Windows Kernel Patch Protection

Microsoft has a FAQ on Kernel Patch Protection for x64-based platforms running Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 and later.


COM+ 1.5 and 1.0

Ran into this today. Not horribly noteworthy but it can bite you if you blindly click through the COM+ application export wizard.
"You receive an "Error registering COM+ application" error message when you install an application proxy in COM+ 1.0"

"The Save application in COM+ 1.0 format – some properties may be lost option on the Application Export Information page must be enabled if you want to export your application proxy for COM+ 1.0. "

Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 run COM+ 1.5 and Windows 2000 runs COM+ 1.0.


Error installing Security Bulletin MS06-003

I was having a difficult time getting the security update that addresses the vulnerability referenced in Microsoft security bulletin MS06-003 (Vulnerability in TNEF Decoding in Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Exchange Could Allow Remote Code Execution (902412)) to install. The event viewer showed the following:
Event Type: Error
Event Source: MsiInstaller
Event Category: None
Event ID: 1024
Date: 1/10/2006
Time: 2:00:52 PM
Computer: COMPNAME
Product: Microsoft Office Small Business Edition 2003 - Update 'Security Update for Outlook 2003 (KB892843): OLKINTLff' could not be installed. Error code 1603. Windows Installer can create logs to help troubleshoot issues with installing software packages. Use the following link for instructions on turning on logging support:

For more information, see Help and Support Center at
0000: 7b 39 31 43 41 30 34 30 {91CA040
0008: 39 2d 36 30 30 30 2d 31 9-6000-1
0010: 31 44 33 2d 38 43 46 45 1D3-8CFE
0018: 2d 30 31 35 30 30 34 38 -0150048
0020: 33 38 33 43 39 7d 20 7b 383C9} {
0028: 38 31 43 46 46 37 39 45 81CFF79E
0030: 2d 30 34 45 36 2d 34 31 -04E6-41
0038: 42 43 2d 42 34 46 41 2d BC-B4FA-
0040: 44 32 46 46 34 44 45 35 D2FF4DE5
0048: 38 41 31 35 7d 20 31 36 8A15} 16
0050: 30 33 03

I did some troubleshooting. Ultimately, the problem wound up being that the "Office Source Engine" service had been disabled. Re-enabling the service allowed me to apply the patch successfully.

Error 1603, referenced in the event log message, is "Fatal error during installation."



Office Depot: A Dish Best Served Coldly

I had a bad experience with Office Depot.

This all may seem kind of piddly, but it's frustrating and quite frankly shouldn't have happened.

I've been around the block when it comes to technology deals. I tend to be rather frugal with my purchases. I take advantage of rebates. I'm persistent and will not let a rebate go unclaimed. So when I saw a KDS XF-9S 19in CRT monitor for $137.80 with a $100 rebate, my interest was piqued. I reviewed the rebate form (http://forms.young-america.com/31565_OD4802033-011106.pdf), and it seemed to be acceptable, although I didn't like the idea of waiting 60-90 days. Even better, Office Depot had a coupon for $30 off of an order of $150 or more. So for $12.20 more, I could save another $30. I added the monitor to the cart, and saw that others that had purchased the monitor had also purchased monitor wipes for $7.99, and screen cleaner for $4.99. This would add $12.98, bringing the order to $150.78. I added these items to the cart as well. With the coupon applied, the total would be $120.78, and after rebate everything would cost $20.78. Not bad, I thought.

So I had the shopping cart up with the three items and the coupon in it. Under the coupon was a phrase:"Coupon discounts will be applied during checkout. Click Here to see if you met your coupons criteria." The "Click Here" was a hyperlink. When I clicked on it, it indeed told me that the coupon was valid. From the shopping cart page, I clicked the "Checkout" button. From there, I entered my billing information and reviewed the order summary. The $30 coupon had been split up so that a portion of the $30 applied to each item. This was fine, as the Total was $120.78. I reviewed the rebate form one more time and didn't see anything extraordinary so I clicked the "PLACE ORDER" button that had "This will complete your order." under it.

I was taken to a "Thank you" page that summarized the order... for a total of $159.07. It looked like the coupon hadn't been applied! And tax had been added AFTER I was presented with a Total that I agreed to. I can handle sales tax I guess, though it SHOULD have been presented at the time of the order CONFIRMATION, rather than AFTER THE ORDER WAS PLACED. But there was no indication that the coupon was removed. So I had agreed to charges of $120.78, and was going to be charged $159.07. I didn't like where this was heading.

I called Office Depot's number. The people, while nice enough, insisted that they don't do coupons for technology items. I asked why the coupon showed up on their website, and I was told that third-parties often take advantage of their website and put bogus coupons on it. This seemed absurd, and I pressed the issue, especially since their OWN website VALIDATED THE COUPON and APPLIED THE COUPON TO THE ORDER TOTAL prior to submission. "After you submit the order, invalid coupons are removed." Where on EARTH does that seem like a good idea? And again, their website told me that coupon was, in fact, valid. Ultimately, I wound up cancelling the order, and requesting that they scrub all information pertaining to me and my order from all of their systems. If Office Depot can't even handle PROCESSING COUPONS in 2006, how on EARTH can I trust them to safeguard my personal information, including credit-card info? The woman I was speaking with started telling me things that I thought were a tad bit inappropriate to be disclosing, when I pressed her on this. She told me they did all kinds of things to ensure security, etc. But she went on to say that orders over a certain amount (she disclosed the amount) were processed more closely with the credit card company so fraud attempts would be detected. It's probably nothing, but if they're giving that kind of information out about their policies... I was urged to email "complaints@officedepot.com" with my concerns.

I inspected the coupon I used a bit more, too.
The coupon is comprised of 4 different images. Guess what? All images reside at www.officedepot.com. They are:

So apparently some third-party hacked OfficeDepot.com, posted some official-looking graphics, and modified a web page at officedepot.com to pull all the graphics together. Then, the bandit posted the URL all over the Internet.

The ONLY THING that Office Depot has going for them is the fact that the customer service people were quite polite. I don't think they were necessarily trying to deceive me. Rather, I suspect some significant communications problems within the organization. And some bad programming on the part of the developers of OfficeDepot.com.


Exporting and importing groups with Avant Browser

I use Avant Browser on multple systems. While it offers the ability to import groups, it appears to only supoprt "CaptorGroup files" (*.cgp). And there's no built-in way to export a group or groups. Sometimes, I need to get groups from one system onto another. Since Avant Browser stores groups in a "groups.dat" file located in <%userprofile%\Application Data\Avant Browser\>, I can just grab the group or groups I need out of groups.dat, save them to an intermediate file, ensure that the "G" value is unique for the target system, and append the group or groups to the groups.dat file on the target system.

A sample section from groups.dat looks like the following. The aforementioned "G" value is "G10" below.
NAME1=Url Name 1
NAME2=Url Name 2