Vista RTM support has ended

by Shijaz Abdulla on 14.04.2010 at 13:35

If you or your customers are running Windows Vista RTM version (without any service pack), please note that support for it has ended yesterday, April 13, 2010.

To continue receiving support for Windows Vista, you must install Service Pack 1 or Service Pack2, which is available as a free download from the Microsoft Download Center.

Follow this link, for information on how to obtain the latest service pack.

How to enable Remote Desktop remotely

by Shijaz Abdulla on 03.05.2009 at 17:54

This article used to exist on before it was taken down in May 2009. Originally published in January 2008.

This article explains how you can enable Remote Desktop on a server that you do not have physical access to.

You’ve built new servers, updated them with the latest service pack, and even run Windows Update. Proud of the good job you done, you move upstairs to the comfort of your office to do the rest of the installation, away from the freezing server room. And then you suddenly realize that you did not enable Remote Desktop connections on your new server. Aw, now you need to go back all the way to your data center to enable RDP. The situation is even worse if you pre-configured the server without enabling RDP and shipped it to your branch location in Timbuktu!

Well, here’s the good news. You can actually enable remote desktop remotely. All you need to do is open up the registry of that server remotely, and make some changes and then initiate a remote restart of the server. Well, that’s the only downside – you normally don’t need a restart if you enable it physically.
1. On your Windows workstation, open Registry Editor (Start –> Run –> Regedit.exe –> OK)
2. On the File menu, choose Connect Network Registry.

3. Select the name of the computer that you want to enable RDP on. Make sure the logged in user has administrator rights on the remote server.



4. On the remote computer, Navigate to the key HKLMSYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlTerminal Server. Find a value named fDenyTSConnection and change it to 0 (zero).

5. Restart the remote computer by typing the following command in the Command prompt of your workstation.

shutdown -m \myserver -r

where ‘myserver’ is the name of your server.

6. Wait for the server to restart and connect to it using Remote Desktop Connection (MSTSC) from your Windows PC.

Windows Vista SP2, Windows Server 2008 SP 2

by Shijaz Abdulla on 07.03.2009 at 14:22

The 32-bit and 64-bit release candidate versions of Windows Vista Service Pack 2, and Windows Server 2008 SP2 are available for download on the Microsoft website.

Below are some of the enhancements that are available with SP2:

  • Support for Bluetooth v2.1
  • Ability to write data to Blu-Ray discs
  • Includes Windows Search 4.0
  • Provides Hyper-V as a fully integrated feature of WS08, including one free guest OS with WS08 Standard Edition, 4 free licenses with Enterprise Edition, and unlimited free licenses with Datacenter Edition.
  • and more

Hyper-V Remote Administration

by Shijaz Abdulla on 27.01.2009 at 14:30

January 27, 2009

When you connect to a Windows Server 2008 computer running Hyper-V from a Windows Vista client, the mouse input is not captured when you connect to a guest machine unless you install the Integration Services on the guest machine. You receive the following message:


Mouse not captured in Remote Desktop session.

It is however, possible to remotely manage Hyper-V from within a Windows Vista MMC snap-in upon installation of an optional update. To download the Hyper-V Remote Management Update, follow these links.

Upon installation, you will find a ‘Hyper-V Manager’ icon in the Administrative Tools folder on your Start Menu.


The Future of Windows XP

by Shijaz Abdulla on 04.01.2009 at 07:33

January 4, 2009


After having tirelessly served the world for more than eight years, Windows XP is fast being replaced by its younger brother, Windows Vista.

Most of us are curious to know what exactly is the future of Windows XP. Most of us have seen it in retail stores, and even seen it being shipped with new computers even after the launch of Windows Vista.

So what does the future hold for Windows XP? What if you can’t run Vista, and you really must use Windows XP? How long can you use Windows XP? To get an answer to all these questions, and much more – read what Microsoft has to say: Windows XP: The facts about the future.

Hey, I’M A PC!

by Shijaz Abdulla on 20.11.2008 at 07:48

Can you spot someone familiar in here?


I’ve made it on the Windows I’M A PC website, and there’s a picture of me with that sadistic grin on my face. Vampire Bat

PS: I’ve managed to get my own authentic "I’M A PC" T-shirt.

0xC004F038: The returned count from your Key Management Service is insufficient

by Shijaz Abdulla on 02.11.2008 at 10:19

We have a KMS Server that has been activating Vista clients for several months. A few days ago our desktop team came across the following Windows Activation error on one of the Vista Enterprise machines:


Error 0xC004F038 The computer could not be activated. The returned count from your Key Management Service is insufficient.

