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Skip Obtaining Drivers From Windows Update

Windows 7 Banner

For the past month I’ve been annoyed by the amount of time it takes for my new bluetooth headset to pair itself with windows.  The problem is not the bluetooth pairing but the actual device “coming online” and Windows 7 subsequently deciding it need to locate and install a new driver EVERY SINGLE TIME the device is connected.    The problem is that Windows 7 always searches the online directory first for any new drivers or updates.  That takes FOREVER.

Slight diversion into my theory of Windows 7 Driver Search technology.  I swear they are sending the driver request to a computer that has electrodes hooked up to trained baby squirrels.  The squirrels then go out into the forest looking for a nut they buried at some point in the past.  This process takes approximately 10 minutes 37.23 seconds to complete.   The special Microsoft Squirrel Automatron (the MSA) then retrieves said nut from the trained baby squirrel and scans it for a bar code that indicates which driver should be downloaded to your PC.    Most of the time the squirrels eat the nut on the way and you get “no driver found”.   Every now-and-then a squirrel gets hit by a car which is the real reason why your PC locks up randomly or throws a blue screen of death.     Either way the process is slow and it sucks.

So in an effort to save the lives of baby squirrels I finally decided to take 3 minutes to turn of that damned “Searching Windows Update For Drivers” process that happens EVERY SINGLE TIME I turn on my bluetooth headset.   It only took about 33 different times of either waiting for Windows to finally get a nut from the squirrel or for me to abort the process early and click the “skip obtaining drivers from windows update” link before I did this. Hopefully you found this post after the 3rd or 4th day of dealing with that driver installation delay.

Here is how you turn off the automatic “Searching Windows Update for drivers”.   This is especially useful for devices you’ve installed previously and know you have a driver that works already on your system.   It will also keep the Windows Update driver search intact for those times when you install a new piece of hardware and do not have a driver already available locally.

  • Go to the Windows Start Menu.
  • Right-click on Computer.
  • Select Properties.
Windows 7 Computer Properties
Windows 7 Computer Properties

 

  • Click Advanced System Settings.
Windows 7 Advanced System Settings
Windows 7 Advanced System Settings

 

  • Click on the Hardware tab.
  • Click the Device Installation Settings button.
Windows 7 Device Installation Settings
Windows 7 Device Installation Settings
  • Click the No, let me choose what to do radio button.
  • Click the Install driver software from Windows Update if it is not found on my computer radio button. (the Save The Squirrels button).
  • Click Save Changes.
Windows 7 No Let Me
Windows 7 No Let Me

Click OK or the close window box back through the stack of windows until you are back to your starting point.

 

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web.config Inheritance in IIS

ASP.Net

A couple of notes on IIS and how it works for virtual directories/applications and web.config inheritance and ASP.Net.

 

There is a configuration file that will automatically be inherited by an asp.net application’s web.config. This configuration file is machine.config and it defines the servers/computers asp.net schema for all of its web applications.

The root web.config files is also a server configuration file. This file resides in the same directory as the machine.config and is used to define system wide configurations.

Then you have the web site specific configuration also named web.config. From the websites root directory the web.config seems to work similar to .htaccess files.

Each directory in an asp.net may have its very own web.config file. Each virtual directory may also have its own web.config. Each virtual application has its own web.config file. Each one of these files inherit their parents web.config. This is done so you can define roles in the parent web.config file and it is enforced throughout the website.

Okay a virtual directory is the windows why of performing a soft link. It is not reflected in the file system. It is only reflected in IIS. An example:

Website = c:/intetpub/wwwroot/mysite/

Files = c/users/public/documents/

In IIS you can set a virtual directory by stating c:/inetpub/wwwroot/mysite/sharefiles/ that points to c:/users/public/documents/

You can actually add a virtual folder from another server on your network.

This is not reflected in the file system. If c:/inetpub/wwwroot/mysite/sharefiles/ directory was actually added, IIS will ignore it and point to the virtual directory. This was discovered when installing reporting for MS SQL that by default adds a ~/report virtual application. One of my applications already had an ~/report directory already and the virtual application took precedence. Applications work essentially the same as folders except in an virtual application operates in their own application pool.

If you want to stop inheritance you can the following to the site’s web.config:


    
        ...
    

If you want to not inherit certain sections of the configuration then you add a tag the child section.


