Posts Tagged Windows XP

WMI Repair in Windows XP

Continuing on my path of figuring out group policy I came across some errors on our Windows XP machines in the event log that I’ve been trying to repair for awhile now. For some reason the printers aren’t deploying to our Windows XP machines and I’m thinking it’s because the machines are having problems pulling the policy off the domain controller.  I also needed to use the system information tool to send to our anti-virus company so they could troubleshoot an issue we’re having with their software. But when I went to system information it said it could not collect the data.  It was event ID 1090, the source is Userenv, and it says:

I’ve been looking up this error for weeks trying to decipher how to repair Windows Management Instrumentation. Nearly every site and forum I found said either to empty the c:\windows\system32\wbem\repository folder, re-register the dll files associated with WMI, or do a repair installation of Windows XP.  I emptied that folder I don’t know how many times.  I tried using system file checker to replace any corrupted system files. I also ran the WMI diagnostic tool you can download from Microsoft to see if that would point me in any other directions, but I didn’t find it terribly helpful – except for one thing I found in the log file that it generates.

I came across the same error when I tried to re-register the dll files and when I ran the diagnostic tool.

!! ERROR: WMI CONNECTION errors occured for the following namespaces:

.1581 14:13:07 (0) ** – Root, 0x80070005 – Access is denied..
.1582 14:13:07 (0) ** – Root, 0x80070005 – Access is denied..
.1583 14:13:07 (0) ** – Root/Default, 0x80070005 – Access is denied..
.1584 14:13:07 (0) ** – Root/CIMv2, 0x80070005 – Access is denied..
.1585 14:13:07 (0) ** – Root/WMI, 0x80070005 – Access is denied..

Access denied? I had no idea why access would be denied. I’m the admin and have full permissions. Well today I finally figured out the problem. Since I was having problems today using the system information tool, I googled that error and came across this forum that had a script in it.  When I tried to run the script the first time on my account I got the access denied errors again.  So I went to the run box and typed services.msc. I looked at the WMI service to see what account it was logging on as, it says local administrator account. Well that’s good, so I next look at the remote procedure call (RPC) service and that one originally said log on as NT Authority or some other network account.

Well I changed that one to local administrator, rebooted the machine in safe mode so that no services were running, and ran the script from that forum again. It took awhile but I noticed it wasn’t throwing any access denied errors. I rebooted the machine, logged in on my regular network account and did not see a single RSoP error in the event log. Success.

Copy this script into notepad or some other text editor and save it as fixwmi.cmd. When you go to save as you’ll have to select all files in the file type so it doesn’t save as a text file.

@echo on
cd /d c:\temp
if not exist %windir%\system32\wbem goto TryInstall
cd /d %windir%\system32\wbem
net stop winmgmt
winmgmt /kill
if exist Rep_bak rd Rep_bak /s /q
rename Repository Rep_bak
for %%i in (*.dll) do RegSvr32 -s %%i
for %%i in (*.exe) do call :FixSrv %%i
for %%i in (*.mof,*.mfl) do Mofcomp %%i
net start winmgmt
goto End

:FixSrv
if /I (%1) == (wbemcntl.exe) goto SkipSrv
if /I (%1) == (wbemtest.exe) goto SkipSrv
if /I (%1) == (mofcomp.exe) goto SkipSrv
%1 /RegServer

:SkipSrv
goto End

:TryInstall
if not exist wmicore.exe goto End
wmicore /s
net start winmgmt
:End

Now I’m seeing another error related to to group policy, but hey, at least it isn’t a WMI error.

Sources:

  1. How to Troubleshoot Service Startup Permissions
  2. Solved: Can’t Collect Information

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Deploy printers using group policy

I should say that this is for a mixed environment. It was such a pain for me to figure this out because we have machines running Windows XP and some machines running Windows 7. Some parts of the policies are ignored by the Windows 7 machines if I do manage group policy on our Server 2003 DC so I had to figure out how to do get this going on Server 2008 and find the settings that would work for both operating systems.

I’ve recently deployed new computers and cascaded the computers that were replaced down to other locations to get rid of the really old ones. I really hated having to install all the printers under every single user account so I decided to look into how to configure group policy to deploy them. My office is small enough that I can deploy all the printers to every user and not have to worry about separating them by OU. They can set the default printers themselves. As long as I don’t have to deal with installing them every time we replace a computer or every time we get an Intern, I’ll be happy.