The KB Article 942961, which describes this error message, did not apply to us, because our KMS count is more than 25 and the article suggests that this problem only happens when the count is lesser than 25.

We resolved the issue by re-arming the Windows Activation on the client machine and then trying to do an automatic activation after a restart. Here’s how we did it:

  • On the offending Vista Enterprise client, type:
    slmgr.vbs -rearm
  • After a restart, type the following command on the same machine:
    slmgr.vbs -ato

The -rearm switch "re-arms" or "resets" the Windows Activation on the client machine. This can be done a maximum of three times per Windows Vista installation. The re-arming also extends the grace period, so it is particularly useful if you are looking for a temporary fix to buy some time while you sort out KMS issues.

Unlocking files that are in use

by Shijaz Abdulla on 22.10.2008 at 21:20

Sometimes you cannot delete or rename a file that is currently in use. You might receive an access violation error, or simply a message telling you that your action could not be completed because the file is open in another program.


You may have already come across the Unlocker freeware tool that lets you "unlock" files that are in use by some application.

Here is another way (let’s call it the ‘techie’ way) to unlock files that are in use. It makes use of the Process Explorer tool from Windows SysInternals.

  • Download the Process Explorer tool. Execute procexp.exe
  • Choose Find > Find Handle or DLL option


  • Type the name of the file you want to unlock and hit Search.


  • The process EXE locking the file and the path to the file are listed. Double click on the result.


  • The file handle will be highlighted. Right-click on it and choose Close Handle.

Your file is now unlocked and can now be deleted, moved or renamed.

A little disclaimer here, closing handles might cause data inconsistency, loss and/or other undesirable effects. Make sure you understand what you’re doing before you do it.

The Mojave Experiment

by Shijaz Abdulla on 18.09.2008 at 09:49

The Mojave Experiment is an advertising campaign by Microsoft for the Windows Vista operating system.

The participants in the experiment were asked about their perceptions of Windows Vista (having never used it) and then were shown a ten minute demo of Microsoft’s "next OS", codenamed "Mojave". The demo, given by a trained retail salesperson, was tailored to the interests of each participant as specified in an initial interview. None of the participants had hands-on time with Vista. After the experiment was over, it was revealed to the participants that "Mojave" was actually Windows Vista!

Before the session, the average rating of Vista was 4.4 out of 10; after the session the average rating for the "Mojave" OS was 8.5 out of 10!

The official goal of the Mojave Experiment is to get consumers to "decide for themselves" rather than accept the commonly held negative perceptions of Windows Vista, providing links to product demo videos and other product advertising. Microsoft says that they are slowly adding more video content to the Mojave Experiment website.

I was once taught in a consulting skills workshop hosted by Microsoft – "Perception is Reality!"

Getting KMS to activate Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008

by Shijaz Abdulla on 21.07.2008 at 21:31

Starting with Windows Vista, Volume License Keys (VLKs) have been replaced by the Key Management Service (KMS). A KMS Server is deployed in the organization, which will respond to activation requests from client machines. Hosts activated via a KMS have to report back to that KMS key server once every 180 days.

At the place where I work, a Key Management Server was already in place and it was used for activating Windows Vista. With release of Windows Server 2008 earlier this year, we started deploying/migrating some of the workloads to the new server OS.

Windows Server 2008 also uses the KMS activation system. However, the KMS server refused to activate Windows Server 2008 computers, while Vista was OK. Upon closer examination and long discussions with Microsoft, it was discovered that the KMS key installed on our KMS server was only for Windows Vista. Microsoft calls this a "Class A" key.

In order for the KMS server to be able to activate BOTH Windows Server 2008 AND Windows Vista, we should remove the "Class A" key, replace it with a "Class B" key and then activate the KMS server. Here, the "Class B" key is nothing but the Windows Server 2008 Std/Ent – KMS key on the MVLS website. This key can not only activate WS08, it can also activate Vista!

This is how its done (from the Command Prompt):

slmgr -upk
uninstalls our "Class A" KMS key.

slmgr -ipk <insert Windows 2008 KMS key here>
installs the "Class B" KMS key.

slmgr -ato
activates the KMS server

While using slmgr, it is important to wait 5-10 seconds after each command to get the confirmation popup box, even though command prompt will return as though nothing happened.

Once the server has successfully activated, type the following command to verify that you have a "Class B" KMS key.

slmgr -dlv

kms dlv
Notice that it says KMS_B channel, indicating a "Class B" KMS key that will activate both Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista.

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