Archive for the ‘Windows XP / 7’ Category

Internet explorer: No Google search results

June 17, 2014 Leave a comment

Issue: Recently I had an annoying issue with Internet explorer when searching with the Google engine. I had no results when searching something with Google it just displayed blank results. I had no issue with Chrome or other browsers. First I used Internet explorer 9 and then upgraded to Internet explorer 11 but the issue remained.

Resolution: Disable instant search via or or use the non instant search URL:

I have no idea why exactly Google search stopped working with my Internet explorer but it fixed my issue by disabling instant search. Maybe was my pc not fast enough for Google 🙂



More info:


Categories: Windows 8, Windows XP / 7

IE9: Open Adobe PDF file types automatically

August 12, 2013 1 comment

Add the following registry key if you want to avoid a “save as” pop-up message if you open PDF files within Internet explorer 9. With Internet explorer 8 it was opening automatically so I exported this key from a machine with IE8 and this key seems to work perfect with Internet explorer 9. I had this issue on a lot of workstations with Adobe Reader XI + Internet explorer 9. Even if the “Adobe PDF Link Helper” plug-in was installed. This plug-in is installed automatically with Adobe Reader XI but seems not to open PDF files automatically. This issue does not occur with Adobe Reader X.


Hope this can help someone.

Categories: Windows XP / 7

DFS mapping error: Refers to a location that is unavailable

February 20, 2013 2 comments

Last week I experienced some strange behaviors with offline files in combination with DFS. In most environments is DFS really common and used for network mappings, roaming profile, homedrive,.. .

The initial issue was that users experienced random access issues to DFS mappings which solved themselves after some time.

Users get an error like: Drive x refers to a location that is unavailable. It could be on a hard drive on this computer, or on a network. Check to make sure that the disk is properly inserted, or that you are connected to the Internet or your network, and then try again. If it still cannot be located, the information might have been moved to a different location.


In the beginning I thought that this was an issue with one of the DFS Namespace servers. Mostly are random access denied issues caused due a permission difference on one of the DFS roots.

When the issue occurred I started trying to access the DFS share through different locations:

  • client could not connect to “\\\dfsroot”
  • client could connect to “\\domain\dfsroot”
  • client could connect to “\\DCA\dfsroot”
  • client could connect to “\\DCB\dfsroot”

Apparently only the “\\\” was not accessible. So I also enabled show hidden files and protected files and then I saw that only the Homedrive of the user was available because this was made offline. But what I really found strange was that “\\domain\dfsroot” was just working. I discovered that on desktops the access issue was not happening because offline files were not enabled on the desktops.

After some research on the Internet that Offline Files does not distinguish DFS paths from UNC paths:  Technet blog

So what happens on Windows 7 client: Offline files sync in the background and there is by default a slow-link detection mechanism.

  • If the offline file feature discovers that the network is slow it will work offline (Slow-Link mode)
  • Offline file feature thinks that \\ is the fileserver so it will break the communication to \\
  • All other DFS mappings based on \\ become unavailable
  • The DFS mappings will become online again if the offline file feature detects fast network again

There is not really a nice solution for this but here are some possible solutions:

  • Disable Slow-Link mode via Group Policies (it will not solve mapping issue when the client really lose it’s connection for a short time)
  • Use UNC paths as network mappings
  • Map network drives as \\Domain\dfsroot (A bit cheating with DFS : so without .com)

I don’t know yet if the offline file feature on Win8/Server 2012 can work with DFS paths.

Windows 7: Remote assistance – Black screen during elevated rights

December 22, 2012 Leave a comment

By default you get a black screen when you offer remote assistance and run for example an application with elevated rights which is frustrated for IT support. In this post I will show you the two actions you must take to overcome this unpleasantness.

What Microsoft says about this:
It is not recommended that you start a program as an administrator in a Remote Assistance session. In this situation, the user can disconnect the Remote Assistance session at any time. Then, the user can continue to use administrative rights to run the program. To perform administrative tasks on a client computer, you may use a Remote Desktop Connection. 

To overcome this:

  • Change UAC policy

    Computer Policies\Windows Settings\Local Policies\Security Options\User Account Control\User Account Control: Allow UIAccess applications to prompt for elevation without using the secure desktop


    If you enable this policy setting, requests for elevation are automatically sent to the interactive desktop (not the secure desktop) and also appear on the remote administrator’s view of the desktop during a remote assistance session. This allows the remote administrator to provide the appropriate credentials for elevation.

    More info:

Categories: Windows XP / 7

Windows 7: Offer Remote assistance

July 12, 2012 3 comments

It looks like Offer Remote Assistance is an hidden option within Windows 7. You need to create your own shortcut if you want to make use of it. It’s very easy but I need to remember it so I place this one on my blog:

Right click on your desktop – Create a new shortcut
Location of the item: %windir%\system32\msra.exe /offerra

Run the shortcut as an Administrator if you don’t have sufficient rights.