We have one Server 2008 box with the rest being Server 2003. Since half of our workstations are Windows 7 I’ll be using Server 2008 to configure and deploy group policy. One thing you’re going to want to make sure of is that all the workstations have the group policy preference client side extensions. You’ll need them for any machines that are running Windows XP or Vista. You can also select the client side extensions when you look at the optional updates on the Windows Update site. I really hope you don’t have any machines running Vista. I thought I installed them on Windows 7 too, but I just looked and apparently it wasn’t necessary.

These steps will allow you to manage printers from your server 2008 box without actually making it a print server.

  • Go to server management, either through administrative tools menu or just type it into the search bar.
  • Click on features and then add features on the right.
  • Find remote server administration tools and expand that list, expand role administration tools. Then find print services tools and check the box. Go through the installation, it does not require a reboot, but it does take its sweet time finishing.

  • Now you can go to print management and select the server(s) you want as the print server(s). I removed the local server since I just want to use this server as the manager.
  • After you’ve added the servers you’ll see them in the left panel.  Click on the appropriate server, click on printers and from here you’ll select which printers to deploy using group policy by right-clicking on the printer and selecting deploy using group policy.
  • In the window that pops up, go to browse and find the policy you want to assign the printer to. Check the box for either a per user setup or per computer. I don’t really know the pros and cons, but the way our policies are set up it’s easier for me to select per user.

  • Make sure you click the add button below that to make it show up in the bottom area. I kept hitting OK and then wondering why there wasn’t some sort of confirmation, duh. I made the mistake of starting to configure this before I had my coffee this morning. After you hit OK or apply, it will hopefully say it was successfully assigned.

Since my users do not have admin privileges on their machines I need to find a way to allow the drivers for the printers to install without prompting for admin credentials. There are a couple places on the group policy you need to go to for this setting so that it takes effect for both Windows 7 and Windows XP machines.

  • Computer configuration -> policies -> windows settings -> security settings -> local policies -> security options -> Devices: Prevent users from installing printer drivers: Disabled

Some people may not want to uncheck that box, but after having to go down the hall to type my credentials in so many times, I’m fine with it.

  • The other location is user configuration -> policies -> administrative templates -> control panel -> printers -> point and print restrictions: enabled

  • Make sure the top 2 boxes are unchecked and select “do not show warning or elevation prompt” and “show warning only” for the drop down lists.

After all this the printers should install for all users or computers, depending on how you assigned them. I’m hoping it’ll stop me from getting phone calls about having to enter my credentials in for the Windows 7 machines.

I just had someone test it for me by logging into a Windows 7 machine they hadn’t logged into before and it worked. I watched the printers pop up under devices and printers without prompting for admin credentials. This will save me so much time.

Sources:

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Event log errors, CA PestPatrol, and SeaPort

I came across these three problems while trying to figure out why someone’s computer is locking up and taking forever to log in.  Whether they are actually related to the symptoms she has been seeing has yet to be seen.  Hopefully I’ll find out that I fixed it tomorrow when she gets into work.

Errors 1505 & 1508

I saw a lot of errors with both of those codes in the event log.  I wasn’t finding much help until I went to eventid.net and saw one of the comments suggest renaming the UsrClass.dat file.  It just rebuilds the file when you log in next time.  It worked for me.  You can find the file in C:\Documents and Settings\<user account>\local settings\application data\Microsoft\windows.

Computer Associates PestPatrol

We had the old computer associates anti-virus installed a long time ago and and removed it back in October of last year when we switched to something else.  On the same computer I noticed the above errors on, I saw a couple services running that were related to PestPatrol (ppRemoteService.exe).  The strange thing is that there was no entry in add/remove programs for it since obviously we removed it months ago when we installed something else.  Uninstalling it never removed that service so it’s been taking up memory and CPU usage because it’s been running ever since.

I came across this post on their support forum about how to remove it manually.

