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Previous Page Page 2 of 2 in the Windows category

Windows Update Woes

Posted in Windows at Sunday, 12 February 2006 03:37 W. Europe Standard Time

Jon Galloway describes how to disable the restart of Windows after automatic Windows Updates. I've been looking for something like this for some time now, but didn't have the idea of inspecting Group Policy. Browse the Group Policy to get a feeling of what can be done with it. It's amazing how comprehensive the list of tweaks is.

Group PolicyUnfortunately there's no built-in shortcut to Group Policy anywhere inside the Control Panel and the Administrative Tools on most versions of Windows. (IIRC there is one on Active Directory-enabled Domain Controllers.) So if you're wondering how to access Group Policy on the workstation and server versions of Windows (2000, XP and 2003) without AD, run gpedit.msc under an administrative session.

Another possibility is to run Microsoft Management Console (mmc.exe) and add the Group Policy Snap-In using the File menu.

Chasing LUA Bugs of Media Player Classic

Posted in Tools and Software | Windows at Monday, 06 February 2006 23:59 W. Europe Standard Time

Media Player ClassicI'm a big fan of Limited User Accounts: I'm running inside a LUA almost all the time and try to make every program willing to comply with LUAs using the Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) Microsoft provides. I like using an alternative media player for windows, Media Player Classic (MPC), which is distributed with the K-Lite Mega Codec Pack.

I've encountered some issues making MPC LUA-compatible and I would like to share my resolutions here.

Some months ago I created the initial application fix for MPC using the Application Compatiblity Administrator which is a part of ACT. I used the quick method of creating app fixes which is to simply choose the executable, select LUA compatibility mode, do the test run, save the results to a sdb file and install the fix. Everything worked fine... except when I tried to watch streamed RealMedia videos: The video stream was glitched, whereas audio playback rendered fluenty.

Files residing on the local hard disk worked fine. Video streaming inside a browser window also was not a problem, MPC streaming with administrative rights worked smoothly. MPC and/or my appfix was the point of failure.

Today I sat down and chased the bug. Actually it was the application fix that broke RealVideo streaming. The default settings for a LUA application fix contains file system and registry redirects to the fixed application's user-specific portion of the environment. The registry redirect broke RealVideo streaming for some reason I was unable to determine. I suspect the error to happens somewhere buried inside MPC/ActiveX/RealAlternative. Regmon was of no help in this case.

However, everything works fine now and I am happy to watch my RealMedia streams again outside a browser.

DownloadDownload the application fix for Media Player Classic. Install it using sdbinst.exe "Media Player Classic with RealMedia Compatibility.sdb".

Now playing: Yonderboi - Shallow and Profound (Limited Edition) - No answer from Petrograd

Windows Server 2003 Access-based Enumeration

Posted in Tools and Software | Windows at Monday, 23 January 2006 22:33 W. Europe Standard Time

Microsoft has released a nifty add-in for Windows Server 2003 making it possible to show users only those shares that they are allowed to access. The calculation incorporates folder share rights and NTFS rights which means that even objects within folders are filtered out.


Now playing: Audio Lotion - Advanced Skin Care - 90 60 90

Copying Error Messages

Posted in General | Tools and Software | Windows at Friday, 06 January 2006 17:54 W. Europe Standard Time

Programs occasionally encounter errors with a message box popping up reporting the error to the user.

Error Message

Most times if the user can't figure out how to deal with the error it gets escalated via IM or e-mail to someone more experienced. The error descriptions I receive often lack details on what operation exactly caused the failure and the complete error message that has been presented. The latter is often due to laziness or simply by not knowing what is important about the error message. An "Access denied" error may contain further details on why access was not granted. There's a simple solution to this, both giving the supporter the opportunity to see the verbatim error message and relieving the user from typing it: Copy the error message using Ctrl+C.

The message box above yields the following text that could be pasted into an e-mail or your favorite IM:

Ordner kann nicht erstellt werden
Der Ordner "Neuer Ordner" konnte nicht erstellt werden.

Zugriff verweigert


Now playing: Triola - Im Fünftonraum - Unland

Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit and Screen Savers

Posted in Tools and Software | Windows at Friday, 07 October 2005 20:12 W. Europe Daylight Time

I just wondered if the Microsoft ACT 4.1 is able to create application fixes for misbehaving screen savers. I tried to create such a fix for the bogus screen saver "Endlosliste" of "Der digitale Grimm" (a German dictionary by the Brothers Grimm, the screen saver shows all dictionary entries scrolling like film credits). This nasty piece of software stores its settings and state (i.e. the last shown word) in %windir%\ecwords.dat, so it's virtually unusable for any user running with limited rights.

Unfortunately ACT's Compatibility Administrator isn't able to create fixes for files with extensions != exe. Renaming the according scr file to an extension of exe renders the screen saver invisible in Windows' desktop settings/screen saver dialog.

I am not sure if I should curse the screen saver devs or ACT for not allowing to select files other than exes. Maybe there are technical reasons for disallowing other extensions, but I haven't found something about that.

BTW: This entry was blogged from Silke's new laptop :-)

Now playing: Weathertunes - Characters - Holidays

Previous Page Page 2 of 2 in the Windows category