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  • Filtering policies in new Group Policy management tool

    Posted on May 4th, 2008 By Andreas Stenhall + 2 comments

    When you install Vista Service Pack 1 the old GPMC.MSC control panel is removed. The reason for this is that there is a new and improved Group Policy management tool released in the Remote Server Administration Tool kit that was released slightly after Service Pack 1 was released to the public.

    One of the new features of the new Group Policy management tool is that you can filter policy settings. Directly under “Administrative templates” for both Computer and User Configuration there is a new “All settings” category which lists all settings in “Administrative templates”. If you select “All settings” you might then right click anywhere and choose “Filter options”. It looks like the screenshot below.

    Group Policy Filtering

    By entering the information you are looking for it is very easy to find the group policy settings that you are looking for. This is becoming more and more necessary as the number of policies grows by hundreds or nearly a thousand for every new Windows version released and it is hard to find the setting one is looking for.

    Download Remote Server Administration Tools (x86)
    Download Remote Server Administration Tools (x64)

  • No image catalog for 32-bit images when running Vista x64 SP1

    Posted on March 11th, 2008 By Andreas Stenhall + 3 comments

    I have had severe problems with System Image Manager crashing when trying to create the Catalog file for a Vista Enterprise SP1 image. The other day an updated version of the Windows Vista Service Pack 1 and Server 2008 Windows Automated Installation Kit was released and my hopes were high for a fix being included. That version crashed as well and after studying the release notes it clearly state that what I am trying to do is no longer supported, as I am running a 64-bit version of Vista and am trying to create a catalog image for a 32-bit image of Vista. Another SP1 problem it seems!

    “Because of the changes in the servicing stack in Windows Vista with Service Pack 1 (SP1) and Windows Server 2008, Windows System Image Manager (Windows SIM) cannot create catalog files for some Windows images of different architecture types. The following list describes the Image Manager architecture types and catalogs that can be created for each one.

    • x86 Image Manager
      Can create catalogs for x86, x64, and Itanium-based Windows images.
    • x64 Image Manager
      Can create catalogs only for x64 Windows images.
    • Itanium-based Image Manager
      Can create catalogs only for Itanium-based Windows images.”

    See the release notes and download the new WAIK package.

  • Make Vista SP1 permanent and gain gigabytes of disk space

    Posted on February 29th, 2008 By Andreas Stenhall + No comments

    With Windows Vista Service comes a very handy tool which is called VSP1CLN.EXE, short for Vista Service Pack 1 Cleaner. The tool can be found in %SYSTEMROOT%\System32 and when run it makes Windows Vista Service Pack 1 permanent on your computer. In short that means that all files that are backed up during SP1 installation are removed and you will gain several gigabytes of disk space. It also means that you cannot uninstall Service Pack 1 after you have run VSP1CLN.EXE. This tool should pass anyone by!

  • The solution to 0xC004F013: Remove KB941649

    Posted on December 27th, 2007 By Andreas Stenhall + 1 comment

    Since the first build of Service Pack 1 beta was released I have had major problems installing it on our Vista Enterprise corporate image, with hotfixes, security update and drivers integrated. The problem has been that we have to install Service Pack 1 two times, the first time it will always fail with the error code 0xC004F013 but the second time SP1 would always install without any indication of error. Very annoying as SP1 takes some time to install and as we will be rolling out Vista in the organization it is totally unacceptable to have to install SP1 twice. And who knows what other side effects there might be?

    Microsoft and I did some research and I first thought that a patch that is only available for order from Microsoft Support was the cause of the problem. After rebuilding the image without that patch the SP1 installation would still fail with 0xC004F013. Today, back at work after Christmas, I managed to figure out by reading the log files produced from package manager (pkmgr.exe) that KB941946 is the hotfix that causes this SP1 installation problem. And to be accurate it’s version 2 of the patch.

    It would be very interesting to learn if anyone else who has a Vista image with patch KB941649-V2 integrated get this error 0xC004F0143 as well when installing Service Pack 1. The problem itself does not lie in SP1 and that is why it has been important to actually and finally get to the bottom of this!

  • Vista SP1 RC installation error 0x80070059 solution

    Posted on November 18th, 2007 By Andreas Stenhall + 3 comments

    I still do not know the exact cause of why Vista SP1 RC1 kept failing to install on one of my machines, resulting in error code 0x80070059. However I must thank the Microsoftee Darrell Gorter who lead me to the solution, the simple solution I might add. The solution was simply to copy the file winusb.inf from c:\Windows\system32\DriverStore\FileRepository\winusb.inf_0362a280\winusb.inf to c:\Windows\inf. After copying the winusb.inf file there the Vista SP1 RC1 installation completed with no error codes at all!

