Friday, December 21, 2007

Office 2007 SP1 requires Windows Installer 3.1

If you install XP SP2 on a computer, then Office 2007, then you try to installed the uncompressed* version of Office 2007 SP1, you will get an error message saying that the package cannot be opened.

It is because the MSP files need Windows Installer 3.1 to run properly. Go to Windows Update, install Windows Installer 3.1, and you can install Office 2007 SP1 after.

* : to uncompress the SP1 files from the downloadable version, run the file with the /extract:"path" command line switch.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

How to remove WDS through logon script

On our network, like many others, Windows Desktop Search 3.01 was installed on all XP computers even though I never approved it in WSUS.

To remove it through logon script add this line to the script:

%windir%\$NtUninstallKB917013$\spuninst\spuninst.exe /quiet /norestart (on one line)

Credits to Kurt Falde from the WSUS newsgroup for the tip.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Enabling SATA Native Mode after XP Install

If you want to enable SATA Native Mode on your computer AFTER installing Windows XP follow this procedure.

For whatever reason, you may have installed Windows XP on your new laptop with SATA Native Mode disabled in the BIOS. Once XP is installed, enabling it in the BIOS will result in a BSOD upon loading Windows because XP doesn't have the correct drivers.

Enabling SATA native mode will give you a slight performance increase and slightly increased battery life.
  • Download the Intel Matrix Storage Manager software for your computer from the manufacturer's web site
  • Run it, by default it will save some files to C:\ before it runs setup and tells you that the software is not supported (alternatively you can uncompress the files to a temporary folder with a compression software like 7-Zip)
  • Now open up a command prompt, go to the folder where the files were extracted and run the following command to extract the driver files: "setup -A -P"path of the extracted files" (without the quotes and there may be a space or not between -P and the path, depending on your version of the driver)
  • Accept the license agreement, it extracts some files. The files you're interested in are now in a "Driver" subfolder of the original folder and include the following, iaahci.inf,, iastor.inf, iastor.sys, TXTSSETUP.OEM
  • Now go to Device Manager, under IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers you should see something like : Intel 82801GBM (ICH7-M Family) Serial ATA Storage Controller
  • Right-Click on that and select Update Driver
  • Say no to connecting to Windows Update to search, hit Next
  • Select Install from a list or specific location (Advanced), hit Next
  • Select "Don't search. I will choose the driver to install", hit Next
  • Select Have Disk
  • Browse to the Driver folder and highlight the iastor.inf file, hit Open
  • Select OK
  • Now you should have a list of controllers. **WARNING** Selecting the wrong controller for your computer will prevent it to boot, causing BSOD. Make sure you select the right controller for your particular computer ! See this thread on HP forums for the controller inside some laptops:
  • You'll get warned that installing the device driver is not recommended, click Yes to continue installing
  • Click Finish
  • Click Yes to restart your computer
  • When your computer boots up, you need to to enter the BIOS. Change SATA Native Mode to Enabled, save changes and exit.
  • After you log into Windows, your computer will find the "new" hardware. Wait until you get the popup message to restart your computer, say Yes to restart one last time.
Credits to Jamie Rybarczyk from HP support forums for this procedure.

Information store does not mount when you restart an Exchange 2003 server

Microsoft KB875427 says " The installation of Exchange on a domain controller may affect the performance of that domain controller. In some scenarios, this performance effect prevents the Exchange-related services from starting successfully when you start the computer. In these scenarios, you must manually start the Exchange-related services. "

I had one of these servers. Its shut down time was really long (15 minutes) and after restart the information store service did not start automatically.

I found out that the problem was that this server was the only GC (global catalog) server in the affected site. It is KB829361 that gave me a clue. Adding the GC role to another DC at this site solved the problem.

Edit to answer a question:

To add a Global Catalog in your domain:
  • Start Active Directory Sites and Services
  • Sites - Site your Exchange server is in - Servers - DC you want to become GC -NTDS Settings
  • Right-click NTDS Settings - Properties and check "Global Catalog"

Monitor the "Directory Service" event log of the server to validate that it becomes a GC. It may take a while depending on your domain size.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Install IE7 on non-genuine (not) Windows XP

Sometimes when I try to install IE7 on Windows XP SP2, my OS is detected as "non-genuine" by WGA, even though it has been installed with the CD key that is on the sticker on the machine.

I could phone Microsoft to solve the problem, but I found an easy way to bypass WGA and install IE7 anyway.

Here it is:

Thanks Ferdous Mahmud Shaon for the tip.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Error when you upgrade to Office 2007 from 2003

I encountered the "The windows installer service cannot update one or more protected windows files" error upgrading some computers to Office 2007 from 2003.

Event viewer reveals the culprit: the fp4autl.dll file is missing. Just copy it from another computer and put it in %SystemDrive%\program files\common files\microsoft shared\web server extensions\40\bin\ and restart the installation.

The "common files " folder can be different if you use a non-english Windows XP. E.g. on a french XP it is "fichiers communs".

Thanks to for the tip.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Profile vs GPO based logon scripts

Since Windows 2000 server and Active directory, there is 2 ways of running logon scripts for users, one profile-based "à la" NT, one GPO-based.

There is some pluses and some minuses to migrate your profile-based scripts to GPO-based scripts:

Advantages of Group Policy based scripts:

  1. The script runs hidden, so there is no chance for the user to terminate it before completion

  2. When you create a new user, you only have to put it in the right OU for the logon script to run
  3. You do not only have a logon script, but also logoff, startup and shutdown scripts.

