Tag Archives: microsoft

Windows Product Activation – “significant hardware changes”


I’ve just had a run-in with deactivation of Windows XP due to “significant hardware changes since the copy was last activated”. But, since I installed XP, the only thing I did was remove 512MB of RAM in the laptop, and install 1GB of RAM. I also plugged in the USB mouse during the bootup.

What probably triggered it, however, was changing filesystem of the system partition from FAT32 to NTFS using Microsoft’s own convert.exe, included with Windows. I have no idea where they’re pulling out the idea that filesystem of root system partition is a hardware thing.
I have no idea if this reactivation ate one of my activation slots for this product key, since Microsoft’s Knowledge Base link on the subject appears down. I surely hope I won’t have to deal with tech support; I’ve heard they’re friendly and unintrusive in Croatia, but still…
(By the way, unusually for tech-savvy Croats, this is a legit copy. From MSDNAA and FER, of course :-)
Since there’s no way I could have captured the messagebox that appears during login (this isn’t a VM and I don’t have a good camera) included is just a leftover shot of WGA, after repeated activation.

Slow logoff in Windows XP – hang on “Saving your settings”

If you have problems with Windows XP logging off — that is, the system inexplicably decides to wait for about a minute before it proceeds with log off or shutdown — you may want to give Microsoft’s UPHclean – User Profile Hive Service a spin. It just helped me with this problem that was harassing me for the past full calendar year.

It installs as a service so it’ll keep working.
Now, I wonder why this service is not included in Windows themselves, or at least in a service pack – why ship a broken OS?

Windows XP EULA is quite complex

And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You have to read between the lines letters. Each simple Latin letter, each simple glyph in fact consists of such fractal-like complexity that each one can stand for itself and tell the world a story of biblical proportions.

Behold:

test

Word 2007 has a very low memory footprint?

With two open documents (admittedly, no pictures) Word 2007 took only 2MB active memory, and 16MB virtual memory, according to task manager. Sounds to me like Microsoft should give up on working on OSes and development environments.

Why? Last few days was a torture for me, trying to handle Firefox (300-500MB VMem), Visual Studio (regularly 400-500MB VMem) and Windows Live Messenger (50MB) at the same time. On a laptop with 512MB RAM, and paging file on a very fragmented volume. Admittedly I ran only WLM during last evening, but still, even without it it was a horrible experience.

Worst part of all? Mozilla’s Firefox 3.5 is supposed to be fastest and lightest (and according to some test, it does take least memory). But if after several hours of work it cannot release the resources, someone’s done their job in a very sloppy manner. I have only Blogger open at the moment, and Firefox’s RAM usage is 294MB and VMem usage is 476MB. And I restarted it about an hour ago, and in the meantime I was studying from a PDF file, not surfing (effective surfing time? about 10-15min) What went wrong there?

Sounds to me like many many MS and non-MS teams could learn some lessons from Word 2007 team. Even UI design: once you get over the initial shock of the Ribbon interface, and once you understand it’s a very intelligent substitute for a toolbar, not menu, you can handle it. But that’s another topic, and I’ll say a few words later on. Who knows? Maybe in a few years someone will go and dig this blog’s archives out.

Microsoft’s trolling of Firefox

Although Firefox did make it personal, what Microsoft just did by starting another Get the Facts campaign is shamelessly full of lies.

Claim 1: Internet Explorer 8 takes the cake with better phishing and malware protection, as well as protection from emerging threats.

Personally I enjoy protection built into Firefox . As far as I know it’s provided by Google, and it works great.

Claim 2: InPrivate Browsing and InPrivate Filtering help Internet Explorer 8 claim privacy victory.

Chrome doesn’t have this? What about Chrome’s anonymous browsing?

Claim 3: Features like Accelerators, Web Slices and Visual Search Suggestions make Internet Explorer 8 easiest to use.

Accelerators are annoying me: I select the text I read to concentrate easier. Web Slices don’t work for me. And what the hell are Visual Search Suggestions?

Claim 4: It’s a tie. Internet Explorer 8 passes more of the World Wide Web Consortium’s CSS 2.1 test cases than any other browser, but Firefox 3 has more support for some evolving standards.

It’s nowhere near a tie. You’re getting there, IE, but don’t lie.

