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earnshaw earnshaw Jack Sleeps
  • The hardest part about programming is...

    Without using a OUIJA board, trying to divine your predecessor's intent when he wrote that glop.  Also, trying not to become violently ill when confronted with what passes for "documentation."

  • Article ID: 290403 - Last Review: January 15, 2006 - Revision: 1.5 Get "F" for Clarity

    The aforementioned Knowledge Base article pertaining to Windows XP (defunct) contains these words:

    Registry Key and Values


    When security settings are set in Windows XP, the following registry key is used:


    The values are:

    • ForceGuest=1: Use this value to force guests on
    • ForceGuest=0: Use this value to force guests off


    Actually, the purpose of the ForceGuest registry key is to turn on or turn off the "classic" Security Tab so administrators are able to change the rules in Discretionary Access Control Lists.  DACLs are associated with directories and files.  The default for some SKUs of Windows XP is to make the security tab in Windows Explorer go missing.  This has something to do with the "Guest" user being "forced" to logon in some peculiar way when a computer belongs not to a Domain but to a Workgroup.   It was decided 10 or 15 years ago that having a Guest logon to a Workgroup posed a major problem if the Security tab were to remain available by default.  So it was whisked away and the ForceGuest key was born with this lame "explanation."

    This isn't a technical problem so much as another iteration of the inability of puzzler-style technologists to describe and explain what they decide to do and why.   Now, if I want the Security tab to appear, do I want to force guests on or do I want to force guests off?   I dunno.


  • Do you find WPF to be unnatural / unlogical?

    It is quite unusual these day for moderne "advances" in software technology to be adequately documented.   

  • The Transport Layer Security (TLS) Protocol

    Withdrawn.   Microsoft is agin it.

  • VHD Confusion and ​Incompatibi​lity

    In Windows World there is such a thing as a VHD file (Virtual Hard Disk/Drive).  It is the backing store for a virtual hard disk drive that is accessible from one or the other Virtual Machines that Microsoft offers to include Hyper-V and Windows XP Mode with Virtual PC.  One might be tempted think that a VHD is a VHD is a VHD.  But no.  You usually cannot plug a VHD from one VM solution into another solution and expect it to work.  And, by golly, that's been verified.  Lying outside the comfort of the Microsoft arena are other VM solutions such as VMWare.  There are "solutions" that claim to convert a VHD to the VMWare equivalent.  They are not specific as to the restrictions and at least one has been shown to crash after starting to perform the conversion.  Some utilities exist that purport to be able to extract files (or entire directories) from a VHD.   In the best of all possible worlds there would be less confusion and actual standards that relate to VHD format.  Finally, the VM can be running, hibernating, or shut down so as to interfere with VHD conversion.  And the VM can have so-called "integration" turned on, turned off but installed, or not installed to similar effect.  (Integration has to do with the way the operating system on the bare metal interacts with the operating system running on the VM.  For example, you can cut a phrase on the real machine and paste it on the VM.)  My latest essay into the virtual world had me pursuing a path from Windows XP Mode with Virtual PC to VMWare.  Is conceptually simple and practically impossible.

  • Delay Caused by Delete Operation Produces on a Write Operation: The Network File System Misbehaves

    Since I have been disappointed with various backup computer programs that I have had the displeasure to use, I wrote my own.  I'm pleased with my program.  While archiving a set of files to a network share, I find my program is sometimes informed by Windows that the share has become disconnected when, in reality, it has not.   Today a backup attempt terminated early in error when I initiated in parallel deletion of a 100 gigabyte file on the share that was simultanously being written to.  Apparently the time consuming deletion operation caused a stall on the file writing operation and that was decided by Windows to be a timeout/disconnection of the share.  This is hardly the behavior that I expect from Windows.  I used try/catch to prevent an egregious mystery, but the report from Windows fails to accurately describe the "error" for what it is:  an expected delay on the write caused by external factors.  Delay is not necessarily pathognomonic of disconnection.

  • 2011 The Year of the Linux Desktop

    Look.  If all you use your computer for is web browsing and e-mail then some absolutely free-of-charge Linux distribution with a reasonble point-and-click user interface is a feasible alternative to Windows.  The problem, as it was during 1970s for mainframes, is that 3rd-party commercial software applications are practically non-existant except on the dominant platform:  IBM 360/IBM 370 back then, Windows today.  Adherents and partisans to the contrary notwithstanding, Unix is no great shakes except as a research platform.  With every device shoehorned into being some variation on a TTY, and for other reasons, Unix and its variations have no place as a commodity distribution for the masses.  In contrast, Apple designed their operating software for masses to be far more intuitive, obvious, and easy to use than Microsoft ever succeeded at doing with Windows.  Microsoft wants Windows to be all things to all people and fails, sometimes spectacularly, to please.

  • Windows Virtual PC -- The Instructions Require an Update

    Recently I was assigned to create an application that takes its input via HTTP from an application that has been cultivated to operate with the latest Windows operating system release that is available within the developers section of my employer's business:  XP.  Since my computer runs Windows 7 Ultimate, and only with great difficulty anything earlier, I decided to use Windows Virtual PC and run XP under it.  This is termed Windows XP Mode under Windows 7.  In this way I am able to run the application that supplies my application with its input via their application's Web Server.  Out of the box, Windows Virtual PC does not play nicely with the other computers on my LAN. The default Windows XP Mode setting was, in my humble opinion, ill-chosen.   How to configure the problem away should be prominently stated but isn't.  So here I am to give you the low down.  Others have tried and failed to give the correct answer (see Google).  Dell's premiere support service guy in a city 300 km south of Bangalore didn't give the correct answer either.


    Configuring Windows XP Mode Networking to Be a Presence on Your LAN

    If you logon under James then using Windows Explorer,  open the folder

    C:\Users\James\Virtual Machines

    on the real machine (the one that hosts the virtual machine).  Right click on the shortcut to the VM and click on Settings.  Find Networking/Network Adapters in the table and change the setting on the virtual NIC to the name that matches the NIC hardware (e.g. RealTek) in the real (host) machine.  Reboot and perform IPCONFIG /ALL on the VM to see that the VM has been assigned an IP address on the same network as the real machine. (11/12/10)   Big Smile







  • The Junk Drawer

    What a joy it is day in day out to deal with Registry corruption or, at least, Registry internal inconsistency.   A rather popular Registry Cleaner utility (not recommended by any means by Microsoft) crashes on my machine because the Registry is messed up.  Not by me, but by certain very, very expensive commercial software vended not by Microsoft.   I'm now running the Recovery Partition to reinitialize the Registry so I can proceed.  One day computers will have either a Registry that will not become internally inconsistent or some better designed catch basin for the memory hole.

  • System Restore did not complete ​successfull​y. An unspecified error occurred during System Restore.

    System Restore did not complete successfully.  An unspecified error occurred during System Restore.  (0xc0000022).  Tried with two different restore points.  Both failed.  One possibly relevant historical problem has to do with a file whose name starts at 1 and increments to 1000 at which point System Restore fails because we are all out of piddies.  I'm wondering if Norton A-V may present some negative consequences to System Restore.   The whole point of this exercise is to remove residual garbage from The Registry that Oracle's high value database software leaves behind when one attempts to undo an installation.  One consolation is that the computer at least boots following the failed System Restore.  Thanks for small blessings.