    
    ...
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Word 2007 Blank Pages Between Chapters

While working on a documentation project for a client we ran into a unique problem.  According to good technical writing practices, you always want chapters to start on an odd page.  This puts new chapters on the right-hand page of a bound book.  You also want to ensure that any preceding blank page is not 100% blank, most standards dictate at least a footer with a page number and possibly a header with the title of the prior chapter (old school methods were to put a “This page intentionally left blank.” message on the preceding blank page, which is one of my favorite all time ironies).  After digging around for hours (OK, maybe 10 minutes) I found the solution to this blank page problem.

It turns out that when you are forcing pages to start on an odd page # for things like a chapter to always appear on the right side of a bound book, you end up with blank pages preceding some of those pages.  That is just how Word works.  If your previous chapter ends on an odd page, it automatically inserts the blank so that the new chapter starts on the odd page as well.   However, it is clearly documented that Word does not put ANYTHING on that page, not even headers or footers.  There is not setting that says “carry headers/footers over to blank pages”.

The official Microsoft solution… use the hard page break, CTRL-ENTER just before the odd-page-break whenever you want to force Word to insert the header/footer on the blank page.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/264905

The problem with that solution?  If your document changes the CTRL-ENTER will force a new page ALWAYS.  If your existing work is updated and the prior chapter now pushes up from ending on an odd page to ending on an even page, guess what?   You get TWO BLANK PAGES… one with a footer (the forced blank page) that is now an odd page # with a footer, and an even page with NOTHING… the exact problem you were trying to solve the first go-around.

Bottom line, to get technical documentation standard page footers AND chapters starting on the right-hand page, you will constantly need to scan & manually revise the page breaks in the document every time you update the content, especially if you lengthen any chapter.

Wonderful.  Thanks Microsoft, thank you very much.  Why even provide “odd page break”?  Might as well keep things simple and force 100% manual management of pages with CTRL-ENTER throughout.   Grrrrr… sometimes working with these high tech tools can be so aggravating.     20+ years of MS-Word development and they still don’t have an elegant solution for this common problem.  It was even documented as far back as 2000 and Microsoft had enough inquiries to have written TWO knowledgebase articles about it back then.

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Changing Network Device Priorities In Vista

My Windows Vista laptop has a strong desire to always connect to the wireless network, even when I’m connected-by-wire at the office.   This is due to the fact that most Windows laptops are setup to use the wireless connection first if there is a wireless signal available.   While I was always able to quickly find this setting in Windows/XP, on Windows Vista it is hidden away in a “advanced menu”.   For some reason I always forget how to find it, thus this blog post serves as my own memory kit.

How To Change Network Priorities In Vista

  • Go to your mange networks settings.
    I like to get there by right-clicking the network icon in the systray & selecting “manage networks”.
    You can also go to the start menu, control panel, network connections
  • Hold down the ALT key, release then click “Advanced Settings…” within a  few seconds.
    This is the “secret sauce” that gets you to the advanced menu.
  • Move around the entries under Adapaters and Bindings (first tab) / Connections (first list box).
    This changes which connection will be served first.

That’s it. Hope these tricks helped you as well.

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Windows XP – Resolving Aquiring Network Address Problems

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And now on to our article…

After spending nearly a week on & off removing a virus from a notebook computer, we are down to one last task… getting the network services back online.   Here are some notes about how to get around this problem and the ever-present “acquiring network address” that never is acquired.

Resetting Windows Network Stacks

  • To reset the Windows/XP TCP/IP stack use this command from the command shell:
    netsh int ip reset reset.log
  • To reset the Windows/XP Socket layer, use this command from the command shell:
    netsh winsock reset catalog

Check For Rootkits

Turns out the virus installed a rootkit.  These are special files hidden by the operating system that change how the base OS works.  That makes them hard to detect & remove with normal spyware.  TDSS rootkit by Kapersky Labs helps fix that:

In our case the file c:\WINDOWS\system32\DRIVERS\isapnp.sys was compromised.  You can repair this with a Windows XP recovery (sometimes) by following these instructions : http://support.microsoft.com/kb/315311.

In our case Combo-Fix also found problems with:

  • c:\windows\bootstat.ocx
  • c:\windows\Copy of notepad.exe
  • c:\windows\system32\drivers
    pf.sys
  • c:\windows\system32\drivers\Packet.dll
  • c:\windows\system32\drivers\Thumbs.db
  • c:\windows\system32\drivers\wpcap.dll