From monthly archives: February 2008

We are pleased to present below all posts archived in 'February 2008'. If you still can't find what you are looking for, try using the search box.


Chief Justice Says Exxon More Important Than Coastlines

This is absolutely frightening.

To my readers not in the USA, Chief Justice Roberts serves on the U.S. Supreme Court and was appointed by President Bush. For him to worry more about the bottom line of a multinational corporation MORE than a previously pristine environmental habitat shows EXACTLY what is wrong with American politics in the 21st century. This sums it up better than anything else I can possibly think of. And this tool gets to serve on the court until he (1) decides to retire or (2) dies. He's only 53, so he's a long way away from either.


Mystery of the Crashing WGA Installer - or - Why "WgaNotify setup canceled" is a stupid error message!

I was installing XP on a virtual machine recently and ran into a problem while installing the Windows Genuine Advantage update. Basically, it starts the update, then tells you WgaNotify setup canceled (sic). See below...

Screenshot of WGA Installation Error

I then searched the google, but (surprisingly) found more help from the Live Search this time. From a site I found there, I got a link to the manual WGA installer.

When Microsoft Update doesn't work, sometimes the manual installer gives you more clues about why it is crashing. However, it just threw the same error with no additional clues (not even in the Event Viewer).

Well, nobody I could find on the google or the live search posted anything else helpful, so it was time to dig into this mystery on my own.

Acting on a gut feeling that it might be permissions related, despite being a fresh install of XP, I fired up SysInternal's ProcMon. I ran the setup again while capturing all activity. I then searched for Access Denied error messages and found this...

Screenshot of ProcMon output (left half) Screenshot of ProcMon output (right half)

That looks promising! I fired up regedit and looked at that registry key. Sure enough, I had no permissions to write to that key...

Screenshot of regedit permissions

I added "full control" for local administrators, re-ran the manual WGA installer and it worked! Mystery solved.


Mystery of the UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME BSOD While Installing Windows Server 2003

We got a used (pre-owned?) server today at work so we could quickly deploy Team Foundation Server in our DMZ for collaboration with an outside firm. I was tasked with setting this beast up using a bunch of volume license stuff we bought and downloaded today (this has to be up by Monday, so I can't wait for disks to arrive in the mail). Well, I downloaded Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard from Microsoft's OpenValue website and burned it to CD-R with the "Microsoft Corporation.img" file in the boot options so it could boot normally. You know, the usual pain-in-the-butt for any non-OEM Server 2003 image you put together with fancy updates.

Well, right after the installation sequence would finish loading drivers but before it asks you to "press F8 if you sign your first born over to Microsoft" I kept getting a BSOD, and the error was UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME. Now, on the google, there are many, many articles on this issue. But it all revolves around a particular update that may happen on XP after a service pack installation. Generally, the solution is to use the Recovery Console because something got messed up in the boot record.

This wasn't my problem. Afterall, this was an empty hard drive (I just freshly wiped it using [email protected] KillDisk from my handy-dandy Windows PE "rescue disk").

The problem was I was barking up the wrong tree. The hard drive was fine. The unmountable boot volume was the CD itself. I found this out because when I popped in a TechNet Windows Server evaluation disk, it went right to the Windows installation screen, past the UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME error.

Now, I'm not sure if the cause was a bad CD-R, bad burn, corrupt download, or if I just forgot to include a folder in the ISO, but whatever it was, it was the installation disk, not the hard drive.

I dug through an old dusty box in the back of the server room, past the cobwebs, and found a volume license Windows 2003 RTM CD from the year 2003 (not even SP1 yet) and was able to install the operating system on the server and upgrade to SP2 and R2 after the fact. Okay, it wasn't in a dusty box. It was actually well organized in a CD booklet of server disks. :-)

Hope this post helps somebody else barking up the wrong tree. Your drivers and hard disk might be fine. It might be your installation disk!

Mystery solved.


Excel 2007: "Windows Cannot Find <filename>" -- but you KNOW the file exists!

I just got a new computer at work. It runs Windows Vista (finally) and Office 2007. This is a completely fresh install from a corporate deployment image (no prepackaged adware). The deployment image did not have Office included since we run a mix of 2003 and 2007 here currently. So the Office installation is even more fresh.

Despite this, I ran into a really weird bug. Anytime I tried to open Excel files by using Explorer file association (ie, double clicking on the target file, instead of using File->Open menu within Excel), I would get the following error...

Screenshot of Excel 2007 throwing a file not found error

My first thought is permissions. I double checked. They were correct. Okay what's the problem? I opened the file from WITHIN Excel. It worked! Very strange.

