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  • Blog Post: How to filter the eventlog in Vista manually (XML)

    So I ran into a situation last week where I wanted to filter the event log in Vista to only show events in the Application log that contained the string msnmsgr.exe. Alas, this was not as easy as alt-clicking and adding to the keywords. I thought it would have been, in any case this is how you would...
  • Blog Post: Debugging Terminal Service not listening. (Isolating an instance of SVCHOST)

    Ran into another issue today where I needed to set and IFEO for the particular instance of SVCHOST.exe running terminal service. Here is the easiest way of doing so: 1) Make a copy of SVCHOST.exe on the server, name it Mysvchost.exe and leave it in %Systemroot%\system32\ 2) Open regedit and go to HKLM...
  • Blog Post: Display warning text when someone logs onto your servers

    This works for Windows 2003 and Windows 2008. We use it during our reliability study to let the server owners know that they shouldn't reboot their boxes without a good reason. You can use it for whatever you’d like. :) The two keys to set: reg add " \\brad-dc-01\HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows...
  • Blog Post: Vista SP1 and Windows 2008: No /console switch with MSTSC

    I've ran into this a few times here and each time I stare at my screen for some time (depends on how much coffee I've had) and then remember this change. When you install Vista SP1 or install Win2k8 the console switch for MSTSC will be ignored (it's gone). They've made a change that requires the use...
  • Blog Post: Vista and 2k8: Enabling Debug mode on boot up.

    Pre-Vista it could be an issue if you didn't have debugging turned on via the boot.ini file and your system stopped booting. Well in Vista and 2k8 you can enable "Debugging mode" on boot by hitting F8 after POST. You can also turn off driver signing verification on x64 systems, so if you REALLY wanted...
  • Blog Post: The case of sidebar.exe not starting. Oh Snap!

    Ran into a case today where each time we tried to start sidebar.exe it would fail silently. No crash to investigate, no error, so where to next? First I set an IFEO for sidebar.exe to launch windbg.exe when started, by doing this it stops at the initial breakpoint. Secondly I enabled loader snaps...
  • Blog Post: Windows Update fails with 8000FFFF (E_UNEXPECTED)

    Quick Solution:   Check the permissions on  the root of C: and ensure that BUILTIN\Users have Read access. Long Story: 8000FFFF == E_UNEXPECTED, not very helpful… Had a client where windows update was continually failing with the error code 8000FFFF.  When looking in the Windows Update...
  • Blog Post: Making your app prompt for elevation in Windows Vista

    You find yourself in a situation where you may want your app to run with privileges. In this case you want the app the prompt for elevation when its started. You could have the user just alt-click and runas administrator or you can put it in the manifest. Short answer: <security> <requestedPrivileges>...
  • Blog Post: Hey where did /3GB go in Longhorn and Vista?

    If you did not already know there is no boot.ini in Vista/LH. So how do you set usermode space to 3GBs? If you recall on x86 platforms there is 4GBs of addressable VM space. So by default that is split up equally. 2GBs for kernel mode and 2GBs for use mode. Now this is usually fine, but if you have...
  • Blog Post: Using Natural Language Search to find files in Vista

    Saw this on http://on10.net/Blogs/jesse/natural-language-search-in-vista/ and found it very cool. Hard to find details though, but found some information on http://windowshelp.microsoft.com/Windows/en-US/help/73106209-6df0-432a-8cb7-df5d8ce02ec61033.mspx See below for an excerpt from that page...
  • Blog Post: Kernel stack not resident (Using .pagein)

    You might find yourself debugging an issue and a thread you are interested in is paged out. Here's the steps to use to page in the stack for the kernel side and user side... Be careful when doing this on a live machine that you want to release after debugging as paging in certain section of memory can...
  • Blog Post: Are there pending operations waiting for a reboot?

    Sometimes you might log onto a server and wonder if there have been patches installed and thing needs to be rebooted. Well if the patch wanted to replace a file that was in use by the system (like NTFS for example) then it populates a certain key in the registry, you could check this key to determine...
  • Blog Post: How to easily calculate your system availability (uptime).

