KB973879: Or, How Microsoft “Inadvertantly” Pushed SP2 To All Vista Machines.

Anyone in the computer repair industry knows, when an update comes along that just doesn’t work properly, whether it be an operating system patch, application patch, or a new version of a driver, that singular bad update becomes the bane of all technicians for anywhere from a few weeks to months, depending on the app it’s patching and the conditions required to recreate the issue.

This was one such instance. On Tuesday August 25, 2009, Microsoft released the KB973879 update to the Microsoft Update service. Since many Windows-based computers run with automatic updates enabled, this update was installed, which was released to correct an infrequently-noticed error that only occurs during the installation of Vista Service Pack 2. However, it appears to have been tested incompletely as on many computers (most of them, from our informal observations, appear to be HP notebooks for some reason), the installation of this patch will cause a severe bluescreen issue (0x7E). This will only occur on 64-bit editions of Windows Vista SP1 however.

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I know, I know…

So I did say a new 101 in 1001 list was coming back… in February, damn. Oh well.

I’ve made the decision to pull the plug on this blog anyway. The 101 in 1001 concept won’t leave my site – far from it. The content I’ve already posted here will be moved on over to my main blog, for posterity’s sake. New posts on this subject will be posted there as well. Once the move is complete, the main URL to this blog (http://blog.mattfast1.com/1001) will redirect to the category/tag I’m posting all these items in over there.

Oh, and all those posts I went though the main blog and hid? Those will be pulled out into a separate system, disconnected from the internet at large, and will most likely be added to as my personal journal, where there is much less of a chance for tampering or unauthorized viewing. Consider these acts numbers 1 and 2 on my new 101 list.

MS Office 2007: Activation?

Recently, as readers of this blog will know, I installed the Windows 7 RTM bits on my laptop, removing everything else that was on there (including Windows 7 RC, Windows Vista Home Premium, and the Kubuntu install I never use). Of course, as part of this I had to reinstall Office 2007 Ultimate, which lead to an interesting problem: Whenever I tried to activate Office, it would give an error stating there was no connection to the internet. Strange, to say the least, because I was surfing the web at the same time.

It gets stranger, though. When I tried to use the “Activate by Telephone” option, the Activation Wizard would dump me out, not even loading any data relating to phone numbers or giving me the lengthy set of numbers I would need to give their computer for activation. Finally after tracking down Microsoft KB 919895, I was able to fix the problem. Below the cut, step-by-step instructions for fixing this rather annoying problem: (more…)

Optimizing Laptop Drive

By now, I’m sure most people have heard of the release of Windows 7. Those more in the loop know that the final releases were placed on TechNet on Thursday morning. Fortunately, I got on the downloading wagon before most people on that day, so I now have the Gold edition of Windows 7 Ultimate running on my laptop.

The road has been long and hard, though. (more…)

I’m Baaaccckkk!

Wow, it’s certainly been a crazy ride, right? Especially considering the last time I actually penned anything here was nearly 5 months ago. I’d be surprised if I had any readers anymore, other than spambots and stalkers… but I digress.

I have goals. Short-term, long-term, and in between – I have them all. One of the things I’ve realized, though, is that many of my goals are currently undefined. One of the reasons I haven’t even touched this site in months is because of a lack of stated goals concerning the site, which has lead to a lack of motivation. What this means for you is that you definitely have less motivation to read my writing, and in the world of Web 2.0, that’s commiting suicide.

So here’s the bottom line: I am stating a goal to write a blog post every week from here on out. Any more than that will be a bonus. I think the current state of the world brings me no shortage of things to write about. I also intend to finish the “quick” project I started over two years ago to bring my websites into the 21st century, by recoding into PHP and potentially linking content in from all of my online sources. Long-term, I will probably look into redesigning my website. The modular design of my PHP-driven code should help in that.

My writings will also probably become more personal, about things that affect me on a day to day basis. This means that occasionally, this blog might host stories about virtual chickens, the Geek Squad, and computing technologies in general. This blog will hopefully become more well-written. I reserve the right to kill off old, poorly-written entries, although things like the outing of Bill Smith Auto Parts (who it occurs to me now that I sent the CEO an email about the quality and quantity of posts by one if its employees here, and nothing appears to have come of it) will stay until the end of time so people can read about these types of business failures.