Category Archives: Vista

"Run" command discovery – aha! that’s how

A simple task, …I wanted to pull up some system information quickly to check what memory exists on a server and so brought up Run in Windows Server 2003. Then I thought the command was “System32” so I entered that; the result I got was unexpected but nevertheless cool. (BTW “msinfo32” would have been the correct command) I was instead taken directly to C:\Windows\System32.

What I then wondered is what other such alias paths might exist. Is this simply a result of the Path variable? What makes this work and can I add my own shortcut/aliases. Is the plural form of alias – aliases or aliai? …but I digress

So I Googled this for myself 😛 … and learned some interesting stuff which I’ll share:

The run command (ShellExecute, as you said) also supports keyword expansion, so you can type any special path that’s in your environment variables and go the the appropriate directory:
My Documents
To see what’s in your list: win-r, cmd, set.

And also this quote off that same page:

After thinking about if awhile I hunted down how the run command works.  It turns out that it makes a call to ShellExecute, which I guess is not too surprising.  The next thing I wanted to find out was exactly how the commands are resolved. The following is an ordered list of how they are resolved ([1]):

· The current working directory

· The Windows directory (no subdirectories are searched)

· The Windows\System32 directory

· Directories listed in the PATH environment variable

· The App Paths registry key

And here are lists of several hundred commands that can be invoked via Run:

· Run Commands.htm


Hyper-V Management Configuration Made Easy

For those who wish to use and deploy Hyper-V, this ‘freeware’ tool helps make the management UI configuration a cinch.

The author, John Howard, is a Program Director in the Hyper-V team. He created this over a recent vacation and just published it for public download. This makes the configuration of Hyper-V Remote Management Tools a far easier experience than what is was prior; in fact John claims it takes but seconds now!

If you invest any time reading his blog you quickly realize how greatly he has mastered the usage of and written the guiding instructions for its adoption.  This tool is a further of extension of his outstanding community commitment to helping this product find its way.

This covers both the client (Vista SP1) & server (Win2008) and both domain & workgroup scenarios …in other words, all the bases

Internet Explorer not interacting – AJAX handlers- what to do

Ah, the perils of clients.  Recently a client who is running Vista Home Premium on his home laptop asked for my trusted advice on fixing an Internet Explorer problem.  Over the past year I’ve come to enjoy Vista’s relative self healing improvements and other tools for mitigating problems.  This one was a step back in time though.  Not so easy.  Let me explain.

Although web pages would initially display, their interactive content was not interacting …AT ALL.  An additional symptom was that the built in Vista Sidebar gadgets were either not displaying at all or were displaying incorrectly.  The Calendar was a solid orange square and no configuration ability; the Clock was this weird black dial.  The Stock gadget and others wouldn’t even appear.  This was just the kind of keyword search treasure trove I needed to begin my detective sleuthing.  After working my sources over I discovered a number of things, and this revelation is what this post is to record and share.

Before I continue, let me explain that normally using System Restore would have been the method of choice and I’d just jump back behind the problem and move along.  However sometimes people don’t call for help until so much time has passed there is no backup restore available.  This was such a case.  Ahh, the perils of clients.  So off I go old school and actually had to discover the problem, its root causes, and ways to fix them.  In Vista IE is heavily a part of the OS and it cannot simply be repair installed but instead I would have to completely reinstall the OS.  That was like taking a stack of papers off a table with a sledge hammer swing.  So I savored that opportunity as a last resort.

First I’ll list the sources used to fix my specific problems

… and then I am going to post an explanation of AJAX Modules and Handlers that are responsible for web page interactive behaviors.  This currently applies to IE7 and I suspect IE8 when it launches may change this is some way or another; so use the information with your browser version in mind.

Below are the forum threads where the fixes are listed.  I’ll let you read and find them since I can’t link to specific posts in most cases:

Secondly, here is a very useful explanation of AJAX Modules and Handlers from  Microsoft Online Partner Support:

***note I did not perform these steps but rather only followed those above – in any case this is worth trying if the situation is warranted***

Dear Partner,

This is Cindy, I would like to continue assisting you on this issue: some particular coded webpages (typically .aspx) does not behave interactively in IE7 in Vista.

Analysis: ============== Interactive webpage is designed with AJAX modules. If .aspx webpage cannot be interactive, it is possible that the AJAX handlers are corrupt. You can replace AJAX handlers and re-register them. There are several AJAX handlers used by Iexplore.exe:

  • Vbscript.dll for VBScript processing
  • Jscript.dll for Jscript/JavaScript processing
  • Msjava.dll for invocation of the MS Virtual Machine for Java
  • Msxml.dll for rendering XML content
  • Docobj.dll for hosting external documents within the browser window such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint They are invoked by mshtml.dll to render the interactive webpages.

