Category: Windows OS-Level Issues

Bluescreen at boot with win32k.sys error
article #1022, updated 9 days ago

If Windows 7 won’t boot all the way, if it gives a bluescreen involving win32k.sys, it may be a bad update. Boot into startup repair and rename FNTCACHE.DAT in system32 to .OLD. That forces Windows to make a new one and boot will occur next time.

Courtesy of the excellent Matt Quick.

Categories:   Windows OS-Level Issues   

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Remote Procedure Call Locator (RPC Locator) Service
article #1020, updated 14 days ago

This is a service to be found in many versions of Windows, but its in-OS documentation states that it is present for application compatibility only. And yet on at least one LAN it has been seen to be essential for printing. Research has provided no results. Anyone with input, please contact me by email!

Categories:   Windows OS-Level Issues   

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Download current ISOs for Windows 7, 8.1, and 10
article #1015, updated 33 days ago

A very nice downloader provided by Microsoft:

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows8

Categories:   Windows Installer and Updates   Windows OS-Level Issues

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Enable CLEANMGR.EXE on Server 2008R1/2 and 2012
article #1006, updated 56 days ago

Very useful procedure, does not need a role/feature install. Slightly different on each. Note the locale suffix which will have to be changed. Does not work on 2012R2, from that point we have to enable the desktop experience, which can be done in Powershell using Install-WindowsFeature Desktop-Experience.

Server 2012R1:

copy C:\Windows\WinSxS\amd64_microsoft-windows-cleanmgr_31bf3856ad364e35_6.2.9200.16384_none_c60dddc5e750072a\cleanmgr.exe%systemroot%\System32
copy C:\Windows\WinSxS\amd64_microsoft-windows-cleanmgr.resources_31bf3856ad364e35_6.2.9200.16384_en-us_b6a01752226afbb3\cleanmgr.exe.mui %systemroot%\System32\en-US

Server 2008R2:

copy C:\Windows\winsxs\amd64_microsoft-windows-cleanmgr_31bf3856ad364e35_6.1.7600.16385_none_c9392808773cd7da\cleanmgr.exe%systemroot%\System32
copy C:\Windows\winsxs\amd64_microsoft-windows-cleanmgr.resources_31bf3856ad364e35_6.1.7600.16385_en-us_b9cb6194b257cc63\cleanmgr.exe.mui %systemroot%\System32\en-US

Server 2008 64-bit:

copy C:\Windows\winsxs\amd64_microsoft-windows-cleanmgr_31bf3856ad364e35_6.0.6001.18000_none_c962d1e515e94269\cleanmgr.exe %systemroot%\System32
copy C:\Windows\winsxs\amd64_microsoft-windows-cleanmgr.resources_31bf3856ad364e35_6.0.6001.18000_en-us_b9f50b71510436f2\cleanmgr.exe.mui %systemroot%\System32\en-US

Server 2008 32-bit:

copy C:\Windows\winsxs\x86_microsoft-windows-cleanmgr_31bf3856ad364e35_6.0.6001.18000_none_6d4436615d8bd133\cleanmgr.exe %systemroot%\System32
copy C:\Windows\winsxs\x86_microsoft-windows-cleanmgr.resources_31bf3856ad364e35_6.0.6001.18000_en-us_5dd66fed98a6c5bc\cleanmgr.exe.mui %systemroot%\System32\en-US

Categories:   Windows OS-Level Issues   Cleanup

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Windows Update freezes / gets stuck while searching for updates, in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2
article #1000, updated 85 days ago

This has been happening on long-installed machines for quite a while. But in the last week, four different sets of Windows 7 64-bit install media, over seven different reloads, have had Windows Update get stuck, or freeze, while searching for Windows updates, eating 100% of one CPU core. Several changes in reload pattern were attempted, some of which included WSUSoffline, without success. Profoundly expert help provided the following. Before deliberately attempting Windows Update, we are to install these, in this order:

  1. Servicing stack update for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1: September 20, 2016:
    https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3177467
  1. July 2016 update rollup for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1:
    https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3172605
  1. September 2016 update rollup for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1:
    https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3185278

Windows Update may get stuck again, searching for new updates, the first time any of the above is attempted. If this occurs, each time, we do this:

  1. In TASKMGR, terminate process wusa.exe
  2. Restart service wuauserv
  3. Try the install again.

The second time we do each install (after the termination and service restart), the popup for searching for Windows updates comes up for 3-10 seconds, and then we are asked whether we want to install. We then say yes, and it installs. Then we move to the next one of the three!

