Text mode drivers and Sysprep (on Windows XP)

I’m so glad we’ve moved away from needing to use Sysprep on Windows Vista / 7.

But since I still support Windows XP and needed to add a Intel AHCI (SATA) to our Windows XP image, I have to deal with it still.

This weeks problem was that Sysprep wasn’t injecting the AHCI driver, even though it was in the [SysPrepMassStorage] section of Sysprep.inf.

Result: Blue screen of death with a Stop 0x0000007B error.

I wasted more time than I’m proud to admit here.  I know the driver was good, as I created an Nlite WinXP image, and it worked.  As an aside, if I was building a WinXP image for home, I’d use Nlite.

Anyway, so out of desperation, I asked the rest of the team.

Adrian commented he’d seen a case of where Sysprep hadn’t updated the CriticalDeviceDatabase registry keys.

So I updated the CriticalDeviceDatabase registry key and it all worked.

“You Bastard image!  That’s an embarrassing amount of time I’ll never get back again.”

Some instructions that Adrian and myself wrote up, follows below the read more.

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Another downside of upgrading a Windows 2000 to Windows XP

Windows XP LogoEach Microsoft operating system installation allows you to do an “in-place” upgrade.  aka, The “Do you wish to upgrade this computer to Windows xyz” prompt when you insert a Microsoft OS CD/DVD.

The Windows 2000 –> Windows XP upgrade had a small problem.  When you tried to remote access the registry, the now Windows XP would tell you “Permission Denied”.

Microsoft documented the fix in KB892192.

By default, Windows 2000 does not have a built-in user account named Local Service. Instead, the Remote Registry Service is logged on as Local System. In Windows XP, the Remote Registry Service is logged on as Local Service.

One way to fix it, is to use the REGPERM utility, with a command line like this:
c:\winnt\system32\regperm.exe /k "hkey_local_machine\SYSTEM CurrentControlSet\Control\SecurePipeServers\winreg"" /E /a:"Local Service":R /I

Semi-regular web-link clearance – March 2010

How to adjust your car mirrors to avoid blind spots

For the past few years, various carmakers have been offering blind-spot detection systems for their cars’ side mirrors. Often complex, these systems employ cameras or radar to scan the adjoining lanes for vehicles that may have disappeared from view.


Many products are much less expensive in the U.S.A. thanks to the weak dollar value and strong competition. Many U.S. sellers do not ship directly to international addresses. Now you can shop online on sites like eBay, Amazon, and BestBuy and we will ship the packages to you. We can also assist with purchases and arrange payment if you do not own a credit card.

Run XP Mode on Windows 7 Machines Without Hardware Virtualization

One of the neatest new features in Windows 7 Professional and above is XP Mode, but not all machines are capable of running it. Today we show you how to use VMware to run XP Mode on machines without Hardware Virtualization.

Bypass Heavy-Handed Web Filters With Your Own Proxy Server

If your workplace or school’s extra-restrictive internet filter has you pulling your hair out during the occasional browsing break, there’s hope! Here’s a quick look at how to get around heavy-handed browser restrictions with the open-source PHProxy.

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Windows 2000 had Active Directory folders.

In Windows 2000 you could create a shortcut to an Active Directory resource, and turn it into an Windows Explorer view.  One of my (now long gone) predecessors worked out it would make life easier for end users.

“Oh, you just want to see the security groups you have delegation rights too?  No problems.  I’ll create you a shortcut.”

The AD Folder shortcut would look like this on a Windows 2000 system:
This is an Active Directory folder

The user reported that since a Windows XP upgrade, the icon looked like this:
This is an Broken Active Directory folder
(and the shortcut no longer worked.)

You can tell the Windows 2000 shortcut looks like a Folder shortcut.  The Windows XP shortcut, just looks broken.

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What? WindowsUpdate doesn’t work with a non-activated Windows XP?

And I only just realised it now. *
Windows Activation Required Now I’m not going to complain about Microsoft.  If you have a valid license key, you should activate it. 

But I don’t want to activate Windows as I’m just doing some tests, part of the Undelete series of posts.  And before someone says “Dude, you should activate it.”.  Well, in future,  I don’t want to go though the re-activation hell process, with some worker based offshore.

Automatic updatesBut Microsoft does offer a work-around, Automatic Updates, but I just don’t care for it.

Perhaps the fact that AU has rebooted my PC in a middle of a 4GB download has soured my experience.

So what to do instead?  Not patch?  No, you have to patch, it’s the prudent thing to do.

No, instead, I grabbed a copy of AutoPatcher.  I wrote about AutoPatcher here.  To recap, I like it because it works, and it’s free.  And 66 updates later, Windows XP will be a little bit more secure.
AutoPatcher - showing only 66 updates to apply.

* most of the Windows XP installs I work with have a Corporate license which is already activated. (a VLK.  In Microsoft Vista/Windows 7 licensing speak, it’s a MAK type key)

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Semi-regular web-link clearance (3) – January 2010

How to Install GPMC on Server 2008, 2008 R2, and Windows 7 (via RSAT)

Can You See Me – Open Port Check Tool

Is a free utility for remotely verifying a port is open or closed. It will be useful for users who wish to check to see if a server is running or a firewall or ISP is blocking certain ports.

