Tag Archives: Windows XP

Windows Update Crazy Error (on XP)? This Might Fix It

This weekend I decided to put XP on my laptop for a day to see how it ran. I hated it. Yeah it was fast. But it just seems… old..

Anyways, Vista is back on now (I still might go back to Win2k8). But.. while I had XP installed for 4 hours, I tried to do Windows Update and it kept failing and failing. I went and found the WindowsUpdate log file, and at the bottom,

AUClnt FATAL: Error: 0x80004002. wuauclt handler: failed to spawn COM server
Handler FATAL: 0x80004002: ERROR: Remote update handler container process created (PID: 2912), but exited before signaling event
Agent * WARNING: Exit code = 0x80004002

Well, after some digging, found you need to re-register the Windows Update dll’s (you can put these cmd’s in a batch file and run it)

regsvr32.exe c:windowssystem32wuweb.dll
regsvr32.exe c:windowssystem32wups2.dll
regsvr32.exe c:windowssystem32wups.dll
regsvr32.exe c:windowssystem32wucltui.dll
regsvr32.exe c:windowssystem32wuaueng1.dll
regsvr32.exe c:windowssystem32wuaueng.dll
regsvr32.exe c:windowssystem32wuapi.dll

I also restarted the Automatic Updates service. Tried it again, and it worked. Weird, but it works :)

Windows Vista vs. Windows XP Debate. Who Wins?

I have been using Microsoft’s Windows Vista since it came out RTM, Oct 30 2006. I had it on a Dell desktop, which worked fine. Some driver issues before January 2007, but it still worked. I have had it on my main Dell laptop since May 2007. I use this laptop for work (read: Visual Studio 2005, 2008, SQL Server, Office 2007 etc, etc)

I started using XP the same way since it came out in 2001. Even though, at work, I was forced to use 98/2000 for a while, but I had XP running at home, and ran it all they way up till I installed Vista fresh.

Now XP SP0, was very buggy, driver issues. Same with Windows 2000, SP1 came out and a lot of issues were fixed and it was more stable, yet insecure. SP2 fixed most of the big problems and it was very stable, mature OS, and now SP3 is RTM which adds a few hidden features, as well as all the security patches since SP2. Good deal, yeah, XP is stable, mature and works. Guess what? So is UNIX. It doesn’t mean we want to use it on our machines.

Vista is the new OS in town from Microsoft, and it works just fine. Great almost. Yeah, you heard me right. It works, it doesn’t suck, and yeah, it is better than XP.

Anyone who says otherwise either

a) Doesn’t know how to setup and work Windows

b) has hardware that they can’t get working

c) has an OEM machine full of bloatware slowing it down

d) doesn’t know how to tweak a machine for performance.

e) they haven’t used Vista (because of work reasons or whatever)

Yes, XP works, it works well, for people running Compaq Pesarios or HP machines that are 5-6+ years old. It works well for Linux geeks who really don’t know how to work Windows. It works well for Mac people that need Windows every now and then.

But Vista, just works. My desktop was purchased in Nov 2005. 2 GB of ram. Vista works like a champ. Laptop in May 2007, once again, runs like a champ. Even my MacBook with 1GB runs Vista very well using Apple’s Boot Camp.

Vista IS more secure. You can run it without added bloat of an antivirus/spyware in my opinion. And if you are behind a router, you don’t need a firewall. Now, in XP’s case.. you probably need all three, just because XP is more vulnerable, and when by chance it does get hit by malware, it makes it MUCH harder to get it off XP (I know from helping people) compared to Vista.  Vista has built in tools to identify rouge programs, processes, and things that just shouldn’t be there. It gives you more insight into what is going on – the control panel has tons of options to monitor everything, and, Vista is locked down by default.

Yes UAC is a pain. I disable it, I am a power user. You don’t even need to be a power user, just a smart user. Don’t install crazy things, use Firefox, things like that.

I have been using Mac OS 10.4 and 10.5 now for about 6 months. It is OK, it works, depending on what you want to do. If I wasn’t a Windows developer, I could get by on Mac. I could get by on Linux (I have used it on and off for 8 or so years). But could an average user get by on Linux? No. That is why Linux will never become mainstream for end users – it is too difficult. Even Mac/Windows (and pssst Linux) geek’s give up on Linux because it is just too damn non-user friendly sometimes. No, I shouldn’t have to recompile my kernel to get wireless working. No, I shouldn’t have to edit config files ANYWHERE to change settings, not as an end user. As a power user, yea, that’s fine.

Back to XP vs. Vista – the petition to keep XP alive is just like trying to keep VB6 alive – it will always fail. VB.NET is superior to VB6, Vista is superior to XP – it just is. Vista MCE is much better than MCE 2005, just a ton more options and features, and it works, I could just keep going on and on listing feature comparisons, but it isn’t worth it.

