Of course “voicewarmupx” makes perfect sense

as the value to enable Windows Installer logging.

Windows includes a registry-activated logging service to help diagnose Windows Installer issues. This article describes how to enable this logging service.

To enable Windows Installer logging yourself, open the registry by using Regedit.exe, and then create the following subkey and keys:


Reg_SZ: Logging
Value: voicewarmupx  The letters in the value field can be in any order. Each letter turns on a different logging mode. Each letter’s actual function is as follows for MSI version 1.1:
How to enable Windows Installer logging (KB223300)

Programs which lie about successfully installing.

When you install a program, particularly via an install script (VBscript, PowerShell etc.), it’s always good practice to check the Exit Code the program returns.

Just in case the program didn’t install probably, or even, the user has pressed cancel.

Much to my annoyance, here’s a list of programs which return 0 (Zero ie. I installed ok) when they don’t install:

  • Google Desktop
  • Lanier Printer Drivers
  • LastPass
  • Windows 7 USB/DVD-download tool
    (requires the Imaging API, if it’s not there, it fails and returns 0 anyway).
  • Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools

It’s not an exhaustive list by any means 🙁

Update 23 May 2010, and these as well:

  • Google Chrome Browser
  • Firefox 3.6.3
  • Skype
  • Thunderbird
  • Paint.Net
  • Picasa 3.6
  • XnView
  • Acrobat Reader 9.3
  • SUPERAntiSpyware
  • uTorrent 2.0
  • Evernote
  • Texter
  • Postbox

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Corporate bozos – Take 2. “You want to do WHAT with Windows Vista???”

Was asked to comment on a Vista upgrade proposal some time ago, as I’ve been around the block once or twice with SOE designs.

Reading through the proposal document, from a Microsoft Gold Partner no less, was this gem:

“We’ll create a ‘Power User’ group on the Vista PCs.”


If you have read my previous posts about Power Users, you’d know my response.  For those which have not …


The Corporate Consulting Bozos who wrote the report think it’s a great idea.  It will get around the heartache of re-packaging “legacy” applications.

Even though, Vista has technologies built right in, to cope with shonky old applications.

There are some other “gems” in the proposal, which will guarantee on-going work for the Consulting Bozos.  Via the use of proprietary tools.

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Too much choice.

Microsoft Arc Mouse Choice, as anyone will tell you, is a good thing.

Unless you need to fix a leaking tap.

  1. Travel to the local hardware store to buy a x-size tap washer.
  2. Disassemble tap, “oh, it’s a y-size washer.”
  3. Reassemble tap with leaky washer.
  4. Back to the hardware store to buy the right size washer.

So it is with Linux, as I make my quarterly re-visit to the Linux OS.

This time I’m using a OpenWrt Linux installation, with yet another implementation of a installation package tool (ipkg).

The thing with Microsoft is that installers are (generally) now MSI based.  And that’s a good thing, not having choice.  Not having to remember which command line switch I need to use for which Linux distro.

… Now off to fix that tap

some further reading
LinuxHaters: The fallacy of choice
The Tyranny Of Too Much
The Times Online: Spoilt for choice

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Three Podcasts worth listening to …

… if you’re into AppCompat

  • TechNet Webcast Audio: Making Windows Vista Application Compatibility Testing More Predictable (Level 300)
    When helping our customers accelerate their deployments of the Windows Vista operating system by assisting with application compatibility, we found that there are a number of technical skills to master. However, technical acumen is never enough-effectively managing the project is critical to making the process predictable and measurable, in addition to controlling costs and maximizing effectiveness. In this session, we review the best practices we have learned for effectively managing this process from enterprise customers worldwide.
    Chris Jackson blogs here
  • TechNet Webcast: LUA Buglight (Level 400)
    LUA Buglight (version 2.0 currently in the works) is a tool designed to help both developers and IT professionals (system administrators) identify the specific causes of least-privilege user account (LUA) bugs in desktop applications running on the Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, or Windows Vista operating systems. Once the specific causes have been identified, the bugs can more easily be resolved by fixing the application’s source code or by making configuration changes, letting the application work correctly for non-administrator users.
    Aaron Margosis blogs here
  • TechNet Webcast Audio: Application Compatibility in 90 Days (Level 300)
    Deploying the Windows Vista operating system in the enterprise has moved from “We’ll see…” to “Let’s get it done,” and application compatibility is typically identified as the biggest blocker to a successful, low-cost migration. In this session, we identify the tools, technologies, and best practices that have been used successfully by Microsoft services and partners to minimize or eliminate many of the perceived (and real) challenges that customers experience with both independent software vendors (ISV) and internally developed applications running on Windows Vista.
    … couldn’t find a blog for Steve Campbell …

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Beware the Evangelists, or people with a vested interest.

antispyware07box CA PestPatrol is a dog of a product.

And it probably still it, I’ve not looked.

Why do I call it a dog?

It’s supposed to be an anti-spyware product, but when I evaluated it against Ad-aware and Spybot-S&D, it came a distant third. 

And why?  Well it was sold as an “enterprise class product” but couldn’t:

  1. remove/cleanse the registry of known spyware entries.
  2. ditto for spyware files.
    “… all anti-spyware products have difficulty …”
  3. couldn’t be managed from an enterprise console.
    “… the next version allows enterprise management …”
  4. Anti-spyware detection was not as good as Spybot-S&D and Ad-aware.
    <no comment received>

Now our internal IT team were really keen for PestPatrol, by the way, their comments in blue, and it was fairly obvious it was going to be selected.  And why?  Well we could get it for “free”, which was the motivating force.

And you thought I was going to say brown paper bags didn’t you 🙂

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And it works under Vista!

Microsoft really have done a good job with application compatibility:


That’s right folks, it’s an application written in 1992. 15 years ago.  And it still works.

And here’s the irony, I downloaded SLMR21a.zip from Simtel, and the Simtel Downloader was twice the size of the SLMR21a.zip file.

‘Plan now to eliminate “power users”; from your domains’ – or face the consequences.

Saw this today over at Steve Riley’s blog

Plan now to eliminate “power users” from your domains

That group had rights install software and drivers. And if you can install software and drivers, then you can elevate yourself to Administrator or SYSTEM. Vista includes a signed installer that allows standard users to install packages signed by a trusted root. (The “Trusted Installer” is a service that has a SID, so you’ll see it in the permissions list on various objects throughout the operating system.)

Which is why:

  • Microsoft Application Packaging Standards going back to Windows 2000, state what you should be doing for best application packaging compatibility.
  • Good application packagers test against “”Standard”” user accounts (and not admin)

On my home Windows XP PC, my daily use account is a Standard user account.  With Vista, EVERYONE is a standard user (and some people can temporarily raise their privileges as required)

Some references:

Check for Correct User Privileges [Application Compatibility Guide] – this article now removed, replaced by:
Application Installation and Servicing

Application Compatibility Testing and Mitigation Guide for Windows XP SP2

Designed for Windows XP Application Specification

Isolated Components