Category Archives: Windows 7

Using DISKPART to create a Bootable USB of Windows 8

Windows 8 was released today on MSDN and Technet. It will soon be released publically. With that comes the many GBs of downloads for the ISOs. Many may have newer Ultrabooks, which do not feature DVD drives anymore. Rather than burning the ISO to a DVD disc, why not put it on a bootable USB stick? There are many ways to do this, and I have found that the best way to do this is to use a command tool called DISKPART. The commands are fairly easy.

  1. Open an elevated Command Prompt and type DISKPART. You will open up the Diskpart tool, as evidenced by the DISKPART> prompt.
  2. DISKPART>LIST DISK <- This will give you a listing of the disks on your system. It is very important to identify the USB disk, as you really do not want to format your system drive.
  3. DISKPART>SELECT DISK n <- this will make select the USB disk n, as identified in step 2
  4. DISKPART>CLEAN <- This effectively does a quick format/wipe of the USB disk
  5. DISKPART>CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY <- This will create a primary partition on the disk
  6. DISKPART>SELECT PARTITION 1 <- Since there is only one partition, this will select it.
  7. DISKPART>ACTIVE <- This makes the partition active
  8. DISKPART>FORMAT FS=FAT32 <- This formats the disk and sets it up as a FAT32 formatted drive. This will take a while to complete
  9. DISKPART>ASSIGN <- This assigns the next drive letter to the drive
  10. DISKPART>EXIT <- To exit the utility

Once the USB drive has been prepared, you can now use a utility like 7-Zip to extract the ISO directly to the drive.

BTW. This process will also work when creating bootable USB disks of other Windows ISOs – Windows Server 2012, Windows Small Business Server 2011, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 7, and even Vista.



Error: Cannot connect the computer to the server because either another software installation is in progress, or, the computer has a restart pending.

I have been seeing quite a number of systems coming up with this error message when attempting to install the Client Connector Software for SBS 2011 Essentials.

“Error: Cannot connect the computer to the server because either another software installation is in progress, or, the computer has a restart pending. Either complete the installation process, or, restart the computer and try to connect again.”

The first thing to do is obvious – Reboot the computer. But then again, there would not be anything to blog if it were that easy. Obviously, that has been attempted and the error remains. Apparently, this is often caused by programs not cleaning up their installation settings.

The fix is fairly simple, if you can remember where the registry setting is.

Open up Regedit and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager. Rename the key named PendingFileRenameOperation to something else.

That should resolve the issue.

WIM2VHD tool to convert images with support for Windows8 and Server 2012

A new tool has been released to quickly convert WIM images into VHD and the new VHDX format. The tool is completely written in PowerShell and also has a GUI. The file (Convert-WindowsImage.ps1 ) can be downloaded here –

The tool supports Windows 7, Server 2008R2 and above. Vista and Server 2008 are not supported.


HP Laserjet P2035 prints multiple copies of pages on Windows 7

I recently resolved a problem which occured on just about every Laserjet P2035 printer when printing from Windows 7. When printing a page, ie. the test page, multiple copies keep printing until you cancel the print job. Updating the printer drivers have no effect.

The fix was to untick the Enable Bidirectional Printing in the printer properties.

  1. Open up Printers and Devices
  2. Right Click on the Printer, and select Printer Properties
  3. Go to the Ports tab
  4. Untick the check box “Enable bidirectional support”

Windows update cannot currently check for updates because the service is not running

I’ve noticed this issue cropping up more often recently. When you go to update Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2, the following message pops up.

When you check the Windows Update service, you find that it is indeed already started. Rebooting does not resolve the issue.

There does not appear to be a Microsoft fix for this. However, the following steps appear to resolve the issue.

1. Stop the Windows Update service. Open up services from Computer Management, or run SERVICES.MSC from the Run command. Then locate the Windows Update service. Right click and Stop the service.

2. Browse to C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\ and delete everything from this folder.

3. Start the Windows Update service, and all the folders will be recreated.



Use your iPad as an extra monitor

There are a number of programs available to turn your iPad into an external monitor in Windows. The most recent of these was released by Displaylink ( The big difference with this application is that it supports the Windows 7 Aero interface. And it’s FREE.

Initial testing so far indicates that it is also the fastest driver around so far. One issue I have run into is that it occasioanlly runs into a connect-disconnect loop, rendering the screens unsuable, until the app on the iPad is stopped and restarted.

Fix File Associations following Malware cleanup

This scenario has been coming up fairly often recently. A PC becomes infected by a Fake-AV software. MalwareBytes ( cleans up the infection. Suddenly, EXE files cannot run. Not even Regedit.

 There are a couple off good resources which help fix up the registry and restore the EXE file association back to normal. Download and unzip the reg files. Right Click on the Reg file and select Merge.

Thanks and acknowledgements to Doug Knox and Ramesh Srinivasan. They have more file association fixes listed below.

PowerShell Not Your Father’s Command Line

There is a great 31 part blog post on PowerShell that is in developement (part 23 of 31 at this moment). Everything you wanted to know about PowerShell and some great scripts that can be used.

The main landing page for the blog is here –

Here are the titles.

