Archive for May, 2009

Slow Windows Explorer

May 21, 2009

Not to be confused with Internet Explorer of course.

The other day I had a client that complained that whenever she opened “My Computer” it would sit there for 30 seconds before it responded. It would even show as “Not Responding”.

Initially I thought it might be Virus Checker problems. I uninstalled it. No difference.

After I had a look in the event log I found some stuff that pointed to Windows Search and DNS issues.

I turned off the Client DNS service as this is only really used if there are no DNS servers on the network and to decide on a Master Browser. Anyway that didn’t make any difference.

Next I turned ON Windows Search (as I had previously disabled it as we wanted to use Google Desktop instead). Anyway this didn’t work either.

The funny thing was that when I opened “My Documents” it opened instantly with no delay. If, however, I opened iTunes it would take again about 30 seconds.

OK before you lose interest, here’s what I found;  She had mapped some network drives! Now normally that wouldn’t be a problem but she had to manually establish a VPN connection to allow those drives to work. In essence when she opened any application that looked at all the drives on the machine it would hit the mapped drives and stop. It couldn’t access them but would keep trying until it timed out (which unlocked Windows Explorer).

Solution? I created a small script to map and disconnect the drives;

net use s: \\server\share

That maps it.

net use s: /d

That disconnects it.

Put them in two different scripts and make shortcuts on the desktop and that fixed the problem.


SSL Certificates…. sigh.

May 14, 2009

Right then, let’s get down to business.

I had to renew an SSL cert for a client. Simple enough I thought and sure, it should be. But it wasn’t. Here’s how it went down;

The server is running IIS 6.0.(Windows Server 2003 SBS)

The easy way to do this is to;

  • Right click on the site.(in the IIS Management MMC)
  • Choose Properties > Directory Security Tab > Server Certificate button
  • Next > Choose “Renew the current Cert”
  • Prepare the Request now, but send it later
  • Choose a file name 

At this point it generates a renewal cert.

Now all being equal I would go to the SSL certificate issuing company and login, click on the links to get to the renewal of SSL certs. Cut and paste the cert into their website and take it from there. After a day or so (or a few minutes if I hassle their tech support) they will process the request, at which point I login to their website again and cut and paste the newly generated SSL cert to a file locally.

From there I go back to the IIS management MMC, run through the whole process again but this time choose to process the pending request.

That is normal. For me it would seem that nothing is normal – I blame it on the Season finale of Lost. It didn’t work. Said something about that’s a load of old cobblers and to kindly go away.

The fix is this;

  • Right click on the “Default Web Site”
  • Choose New > Choose Web Site…
  • Go through all the stuff and make a new site.(Dont’ worry too much about the details. At this point we’re beyond caring)
  • Now that the new site is up, you need to generate a new SSL cert request.
  • Follow the steps above except to generate a new cert rather than renew.
  • During this process, make sure you have identical details to your old cert i.e. friendly name etc.
  • Again follow the steps above where you login to the issuing companies site, click on REISSUE the SSL cert.
  • Cut and paste the new cert you just generated into the site.
  • Wait for the them to come back to you with a new cert.(again feel free to hassle the tech support ppl)
  • Bring that down to a file locally.(this is all sounding familiar isn’t it)
  • Go back to the new site we just created and process the request. Hopefully it will take it this time!!!
  • Voila! we’re done.

So that’s all well and good but now we need to get that certificate on the REAL site.

  • Go back to IIS management.(you’re probably already there)
  • Go to your site.(probably Default Web Site)
  • Right Click > Properties > Directory Security > Server Certificate.
  • Click Next, then click on Replace the current Certificate.
  • Browse to that file you installed on the other new web site.
  • Really that’s it. It should take it just fine and you can now go and make a cup of coffee, or maybe a beer.

Com+ error

May 5, 2009

I doubt very much I will ever need this fix again but just in case (and for the benefit of anyone else who might come across this problem here the blurb…

I use an application for my clients called Encore. I had previously installed it on a client’s machine and then shipped it across the pond, only to find that Encore didn’t work. I remotely connected to the machine and had a look to find the following;

The Microsoft Distributed Transaction Coordinator wouldn’t work or more specifically Error 8004E00F. According to all sources that I had to search high and low for I needed to reinstall MSDTC. wonderful.

Anyway this is what I ran from a DOS prompt;

msdtc -install

msdtc -resetlog

That fixed it for me but of course it wiped out my previous settings. (which meant I had to reinstall Encore)

Apparently you can uninstall it by using this setting;

msdtc -remove

but I didn’t need to run that extra step. Just installing fixed my issue.