Go to control Panel: Administrative Tools: Services stop the PestPatrol Remote Service. Open up command prompt and type cd \windows\system32. (if you are using winnt, the command would be cd\winnt\system32) Then type ppRemoteService -unregserver. Now you want to delete using the following command: del ppRemoteService.exe. Check Control Panel: Administrative Tools: Services and make sure PestPatrol Remote Service is gone. Remove the directory c:\Program Files\Common Files\PestPatrol.

Search Enhancement Pack – SeaPort.exe

Apparently this is part of the Windows Live Essentials or Windows Live Toolbar download that you can get.  Microsoft always sneaks things in there that are completely unnecessary.  It’s a service that runs at all times in the background, slowing things down quite a bit in some cases.

You have two options; either disable the service so it doesn’t automatically start every time you turn your computer on, or remove it altogether.

  1. Go to start -> run and type services.msc.
  2. Scroll down to SeaPort and right-click on it and go to properties.
  3. First choose to stop the service, then next to startup type choose disabled.
  4. If you want to completely remove it then go to \Program Files\Microsoft\Search Enhancement Pack\SeaPort\ and either rename seaport.exe or delete it.  This way it doesn’t have a chance to start again if it does try again sometime in the future.

Source:

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Disable the restart now prompt

restartnow

I’m sure you recognize the reminder we all love to hate.  I could easily disable automatic updates altogether so I don’t get the prompt at all, but knowing me, I’d forget to check for months at a time.  I went searching for a better solution mainly because I was playing a game online one day when the prompt came up in the middle of the game, which forced the game to minimize.  There’s nothing like being in the middle of an attack by a horde of zombies (Left 4 dead, ftw!) when the game suddenly minimizes to remind me to restart my computer!  Ahhh!

Permanently stop Windows Update from both restarting your computer automatically and reminding you to restart:

  1. Go to start -> run (for Vista type this in the search bar), type gpedit.msc.
  2. Navigate to Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components – > Windows Update.GroupPolicy
  3. Double-click No auto-restart with logged on users for scheduled automatic updates installations and enable it.
  4. Then to stop that irritating reminder from popping up every 10 minutes, double-click on Re-prompt for restart with scheduled installations.  You would think that disabling this would disable the reminder, but it does the same leaving it not configured would do – allows the reminder to popup to interrupt you every 10 minutes.  I don’t quite understand that.  But anyway, after opening the box for this, click on enable and type a 1440 in the box.  This will set it to remind you once a day so you can restart it whenever you want.Re-promptForRestart

I don’t have a Vista box here to test it on, but I’m fairly certain the directions are the same.  If not, leave a comment and I’ll update them.

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Free utilities for tweaking Windows part 2

A few other utilities I got from the PC World article linked to in the previous post are RocketDock and Ultimate Windows Tweaker.

RocketDock
RocketDock
Being the multi-tasker that I am, I found this little tool to be pretty handy along with VirtuaWin. I have a few programs in my quicklaunch bar, but I don’t want to overload that so I use RocketDock for a few more shortcuts that I access on a regular basis. I have it set to auto-hide so that it isn’t always a distraction – it’s only there when I need it.

RocketDock2RocketDock3

There are different skins for it that you can use and you can go to their website to download icons, more skins, and docklets. I can’t think of a complaint about this, I’ve been pretty happy with it.

Ultimate Windows Tweaker
This is actually an easier way to adjust things that I posted about in my trimming Vista’s fat post. The three sections of the tweaker that I like the most are the personalization, system performance, and additional options.

In the personalization section you can choose which items will show in the start menu, remove some or all icons that show in the taskbar, change the window padding, along with some other features.
UltimateWindowsTweaker1

The changes I made in the system performance section have made the biggest difference. In there you can change the time the computer waits for services to shut down, the time it waits to end non-responsive applications, and waiting time to kill applications timeout during shutdown. My computer shuts down MUCH faster now.
UltimateWindowsTweaker2

Finally, the additional options section just has a few things in there that I changed. You can add some useful options to the context menus for files and folders and drives. Also, being able to remove the arrows from creating shortcuts was nice. Definitely not anything that improved performance, but useful changes for me.
UltimateWindowsTweaker3

There are a lot of other things you can edit with this. I only highlighted the sections that were the most useful to me.

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Free utilities for tweaking Windows Part 1

I decided to come up with a list a programs I use to maintain my Vista laptop.  I got some from this PC World article and others I found on download.com.  Instead of making one massive post I’ll break it up into two or three.

