Archive for the ‘Consulting’ Category

How to remove about.blank from Internet Explorer

Been trying to figure out how to fix the start page in Internet Explorer. Unfortunately when you search for this on the web, all you get is a bunch of junk information with no real solution – mostly you get links to other scanners and spyware tools that really gets you nowhere.

Steps to fix:
1. Run a full scan with your antivirus software – make sure it’s a full system scan and all is clean.

2. If the AV finds nothing wrong with your computer, try running the CWShredder software from TrendMicro.

3. If results turn up nothing then you’re most likely not infected by any virus but you’ll find you still cannot change the start page.

4. Make sure the Search providers (under manage add-ons) show up nothing out of the ordinary – if it doesn’t show Bing and/or Google but something else – remove those and add the search provider of your choice back in.

5. Next go to the registry editor and find the “Start Page” value under the registry location: HKCU\software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main and/or under HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main
Try to edit the Start Page option – if you receive an error after typing it in then you’ll need to follow the next step:

6. Reboot computer into Safe Mode (during reboot process – Hit the F8 key several times till you get Safe Mode startup Menu. Choose Safe Mode Command prompt.

7. Logon with user account.

8. Open regedit.exe and peruse to the two locations from above.
Make changes to the Start Page in both locations – say

9. Reboot back into normal mode. Your Start Page should now open to

If you find any other solutions of value, please post them here.


Categories: Consulting, Win7

Windows 7 Bad Image Error



Client sent me email with errors on her Windows 7 machine with the attached photo.

The error came up with Bad-Image

C:\windows\system32\LMIRfsClientNP.dll is either not designed to run on Windows or it contains an error.  Try installing the program again using the original installation media or contact your system administrator or the software vendor for support.

Okay so what is this dll for might you ask?  Well after searching a bit, it belongs to Logmein too – a tool I install on all my clients in order to assist when necessary. 

Resolution – just re-install the Logmein tool and all will be well :). 


QuickBooks fails to send invoices on 64bit Windows 7.

Had an issue after installing Quickbooks 2010 onto my win7 64bit machine.
I was trying to send an invoice but the application would continue to hang causing me to close it and try again.

I found a few links that started to help but since my QB version had all the latest updates, it should have already been fixed… but no go.

After much pain & frustration, I ran across this link on Intuit’s site that proviced a PDF fix tool that ended up resolving the issue for me.
here’s the link to it:

It ends up installing a new PDF printer for Quickbooks and thereafter fixes the problem. Let’s hope it continues to work.

Here’s the link for the PDFFIX tool:

here’s a link for how to install/update the PDF printer port.

Here’s a link on how to reinstall the PDF printer from Intuit’s site:

Heres another link for troubleshooting this – did not fix me in my case:

Categories: Consulting, Win7

Outlook 2007 slow performance

Had client that reported he was seeing very slow performance within his outlook 2007 profile. When he switched folders between Inbox and Sent folders, the top of the email window would show “loading” and pause for a bit before displaying the emails in the folder. Hmmm. well this could arise from a number of things and here is what I did to attempt to fix it:

Per some other blogs and newsgroup items I did the following:
1. Disabled some add-ons that I knew my client would never use
2. Compacted the PST database files – this helped a lot actually with performance.

3. Finally found a link on a news group that had article published by Microsoft that indicated they released a patch in December of 2010 that ended up causing more harm than good – causing performance issues etc. The patch was KB2412171. The link to Microsofts publication of the problem is here:

Here’s an excerpt from the article:
On Tuesday, December 14, we released an update (KB2412171) for Microsoft Outlook 2007. We have discovered several issues with the update and want to inform you about problems you might encounter and what corrective steps we recommend. As of December 16, this Outlook 2007 update has been removed from Microsoft Update

2.Noticeable performance issues are experienced when switching between folders if you do not have a Microsoft Exchange Server account configured in Outlook. Switching folders might take several seconds depending on the performance of your computer. This issue only applies when you use an IMAP, POP3, or Outlook Live Connector account, such as Windows Live Hotmail, and do not have an Exchange Server account configured in the same Outlook profile.

The article has a few other items and then explains how to remove the patch from your system.

After doing all of the above, Outlook now performs like a charm.
I still recommended to my client to run routine datafile compacting as it will speed up the overall performance for the user experience.