Categories:   Windows Installer and Updates   Windows OS-Level Issues

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NIC Performance Settings
article #1007, updated 93 days ago

Here are settings useful to maximize performance of a hardware network interface. Virtual guests benefit by these being applied to their virtual host, only. Not all of these exist on every NIC. There are also many settings which should not be touched, or should be touched only when the toucher knows what they are doing! The below have always helped when this writer has found them available to try. Do be warned, the NIC will go offline for 2-10 seconds after you Apply most of these.

  1. Install the most current drivers for NICs and also motherboard chipset. In at least one case, the server vendor had only an outdated and unreliable driver available for download, the one which worked well for years came from Intel’s web site.
  2. “DMA Coalescing” on.
  3. “Enable PME” off.
  4. “Energy Efficient Ethernet” off.
  5. “Green Ethernet” off.
  6. “Gigabit Lite” off.
  7. “Adaptive Inter-Frame Spacing” on.
  8. All offloading on.
  9. “Interrupt Moderation” on.
  10. “Interrupt Moderation Rate” should be “Adaptive”.
  11. “Scaling”, should be “on” or “Enabled”.
  12. “Receive Side Scaling” on.
  13. “Receive Side Scaling Queues” to maximum.
  14. There are cache settings on all server-class NICs, separate for send and receive. They are usually called “Receive Buffers” and “Transmit Buffers”, or “Receive Descriptors” and “Transmit Descriptors”. Set them to the maximum. For current Intel server NICs the defaults are usually 256 or 512, and the maximums are 2048; for a few other kinds, one or the other is 5000 or more; for others it is much less. Each descriptor takes 2K of RAM, which in today’s multigigabyte world is well worthwhile. Some older Broadcom gigabit NICs will yellow-flag if they are set to 2048; for these, set receive to 750, transmit to 1500.
  15. In the NIC’s “Power Management” tab, turn everything off. This may have to be abridged if Wake-On-LAN is used. Some NICs, notably some Realtek, will automatically turn power management back on at boot; this needs to be fixed through group policy.
  16. In SBS 2008, only one NIC (or one NIC team) is permitted to represent the server on the network. If there are two active NICs, you will have to turn one off, or crashes and unpredictable behavior will result sooner or later.

Categories:   Network Hardware & Drivers   Windows OS-Level Issues

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The Davidic User Profile Lesson
article #997, updated 127 days ago

The amazing David Lewis recently discovered something very close to unbelievable. A user profile on a PC — not a user, not a PC — had full administrative rights to a folder on a server on the domain, where the user was explicitly denied such rights. Deletion and replacement of the user profile, eliminated the problem.

Categories:   Windows OS-Level Issues   Security

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Download Internet Explorer 11
article #996, updated 129 days ago

Today I found it ridiculously difficult to download IE11 on a Windows 7 box which had not seen updates in a while. If you suffer so, browse here:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/18520/download-internet-explorer-11-offline-installer

Offline installers in many languages.

Categories:   Web Sites   Windows OS-Level Issues

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Enable, Disable, and Delete Windows Explorer Shell Extensions
article #995, updated 130 days ago

Rather a neat tool:

http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/shexview.html

Can eliminate a lot of issues in Explorer.

Categories:   Windows OS-Level Issues   

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Troubleshooting and Fixing Windows VSS
article #274, updated 148 days ago

Some very interesting info:

https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/windowsserver/en-US/1b926c85-b866-464b-9590-70506ba9d8ce/vss-issue-event-id-22-12289-12293-error-0×8004230f-failed-to-retrieve-volumes-that-are-eligible?forum=windowsbackup

https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/bb891959#mindiffareafilesize

Here are some steps and info:

http://www.storagecraft.com/support/kb/article/32

Here is a Fix-It from Microsoft for Server 2003, which runs quite a few steps automatically, and does not (this is new) necessarily require a reboot:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/940184

And lastly, here is a patch from Microsoft which can help a lot in Server 2003, even on fully-updated machines:

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;891957

Categories:   VSS   Windows OS-Level Issues