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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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…)