Adding or Changing Remote Desktop Listening Port

In supporting several clients with servers behind their firewall routers, I find that hiding the default RDP port 3389 is most beneficial in preventing remote attacks. The way I do this is to change or rather add another RDP-TCP listening port on servers and then add this port to the firewall rules. To connect to the server remotely, just use the command: mstsc /v:{remote dns name of server}:{Port Number} Normally you don’t have to add the :port number but since you’ve changed it or added it to the server, specifying it in the command will use that port for the RDP connection.

How to do this you ask. Well here’s a simple procedure:

1. Open up regedit on the server (or workstation as it works for them as well).
2. Browse under: HKLM\System\Currentcontrolset\control\Terminal Server\Winstations\
3. Under this Key, there is a key called RDP-TCP – this has all the setting information as found in the Terminal Server Configuration Console (tscc.msc).
4. Export this key to a text file or .reg file – I usually store it in the Documents folder.

5. Open the .reg file in Notepad editor and look for the line that says Port Number. The default value is 0x00000d3d which equates to 3389

6. Change this port number to another port number like say 25000 (in hex this will be 0x000061A8). Change the port to the new Hex value.

7. If you’re going to change the default listening port from 3389 to 25000, just save the reg file, then double-click to merge it into the registry. If though you’d rather just add this listening port (which I recommend) then make sure to change the name at the top where it has the full path to the RDP-TCP and just add a 2 (RDP-TCP2).
The Reg file the top line will look like this:
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server\WinStations\RDP-Tcp2]

8. Save the reg file and then double click it to merge it into the registry. If you then open the tscc.msc console, you’ll now see two connections – one named RDP-TCP and RDP-TCP2.

9. Check to make sure the server is now listening on the secondary port by running this at the cmd prompt: netstat -an |findstr 25000 – If it returns with nothing, you might need to reboot the erver. If it still returns nothing then the import wasn’t successful.

10. Lastly, go to your firewall and direct port 25000 (TCP) from the outside to your server internally. Of course then test this remotely by either checking to see if the port is listening by using portqry (portqry -n -e 25000). If it returns listening then you’re in business! You can then connect to it using the syntax above.

1. I recently had a customer where at some point the second port just wasn’t working anymore. To fix this, I opened up Tscc.msc and deleted both remote desktop connections. Also need to make sure to delete them from the registry as they do leave remnants which will prevent you from creating new ones on the server.
Note: If doing this remotely, make sure you have another means to connect to the server such as gotomypc or logmein clients installed, otherwise when you delete the RDP-TCP connection – you’ll lose your connection to the server as well.

2. After deleting both connections both in the console and in the registry, I went to the console and created a new default RDP-TCP connection – just follow all the prompts and pick the default settings.

3. Then go back and add the second RDP port from above and it should restore both the 3389 listening port as well as the 25000 one.

Adobe 8.1 has stopped working on Windows 7 & Outlook 2010

Had a client with a problem saving Adobe PDF files from within Outlook. Every time she tried to save a pdf the program would hang and close with the following error:
Adobe Acrobat 8.1 has stopped working.

I searched high and low on the internet via BING but couldn’t find anything that would finally work.
I disabled the antivirus, uninstalled all the extras with the full version – like outlook, IE and Access integration – all to no avail.

Then I remembered.. hmmm. maybe it needs to be set up for Compatibility with XP.
So I worked my way down into Program Files, went to properties of Acrobat.exe and clicked on the Compatibility tab. Set the compatibility to XP SP3…and also set it to run always as the administrator… The short end of the story is that the last option – Run as Administrator is the only setting that was necessary to get it to work properly :).

Whew… Sure wish someone at Adobe would get their troubleshooting docs updated to help customers out with this issue.

This solution solved it for my client. She can now open Adobe documents and save them without the program crashing.

Office 2010 Installation Failures

Everyone that has used any of the Office 2010 Beta’s know that the new office program just rocks! It certainly makes all the things they introduced in 2007 much much better and more user friendly…

However my post is not about how cool Office 2010 is but rather how much trouble it is getting it installed in the first place – especially when you have a previous copy of Office 2010 (one of the Beta’s).

I just upgraded my beta to a version I downloaded via my Partner MAPS program. However you need to first make sure you totally uninstall the previous versions before upgrading/installing the new version. This is something that may cause a bad response from customers – i.e. the customer upgrade/install experience :(..

This afternoon, I spent over an hour trying to get the new version installed without a hitch… It took about 4 different tries and many searches online to figure out why it kept failing…
Errors received: Error 2203 or 1935 both indicate some sort of access permission issues – even though I ran as Administrator and had full permissions to all the folders for Office installation.