I can say from experience, that Vista wins this war with XP, and until someone can convince me, that is how I roll :)

HowTo: Get iSight Camera Working in Windows XP through Parallels 3.0 on MacBook

So, I use Pidgin for IM. It is like Trillian, but I like it better. No webcam support. I don’t webcam really, but I wondered today what I could use to webcam if I wanted to. I found a site, tokbox that lets you do just that, through the web – cool!

Anyway’s, It works fine on Vista with my webcam hooked up on my Dell, but I tried it on XP on Parallels on my MacBook and it couldn’t find a cam, WTF? So I did some digging and this is what I found, it will work, you just need to set it up!

In the MacBook, Parallels menu->Devices->USB->Built-In iSight which will enable it for use in XP..but no drivers. Here they are – iSight Drivers For Windows XP.

When going through the driver wizard in XP, point to the extracted drivers from that zip and it should work! Happy web camming! :)

BTW – I am on tokbox now (http://tokbox.com/ScaleOvenStove), so if you want to chat, audio/video, give me a "call". I haven’t tried it yet with anyone.

How To: Connect to SQL Server, VS TFS, etc using Windows Authentication when computer is not on Active Directory Domain (XP and Vista!)

Whew, long title, amazing results!

Problem: You have a laptop or computer and you are working remotely for a company. You VPN in. Your computer is not on their Active Directory (AD) domain. You try to connect to SQL Server using SSMS or Analysis Services using Excel, but it doesn’t work because it is using your user, not a domain user. How do you get around this?

Answer: Well, this is what I have found (tested on XP only) – start->run: \computernamec$ – then it prompts you to login. Use your AD username and password, so

domainusername and password, and check the box to save password.

Seems that XP will save that in your authentication list somewhere, and then you can use SSMS or Excel to connect to the SQL Server via Windows Authentication!

This trick also works for TFS Build Servers/Team Explorer (tested with VS2005 Team Explorer) ..

Now for the fun part – Vista. The tricks above don’t work on Vista, but you can still get it to work. Here is what you do…create some shortcuts…

C:WindowsSystem32runas.exe /netonly /user:domainusername “C:Program FilesMicrosoft OfficeOffice12excel.exe”

C:WindowsSystem32runas.exe /netonly /user:domainusername “C:Program FilesMicrosoft Visual Studio 8Common7IDEdevenv.exe”

C:WindowsSystem32runas.exe /netonly /user:domainusername “C:Program FilesMicrosoft SQL Server90ToolsBinnVSShellCommon7IDESqlWb.exe”

 

Replace “domainusername” with your info. So if your domain is mycompany then it would be mycompanysteve.novoselac for example.

What happens is that then when you run those apps from those shortcuts it will prompt you for your domain password, you put it in, and it runs the app in the context of your domain user. You can then change the icon for each of these pretty easy, just browse to the exe in the second part when clicking the change icon button on the shortcut properties (the shortcuts are actually links to runas.exe which is a generic icon)

In Vista, for instance, if you are testing SQL (SSMS), you might get this error:

Login failed for user ''. The user is not associated with a trusted SQL Server connection. (Microsoft SQL Server, Error: 18452)

The shortcuts above will get you around it in the situation where your computer is not not on the domain or you are not logged in as a domain user..

These tricks above are especially good if you need to connect to SSAS (Analysis Services) since it is only Windows Authentication. And also, the IT department doesn’t really need to have consultant machines on the domain, or VM’s set up, etc, instead they can use these workarounds

XP Themes

Have you ever wanted to “theme” XP? Don’t you think that the three “color schemes” that come built in suck? I do. So I have researched things, tried things, and here is what I found.

1) You can pay 30 bux a year to get a program to do it for you. This option is ok, but it is another program running all the time, kinda shakey, crashes, blah blah. The themes are cool, but sometimes hard to get going, installed, etc.

2) You can replace the default version of uxtheme.dll with a hacked one to allow 3rd party themes. This seems like the best bet to me. Finding cool themes is harder though.

Here are some links to get you started:

Program to patch uxtheme.dll

Watercolor Theme

XP SP2 Flaws

I have been watching the tech news the last week or so, and there is a big todo about these new XP SP2 Flaws found. I watched and watched, waiting for someone to retaliate, and I finally found the rebuttal I was looking for. The bottom line is, if a user runs a program, that is their choice. The OS can’t stop that. The person should have anti-virus running to see that. They should also only run things from trusted sources. If you goto hacker warez land and start downloading exe’s, and running them, what do you expect? If you play with fire, you are eventually going to get burned. One other thing is people should believe everything they read on the web. If I put a link to an exe on here, you should make sure it doesn’t have viruses, if it tries to connect to the web, ask me why, etc.

XP SP2 Flaw rebuttal