Troubleshooting: ============== Replace mshtml.dll and all AJAX handlers:

1) All these dll files are under %windir%\system32 folder, firstly to find them and rename as xxx.dll.bak If you cannot rename then with local admin, it is because the current owner of this file is TrustedInstaller. You need to take ownership of this file as Administrators, and grant Full Control permission to Administrators.

A. Assign ownership to Administrators:

  1. Log on as Administrator or user in Administrators group
  2. Locate the xxx.dll, right click it, choose Properties, then Security tab.
  3. Click Advanced, choose Owner tab, click Edit
  4. Choose “Administrators (computername\Administrators)” in “Change owner to” list, and check “Replace owner on subcontainers and objects” box
  5. Click OK to make it take effect

B. Grant Full Control permission to Administrators:

  1. Log on as user in Administrators group
  2. Locate the xxx.dll, right click it, choose Properties, then Security tab.
  3. Click Edit
  4. Choose “Administrators (computername\Administrators)” in the “Group or user names” list
  5. Check “Full control”, and click OK to make it take effect Then you will be able to rename it.

2) Please replace them with the ones from a good machine with same OS and same IE version.

3) Run regsvr32 xxx.dll to register each of them. If any of them cannot be registered, it doesn’t impact anything.

Additional information: ================== Ajax has come to represent a broad group of web technologies that can be used to implement a web application that communicates with a server in the background, it refers specifically to these technologies: “XHTML and CSS for presentation “the Document Object Model for dynamic display of and interaction with data “XML and XSLT for the interchange and manipulation of data, respectively “the XMLHttpRequest object for asynchronous communication “JavaScript to bring these technologies together

Thanks and have a good day! Cindy Cao Microsoft Online Partner Support

Lastly is this suggestion on why this happened also from another Microsoft Partner Support professional:

“Based on my experience, this kind of issue is usually caused by software conflicts, which may lead to IE crash and some dll files are unregister to protect the system. If some IE related updates was not installed properly, it may also cause this kind of issue.” …

Have a nice day! Shawn Shao (MSFT) Microsoft Online Partner Support

The System Properties UI quick command

From a Run prompt (winkey+R) enter sysdm.cpl.  This will invoke the System Properties UI in Server 2008 or Vista without any clicking.

This can be useful as from here you can gain access to the Device Management UI.  If you are installing a virtual OS in Hyper-V sometimes a critical driver isn’t installed from the install media (such as the NIC in SBS 2008).  Through this method you can invoke the Device Management UI and manually install the needed driver.  First though you would need to get to a Run prompt and to do this you bring up Task Manager Ctrl+Alt+End (Hyper-V) and from File menu choose the “New Task (Run)” option.

In the example of SBS 2008 you need to run the Integrated Services Setup Disk to gain virualized networking hardware functionality.  First from the Run prompt type “Explorer.exe” to open Explorer.  Next, with any previous ISO ejected, you choose from the Action menu to Insert this ‘Disk’.  With Explorer now running, the mounted disk will Autorun and install.  A restart will be needed and afterwards you can finish the SBS 2008 installation.

The location of this is at “C:\Windows\System32\sysdm.cpl ” in case you want to create a shortcut.

IE App. Compatibility VHD’s

Even if you aren’t testing out Internet Explorer Applications you might find a practical use for these fully functional operating systems including Windows XP SP2 and Vista.  Why XP isn’t SP3 is a mystery but that can be easily remedied.

This is also a convenient way to look at the beta of IE 8.


Date Published:


Download Size:
445.0 MB – 3388.3 MB*

*Download size depends on selected download components.


This download page contains four separate VPC images, depending on what you want to test.

  • IE6-XPSP2_VPC.exe contains a Windows XP SP2 with IE6 VHD file
  • IE7-XPSP2_VPC.exe contains a Windows XP SP2 with IE7 VHD file
  • IE8B1-XPSP2_VPC.exe contains a Windows XP SP2 with IE8 Beta 1 VHD file
  • IE7-VIS1.exe+IE7-VIS2.rar+IE7-VIS3.rar contain a Vista Image with IE7 VHD file.

Note: For The Vista image, you will need all three files, downloaded and in the same directory, then simply run IE7-VIS1.exe.
This VPC image will expire in Early September, 2008.

Download details: IE App Compat VHD