  4. One of these days, Microsoft will remove support for legacy i.e. profile-based scripts and you will be ready for that

Disavantages of Group Policy based scripts:

  1. If you want to have a script for a single or a few user(s) you have to create an OU just for them

  2. They are not available to not AD-aware clients

Where are these settings located ?

  • GPO-based scripts are in Active Directory Users and Computers aka ADUC, right-click on your domain or OU, Properties, Group Policy tab, Add a Group Policy Object or edit an existing one. Startup/shutdown scripts are under Computer Configuration, Windows Settings, Scripts and logon/logoff scripts are under User Configuration, Windows Settings, Scripts.
  • Profile-based scripts are in ADUC, right-click an user and select Properties, Profile tab and enter the script in the Logon script field. The script may be a batch file (.bat or .cmd) or an executable. It must reside in the NETLOGON share of your domain(s) controller(s).

Friday, June 15, 2007

RDP from Vista slow after Windows 2003 Server SP2 installed

After installing W2K3 SP2 on one of my servers, the RDP session was awfully slow, especially mouse clicks.

It appears that Vista TCP/IP "Receive Window Auto-Tuning " is the culprit.

To disable it, open a command prompt and type:

netsh interface tcp set global rss=disabled
netsh interface tcp set global autotuninglevel=disabled

and reboot .

Credits to:

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Slow file copy/move in Vista ? Here is the solution !

One of the main complain I had about Vista is the slow file copy or move operations. It seems that it is the new "Remote Differential Compression" who is the culprit.

To turn it off go in Control Panel / Programs and features / Turn on or turn off Windows features and uncheck "Remote Differential Compression".

I found out that Vista TCP/IP "Receive Window Auto-Tuning " slows network access too.
To disable it, open a command prompt and type:

netsh interface tcp set global rss=disabled
netsh interface tcp set global autotuninglevel=disabled

and reboot .

Monday, February 19, 2007

How to install W2K3 server on a floppyless server

Most servers today comes without a floppy drive.

If you want to install Windows Server 2003 on one of these servers and you have a hard drive controller that is not supported by default in W2K3 server, like most RAID controllers, the only way to install the driver through the standard setup program is from a floppy drive.

I have a floppyless server (HP Proliant DL140 G3) with the "HP 8 Internal Port SAS Host Bus Adapter with RAID" and I did not want to buy an USB floppy drive only to install the OS, especially after I read this post which says that you must use a HP branded USB floppy drive.

A HP forum search gave a link to this web site, where you can download a program called nLite, a "Deployment Tool for the Bootable Unattended Windows". Definitively recommended.

With this program you can make a bootable CD with you Windows setup files, integrate service packs and add your RAID drivers in advance so the controller is detected by Windows Server 2003 at setup time, without using the F6 option.
Edit on 2007/04/24:

I used nLite to install Windows XP on a floppyless ThinkPad T60 with a 120GB SATA drive and it worked like a charm.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

How to resize the desktop icons in Vista

If, as I do, you find the Vista desktop icons too big, click anywhere on the desktop and hold CTRL while you move the mouse wheel backwards.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Latest Exchange 2003 IMF update causes problem with scan to e-mail

Since the latest Exchange 2003 IMF update (January 23rd 2007), some users were unable to send to their Exchange inbox the pdf files created with a scan-to-email multifunction printer.

The printer uses SMTP (port 25) to send the file to the Exchange server.

When I disabled the IMF from the SMTP virtual server the problem was solved, but I didn't want to keep it disabled.

So I added a second port in the SMTP virtual server (port 26), enabled IMF on it, and I configured the firewall to forward traffic to this port instead of standard port 25.

This way, internal e-mail goes to port 25 and is not filtered, but messages from external systems are forwarded to port 26 and filtered by IMF.
Edit on 2007/04/24:

Finally I found a "cleaner" solution. Connection filter has an "IP accept" list. If you add the IP of the printer in this list and enable Connection Filtering on the SMTP virtual server, it will bypass IMF.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

How to install XP in DOS mode on a large SATA drive

Since Windows NT4, I always installed NT the same way: create a FAT32 partition on the C: drive, format it, copy the \i386 folder from the NT installation CD and start winnt.exe from C:\i386. It always worked for me that way until today, with NT4, 2000, XP and Server 2003.

I have a brand new HP Compaq dx2200 desktop with a 80 GB SATA drive. I create a 80 GB FAT32 partition with Smart FDISK (from the very nice Hiren's boot CD) and copy the \i386 folder from a XP with SP2 CD (from HP) and start the winnt.exe. It goes through the first part of the setup OK, but at the first reboot, "operating system not found".

I format the FAT32 partition again and "sys c:" from a Windows 98 boot CD and same thing, "operating system not found" even though I can access the partition and I see that is there.

The solution:

I create a 5 GB partition, format it as FAT32, "sys c:" from my trusted Windows 98SE boot CD, copy the \i386 from the HP Windows XP CD, start winnt.exe and all the setup goes well. No need for the F6 part. I have a fully functionnal XP Pro, on a 5 GB partition.

I resize the partition with Partition Magic 8, again from Hiren's Boot CD, to 80 GB. It warns me that the partiton will go over 1024 cylinders, so that it may be unbootable, but it works with XP. I **think** that it is the reason why I cannot do as usual, DOS (and the DOS part of XP setup) can't "see" the 80 GB partition because of the 1024 cylinder limit.