Setting up a Windows 7 Media Center

Windows XP Power Management and Group Policy Preferences

Windows XP only has one active power scheme for the entire computer and that scheme is based on the current or previously logged on user—that is to say Windows XP power schemes are only user-based. This means the power scheme can change as each user logs on. Also, it means that last logged on user’s power settings are the settings that remain once the user logs off. And yes, each user has its own power configuration; however, the entire operating system only has one active power scheme.

PHP and IE8 Web Slices

Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) shipped with a new feature for web users called Web Slices. … Essentially it lets you add enhanced links to your favorite bar that allow you to preview snippets of content from websites that you frequently visit without having to open up the page. It’s really useful to do little tasks like check on your web based Inbox, check the weather in cities you live or visit, traffic status, stock tickers, headlines, sports, the list goes on and on and you can check the IE add-on gallery for more examples of useful web slices and for inspiration.

How to customize default user profiles in Windows 7 (KB973289)

To customize a default user profile or a mandatory user profile, you must first customize the default user profile. Then, the default user profile can be copied to the appropriate shared folder to make that user profile either the default user profile or a mandatory user profile.

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Semi-regular web-link clearance (2) – January 2010

Dealing with VMs, Snapshots and the dreaded broken security channel

The problem with that perfect world is that you might want to snapshot a single machine to perform a what-if test and then be able to roll back if the idea is a bust. But if you do not snapshot all the VMs at the same instance, you run the risk of one of the machines changing it’s secure channel password during the what-if period. When you revert the changes during that session and you attempt to login, you will get an error message saying that the trust relationship with the domain controller is broken. You only option is to remove and re-add the machine to the domain.

Windows 7 Application Compatibility List for IT Professionals

We released the Windows 7 Compatibility Center a few weeks ago. This lets you look up one application at a time. You can find that at http://windows.com/compatibility.

Today, we have a downloadable list indicating vendor support. If you want to write some automated matching against your list of application, you can use this – it is an Excel download of all known information from vendors. You can find that at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=890e522e-e39e-4278-aebc-186f81e29173&displaylang=en.

Support for Windows 2000 and Windows XP SP2 will end on July 13, 2010

How to open a parachute during free-fall: Introducing Quick Security References (QSRs)

A QSR is designed to provide the information necessary to quickly understand and address specific security threats from the perspectives of four IT-focused job roles (business decision makers, architect/program manager, developer, and tester). QSRs will also help establish security practices and provide a framework for addressing future incidents.

Package This

Package This is a GUI tool written in C# for creating help files (.chm and .hxs) from the content obtained from the MSDN Library or the TechNet Library via the MSDN Content Service. You select the content you want from the table of contents, build a help file, and use the content offline. You are making personalized ebooks of MSDN or TechNet content. Both help file formats also give full text search and keyword search.

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How to fix the “Cannot attach the virtual hard disk …”

… to the virtual machine.  Check the values provided and try again.” error
Windows Virtual PC: Cannot attach the virtual hard disk to the virtual machine.  Check the values provided and try again.

It sucks as an error message.  Would it take too much programming effort to make it more meaningful Virtual PC team?

What does it mean?

It means you have a Virtual Hard Disk file larger than 127.5GB.  Which Virtual PC does not support.
You might have created this with the Microsoft Disk2VHD tool.
To confirm the “disk is too big” problem, open the Settings on an existing Virtual PC, and try to attach the drive:
The virtual hard disk image ... is too large for the IDE bus.  Make sure that all virtual had disk images connected to the IDE bus are not greater than 127.5GB

In other words, we’ve captured a 160GB hard disk, and Virtual PC won’t let us use it.

But we can fix it, it’s a two step process

First we use DiskPart, and then we use VHD Resizer.

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There was no TIFF viewer in Windows XP

imaging for windows Which we found out when we were piloting a Windows XP SOE release.  It was a serious “show stopper” for the rollout of Windows XP at this customer.  We’re talking 20,000+ desktops here.

Prior to Windows XP, going all the way back to Windows 95, there was the “Kodak Imaging for Windows” product.

It worked well.  In Microsoft Excel, a customer would click on the embedded TIF image, and Kodak Imaging for Windows would display the TIF.  It was missing in Windows XP.

We saw the Microsoft article, Kodak imaging for Windows is not included with Windows XP, and looked around for a solution.

There were four available to us:

  1. Buy the replacement product, eiStream Global360 Imaging for Windows.
    There was a cost involved, which the customer didn’t want to pay.
    Looking at today’s cost, $250 for a single license!, I don’t blame the customer.
  2. Write a customer solution based around Microsoft’s Windows® Image Acquisition Automation Library v2.0 Tool.
    Integrating it into the customer third-party business application, which generated the TIFF embedded Excel spreadsheet, looked difficult.
  3. Implement the Windows 2000 Kodak Imaging controls in Windows XP.
    This is really easy to do.  Essentially you take your Windows 2000 CD, copy some files off it, and install them into the Windows SYSTEM32 directory.
    Then regsvr32 the OCX files.  A piece of cake.
    Whether it is legal or not to do so, is debatable.
    Global 360 Inc. does seem to take a dim viewBut if you go here, you can see how it’s done.
  4. Obtain a copy of the “Windows XP Professional Direct CD Imaging Control” from Microsoft.

We were able to go with option 4 for our 20,000+ desktop customer.

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