Sunday, August 12, 2007

Help and Support and System Information fail to start

A system issue with the Windows applications System Information and Help and Support won't start. (The application processes are msinfo32.exe & helpctr.exe)

The System Information was likely corrupted by an unexpected termination, malware, spyware, virus or the like. It can be recovered by reinstalling System Information and Help and Support services.

Restore Help and Support and System Information by perform the following in command prompt:
net stop helpsvc
cd /d %windir%\pchealth\helpctr\binaries
start /w helpsvc /svchost netsvcs /regserver /install
start /w helpsvc /register

System Information and Help and Support should run correctly now.
Also see: Restoring Windows Original Files

Restoring Windows Original Files

Before running this, you might first try to retsore Windows Help and Support and System Information.

To restore Windows files to the original state run the Windows System File Checker (sfc.exe), with the command:
sfc /scannow

You'll need to run it from the Windows native console, so if you are in Remote Desktop, use the console switch:
%SystemRoot%\system32\mstsc.exe -console

The program will need the original Windows CD. To use a different source directory, i.e. you have a copy of the windows CD in a local folder, change the registry key at:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Setup
Named: SourcePath

For detailed information on using this tool see here.

Windows Firewall can not run because another program or service is running that might use the Network Address Translation component (IPNat.sys)

Windows Networking Firewall failure Error

Upon trying to open and configure the Windows built-in Firewall, you receive the error:
"Windows Firewall can not run because another program or service is running that might use the Network Address Translation component (IPNat.sys)"

Cause is due to settings left in by "Routing and Remote Access" service. Even if the service is stopped, Windows will still report this error because the network card bindings are still being held by RRAS.

Disable RRAS by opening the MMC for it and "Disable Remote Access and Routing". This can also be found by Right-clicking "My Computer", opening the Service and Application node.

By Disabling RRAS in this way, the network protocol interface bindings are removed allowing for the Windows Firewall and Connection Sharing service to take over.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Windows Computer Alias for sharing

Windows natively supports NFS shares through the URI \\server-name \\ip.add.ress. Often though, you want to give the computer a different alias for example:
\\dev.relevantads.com
Or multiple aliases:
\\vss.relevantads.com, \\corp-file-server, \\Printer-Stations, etc.

Typically you would accomplish this you by changing the NetBIOS name to "dev", but instead, you can specifically define the aliases though the registry key:
HKEY_Local_Machine\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanServer\Parameters
Add Value: OptionalNames REG_SZ String: "Alias"
Make it a type REG_MULTI_SZ to support multiple aliases.

Moreover, you can support all aliases; i.e. tell Windows to accept any share request that comes to its IP. This is the registry key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanServer\Parameters
Data Type: DWORD
Value Name: DisableStrictNameChecking
Value: 1

A reboot is necessary (or possibly just restarting the Server | Workstation service) to allow the changes to take effect.

Lastly:
Don't forget that you'll also need File & Printer sharing enable, Firewall off or an exception for File sharing, and that the alias name must resolve either through DNS or a custom HOSTS declaration.

Computer Browser is stopping and won't start

Upon tying to start the Computer Browser, it immediately returns:
"computer browser service on local computer started and then stopped"

Try:

1) In the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE subtree, go to the following subkey:

SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Browser\Parameters\MaintainServerList

2) Change MaintainServerList to either Auto or Yes.

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