Fixed – Archive options missing in Outlook 2007 and send/receive issues

We had a weird issue this morning where the Archive options were missing in Outlook 2007. This is apparently a known issue with the kb2412171 December 14, 2010 outlook update which allegedly improves stability. It is hard to see how removing functionality, breaking send and receive and reducing performance when you switch folders comes under the category of improving stability and increasing performance.
Thankfully the solution is simple, just remove 2412171 from add/remove programs and everything should go back to normal.
Further details on the patch are also available which includes the known issues when installing 2412171.
Needless to say, we have unapproved this patch on our WSUS servers.

The installation failed with: This patch package could not be opened – Fixed.

I have been trying to install the KB958481 patch for Microsoft Dot Net Framework 2 for many hours. Each time the installation would fail with “The installation failed with: This patch package could not be opened. Verify that the patch package exists and that you can access it, or contact the application vendor to verify that this is a valid Windows Installer Patch Package.”

Of course the patch file exists (I am installing it after all) and the patch file came from Microsoft so I would hope it’s valid.¬† Most of the suggestions seemed to resolve around removing the dotnet framework and reinstalling. All of which I had done in a variety of ways. First by uninstalling the software through add/remove programs and then through Aaron Stebner’s dotnet cleanup tool – neither of which solved the problem.

Eventually I stumbled across a tech posting (made after my initial problem started) in the Microsoft forums (first and second posting that mentioned installing the Microsoft Installer 4.5 redistributable component. After an initial reboot before installing, a reboot after installing, installing the .net patch and another reboot afterwards I was up and running and able to install the other .net patches too.

Windows 958644 direct download locations.

I have spent all day patching servers, workstations and trying to find a direct download for the 958644 patch that got released last night. I was amazed when Microsoft even called us to join in a webconference for Microsoft partners about this patch – that is something new.
I was not so pleased when I called PSS to ask for a direct download to the patch as kb958644 does not have direct links, windows update services was timing out and the catalog website is badly broken. PSS informed me that as it was not a hotfix they could not provide me with the file and there was an 8-12 hour delay on callback from the server team. So instead I’ve been configuring wsus for servers (that were not already configured), approving patches and downloading by visiting windows updates – a VERY time consuming.
Anyway, without wasting more time – here are the download locations – I’d grab them before the server falls over too.

Thanks to Larry and Derek for the help in finding these.

Fixing WUAutoUpdate at Shutdown Failed.

I had a client pc that was not updating with Windows Updates in our WSUS server. Looking through the logs I was receiving the error “FATAL: WUAutoUpdateAtShutdown failed, hr=80240FFF”. On looking through the services, the automatic updates service was missing. Running regsvr32 wuaueng.dll added the service back in but I was unable to start the service with the message “Error 1083: The executable program that this service is configured to run does not implement the service””
I also found that I was unable to start the BITS service. Googling on that came up with the Helpsvc fix application that fixes errors with the help and support service. Downloading and running this application, although seemingly unrelated to my problem fixed both BITS and Windows Updates on the machine. Thanks to the newsgroup posting by Greg Kirkpatrick

June’s MS patches

We’ve had two occurances of Terminal Services and Sql server not responding after the servers had been rebooted after the patches had been applied.
Terminal Services had the service running and using mstsc to the server would result in a message saying the server was not accepting connections. Telnetting to port 3389 would come back with a connection but nothing in the telnet prompt. A reboot of the server cured this problem.

As far as SQL server was concerned, the SQL service had not restarted after the reboot – not sure why as I didn’t have time to troubleshoot – I just needed to get the service running, which happened as soon as I launched Enterprise manager and attempted to connect to the server.

Anyone else had similar experiences?

latest MS patch and hp = not (very) good news.

How to fix ie freezing when you use the drop down box and the answer (at least official) isn’t to use firefox. This is due to a known issue with HP hardware and the MS06-015 / KB908531 patch.
On a related note I was wondering what readers policys on implementing patches are. We tend to wait a week or so to see if there are known issues (like above) but if everyone waited a week to see if there were no issues then this policy isn’t very practical. Also testing the patches on machines isn’t often very practical either – with a vast array of software on users desktops – most of which I would not use, just how do you test the effect of patches? Even getting hold of a spare box in most companies is unlikely as they are all in use. I’ve also found that the details in the patch documentation is getting sparser so it is also difficult to tell just what the patch does or what it affects.

And as to firefox – I’m not that impressed with the autoupdate facility for – now most of my extensions don’t work and on my home computer they seem to have been ALL wiped out – not sure if that is because it’s loaded a new profile or not. I’ll look at that later, but having all the extensions disappear is very annoying. The other strange thing is that I wasn’t aware of there being any major patches or bugs in firefox – they’ve kept them pretty quiet unlike the latest MS patches – is there a mozilla security zine like the MS security posts that I should be subscribed to?

MORE windows patches

Microsoft released 2 more patches yesterday – the day after I manage to schedule a lot of reboots for my customers for the wmf patch. Thankfully it looks like the machines may not need rebooting judging on my xp desktop experience. Hopefully the same will hold true for the server.
I had one customer box not reboot overnight because the boot.ini had been mysteriously changed to boot to a (non-existent) windows 2000 installation. Fortunately the customer mentioned (when I rang them early this morning) that the problem of not finding ntkernel.exe is solved by selecting the other option in the boot sequence….I’m glad they told me this but it would have been better if they had mentioned the problem before so I wouldn’t have had to get up early this morning in case I needed to make an emergency stop at their site… instead I’m catching up on some blogging.

I must be the only person in the world who wasn’t pleased that Microsoft released the wmf patch early on Thursday last week. Everyone else seems to be so grateful that this happened but it was a nightmare for me. Thursday night I was doing a software audit on a lan and I left it scanning the machines overnight. I came in the next morning expecting to sit down and start analyzing only to find that the machine had downloaded the new patch and automatically rebooted – loosing all the scanning results so I had to start again – not so happy. Before you tell me that you can set automatic updates to not do the reboot – I know – this was on a machine outside of my control AND Microsoft had also previously announced that the patch would not be ready until Tuesday.