Fixed – Printers missing in Windows 2008 r2 (and Windows 7)

As part of a client migration this week I had to install a whole load of new printers on a new Windows 2008r2 server. In particular, one copier printer had about 7 different printers setup pointing to the same device – this was to allow the user to select which tray they wanted to print to without having to change the printer settings each time.
By the time I got to my fifth printer I noticed that the devices window was only showing two printers. When I selected the details view in explorer it was only showing printer1 and printer4, pressing F5 to refresh the screen would only show printer2 and printer3. This was really disconcerting as I kept getting interrupted in what I was doing so it was hard to work out which printers had already been setup when they did not appear in the user interface. However they did appear in the list of printers when I went to print something from notepad.
Puzzled, I did some searching and eventually came across Network Steve’s post about bringing back printers in Windows 7. Following his instructions and creating a new Key under hklm \Software \Microsoft \Windows \CurrentVersion\ Explorer \ControlPanel \NameSpace called {2227a280-3aea-1069-a2de-08002b30309d} a new icon appeared in control panel called printers and I can now see all of the printers so Thanks Steve!
Incidentally, these printers were set up and shared on a print server and then accessed on a locked down terminal server. I haven’t been able to work out how to get the list of printers to show up for a locked down user within control panel. The printer icon is not a normal .cpl file so I can’t include that in the list of available icons in control panel for users to use. This is not a critical function but helps when testing and troubleshooting printer issues for users in the future.

Fixed – wifi not resolving dns on laptop with Windows7

I had a strange case the other day at work when all of a sudden my laptop would fail to resolve dns queries for my wireless connection only – my wired card was not affected. Changing dns entries to another server did not fix the issue. Eventually I tried disabling the Microsoft Virtual Wifi Miniport Adapter (from device manager) and immediately I was able to resolve dns again. Once I discovered this fix I remembered something similar with this adapter. Looking back through my previous notes we had an issue with Shrewsoft’s vpn software – with the Microsoft Virtual Wifi Miniport Adapter enabled we were unable to get a vpn session working to a Cisco client.
So far, disabling this adapter does not seem to have caused any issues – apparently it’s purpose is to allow you to connect to more than one wireless connection at the same time – an unlikely requirement in most business situations.

Howto enable Group Policy event logging in Windows2008

There are many websites on the internet that talk about the previous method of enabling group policy logging by adding the UserEnvDebugLevel registry entry as per Microsoft kb article 221833. Unfortunately this does not work in Windows2008 and the kb article does not link to another article that does work.

However I found out that this was changed (in Vista I think) to a different registry entry and a new log file is created. Create a new Dword value called GpSvcDebugLevel under HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\Current Version\Diagnostics and set the value to 100002 (in hex). This will then create a file called gpsvclog.log in the %windir%\debug directory.

It looks like the preferred method of debugging the logs is to read the events that are stored in Eventvwr under Applications and Services Logs\ Microsoft\ Windows\ GroupPolicy\ Operational

Blat crashes when an email is sent – fixed.

I had an issue with blat yesterday with a new script I was working on. Every time I sent an email, it would crash and I would get “A Win32 command line eMail tool has stopped working.” As this was also running on a Windows2008 server this was also affecting the reliability index on the server – one of the things we check as part of our checkups.
I spent a good while trying to work out what was wrong, typed out the command to send mail and it worked – so I knew the issue was not blat itself. After calling over a colleague to help, demonstrating the (reproducible) problem of pasting the script line and crashing blat I asked what was wrong. The two of us still took a couple of minutes before he realised I had mistyped the server name used to send the mail. Instead of I had entered
Sure enough – if the mail server hostname can not be resolved by blat – it will crash. I was also able to reproduce this on my Windows7 machine at home too.

A simple fix but difficult to find after looking at code for a long time – getting someone else to look at your code often does wonders.

Windows7 keygen site now owned by Microsoft.

I had an interesting google alert come through the other day that found some of my content posted at a website – (safe to visit.) Ensuring I had noscript switched on, I checked the site out to find that it was just scraping blogs and posting them as content on the website. I sent the host an email to request that they stopped including my site and added a todo to check back in a weeks time.

I was surprised to find a week later (5 days ago) that the site redirects to a bing search for windows7keygen. I checked whois for and found that the domain is now owned by Microsoft – along with another 29,000 domains and it looks like 22,000 of them are hosted on the same server. The domain registrar of Niobe Telekom is also unusual – I suspect that is due to the original owners registration.

I find it rather amusing that Microsoft now have control over the domain but I’m not sure how they managed to get control of it – I’m assuming a windows7 trademark threat? I would have thought that they’d have redirected it to Get Windows7 though.