    We all have managers and ALL managers love that little word called metrics, and ALL managers like to know that their service has 99.99% uptime. So how can you easily get this information off a Windows server? Well there is a simple tool out there called uptime.exe . To get the uptime of a server use...
  • Blog Post: Performance update for Vista RTM released today

    Saw this on the Windows Vista team blog today. http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=943899 This update improves performance, responsiveness, and reliability of Windows Vista in various scenarios. This update resolves the following issues on a Windows Vista-based computer: •You receive a "Stop 0x000000A0...
  • Blog Post: Not getting kernel memory dumps in Windows Vista or Windows 2008?

    Backstory: With the advent of Windows Vista there are changes made in how the operating system determines if it can take a kernel memory dump or not. Starting in Vista the amount of memory allocated for kernel mode could vary dynamically . If the pagefile is not big enough, switching to minidump at dump...
  • Blog Post: NLTEST returning RPC_S_UNKNOWN_IF

    Ran into a case today where NLTEST was returning RPC_S_UNKNOWN_IF. C:\Users\Administrator>nltest /sc_query:bradforest I_NetLogonControl failed: Status = 1717 0x6b5 RPC_S_UNKNOWN_IF C:\Users\Administrator>nltest /sc_reset:bradforest I_NetLogonControl failed: Status = 1717 0x6b5 RPC_S_UNKNOWN_IF...
  • Blog Post: Returning just the errors using Wevtutil.exe

    I posted on how you can use Wevtutil to enumerate the event logs on server core or LH. Someone left a comment asking how could they just return the errors from the System log instead of all the events. Seems like a reasonable question and with a bit of research here is the solution. This will query...
  • Blog Post: Hey Admins! Don't be a hater, be a collaborator (Windows Meeting Space)

    I have to say I am quite pleased with this little gem in Vista. Once I started using it I haven't gone back. It's a real easy way to collaborate with another user(s) when you need them to see what you see or let them drive your session. I've used it about a dozen times when I have a TS session and want...
  • Blog Post: Searching for Vista drivers?

    This is a nice consolidated location for a lot of Vista drivers. Of course I make no guarantees if you install them. This page just has links to the pages from the manufacturer so you don't need to run around the entire interweb. http://www.radarsync.com/vista/
  • Blog Post: Stuff to check out for Windows 2008

    Just got released yesterday: X86: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=9ff6e897-23ce-4a36-b7fc-d52065de9960&DisplayLang=en X64: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=d647a60b-63fd-4ac5-9243-bd3c497d2bc5&DisplayLang=en Overview Microsoft Remote Server Administration...
  • Blog Post: Other useful commands for those running ServerCore.

    I pointed out in my last post a reference to the step by step guide for server core but here's a few other tips for those playing with the GUI-less OS. Remote management with MMCs: Enable remote management in the firewall so you can connect to the dang thing. Actually this goes for LH in general if you...
  • Blog Post: Windows Server 2008 Beta3: Can and RODC be a GC?

    Answer: Yes. If you're looking to deploy some RODCs during the B3 timeframe then it would be a good idea to read through this first: Step-by-Step Guide for Read-Only Domain Controller in Windows Server 2008 Beta 3 One of the gotchas before an RODC will advertise as a GC in your domain is that domainprep...
  • Blog Post: I PTE the fool: !SYSPTES 4 works in Vista SP1/WS08

    System Page Table Entry (PTE) issues are some of the top support issues for servers that run large server applications and have a relatively large amount of Random Access Memory (RAM). PTEs are structures used to track pages of RAM, similar to the way a telephone number is used to track a telephone to...
  • Blog Post: Vista: Two hotfixes now released to improve performance, compatibility, and reliability.

    http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=938194 This update resolves some compatibility issues and reliability issues in Windows Vista. By applying this update, you can achieve better reliability and hardware compatibility in various scenarios. This update resolves the following issues: •The screen may...
  • Blog Post: Staring at a blank desktop, due to Interactive missing from Users group

    Ran into an issue this week that was strange.  When you TS’d to the box it would just show a blank background and nothing else.  If you tried to launch task manager it would just fail silently to the user (actually access denied in the debugger).  My user account was in the admin group...