First on my list and the most exciting to me is a cool thing called VirtuaWin.

I use Linux all the time at work, the only time I use Windows is when I have to do some maintenance for those in the office who use it. I fell completely in love with the multiple workspaces that you can use in Linux. I have a separate space for email, another for my browser, and another for whatever else I happen to be playing with or troubleshooting. Having multiple workspaces is absolutely necessary for my job, I do way too many things at once to not need that feature.

I got so excited when I heard from a friend of mine about a nifty little program that allows you to have multiple workspaces in Windows. I then read an article somewhere, that I can’t seem to find the link for, about it so I thought I’d give it a try. I was a little worried about how much memory it would suck up and whether it would slow down the start-up and shutdown process of my laptop. I noticed a bit of a slowdown but the benefits outweigh it since it really doesn’t make that much of a difference.

You can have up to 9 workspaces, which I find to be way too many. I have 4 set up but probably only use 3 of them on a regular basis. By default, the hotkey to move between desktops is the windows key + arrow key. There’s an option to make it so that when you’re mouse is against the edge of your screen it switches to another workspace, but I found that to be incredibly irritating so I stuck to the hotkey.  Another thing I like about it is that I finally have a use for the ability of the wheel on my mouse to click.  If I click on the title bar of a window with the mouse wheel it gives the option to move that application to one of the other workspaces – I use that all the time.  You can also add modules from their website to add features, although there aren’t very many.  That’s another plus, they didn’t add a bunch of useless features to the basic installation, if you want extras you can install them yourself.  This is compatible with Vista all the way back to Win98, so if you have a Windows machine this will work for you.

VirtuaWin1VirtuaWin2VirtuaWin3VirtuaWin4VirtuaWin5

I need a nap, more to come.

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Resizing a VirtualBox virtual disk

I’m in the process of putting together a VirtualBox virtual machine for me and my co-workers to use so we can access our Outlook email accounts without rebooting into Windows and so that the web developers can test the pages they work on in IE.

Things were going well with VirtualBox until I realized I didn’t make the size of the disk large enough. I had it set at 5GB, thinking that’d be enough for what we need it for, but apparently not.  So I wanted to figure out how to resize the disk without having to go through creating an entirely new one and having to sit through the installation process all over again. I found this post in the VirtualBox forum about it and followed those directions and elaborating on them with some lovely screenshots.

  1. The first thing you want to do is create a new disk like you would if you were starting over.  File -> Virtual Media Manage -> under Hard Disks click new.  I’ll avoid explaining that process since I’m assuming you already know it if you’re looking to resize it.
  2. Download System Rescue CD.
  3. The next thing you want to do is set it so that the new disk you created is attached to your current virtual machine and change it so the System Rescue CD iso file is mounted.  See the screenshots below:
    settings-hd1
    For the CD click the little button next to the drop down list.
    settings-cd1
    Click the add button, and go to wherever you saved the .iso file.
    settings-cd2
    Press select and you’re done with this part.
    settings-cd3
  4. Now start the virtual machine and boot it to the CD you mounted.  You have to hit enter a couple times, but once you’re prompted type in startx and hit enter.
    startx
  5. When the terminal pops up type in gparted and hit enter.
  6. Right-click on your ntfs partition and click copy, then select the 2nd disk you created and paste over it.
    gparted 2nd HD
    paste old over new
  7. When it prompts you for the size of the disk make sure to pull the arrow all the way over to the right so that the free space following says zero and click paste.resize
  8. Once you tell it to apply the changes it will take awhile so I suggest getting up and going to do something else.  I left work and came back in today to finish this up.  I have no idea how long it took.
  9. When it is finished you need to tell it to use the new disk as the boot partition.  To do that right-click on it and go to manage flags and check the boot box then close it.
    gparted-flagsgparted-flags-boot
  10. Now all you have to do is close out gparted and shut down the virtual machine and change some of the settings from step 3.

After shutting it down what you want to do is go back to step 3 to make your larger HD the primary master, remove (and delete to get that hard drive space back) the old one, and change it back so that you are using the CD drive and not booting off the rescue CD anymore.  I wanted my space back since I wasn’t going to be using that smaller one.

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