Windows 7 Screensaver not kicking in – fixed

Had an interesting troubleshooting session this afternoon on a Windows7 pc that was no longer having the screensaver kick in. After checking the screensaver settings were being deployed via group policy, disabling wake on lan and also preventing the network card from waking up the computer/allowing the computer to be shut down, the problem still persisted. Unplugging the wireless mouse (that was a new addition by the user and not the original supplied mouse)  didn’t help either. In the end installing the latest intellipoint software and rebooting the machine fixed the problem. Just installing the software didn’t help.

It was nice that Windows7 had automatically found drivers, but it obviously needed the full software installed to work completely.

Subsequently we found a message popping up on the client pc that said the wireless signal strength was low – so it was probably the mouse trying to check in that was making the computer think activity was occurring on the pc.

Unable to rdp to Windows2008 SBS server from XP client after KB969084 installed

We had an issue when all of a sudden we were not able to remote desktop to a clients SBS 2008 server using the rdp client and the TSGateway functionality. Remote Web Workplace would work fine and so would Windows7 clients.
After proving this patch was the culprit by removing the patch and finding my saved rdp session would work, I went back and read the kbarticle 969084 on this patch. I hadn’t initially read this (in common with a lot of other people) and also because the patch was pushed down via wsus. It turns out that XP does not turn on CredSSP by default and this is needed to work with the new RDP client. I followed the instructions at kb951608 and after a reboot, going to the control box/About I got the message that Network Level Authentication was supported and I was then able to connect succesfully.
MSTSC showing Network Level Authentication Supported
To summarize you need todo the following.

  1. Click Start , click Run , type regedit , and then press ENTER.
  2. In the navigation pane, locate and then click the following registry subkey:
  3. In the details pane, right-click Security Packages , and then click Modify .
  4. In the Value data box, type tspkg . Leave any data that is specific to other SSPs, and then click OK .
  5. In the navigation pane, locate and then click the following registry subkey:
  6. In the details pane, right-click SecurityProviders, and then click Modify .
  7. In the Value data box, type credssp.dll . Leave any data that is specific to other SSPs, and then click OK .
  8. Exit Registry Editor.
  9. Restart the computer.

Extra screen goodness.

I got a nice Acer 22” widescreen monitor at lunchtime today. Unfortunately I had to take back the 23” gateway monitor that just would not work. However the display on the Acer is stable and works great. I thought I would try my graphics card back in the computer too (I couldn’t get it to work with WindowsXP properly), so this evening I plugged it in, hooked up the new and my old monitor and now have a 1680*1050 and a 1280*1024 desktop. This is REALLY nice. Even with just the larger monitor I could browse the web and have notepad (or Live Writer) open next to a decent sized firefox window but now I am really spoilt. The only thing I have to work out is which screen should go where on the desk.

By using the dedicated card my System performance index has also gone from a whopping 1 (thanks to the lack of built in 3d graphics on the onboard vga controller) to an outstanding 2!

I went from 3.9,4.7,1.9,1,5.4 to 3.9,4.7,2.0,3.0,5.4

I can (if I really want) run the aero interface now. So far I’m not that impressed – the 3d flipping is painfully slow, but at least the aero peak functionality (the little icon to the far right of the taskbar now works). I do wish I could move this next to the start button though. Having said that, Windows-D still works to give me the same affect.

Install Windows7 to vhd notes.

I’m currently trying an install of Windows7 to a vhd on one of my virtual xp machines (to see if it can be done). I’m thinking that this may be possible but we’ll see.
I’m following the instructions on Keith Comb’s Dual boot VHD blogpost but I did find that calling the vhd file c:\windowsrc7.vhd will cause issues as you cannot have the name starting c:\windows.
I’m hoping this is fixed in the RC (I have a feeling my dvd is the beta but i’m not sure) and certainly in the RTM version.
The whole reason I’m attempting this is to test my idea about truecrypt encryption. As I guessed, it is not possible to do this with Windows7 on a truecrypted drive as it sees the drive as raw. My hope is that by decrypting the drive, installing and then encrypting again it will work – time will tell.

Dual boot with WindowsXP, Windows7 and Truecrypt?

Due to a variety of reasons, it is not currently possible to upgrade our work laptops to Windows7 – we’re skipping Vista and want to be ready for Windows7 when it is released in the near future.  As an alternative to using Windows7 as the main host OS I was thinking about dual booting the laptops to the different OS’s but that would mean some messy editing of disk partitions.

However, watching the Microsoft Edge demonstration of installing Windows7 to a VHD and then booting from that I got my hopes up. Unfortunately we use Truecrypt to encrypt out hard disks, and as the video demonstrates, you have to boot from the Windows7DVD which of course is not going to support TrueCrypt enabled drives.

My next thought was to temporarily decrypt the drive, install and then encrypt the drive with Truecrypt again – I think this will work but I was planning on storing the VHD file on a usb drive (for portability and the fact that my laptop hard drive is always full) but it looks like this won’t work according to Scott Hanselman’s post where he talks about doing something similar. So I guess I’ll have to wait until I can get a large hard drive for the laptop 🙁