon and completely ignore the description field telling them it is an application. And so they then try to open the folder and encounter:

Ack! Then the help desk wonders, “Ok, so missing config file somewhere, right?”. Nope, its right there, but it has been named to BillsArchive.exe. File extensions are turned off in Explorer and no one really pays any attention to the description (right?) so they don’t notice that the filename is really BillsArchive.exe.config.

By the way, the program icon folder looks almost exactly the same as a Windows XP system folder icon:
Bottom line is program icons shouldn’t look like system folder icons. This is also a great way for malware to execute itself by simply looking like some harmless folder named “Pictures”, or whatever.


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A Perfmon View of Bad Blocks

Posted by William Diaz on March 6, 2013

In the past week or so a couple workstations were brought to my attention in different offices that were exhibiting poor performance. Suspicious of disk bottlenecks, I remotely connected perfmon physical disk counters to both and saw a excessive time spent writing to the disk and the current disk queue length spiking when the workstations were logged on but idle. Here is a snapshot of both PCs:



Looking at the System event logs revealed numerous Errors with Source as disk and Event ID 7, otherwise known as bad blocks. On one of the problem workstations the print spooler kept on shutting down after starting it. If system files or program critical files are resident across these bad blocks on the disk, performance issues or otherwise abnormal behavior is bound to ensue. Run a Chkdsk to attempt to resolve.

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