  • Special character in Swedish alphabet causes Vista SP1 RC1 bug

    Posted on November 17th, 2007 By Andreas Stenhall + No comments

    One of the Vista installation bugs (error code 0x80070059) I told you about the other day has gotten a somewhat strange explanation. It seems to be a Swedish alphabet bug with sort order/collation of the “V” and “W” characters. I did some research on the Swedish alphabet and found out an interesting thing. In the Swedish alphabet the letter “W” does not like most other languages alphabets sort after “V”. Instead “V” and “W” are equal and all sortings should be made with the second character, meaning “Windows” will sort before “Voice” and not like in the English language where “Voice” would sort before “Windows”. One learn something every day!

  • First impressions of Vista SP1 Release Candidate

    Posted on November 15th, 2007 By Andreas Stenhall + 3 comments

    Yesterday evening/night I tried to install the newly released Windows Vista Service Pack 1 Release Candidate on both my work laptop and my main computer at home. The really great parts are that Microsoft added a progress indicator, which after the second restart in an upgrade scenario now indicate at what stage the installation is. There is unfortunately bad news as well, the installation bug I told you about earlier remain. The bug is that every first installation of SP1 installation fail with the error code 0xC004F013, but the second time it always works to install. Another installation issue is that I cannot install SP1 on my main computer, where SP1 installation fail with error code 0x80070059. Let’s see what Microsoft have to say about this!

  • Celebrating Vista’s first birthday

    Posted on November 2nd, 2007 By Andreas Stenhall + No comments

    Exactly one year ago Windows Vista Gold (RTM) was built and today we celebrate Windows Vista’s first real birthday. Looking back at when Vista was released (November 30th 2006) I can see great improvements in Vista itself, third party drivers and application compability. Still there are a few issues here and there but hopefully all issues will be resolved by Service Pack 1 and in coming drivers.

    The most frustrating problem I have right now on my home computers arethat I still experience problems with the wireless network connection not being able to reconnect efter resuming from Sleep. The good news is that the bug has gotten closed with the status “fixed” so there is hope.

    My without doubt most frustrating problem with my work laptop is the fact that whenever the domain is not reachable everything you do with the computer takes like 30 seconds, no matter if you start Windows Explorer, right click a file, delete a file etc. That problem lies in the kernel as documented by Mark Russinovich. There is also a problem when browsing web sites with IE7, but only if you type for instance www.theexperienceblog.com, then it takes forever to load the page and the computer just sits there as if nothing is happening. The workaround for this issue is to append http:// to the address because then the page loads instantly as expected. The latter problems are fixed in SP1, thank you for that Microsoft. Shame that it took a year to fix…

  • Backing up BitLocker recovery keys to Active Directory

    Posted on October 21st, 2007 By Andreas Stenhall + 1 comment

    Using BitLocker to encrypt your system partition is a very good option to keep the computer and the data on it secure. Starting with Vista SP1 you will be able to encrypt not only the system partition but all the other partitions as well, offering even better security. When you encrypt a partition with BitLocker a recovery key is automatically generated so that you can recover the data on the computer when necessary. By default you have the choice of printing the recovery key or saving it to a USB stick or a network share.

    BitLocker Key Recovery ToolHowever using a group policy setting (Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > BitLocker Drive Encryption > Turn on BitLocker backup to Active Directory)  you can also backup the recovery key to Active Directory, which is a very good suggestion I must say. If you are running Windows Server 2008 you do not have to anything to get this working but if you would like to use Windows Server 2003 with SP1 or later to backup the BitLocker recovery key you must use scripts provided by Microsoft to extend the schema.

    Microsoft also offer a tool called BitLocker Recovery Password Viewer which can be downloaded directly from Microsoft Premier Services. When this tool is installed it introduce another tab in a computer objects Properties called “BitLocker Recovery” where the BitLocker recovery keys are listed for your viewing pleasure in the case of necessary restoration. The only negative part about the tool is that it can only be installed on a Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 computer as it require that you have installed the “Window Server 2003 Administration tools for SP1” on Windows XP to get the control panel for Active Directory Users and Computers.

    UPDATE: I forgot to add the link to the page where you can find all the necessary information as well as the “extend schema”-script. Here it is!

  • Vista SP1 installations fail with error code C004F013

    Posted on October 18th, 2007 By Andreas Stenhall + 1 comment

    The first time I installed Windows Vista Service Pack 1 beta on my work laptop it seemed to install fine, but after logging in for the first time it wanted me to activate Vista to be able to continue. Strange I thought and of course I tried to activate it since our MAK key was in the image already. But instead of activating Vista the computer would just restart and the SP1 installation was reverted and the installation eventually was pronounced as failed with error code C004F013. I tried installing SP1 again and then it was installed successfully.

    After doing another Vista deployment and installing SP1 I found out that the exact same thing happened again, and then again on another machine. I then filed it as a bug on Connect as the problem was also occuring with the standalone version as well as the one from Windows Update. Microsoft has now implemented a workaround for the problem but they are still working on finding the origin of the problem to be able to provide a solid solution to the problem.

    I must really say that I’m impressed by Microsoft as they have been very professional and helpful in resolving the Service Pack 1 issues I’ve reported.