Author: Andreas Stenhall

Warning for using Vista Offline files with NAS devices

This is just a warning to anyone thinking about using Offline files in Windows Vista together with a NAS device. The Offline files feature is activated by default on all folders which you redirect when using Folder Redirection. The problem is that the Offline files feature is not supported by all NAS devices out there.

The Windows Storage Team posted a blog notice about this more than a year ago but this is worth mentioning again. Although they provide a solution for NAS devices using Samba (which many does) there is no guarantee at all that the NAS device has the correct version of Samba or even support making the necessary changes.

Vista detects that the system is working slow

The other day when I was running a couple of virtual machines in Virtual PC in my computer I got a warning looking like the picture below. Vista detected that the machine was working very hard and offered me to switch to the Windows Vista Basic color scheme. This is the first time I’ve seen this in Vista since I started testing a couple of years ago. Have you seen this or anything similar?

Slow Performance in Windows Vista

Turn off UAC in a domain using Group Policies

Some people for whatever reason want to turn off UAC for all or certain computers in a domain using Group Policies. This is done by setting the Computers Configuration > Windows Settings > Local Policies > Security Options > User Account Control: Run all administrators in Admin Approval Mode to disabled. As usual when turning off UAC a reboot is required for the changes to take effect.

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

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

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!

Script for enabling Network discovery and File and Printer sharing in Vista

In Windows Vista it might at a first glance appear to be tricky to automatically enable File and Printer sharing and Network discovery. However it is actually very easy when you know what to type. The “netsh” command comes in handy here, and you can use the below strings in a script to enable it on many clients automatically.

To enable File and Printer sharing you run the command:

netsh firewall set service type=fileandprint mode=enable profile=all

To enable Network discovery you run the command:

netsh advfirewall firewall set rule group=”network discovery” new enable=yes

Please note that you can change which profile you want to apply the changes for.

EDIT: First and foremost, I accidently added the “profile=all” to the Network Discovery string which is totally incorrect, as Network discovery is enabled for all profiles when this command is run. Second, if you are using Windows in another language than English you will have to adjust “network discovery” to what it is called in your localized language. For instance on the Swedish version of Vista it would be:

netsh advfirewall firewall set rule group=”nätverksidentifiering” new enable=yes

EDIT 2: The network discovery script only work with Windows Vista with Service Pack 1.

Vista slowness problem gets solution pre-SP1

Microsoft has just released a Knowledge Base article about the fact that Windows Vista systems using Folder Redirection are experiencing slowness’s of about 30 seconds when you do not have a connection to the network, i.e. are at home, traveling etc. The support article state that the system may be unresponsive when opening Windows Explorer and other applications. This problem has been haunting many users, including myself and it is nice to see a solution, although it should have been published a long time ago. Waiting for Service Pack 1 I strongly recommend this to anyone using Folder redirection and having laptop computers running Windows Vista.

A Windows Vista-based computer is frequently unresponsive for 30 seconds if the Documents folder is redirected to a shared folder, and the folder is made available offline

Slipstream the “new” Windows Update components

More than half a year ago Microsoft silently released updated Windows Update components. No official notice was made about this silent release until now, when Microsoft finally published a Knowledge Base article about it, providing download links. But hey, wait! The downloads have been available since the new components were released in mid August. That is because the new Windows Update components are automatically downloaded via Windows Update, and all files that are downloaded via Windows Update are specified with download paths in WindowsUpdate.log. You can always find the download links directly in the WindowsUpdate.log (located in %WINDIR%) if you look at what the file name requested is and then adding it to the base download path.

The benefits of downloading the new Windows Update components from here is that you can integrate the CAB files directly into the Windows Vista install.wim image. Here are the links to the Windows Update Components CAB files (please note that you need to integrate/slipstream all three files for each platform):

  • Windows Update Component ActiveX, x86 or x64.
  • Windows Update Component Aux, x86 or x64.
  • Windows Update Component Core, x86 or x64.

More information and download links for the EXE installers for Windows Vista and Windows XP can be found in the Microsoft Support KB article KB946928.

Microsoft vs Microsoftee opinions!

More than half a year ago I wrote about the Start menu in Windows, which was published as a short news article on the Swedish  TechWorld web site (a part of the International Data Group). A couple of days ago I got a notice from a blog reader that I am being accused, along with 8-9 million other totally innocent people referred to as “The Swedes”, for mistaking the words coming from blogger Raymond Chen from the Old New thing blog for Microsoft’s opinion. I do apologize for not mentioning Raymond by name in the article. I should of course have done that as he is the author of the article and the blog post I am referring to. But as I understand Raymond’s point, the fact that the original article is published within Microsoft’s web pages i.e. TechNet Magazine and MSDN cannot be anything else than (in)directly approved by Microsoft and therefore be considered as “Microsoft’s opinion”.