I searched the google on the internets and found this post. Apparently, there's an advanced setting in Excel that can interfere with file association opening. Very odd. Click on the office "pearl" (the circle button in the upper-left corner of Excel), then click on "Excel Options." From there, click on "Advanced," scroll down to "General," and uncheck "Ignore other applications that use Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE)." (March 21, 2008 - Thanks to Shrivmather, in the comments below, for pointing out a mistake in the preceding paragraph. It has been corrected.)

Screenshot of Excel 2007 settings

I'm not sure I understand entirely why this setting prevents files from opening by association, throwing a "File Not Found" error. Maybe somebody can explain this to me? Well, the solution works, so mystery solved here...


Knight Rider 2008

I was a fan of the original 1980s series, Knight Rider. I tried very hard not to get my hopes up on the TV movie / backdoor pilot that aired last night, because I've been disappointed in the past. The 90s, afterall, brought us such wonders as Knight Rider 2000 (meh...), Knight Rider 2010 (huh?), and Team Knight Rider (AGH!). For Knight Rider fans, the 90s were teh suck. Like The Hoff singing level of suck. Yes, that bad. The 90s killed the Knight Rider, then buried it, then dug it up, then spat on it, then buried it again, then dynamited the bural ground, then spat on it again, then buried it one more time before dumping the contents of a porta-potty ontop of it.

But you know what? This new Knight Rider was actually pretty good! Sure, it did have its moments of being a big Ford commercial, but was the original Knight Rider any less of a commercial for Pontiac? It's all in good fun. It pays the bills too, afterall. And when Ford makes a Mustang that actually gets 167 mpg and drives itself, I'll be lining up to buy it!

Speaking of which, KITTstang was cool. I've read a lot of people bitching that KITT wasn't a classic or concept Camero or Firebird (or some other GM), but really, we've been down that road before. Remember that red thing in Knight Rider 2000? Okay, maybe it was a cool car in its day, but it doesn't have the "wolf in sheep's clothing" sorta thing going on. I don't know. It just wasn't as cool as the original Trans Am KITT. And before that red thing in the movie, he was some classic something. I don't really remember, I just remember he shot Scotty with some sort of stun gun. Anyway, the point is, GM doesn't have a Camaro/Firebird right now to sell, Ford wants to sell the Mustang, so get over it. KITT's a Mustang now.

Now, the series did have its flaws. (What fun would a blog post be without some know-it-all complaining about something?) I was not very excited about Michael Knight Junior (a.k.a. Mike Traceur) at first. His character grew on me by the end, though. They tried too hard to make him the dumb muscle / comic relief / smart hero all rolled into one waaaay too quick. It took MacGuyver-er-Jack O'Neil many seasons to get that going where it worked on Stargate SG-1, so they shouldn't have tried to force it so hard in this short movie. Bad writing. Very FORCED character development. By the end he was less "comic relief" and more just saracastic bantering with KITT, which fit better with the "Knight" loner / hero persona they should have been going for. Second half of the movie, his character worked. When Mike started kicking ass at the casino, it was the first time I could see him settling into the new Michael Knight persona. The writers blew the first hour of character development there. Also, if this becomes a series, his racing car sidekick mechanic buddy comic goofball needs to go. Quickly.

Second, was it just me or was Sarah Graiman a lesbian at the beginning of the movie and then pining for her true-lost-love Mike at the end? Or did losing Mike all those summers ago turn her off men? Actually, at the beginning, I was excited because I thought that meant they weren't going to do any tired predictable sexual tension between the two since she might not swing his way, but, alas no. Those two had to have a past and bring out the predictable cliches. Thanks, NBC. I guess Sarah is bisexual. I wonder how that will work out if this becomes a series? Seems kind of useless and tangential to what people want to see: Mike and KITT kicking ass. Make her go back to doing women exclusively and let Mike just be a loner on a mission with no ties. Please!

Third, nano robots? Why is that such a popular theme these days? They did that in the new Bionic Woman too. Old KITT was bullet proof without little robots! At first this whole nanotechnology stuff made me wince. Of course, it's probably more plausible than the advanced AI that KITT is, but the growing a double spoiler out of thin air just gave me flashbacks of Team Knight Rider's motorcycles. AGH! Stop! My brain! It hurts! Nano robots would have been fine if they weren't responsible for transforming KITT's body. I don't know why I think that. But I do. Gives me flashbacks of the Knight Rider rip-off series (from the same swamp of 90s suck), Viper (you know you watched it too -- pining for a black Trans Am to take out the Dodge Viper). Anyway, I'd rather see the spoiler/wing/air-intake/whatever-else come out of a compartment, mechanically, and the nano robots just responsible for like repairs and color changing and stuff. Suspension of Disbelief... Suspension of Disbelief...