Claim 5: Of course Internet Explorer 8 wins this one. There’s no need to install tools separately, and it offers better features like JavaScript profiling.

Yes, yes, Microsoft, interesting. Now how do I see AJAX requests and how do I run YSlow? Nobody approached Firebug with this. And nobody can claim that their browser is superior because it’s shipping developer tools built-in because nothing can approach Firebug here. And besides, Mozilla could just bundle Firebug and solve their problem.

Claim 6: Only Internet Explorer 8 has both tab isolation and crash recovery features; Firefox and Chrome have one or the other.

Chrome restores my pages very well, thank you very much.

Claim 7: Sure, Firefox may win in sheer number of add-ons, but many of the customizations you’d want to download for Firefox are already a part of Internet Explorer 8 – right out of the box.

Why does Chrome have a tick for customizability? It’s not customizable, period. And again, addons are addons and if IE’s got stuff out of the box … then those are not addons, they’re built in stuff.

Claim 8: Internet Explorer 8 is more compatible with more sites on the Internet than any other browser.

[citation needed] In other words — “what you say?” (somebody set us up the bomb, perhaps?)

Claim 9: Neither Firefox nor Chrome provide guidance or enterprise tools. That’s just not nice.

Don’t provide guidance? Perhaps they don’t need guidance. Enterprise tools? What the frakk? Define enterprise tools and why does home user need them.

Claim 10: Knowing the top speed of a car doesn’t tell you how fast you can drive in rush hour. To actually see the difference in page loads between all three browsers, you need slow-motion video. This one’s also a tie.

Performance of browser is not the same as time needed to achieve stuff with the browser. That said, my personal experience says IE8 can’t measure even closely to Firefox 3, and the distance to Chrome, Opera 9, Opera 10 and Firefox 3.5 is even greater. No, Microsoft, it’s not a tie. FF and Chrome deserve a tick, but IE does not.

Now their MythBusters section:

That’s why our Accelerator, Web Slice, Smart Address Bar, and Visual Search features make it faster, safer, and easier than ever for you to do what you need to do on the Web, giving you an overall better experience.

As already said Accelerators are annoying, Web Slices don’t work for me at all, Smart Address Bar — do they mean what Chrome did perfectly, and Firefox almost perfectly, and what IE is just poorly emulating? And again, what the hell is Visual Search?

Are they honestly trying to push all those suboptimal solutions as superior solutions?

My 0.02 cents (that is, 0.0002 EUR) that contribute to the hell that is the intarwebz.

Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express vs. MSXML6 SP2

I know very little of this, except I spent about 2 days trying to get MSSQL2005 to work on my machine. A lot of googling, a lot of reinstall, and a lot of thinking that it was perhaps caused by low disk space condition, then perhaps that it was caused by me not having IIS installed (because it was recommended by installer).

So here’s what I was doing:
  • MSSQL included with VS doesn’t want to install. I try freeing up disk space.
  • I try uninstalling VS2005. After reinstall doesn’t work.
  • I go get standalone MSSQL2005 Express. It doesn’t work either
  • I notice that standalone MSSQL recommends IIS to “get all features working”. Now IIS included with XP wants something off of SP3’s installation CD located in C:\Windows\ServicePackFiles … which is a folder I deleted to free up disk space!
  • I reinstall SP3 to restore above folder. IIS installation still doesn’t find the files. You can recognize this condition by file staxmem.dll or staxmem.dl_ being located in the folder you chose, but Windows not recognizing this.
  • I find out that I need to repair it with esentutl. KB894351
  • This works! I get IIS. Installation os MSSQL still fails with ~3 components passing ok, but the key one – service – failing, along with MSXML6.
  • I finally dig out something that relates MSXML6 SP2 and MSSQL 2005 Express not tolerating each other! I can’t find original site, but this will help even better.
  • Basically I can’t uninstall MSXML6 because of error without any helpful information in it… What now?!
  • I uninstall MSXML6SP2 using Windows Installer Cleanup Utility. I get the feeling that it’s not real uninstallation… but I don’t care as long as this junk gets to work.
  • Apparently it finally works!
Now, I’d try to avoid MSSQL after this kind of debacle … but I’ll need to use it for university work – a class that practically depends on .Net, C#, MSSQL, Windows Mobile and ASP. Annoying but I’ll have to make it through.