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  #1  
01-15-2011, 04:16 AM
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Hardware Preface:

Several years ago, one of our test machines had a faulty CPU, so we had to stop using it. It was mostly random parts, some of it not very good anyway (crappy motherboard, crappy case and power supply, no DVD burner), so it was stuffed into a closet. Recently, an individual donated a partial computer to us, which had enough good parts to be merged with the old test box. The "new" system has an Antec case, AMD 2400+, 1GB RAM, 120GB hard drive, 500W power supply, good cooling. This type of setup may seem old, but it can still perform editing, authoring, capturing, encoding and duplication duties. Aside from encoding, those things are all "you" time anyway, not machine time. Capturing is realtime to the tape/signal.

The Need for SP2:

Windows was reinstalled on top of itself (Repair install) because it was damaged from the malfunctioning CPU. But the original install disc was now so old -- Service Pack 1 (SP1) -- that it needed an update to run even some basic video/disc tools in 2010. I needed SP2. Several basic apps have a minimum requirement of using SP2 these days. Adobe software, for example.

SP2 Install CD Hangs -- Will Not Install Windows XP Service Pack 2:

Years and years ago, when Microsoft offered the free Service Pack 2 CD by mail, I signed up for one. And I still have it. And I still use it.

Upon trying to install SP2 on this new system, I was first told that my key (WIndows serial number) was invalid. That was preposterous, so I had to read the MS knowledgebase (KB) on how to re-enter the key. Given the pain-in-the-butt nature of Microsoft tech support, I was tempted to simply use one of those "borrowed" (leaked) keys easily found online, but I re-entered the same key already on the machine and original disc case. And suddenly it was working.

Or maybe not...

What happened next was the system would start to install, then freeze. First, I thought "well, it's an old computer, maybe it just takes a while". Nope. Six hours later, the "blue bar" (progress bar) had not moved. I went to the task manager (CTRL+ALT+ESC) and ended the task "Update.exe". I also noticed a program named "FixCCS.exe" running at 99% CPU, but thought nothing of it at the time. I ended it, too. Then I deleted the temporary installer folder. Then tried again, letting it run overnight. The next morning, I woke up to the same stuck blue bar.

It was still at "Checking for necessary space". So I jotted that down, and headed for Google on another system. Some 20 minutes later, I came across some info that let me to this solution:

To fix BEFORE it hangs:
  1. When the files for SP2 start to extract, look for a new gibberish-named folder on your hard drive. For example, "C:\f1oicu812r2d2c3po\i386\"
  2. After all the files have been extracted the installer will begin. DO NOT click on "I Agree" or "Next" until after you have performed the next step...
  3. Go to the new folder (via Windows Explorer, i.e. "My Computer") "C:\f1oicu812r2d2c3po\i386\update" and rename "FixCCS.exe" to something else (I used "FixCCS.exe.disabled" and ignored the error warning that I was changing the extension).
  4. Now go back to the install window and click I Agree + Next. SP2 will now install.
To fix DURING the hang:
  1. You can simply go to the Task Manager --- (CTRL+ALT+ESC) on the keyboard; some people still do CTRL+ALT+DEL and then click the TaskMan tab, but that's really unnecessary --- and end the program FixCCS.exe.
  2. It will continue to install.
The Mystery of FixCCS.exe -- What is FixCCS.exe?

I looked into what FixCCS.exe was supposed to be, and it's referred to by MS as the "Fix CCS MaxSubkeyName mismatch" tool -- some piece-o-crap program that is infamous for screwing up computers when SP2 or SP3 (especially SP3!) updates are applied. Symantec (maker of Norton Anti-Virus) has several articles on the topic, because people often blamed their products, or their products stopped working correctly due to the actions taken by the FixCCS tool.

From what I read, the program is unnecessary and should be distrusted as much as malware.

And it was a relief that I didn't have to completely format/wipe the system and reinstall from scratch, or simply opt for a Vista or Win7 upgrade (we have a couple of unused copies in the desk, for future needs).

Problem solved.