Part 1 of 31: Why PowerShell?
Part 2 of 31: The Basics on How to Read PowerShell
Part 3 of 31: Where Did All the Good Cmdlets Go?
Part 4 of 31: Who Ya Gonna Call For Help?
Part 5 of 31: What’s in it for Devs?
Part 6 of 31: A Cmdlet By Any Other Name Would Be An Alias
Part 7 of 31: Conjunction Function PowerShell What Are Functions?
Part 8 of 31: Won’t You Take Me To Functiontown?
Part 9 of 31: Another Side of PowerShell Profiles
Part 10 of 31: PowerShell Protecting You From Yourself
Part 11 of 31: PowerShell Providers and You!
Part 12 of 31: PowerShell and The Registry
Part 13 of 31: The Provider Active Directory Style
Part 14 of 31: Sorry I’m Not Home Right Now, Walking into IIS Webs…
Part 15 of 31: ISE, ISE Baby…
Part 16 of 31: PowerShell Take Me Out To The Grid
Part 17 of 31: Who Wants to Manage Active Directory?
Part 18 of 31: So You Deleted A User…On Purpose
Part 19 of 31: Small Business Server, PowerShell, and Me
Part 20 of 31: Hanging with Hyper-V
Part 21 of 31: Knock Knock PowerShell Calling!
Part 22 of 31: Good PowerShell Things Come in Nifty Packages
Part 23 of 31: HUGE Announcements, Disagreements, Best Practices and A Party…Oh My!
Part 24 of 31: PowerShell Did What!?!? How to Mitigate Risk!
Part 25 of 31: Did You Know PowerShell Can Talk VMware?
Part 26 of 31: Start Spreading the News…
Part 27 of 31: It Takes a Community to Raise a Language
Part 28 of 31: What is the .NET Framework?
Part 29 of 31: Demystifying MSDN and PowerShell static syntax
Part 30 of 31: PowerShell Likes the Pretty Blue Eyes of Azure Too
Part 31 of 31: That’s a Wrap and We are Not Done Yet!

Repairing a Windows 7 PC after the C34 Torn State issue

After using the very early Pending.XML file edit fix as described in my earlier blog the Windows 7 PC would be left in a torn state. This meant that Service Pack 1 could no longer be installed on this PC, and possibly other patches as well.

There are two options for recovering from this.

First, you could reimage or rebuild this PC. This is often not a solution, especially if there were vaarious bits of information that could not be easily reinstalled.

The other option is to repair the current system. Some people have had success in using a Windows 7 SP1 DVD or USB to do a repair install over the top of the current installation. If that does not work, Kelvin Aston provides a step by step set of instructions for repairing the system here –

Note: I have not been able to find a PC in a torn state in order to test out this fix myself.

Error 0xC0000034 during Service Pack 1 installations for Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2

UPDATE [16/5/2011] –  A Hotfix has been release by Microsoft to fix this issue –

The recent SP1 for Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 was pushed out via Microsofut Updates. There has been a plethora of posts from users stating that their installation has crashed their PC with the error above.

EDIT [14/3/2011] – A KB Article has been released by Microsoft on this –

A blog from joscon (Microsoft Support) suggests the following workaround/fix –

Option 1 (Win7 client only):  Use a system restore point to recover the system

  • This one is pretty self explanatory.  Boot your machine into WinRE and pick a restore point before the service pack was installed.  This should get you back up and running. 
  • This doesnt work on server

Option 2 (Win7 client and 2008 R2 server):  Delete the poqexec entry

  • Boot into WinRE and choose a command prompt then run the following commands and restart the computer:
    • Reg load HKLM\BaseSystem C:\Windows\System32\config\SYSTEM
    • Reg Delete “HKLM\BaseSystem\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager” /v SetupExecute
    • Reg add “HKLM\BaseSystem\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager” /v SetupExecute /t REG_MULTI_SZ
    • Reg unload HKLM\BaseSystem
  • If you’re more graphically inclined, you can use this method:
    • Boot into WinRE
    • Open Registry Editor using regedit.exe 
    • Now you will have the WinRE registry loaded so you need to load the “ System ” hive
    • To do that : Highlight HKLM then  Click on File > Load Hive > Browse to C:\windows\system32\config (assuming C:\ being the system drive )
    • Name the Hive as TEST 
    • Browse to HKLM\TEST\select and check the value for “ Current “
    • Assuming the value as (1) browse to HKLM\TEST\ControlSet001\Control\SessionManager
    • Locate and double click the key “SetupExecute ” at the right panel 
    • Delete any value inside the key and click OK
    • Highlight TEST and then Click on File > Unload hive
    • Type exit at cmd
    • Reboot the machine

[EDIT 15/3/2011] – Another suggestion from a MS Support Engineer via email was received.

  1. Boot from Windows Installation disc.
  2. Click on Next
  3. Click on Repair your computer
  4. Recover Environment option will come, Keep the first option selected on a small window and check on which partition windows 7 has been installed, most probably C: drive
  5. Click Next
  6. Select command prompt from the below mention option
  7. In the command prompt the prompt would be on X:\Sources
  8. Change it to the partition on which the operating system has been installed, mentioned in step 4
  9. Type the following command: 
    • cd /d C:\windows\system32\config

  10. Rename the following files by typing the following:
    • ren default default.old
    • ren sam sam.old
    • ren security security.old
    • ren software software.old
    • ren system system.old

  11. Change the working directory:
    • cd regback

  12. Copy the files from this directory to the previous directory as follows:
    • copy default c:\windows\system32\config
    • copy sam c:\windows\system32\config
    • copy security c:\windows\system32\config
    • copy software c:\windows\system32\config
    • copy system c:\windows\system32\config

  13. Restart the machine


The following recommendation from a user (thiswoot) in the Technet forums also suggests a fix which may work –

UPDATE [16/5/2011] –  A Hotfix has been release by Microsoft to fix this issue –