No HTTPS in IE, Active X untrusted, Windows Patches untrusted

This weekend I was asked to look at a computer that had been giving its owner a lot of trouble.  They could not visit any HTTPS sites in IE, or AOL.  The computer also could not install any patches / updates, it would complain about the patches not being able to be confirmed as coming from a trusted source.

The first problem, getting the HTTPS protocol to work was easy enough.  That one I just had to re-register the urlmon.dll

That was accomplished with:     regsvr32 urlmon.dll 

That returned the abiltiy to browse https sites. It did not, however restore any abiltiy to install active X controlls, or install and of the downloaded windows updates.  I did some more browsing, and came across a list of other DLL’s to re-register.

regsvr32 softpub.dll
regsvr32 wintrust.dll
regsvr32 initpki.dll
regsvr32 dssenh.dll
regsvr32 rsaenh.dll
regsvr32 gpkcsp.dll
regsvr32 sccbase.dll
regsvr32 slbcsp.dll
regsvr32 cryptdlg.dll

After these we re-registered  (initpki.dll  takes forever) I tried again and everything began to work as designed.    I was able to install ALL system updates and patches.  I was able to access ActiveX controls, and website viewed as they were designed to be.


All better

I’m so pleased to announce that I have, with some help from the guy I goto when things look bleak, completely recovered my home automation / file server.

Everything is back to normal, and actually a couple of things are working better.

Thank you Zack!

How did I fix it?

booted to the SLES 9.1 boot CD, ran the recovery mode. From the console there I was able to mount the partition on the system to a temp location. Then I ran “mkinitrd /mnt/oldroot”. mkinitrd ran through the kernel on the mounted partition, and built a new initrd and dumpted it to the ramdisk /boot. I copied it form there to the boot partition on the HDD and rebooted.

Poof! up came my system. Well sorta… The ethernet interface didn’t load, but that was because I had to change out the MB which changed the mac address. A quick rename of the config file and a network services restart gave me back my ethernet connection. I rebooted once more and everything came up fine. I still ahd to do some fidgiting with the X10 controller but got that going too.

It’s not just a paperclip…

I really love paperclips.

Ok, stop looking at the screen so funny.  I almost never use a paperclip for holding paper together.  I just love the convienece of paperclips when I need small pieces of stiff wire.  Yesterday, quite by accident, I got pulled in to consult on a damaged color laserjet 4650.   The paper pickup assmbly had been damaged by improper removal of a paper jam.  During that jam removal part of the printer that holds a paper guide door (comes into play when duplexing) was broken off.  After some time Ron and I found all three pieces of the guide while Calette was looking up the replacement part on HP’s website.

While looking the broken part over I decided I could probably fix it with a little ingenuity.  I came back to my desk grabbed my locktite superglue like compound, and returned to the broken printer.  Once there I “cut” a paperclip into small pieces the right size to act as support “splints” and glued them on the sides of the broken assembly. Just to make sure the rough areas where the breaks occured didnt cause anything to bind, I then coated the inside with a piece of book tape. (really heavy duity, scotch tape) We then left the glue to dry overnight. Around 11 today  I reassembled the printer. (The repaired part slid right into place perfectly. I was worried that it might break again while trying to get it into place.)  Then after a little mishap with popping a door spring loose that then required the printer to be dismantled even more than the 1st time, I re-assembled the printer again. Once the diagnostics, and calibration finished, I ran the paper path tests and held my breath.   “Ok everyone, cross your fingers”.  You know, it’s really funny to watch an office full of people simultaniously cross their fingers…
The printer quietly printed the 1st side, and without missing a beat, printed the second side of the page as well.

So, as I said in the beginning, I love paperclips.

The volume of the situation

Today, due to the loss of the original headphones with the volume control I had to add a voume control slider to the kids computer. The one in the tray is disabled by way of fortres to keep them from messing with the system time, and other goodies available there.
I accomplished this easily by creating a shortcut on the “All Users” desktop. The shortcut points to “sndrec32.exe” in teh windows system 32 directory. To get just the main volume slider, and not the full volume control panel I passed the command line option “/t”. This option causes the same slider to apper that you would get when you single click on the tray volume control.

Acrobat 7

We have been having tons of problems with Acrobat 7.0.5 and PDF’s from our database vendors at work. These problems manifest as pages that print with only one or two lines on the bottom of the page, or the page is entirely blank. This seems to happen in Internet Explorer, as well as Mozilla. I did a ton of research and found the following to be true:

Mozilla Firefox
(1.0.7 )
Internet Explorer
From Vendor Webserver X X
From Campus Web Server X ./
From Local Machine Webserver X ./
From Mapped Network Drive (file://) ./ ./
From Local Machine Hard Drive (file://) ./ ./

After posting numerous messages to support forums I got no resolution to the problem. I finally gave up and called Adobe. Calling Adobe is a scary thing because if they determine your problem is not a bug, and is somehtign casued by either the document you are viewing, or something on your system they will charge you ~$40 for the tech support call. I spoke with the tech, and was a little more gruff than I probably should have been. After a few questions he insisted on my CC number. After a bit more gruff conversation I gave in to the request and gave him my number. Once he had the CC number he explained to me that the documents producing this problem were created by a third party program. This third party program doesn’t fully conform to their standards and so Acrobat Reader is unsure what to do with the document. I pointed out that previous versions seem to print just fine but that version seven doesn’t. He again pointed out that it wasn’t their problem.
After hanging up with the Adobe tech I took a short breather and decided to call out database vendor. For no additional charge they told me they had been receivening complaints about this very problem, and had a temporary work around. They also offered to add me to the incident so that I would be notified when they had a more final solution.

iTunes Blogger / .Net Fun

Today I tried running the iTunesBlogger program on my normal computer and found that every time I launched it it woudl crash with a “Unhandled exception” error. Once I finally got the JIT debugger included with the .NET SDK installed I was able to discover the error message that was unhandled had to do with an improperly registerd control using the ID of “DC0C2640-1415-4644-875C-6F4D769839BA”. After doing some searching on google I discovered that that is the GUID for iTunes itself. I tried using regsvr32 to re-register all of the dll’s but had no luck in correcting the error. I finally resigned to re-installing iTunes. Once I did that everything seems to be working properly now. I should have guessed it would have been something as easy to fix as re-installing iTunes but at least now I confirmed it using diagnostic tools.

Nice fix for MSI issues

This wekend I was working on a computer that contained some viruses and a trojan. It seems at some point during the reign of the nastys they damaged the norton antivirus on the computer. This is a common thing and I’ve seen it more times than I can count. I was able to remove the viruses, and spyware quite nicely w/o needing to reimage the system. I installed all teh windows updates and all the updates for every program on the system and tehn went to re-install norton. I ran the installer and it when thoguh its 1st few questions and all seemed normal… When it got to the meat of the install I recieved an error saying “This MSI must be launched from setup”. This of course made no sense as the MSI WAS being run from setup. After a little googling I discovered this happens and Norton’s site had the fix. The fix involves using a tool I had not heard of that works WONDERS on MSI install problems.
There have been times int eh past where I resorted to manual registry editing to force MSI’s to think they had not been installed before but this puppy looks like it will take all the work out of it. Thank you Microsoft!