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  #2  
01-15-2011, 05:13 PM
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I wonder if this or something similar happened when I tried to update a dell 2004 computer to xp service pack 3, I was trying to update from service pack 2 to 3, & all I could find was an update for tech administrators or something like this, & it froze, it eventually bricked the hard drive, it was an 80 gb hard drive that originally came with the computer.

So the hard drive was replaced with a 160 gb hard drive, & it had to have a complete reinstall of the OS & programs. It is running now again, it was a big ordeal, I had started school, gone back after a while out of high school, it was summer & it happened right in the middle of an online class I was taking.

So now, I a yellow shield symbol sits on the bottom right side of the system tray from online with the update to service pack to ready to install, I notice it is smaller & this did not appear with the service pack 3 update I tried to install, before I had to look for it on Microsoft's site, this was found & comes in this alert with the yellow shield symbol, I will not do it, & risk going through that again, so for now it is service pack 2, it works, & am grateful for that.

This computer is needed in our home, it has the main DSL modem for the internet attached to it, & I have set up a wired network with it with a mac laptop in another room. The dell service pack 2 computer is my mother's & it is not my right to mess with it.
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  #3  
01-16-2011, 01:50 AM
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With the exception of web servers (Windows IIS6, IIS7), I almost always turn off automatic updates and strongly urge others to do the same.

As far as I'm concerned, automatic updates are a nuisance and have been a major source of problems for the past 10+ years. Indeed, they are known to install "fixes" an other nonsense updates that can entirely brick a system. Or at very least, mess up your workflow (example: installing new Windows Media Player and defaulting it for certain file types, or re-enabling the firewall that now blocks your SQL software).

There's really no good reason to let a computer make decisions for you, in terms of what it should have installed. You're the human with the brain -- you make those decisions and manually choose intelligent updates. And therefore you'll also NOT choose the bad updates that MS otherwise would have vomited onto your system.

I would also suggest SP3 is useless.

If you have SP2, that's really all you need. The biggest fix there, too, was simply the tighter integration of wireless Internet access. Beyond that, it was mostly just so-called "security" updates (some of which treated the user like an idiot and enabled overly aggressive OS apps by default). I don't know that significant changes were made to the kernel or other processing, so I sometimes wonder why a number of programs insist on SP2 for installation. And yes, I've tried to ignore it and install on an SP1 machine -- and that only sometimes works. You generally really do require SP2 for its install.

Those who would argue that you "need" all this MS-added junk for "security" need to stop coddling the stupid. A computer usually gets a virus or other malware due to user ignorance (always clicking "OK" or installing unknown software from unknown sites -- usually "free games"). Forcing everybody to use these security "features" (like automatic updates) is about on par with forcing everybody to wear a diaper because some people don't know how to use a bathroom correctly. That just encourages laziness and ignorance. Those who would get malware and viruses need computer usage education, not more software they don't understand.

Going back to my first sentence -- IIS does it right. The IIS web server updates are almost always security patches and unobtrusive features that won't brick a system or cause catastrophic failure of existing software. Why the desktop OS has to be so cumbersome is a mystery.

And one more time, in case you miss it, skip SP3.

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01-16-2011, 03:25 AM
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If automatic updates are turned off, where do I go for needed updates or security to install by hand? is there a link?

& in windows xp, where do I go to turn off automatic updates on the computer?

updates in general make me very nervous, I am on the pc, & I will the hard drive making lots of activity noises, & I used to get sudden pop up windows that would say updates are installing, the computer will restart in 15 minutes or something like this, & would give me the option to let it restart, or restart later, & this message would keep popping up & interrupting me while working.

I notice the computer seems to hang on restart, so I find it better to just shut down through the start menu, or just turn off the power strip & computer.

When I had called AT & T tech support one time, they told me to shut down the computer, one must do this through the start menu, & never just shut it off at the power strip. I have the pc plugged into a power strip surge suppressor with all it's peripherals.

that brings up something else, is it safe to leave on the modem after the computer is shut down? I need it on sometimes for internet access on the mac in the other room on the wired network. Can the modem be left on 24/7? will this burn it out faster?
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  #5  
01-16-2011, 03:56 AM
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How to Manually update Windows...