Some additional info:
Remote assistance is backward compatible so you can offer remote Assistance from Windows 7 to Windows XP. But you can’t use the Windows XP remote assistance to remotely control a Windows 7 machine.

Categories: Windows XP / 7

Disable automatic updates for Adobe Flash, Shockwave player & Reader

July 7, 2012 6 comments

In this post I will show you how to disable automatic updates for common Adobe tools like Adobe Flash Player & Adobe Shockwave Player. The things that Adobe writes in their Administration guides does not work always so I will show you at least what worked for me:

Adobe Flash Player (11.3)

The mms.cfg is working again for versions 11.3

  • Download Adobe Flash player MSI
  • Create a file with the name mms.cfg that contains AutoUpdateDisable=yes
  • 32-bit Windows editions:
    xcopy %0\..\mms.cfg “%Windir%\SysWOW64\Macromed\Flash” /I /Y
  • 64-bit Windows editions
    xcopy %0\..\ mms.cfg “%Windir%\System32\Macromed\Flash ” /I /Y

Verify the settings in the Flash Player Settings Manager within control panel:

Adobe Shockwave Player (11.6)

For Adobe Shockwave Player I think the easiest way here is to modify the MSI properties:

  • Open sw_lic_full_installer.msi with SuperOrca.
    Navigate to the registry section and modify the value of the following two keys:
  • Key:SOFTWARE\Adobe\Shockwave 11\AutoUpdate
    Value: n
  • Key: SOFTWARE\Adobe\Shockwave 11\collectstats
    Value: n

SuperOrca Properties

Save the MSI and deploy.

Verify via:
Right click -> Shockwave Settings

Adobe Reader (10.x)

For Adobe Reader you can use the Customization wizard to disable automatic updates and further customize your settings.

  • Download Adobe Customization wizard 10
  • Download Adobe Reader 10.x & extract the exe to get the MSI
  • Go to the Online And Features: Disable all updates

An other thing I also disable to improve the Adobe Reader startup is disabling protected mode but it’s not recommend by Adobe:

Create a “bProtectedMode” Dword key with value 0 in HKLM\Software\Policies\Adobe\Acrobat Reader\10.0\FeatureLockDown

Install the Adobe Reader MSI with the saved mst file:

start /D%0\..\ /WAIT msiexec /i Acroread.msi  TRANSFORMS=AcroRead.mst /qb-!

Hope this helps!

Categories: Windows XP / 7

Windows XP: Troubleshoot logon issues

May 31, 2011 1 comment

Slow logon times is in my opinion one of the most common complaints of users especially when you have them on the phone and ask them to log-off and log-on again. Then there will be a big chance that they say oh that will take a lot of time! In this post I will cover a small tutorial of how I enable logging and troubleshoot this for Windows XP clients. For Windows 7 I prefer to use the Debugging and performance tools in the “Windows SDK toolkit” to troubleshoot logon issues because this provides more info then in Windows 7 then XP. This was already covered in my previous post.

First it’s important to enable some logging to determinate the issue:

For myself is the user environment log the most important log file because here I can determine easier when exactly a user logs in and when it is  finished. The netlogon & uermode log files are located in %systemRoot%\Debug & %systemRoot%\Debug\UserMode

To analyze the UserMode userenv.log file I prefer to use the free third party tool Policy Reporter:

Example events of userenv.log :

USERENV(224.228) 11:06:41:452 LoadUserProfile: Entering, hToken = <0x860>, lpProfileInfo = 0x6e3e0
-> You have entered your login credentials

USERENV(224.228) 11:06:41:452 LoadUserProfile: lpProfileInfo->dwFlags = <0x0>
-> Winlogon tries to identify your profile

USERENV(224.228) 11:06:41:452 LoadUserProfile: lpProfileInfo->lpUserName = <test_user>
-> Start loading profile your

USERENV(af8.a08) 11:07:13:045 LibMain: Process Name:  C:\WINDOWS\Explorer.EXE
-> Logon finished -> Explorer.exe starts: desktop, taskbar loaded.

So I have collected the correct logon timings, I can start investigating the events between these. Also I will investigate the %systemRoot%\Debug\netlogon.log events between the same timings to detect errors or time-outs.

You can also use the NLParse tool from Account lockout and management tools of Microsoft to extract some events from the netlogon: NLParse.exe.

The netlogon.log & userenv.log provides a lot of information and it could take some time to get through them. The best way is first to determine the time difference between each event to detect the slow logon issue.

Categories: Windows XP / 7