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Windows Update Crashing?

A diff of the services before and after the crash

Recently my main installation of Windows started having troubles. After a program crashed (more details below) the sound stopped working, the window effects stopped (i.e. the theme), and sometimes the network wouldn’t respond; in other words, it was getting very annoying and pretty much unusable. At first I thought that this had something to do with the Microsoft Zune theme because the first things that would disappear were the window effects. So, I changed back to the Silver Windows XP style but the problem did not go away. This made me pay more attention to the Visual Studio debugging window that popped up when the process crashed. The debugging window said that svchost.exe was crashing. From prior experience I realized that it could be any of the services that this one process was hosting. I decided to capture the output from tasklist /svc before and after the crash to see what were services stopped due to the crash (see the screenshot).

After a few more rounds of crashed svchost.exe, I narrowed it down to the Windows Update service. My first few searches on the internet made me look for rootkits and viruses but I didn’t find any of those on my computer. After another half hour I found Scott Swigart’s site and that is where I found the solution. Re-registering the DLLs also did not solve the problem so I tried removing the SoftwareDistribution folder and guess what? Everything came back to normal!

So, if you get random crashes of svchost.exe and you have Automatic Update turned on then the first thing you should try is “refreshing” the %windir%/SoftwareDistribution folder. Instructions for doing this can be found at Scott Swigart’s blog entry but in my case I also had to stop wuauclt.exe before I could rename the folder. So, if you keep getting access denied errors when you rename the folder then you need to stop the wuauclt.exe process (Press CTRL, SHIFT and ESCAPE at the same time to get the task manager window > Switch to “Processes” tab > Find the “wuauclt.exe” process, right click on it and “End Process”)

Good luck!

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System error 1222?

Lately I have been spending most of my time working and the rest of the time setting up the tablet. I will post some detailed articles about the tablet as soon as things have simmered down a bit at work, but for now here is a quick general troubleshooting tip. Are you getting “System error 1222” when you use the net command in Windows? If this is the case then the Workstation service on your machine has stopped for some reason. In my case the Zune theme on the Desktop machine started bombing out and crashed this and a few other services, don’t ask me why :)

C:\>net use
System error 1222 has occurred.

The network is not present or not started.

Start the Workstation service to fix this; here is how to do that.

  1. Go to the Start menu
  2. Click on “Run…”
  3. Type in “services.msc” and then click on OK
  4. Find the Workstation service in the list and right click
  5. Select Start from the popup menu

This should take care of the issue.

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The Tablet has Arrived!

Finally, the tablet has arrived! :) Right now I am working on installing all the software that I am going to need. I will post my thoughts as soon as I have everything setup. What am I thinking right now? It is awesome but the initial start was a little slow because there were way too many programs that it came with.

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Patiently Working Hard

The X60 Tablet

The last few weeks have been fairly crazy, mostly just working and studying. I am guessing another few weeks and everything will be back to normal. The weather has been pretty awesome this weekend, closer to seventy. I saw quite a few bikes out over the weekend, which was very tempting but I patiently continued worked hard so I wouldn’t fall back on things that need more attention.

According to UPS package tracking, the tablet PC left Oak Creek for Madison Saturday morning. Oak Creek is only about hour and a half away so I am pretty sure that it is sitting somewhere is Middleton waiting to be delivered tomorrow. I could have called UPS yesterday and picked it up but I am going to have to wait till at least Monday before I can do that. Why? Because I found a coupon yesterday that would save me about four hundred dollars on the exact same machine. So, I wanted to call Lenovo and make sure that I could use that on the unit that they have already shipped me, because if they say no then I will probably have to return this and place another order. Lenovo charges 15% restocking fee for opened items. I don’t see why they won’t just adjust the price on the already shipped unit but I didn’t want to waste that much money on some unexpected policy :-/

Oh, and I briefly went to Best Buy yesterday and decided to check on the price for upgrading the Vista Business that was coming with the tablet to Vista Ultimate, guess how much the upgrade costs? $259.99+tax!! I was expecting upgrades within Vista, i.e. Home > Business or Business > Ultimate, to be cheaper but I guess the versions are already complicated enough that adding another pricing tier probably wouldn’t be worth their time.

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The tablet PC is on its way!

Before ordering my tablet on Saturday I read online that previously Lenovo had delayed other people’s orders, sometimes on the day that the tablets were supposed to ship. I was a little disappointment to read this but I still went ahead and placed my order. Knowing about the delays and an expected shipment date of 2nd April, I was expecting the tablet to arrive somewhere around the 12th of April, but guess what? Today I received an e-mail saying that the tablet was shipped today!! This is awesome!! Lenovo will be putting up the shipping number tomorrow so that’s when the real countdown will start. I went for UPS ground shipping since I was thinking that I would have to wait for almost half a month anyways, but now I can’t wait! :)

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Just ordered the Lenovo X60 Tablet!

