Saturday, December 26, 2009

Unmountable Boot Volume

The infamous “Blue Screen of Death” message - it’s often a device driver issue, but it could also signal a hardware problem or even an incorrect BIOS setting.

When the message refers to a disk problem and there were no recent hardware changes, get into the Recovery Console and run chkdsk/r. Exit and Windows should start normally. On rare occasions, chkdsk/r can cause problems, requiring a restore from your backup, so make sure you've got a good one.

Still not working? Check the hard drive cable for damage; also see if it’s the correct cable for the drive (40-conductor cable used on a Ultra-DMA drive which requires a 80-conductor cable). Another show stopper would be an overly aggressive drive data transfer rates.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Department MFP Printer Driver Installation Causes Windows Installer Error

During a recent install of a multi-function printer driver for a dozen desktops, one of the software components decided not to cooperate and threw a Windows Installer error. Since another printer from the same manufacturer had been installed previously, remnants of the that installation may have been the cause.

Nonetheless, we downloaded and installed the Windows Installer CleanUp Utility, found the offending software in the list and removed the entry. Afterwards, the driver installed without issues.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Update for MS XML Core Services SP2 Offered Repeatedly

Coincidentally, we came across this issue on several XP PCs this week – Windows or Microsoft Update keeps updates MS07-042 or MS08-069 in the update queue as if they were never installed.

As it turns out, Microsoft knows about it and issued KB 941729, which describes the fix. Just rename an out of date or corrupt dynamic link library file and run the update one more time.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Hardware Drivers from Windows/Microsoft Update

When our unmanaged clients install their own updates from Microsoft’s Update site, they sometimes opt for a “custom” rather than an “express” installation. In most instances, this does not create a problem however every once in a while, a client installs everything that’s offered. When hardware drivers are involved, problems can arise.

We’ve now seen two incidents in the past week where shaky or corrupt hardware drivers installed during the Microsoft Update process either crashed or froze a workstation. While I appreciate the effort to stay current on updates, sometimes it’s best to leave drivers alone if all is OK.