Windows Update

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?

error 0x80096001 when trying to run windows updates.

I had a problem trying to run Windows Updates on a machine, getting an error “Windows Update has encountered an error and cannot display the requested page. You may find the following resources helpful in resolving the problem…’Error Number: 0x80096001”

Several kb articles (ie kb822798) mentioned the need to edit security settings and reregister dll’s and/or remove the %windir%softwaredistribution directory but unfortunately this didn’t work.
Part of the troubleshooting for this involves going in and looking at the certificate status within internet explorer. When I tried to double click on the certificate it gave me the error message “system-level error occured while verifying trust” on any of the certificates.

A post on the microsoft.public.windowsupdate newsgroup gave me a clue and by logging on as another administrator it all worked – my certificates are ok and windows updates runs through successfully.
Update It turns out that the problem in this case was partially caused by having a readonly profile – for some reason the desktop folders etc were all redirected to a share that didn’t exist. By searching for this entry in the registry and editing it to point to a share that did exist I was able to get the profile (and windows update) working again.

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?

I get published in Controlling Reboots

I posted a comment to Brian Livingstone’s Windows Secrets newsletter that got published in todays edition about avoiding the annoying “Do you want to reboot” dialog box. It’s nice to be quoted and nicer to get a gift for submitting the tip. Now I have to decide which of the many things on Amazon I would like purchase.
Incidentally if you don’t subscribe to this newsletter and you are a techie then Go signup now. There is no rss feed available unless you use an email to rss conversion facility.

Whats New in WSUS updated.

The link on WSUS that tells you what is new (that most people never look at) is being updated according to WSUS Product Team Blog . What looks good is the ability to easily see if the patches need a reboot etc. What I’d like to see is the field to tell you whether it is safe to start the install whilst users are on the system and then leave the server to reboot automatically at night. Sometimes you can’t install a patch without it kicking off the users (exchange patches tend to be the worst for this in my experience).

PrintConductor for printing

PrintConductor looks like a useful tool for printing multiple docs automatically – like all the manuals for Live Communication Server which incidentally I went live with some real users this afternoon. It’s taken this long to get the software, user documentation written and the time to install it myself. Work has been incredibly busy with a couple of clients and this week seems to be no better even though we had a new guy start today.

This morning started off badly with all the remote sites complaining that they were getting a message saying that Windows Updates had finished installing and the computer needed restarting but the restart now, reboot later buttons were greyed out. I should have realised they were talking about the screen appearing in their terminal server window and they don’t have permission to reboot the server! Instead I spent a while poking around in their event viewer trying to find out what the problem was. I’m not sure if the problem is me not being clear enough when I ask if they are using terminal services or whether its just too complicated a question…. Maybe I’ll rename the TS icon on their main desktop to “IF YOU CLICK THIS YOU ARE USING TERMINAL SERVICES” and put a default background saying the same thing.

fix for installing windows updates

Had a brand new client pc unable to install the first set of windows updates this morning – the Windows Installer 3.1 and the Package Installer to allow smaller downloads.
The fix was to delete the c:\windows\softwaredistribution folder – not something I’d normally recommend but seeing as though this was the first set of windows updates to be installed I wasn’t going to loose any preinstalled data.

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.