Things I had to do to get the install to work include the following:
– uninstalling all office options – including
– Hotmail Connector
– Live Meeting (any version)
– Office communicator (any version).
– Make sure my account was added to all folders where office installs – under Program Files as well as under \windows\installer.

I then went into my Services.msc console and disabled and stopped Forefront Antimalware services – there are two related to forefront you need to set to disabled. After doing all of these, it’s good to reboot the system to make sure no office files are running nor Antimalware scanning is going on.

Next I went into the folders under Program Files\Microsoft Office and deleted what I could from that those folders. If you cannot delete some of the DLL’s, i suggest renaming them to something else and then rebooting after completing.

I then went into the registry and backed up some of the settings under HKCU\software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\.. there are folders for each application within Office where you can export settings such as where all your OneNote folders are as well as Outlook PST & OST files.

Finally after completing all of the above I was able to install Office 2010 Professional Plus without any blips.

The funny thing (or one of them anyway) about the failures is that it tells you the customer to call PSS for help on the setup and it references a path and a file on your computer that actually doesn’t exist :(.. So when the customer does end up calling PSS they have nothing to give to the PSS engineer :(… Pretty sad messaging there in the UI… The log files are actually found under: Systemdrive\users\username\appdata\local\temp\
the files start with: SetupExe(20100516..Plus a bunch of numbers).log
it is here that all the errors are reported and it takes a bit of searching to figure out what’s really going on.

Honestly, I think there is a lot to be said about proper error reporting as to why something doesn’t install properly. Rather than waste the customer’s time, why not just state in the installer for the customer to make sure all office applications + communicator are removed and to disable the antivirus software they are running before trying to install. Or make the installer do all these things for the customer so they’re experience will be made much better. Just a thought :)..

Anyway, I will continue to promote Office 2010 because I think it’s an awesome product… Where the customer may suffer is during the upgrade/install part. I hope Microsoft Office team can make things better for everyone prior to official release.

Categories: MS Office Solutions

Task Manager has been disabled by administrator….

Came across this issue with a client a few days ago. They had a virus… or rather a few of them where one of the things it did was disable the taskmgr.exe so you couldn’t open it – even if you renamed it to – all received the same error message.

A Bing search found a couple of solutions but this one stuck and resolved the issue:
The local group policy setting was changed for Taskmgr.exe :(..
To review/change this open up GPedit.msc from the Run line (Start -> Run -> Type: gpedit.msc

Navigate in the console under User Configuration > Administrative Templates > System > Ctrl+Alt+Del Options
In the right side of the screen verify that “Remove Task Manager” option is set to Disable or “Not Configured”
Close Gpedit console

Open cmd prompt and run: gpupdate /force

Other settings were found in the registry:
From Start > Run > type: Regedit.exe

Open these keys to determine if taskmgr.exe is set to disabled:
(Note if set to 1, then it would be disabled; Default setting should be 0)

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Group Policy Objects\LocalUser\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System]


[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon]

After doing this you should have access to taskmgr again (if not a reboot will make it so).
If the virus is still around, Suggest using System Restore… and or other Cleaning Agents like Http:// to help clean out the riff-raff Virus or Trojan :).

Categories: Consulting

ActiveSync with PC & Exchange

For those of us that use smartphones (or pocket pcs) out there and want to synchronize their contacts and calendar between their main work Exchange account and their home email account via their home computer activesync partnership – whether it be another Exchange account just a POP account in Outlook, here is a way to quickly enable this. Unfortunately it’s not set by default (arg!) but can be quickly changed by using any number of smartphone registry applications. This also applies to Pocket PCs or other Windows Mobile phones.

The following key needs to be set:
Value: 1

Once you have the key set, you can then go via the phone into the activesync tool – then click on the options… Here you can then go through the check-boxes to enable sync to the “other” connection (typically the computer partnership) and select which options you want to synchronize.

I typically do this so that I can synchronize my phone’s contacts & calendar to my Microsoft exchange account and my personal computer at home.

Categories: Consulting

Run Once Problem with IE

Don’t you hate it when after you’ve upgraded to the latest version of IE, the very first time you open IE again it prompts you to run the wizard to make all the default settings for things like your default search engine etc. Well here’s a way to get rid of this:

You’ll have to edit the registry to make these changes:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]

Pasted from

To make the change from a cmd prompt:
REG ADD “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main” /V “RunOnceComplete” /T REG_DWORD /D 1 /F
REG ADD “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main” /V “RunOnceHasShown” /T REG_DWORD /D 1 /F

Categories: Consulting