But you know, despite all this complaining, I really enjoyed it. I really did! Overall, KITT was extremely cool. Sarah wasn't that annoying. Mike turned out to be a pretty cool "Michael Knight Junior" after the first half of the movie. And, yes, KITT kept taking him down a notch, in proper form. It was fun. It really kept you into it. It wasn't just nostalgia either, it was good on its own even if you never watched the old Knight Rider. And it treated the Knight Rider series the way it should have been treated back in the 90s. I hope this becomes a regular series. Afterall, we have only one more season of the new Battlestar Galactica coming up (one of the best shows on the teevee, ever). So if Glen A. Larson is going to keep one of his resurrected 80s ideas on the teevee, he needs to work quick! I doubt this will ever be as incredibly awesome as the new Battlestar, but it was a very good backdoor pilot movie (which is rare) and they could certainly do some really cool story arcs, given time.

Watch it! Rent it! Download it! Whatever! Let's get this thing turned into a series.


The Mystery of the Corrupted Vista Installer Service (MsiInstaller 1015 Warning)

I ran into a very strange problem last night. Somehow a portion of the Windows Installer service got corrupted on my Vista laptop in a way I couldn't find any information on while searching the Google.

Whenever I tried to run any MSI file, I would get an error about how the installer service could not be contacted. In the event log, I saw a warning, event ID 1015, which said Failed to connect to server. Error: 0x80070005 at the exact same time.

Although I couldn't find much information on my specific error, the Google did bestow me with the knowledge that "80070005" usually indicates "Access Denied."

So I fired up SysInternal's ProcMon, the de facto standard tool for debugging permissions problems.

The trace revealed the following entry (click to zoom)...

Screenshot of ProcMon

As you can see, access is indeed denied for "Network Service" on the installer service's entry in HKCR\AppID.

But why? I honestly have no idea why it changed. I suspect some misbaving application I installed, but I don't know for certain.

I fired up RegEdit on my corrupted machine and on an innocent uncorrupted machine and navigated to the key...

Screenshot of RegEdit

Upon investigating the uncorrupted Vista box, I noticed that this particular registry entry should not be inheriting from its parent as it was on my corrupted machine. Ah ha! So I took ownership of the key on my corrupted machine, cleared the ACL and added the following entries...

Screenshot of RegEdit

All entries (including Administrators and System) should be given "read" except TrustedInstaller, which is set to Full Control. If you are having trouble adding the TrustedInstaller user account, remember that it is a new built-in principle, not a normal user. First, you must set the "location" to your local machine (if you are on a domain, that is), then type in NT SERVICE\TrustedInstaller. After you are finished with the changes, be sure to change the owner of the key BACK to TrustedInstaller (this is important).

That did it! MSIs were installing again!

Mystery solved.

Recent Comments
  1. Re: It's Coming Any Day Now...
    Tim: Awesome to hear. Can't wait to check it out.
  2. Re: RD Tabs Security Advisory - 2.0 and 2.1 Beta
    Roman: Hi admin having same materiel as i need. Also get some extra stuff here: [url=""]Patch Applications...
  3. Re: RD Tabs Security Advisory - 2.0 and 2.1 Beta
    Roman: Hi admin having same materiel as i need. Also get some extra stuff here: Patch Applications
  4. Re: 3.0 is coming...
    Sean: Great news, can't wait!
  5. Re: DPM 2016 + SQL 2016 and "An unexpected error occurred during the installation" ID: 4387
    Funny Guy: To add my 2 cents - after a day of fight it appears that DPM installation uses WMI queries to detect...
  6. Re: DPM 2016 + SQL 2016 and "An unexpected error occurred during the installation" ID: 4387
    Funny Guy: To add my 2 cents - after a day of fight it appears that DPM installation uses WMI queries to detect...
  7. Re: DPM 2016 + SQL 2016 and "An unexpected error occurred during the installation" ID: 4387
    Funny Guy: To add my 2 cents - after a day of fight it appears that DPM installation uses WMI queries to detect...
  8. Re: DPM 2016 + SQL 2016 and "An unexpected error occurred during the installation" ID: 4387
    kAM aCOSTA: Thanks Edward !!!
  9. Re: 3.0 is coming...
    Dave: Very Cool!
  10. Re: In VB.Net, sending output to the console from a Windows "Forms" application
    clochardM33: Glorious