Do No Evil; Google Chrome Style

Have you seen this warning when you try to click a link in Outlook or Word? "This operation has been canceled due to restrictions in effect on this computer. Please contact your system administrator." Here is a screen shot: There are many reason this warning can happen. Typically, the cause is that some setting in the registry (the database of configuration data on a Windows computer) has become corrupted. How exactly it became corrupted is an open question. One completely, 100% foolproof, way to corrupt the registry is to install and then uninstall Google Chrome. I discovered this when I realized that … Continue reading Do No Evil; Google Chrome Style

Does your AMD-based computer boot after installing XP SP3?

Last night WSUS deployed XP Service Pack 3 to the sole remaining computer running XP that I have. This morning, I came down and was greeted with incessant reboots. The computer booted, apologized for not being able to boot properly, asked if I wanted to boot into safe mode, defaulted to normal boot, rebooted, and so on and so on. It would boot into safe mode fine, so I did that. Not knowing what it was, I ran a disk check, which turned out to be a real mistake. Once I configured the computer to run a disk check at … Continue reading Does your AMD-based computer boot after installing XP SP3?

1722 Error from InstallShield

Last week I found a post in the Vista newsgroups from a lady who was having problems installing Kaspersky Anti-Virus. She was getting an error 1722 upon installation on one computer out of three and the installation failed. She had called both Kaspersky and here computer manufacturer (HP) and neither could help. HP told her to get a new anti-virus package, and Kaspersky had no help to give. Searching a little I found a solution on a site called, but it was a bit complicated getting at it, and it came in the form of some registry files with … Continue reading 1722 Error from InstallShield

Do Vista Users Need Fewer Security Patches Than XP Users?

On January 23, Jeff Jones, Director of Security at Microsoft, published his “One Year Vulnerability Report” for Windows Vista. In the report, he analyzed whether Windows Vista had fewer vulnerabilities in its first year than it’s predecessor, Windows XP had in its first year. Jeff also compared Vista to Red Hat, Ubuntu, and Mac OS and how they did in their first year. Predictably, the report has generated the expected amount of controversy. Thomas Claburn, of Information Week, promptly wrote an article about it, which, in my summary, essentially says “Microsoft makes up statistics to show that Vista is secure. Nobody … Continue reading Do Vista Users Need Fewer Security Patches Than XP Users?

Remotely listing all installed updates

A couple of weeks ago I published a script to list installed updates. Predictably, one of the comments ask for a version that can do that remotely. Here it is. This version can be run a couple of ways. First, you can double-click it. If you do it will prompt you for which computer to list the updates on. If you just type "." (a dot) it will use the local computer. If you type a name it will connect to a remote computer and list them from there. However, you must be authenticated to the remote computer before you … Continue reading Remotely listing all installed updates

Using Autoplay on Vista To Stop Attacks

The January issue of TechNet Magazine has an article I wrote about how to hack a system using autoplaying USB flash drives. While it is not possible to stop all attacks from USB tokens, Vista does include some interesting protective measures. However, the autoplay decision flow in Vista is quite convoluted, so I wrote a flowchart to explain it all. Full details are in the article.