For manual updates, just go to the Windows Update site: http://www.update.microsoft.com
Note: You MUST use the Internet Explorer browser for this.


How to turn off Automatic Updates in Windows XP SP2...

To turn off automatic updates in XP SP2, go to the "Security Center" under the control panel.
  • STEP 1: Simply click the button to turn them off.
  • STEP 2: To also disable the warning nag that your "computer is unsafe" (BS!!), click the link on the left column that says "Change the way Security Center alerts me" and uncheck all three of the boxes.

windows-auto-updates.jpg

You can leave the Firewall on if you want.

I consider Windows Defender to mostly be useless. SuperAntiSpyware is better. The Pro version is listed at $29.99 on their site, but here's a tip: Install the free version, and then see what offers it gives you. Very often, it will show a "special sale" (today only! [cough, BS, cough]) that gives a price that varies from $9.95 to $14.95. I bought my last Pro version for $12.95 with one of the offers in the free edition. It's a much better security program. You can/should dump resource hogs like Norton or McAfee for SAS Pro.


Alternate Method to disable Automatic Updates in Windows...

For SP1 and before, pre-"Security Center" (and optionally in SP2-SP3), as well as previous and current Windows versions, you can also simply disable the Automatic Updates service.

Right-click on "My Computer" and go to "Manage". Expand "Services and Applications" and click on the "Services" sub-menu text. The right half of the window will show the services. If needed, you can click on the "Name" column heading, to sort alphabetically. Look for the "Automatic Updates" entry, and then right-click on it and go to "Properties". Change the startup type to "Disabled". If it's currently running (shows as "Started" -- unlike it is the image below), then you can right-click and stop the service now, too. Then it will be off now, as well as when you reboot the system.

No more automatic updates.

You must be logged in to view this content; either login or register for the forum. The attached screen shots, before/after images, photos and graphics are created/posted for the benefit of site members. And you are invited to join our digital media community.


I routinely check out what services are running, what my startup programs are, etc, and then disable anything that I don't feel is needed. Not all software should be left to run at all times, regardless of what the software makers thinks (and therefore install as default settings when the program is added to your computer). This is my tool, not theirs -- I call the shots, and I really don't care all that much about their opinions on what is "best" for me when they clearly have NO IDEA AT ALL how the system is being used.

It needs to be noted, however, that I don't guess at it -- I thoroughly research what every service or startup program is, and then make decisions on if it's needed. Some services are outright required for Windows to even function, so you can't just turn off things willy-nilly without there being some consequences. Choose, but choose wisely.


In reference to your other questions...

Quote:
updates in general make me very nervous
As well they should! When you have no idea what the computer is doing -- it's simply "doing something" -- then you have every right to wonder what's going on. These are our machines, tools for us to work with, not something that should be controlled by an outside entity regardless of how much they think we need it.

Quote:
interrupting me while working
Unacceptable!

Quote:
or just turn off the power strip & computer.
Never do this unless it has frozen, is on a BSOD (blue screen of death), or you have serious worry that malware is attempting to either ruin the system or use it as a drone for some other nefarious means. (However, sometimes pulling the LAN cable is just as good for malware issues!)

What you DO NOT want to do is turn off a computer while Windows is doing the actual updating of files. Turning off a computer at this point in time could corrupt the OS, requiring another reinstall of the system. Turn off a system while it has hard dive activity also carries a risk of crashing the drive and/or losing data.

Quote:
Can the modem be left on 24/7? will this burn it out faster?
"Yes" to the 24/7.
"No" to the burnout concern.

My first broadband cable modem was left on daily for about 9 years before it gave out. And even then, it only "gave out" because the protocols have vastly changes in the past decade, and it was simply unable to understand the 16mbps connection sent by the cable company. It only understood about 5mbps worth, because that was the largest realistic bandwidth at the time it was made.

To protect it, keep it on a UPS with all other computer gear.
I suggest APC UPS: http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.ht...reative=390957



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  #6  
01-21-2011, 04:21 PM
Sossity Sossity is offline
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The options to change the way I am alerted on the right side, is grayed out,so I guess all I needed to do was turn off automatic updates.
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