Lenovo X60 Tablet

I just ordered the Lenovo X60 Tablet! =D After spending a lot of time researching the tablets and the options, I ended up with the X60 because of my target use. Part of this was the MBA, which I will be starting either this Summer or this Fall depending on which school I get in. I wanted the machine to be light, quiet and ultra-portable, and X60 was one of the best options. Now I am going to anxiously wait for it to arrive by the 5th of April! :) I will definitely be blogging more about my experience and maybe even a review is in line :)

Below are the specs and explanation for my choices.

  • 12.1” MultiView + MultiTouch WVA XGA TFT and Intel Core Duo L2400 LV (1.67GHz, 2MB L2, 667MHz FSB)
    • I opted for the lower resolution XGA screen (1024×768) because the SXGA (1400×1050) did not have the MultiTouch feature.
  • Genuine Windows Vista Business
  • 1 GB PC2-5300 DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz SODIMM Memory (1 DIMM)
    • I wanted to get 2GB RAM but that made this a little too expensive. So I went for the little cheaper option of one 1GB DIMM leaving myself room for an additional chip if I see the need. My first plan is to try ReadyBoost through an SD card.
  • 60GB Hard Disk Drive, 7200rpm Serial ATA (2.5”)
    • I spent quite some time researching the 7200rpm vs. 5400rpm option and finally settled on 7200rpm. Most of my friends with tablet PCs pointed to hard drive speed as a major bottleneck which helped with the decision; but in the end this was hard because the added speed will definitely sacrifice the battery life.
  • Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG (US/CAN/LA/AP)
  • ThinkPad X61 Tablet 8 Cell Li-Ion Battery
    • Another thing that my friends pointed out was that a lot of times you end needing the adapter in long meetings, which defeats one of the main purpose for having a tablet. So I went the greater capacity 8-cell battery which should last at least four hours but more like five or six if I use power throttling.

Useful Resources

Below are some links that helped me with the decision, you might find these useful.

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Done with the GMAT!

Today was an interesting day, it came and it went. Last night I slept at around 11pm but somehow was up around 5:30am. Knowing that I had to take the GMAT at 9am, I tried to go back to sleep so that I wouldn’t get tired, but I had no luck. After unsuccessfully trying for an hour I gave up and decided to start the day. After shower and a very nice breakfast I was out the door at 8am headed towards the testing center. On my way there I debated whether I should get coffee to get my concentration level up, thinking that I especially needed it since I was missing some sleep from the day before and since I got up so early. After two traffic signals I decided to skip on the coffee and go straight to the testing center.

Once I got there I had to check in, which included things like presenting the ID, getting my picture taken, finger printing, and DNA verification. OK, the DNA verification part is not true, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes a standard procedure in a few years :) A few minutes later I was sitting in front of a Dell OptiPlex staring at a CRT monitor that was running a full screen Java based application; also known as the GMAT test.

After concentrating on the quantitative section a few weeks ago I decided that it was time for verbal section. So, I spent quite some time brushing up my grammatical skills and practicing those questions. My last few days before the exam were spent on the verbal section so my quantitative side started to lack a little bit. Thinking about it now, I would have done even better if I would have spent a little bit more time on the quantitative section in the last few days.

Anyways, back to today. The next few hours went by without me realizing, and around 12pm or so I was finishing up the Verbal section. Surprisingly I had exactly three minutes to finish my last verbal question, which ended up taking almost two and a half minutes. I was really surprised that I did so good on the timing of the verbal section; unfortunately, the quantitative section was a different story :)

All in all, when the program asked me whether I wanted to cancel the score, I reflected upon the last few hours and decided that I would go ahead and see how I did. The next thing I said was “Yeah!” Well, not really, because that wouldn’t have been fair to the other poor souls that were still taking whatever exams they were there to take. I did better than I had done in the practice exams, but very close to what I expecting and hoping :) This concludes the GMAT chapter of my MBA book. Next up is the actual admissions process.

On a side note, one of my friends mentioned that the captcha image for the comments on this site isn’t showing the actual text. Looking at the production log I didn’t see any errors, and tracked the problem down to a recent RMagick installation issue. I am working with Site5 on getting that resolved, but until then I am thinking about putting in a workaround, which I hate to do because then I will have to manually cleanup the comment spam.

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Ready for GMAT?!?!

So, tomorrow morning I will be sitting in front of the computer for almost four hours straight. The difference tomorrow will be that I will actually be frantically trying to solve GMAT problems!! :) I was scared last night when I started seeing symptoms of flu; which should not have been a surprise to me considering that almost every other person that I have met in the last week has been sick. Luckily I was able to skip work today and rest, this rest seems to have really helped me so far, and tomorrow, hopefully, I should be OK. Wish me luck!!! =D

Once the GMAT chapter is over, my goal is to fix the damage that I have done to my body in the last few months by neglecting all exercise and good posture. I don’t know how I let it happen but now is the time for me start before I get in the no-coming-back zone :) Well, at least until I start my MBA in fall. Oh and I have setup Beryl on ArchLinux, and just for kicks I am planning on doing a five-minute video version of the fairly popular Capistrano tutorial (see the articles section). That will be popping up on this website within the next month.

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