Mark Minasi's Windows Networking Tech Page
Issue #77 Late March 2009

Document copyright 2009 Mark Minasi; please see below for info on subscribing, unsubscribing or copying portions of this text.

What's Inside

  • News
    • Windows Server Class in Chicago Late April, Special "Economic Meltdown" Prices
    • The Server 2008 Seminar is Now a 15-CD Audio Set, XP and Vista Seminars available on CD also
    • The MR&D Forum Conference 19-22 April is This Month
    • Dave Solomon's Teaching "Windows Internals" in London in April
  • Tech Section
    • Fixing Two More Vista "Vysteries:"  WPD FileSystem Volume Failure and a Mysterious Freezup
  • Conferences
  • Bring a Seminar to Your Site
  • To Subscribe, Unsubscribe, Read Old Newsletters or Change Your Email Address

News

Hi all —

This month, two more Vysteries (the first of which is also an XP mystery for some) -- how to deal with those occasional "WPD filesystem" failures, and how telling Vista to go low-power can lead it to go no-power.  They're two useful tips, I hope, as well as an update on the Server 2008 books' status but first... a word from our sponsor.

Windows Server 2008 Class (with some 2008 R2 previews) Coming To Chicago in April, Special "Economic Meltdown" Price

As you know, in the past year Microsoft has released Windows Server 2008, and even if you've not implemented it yet, we all know that Resistance Is Futile and so you'll eventually need to know how to plan to fit it (or its very close cousin 2008 R2) into your IT structure, get it rolled out, and then maintain and troubleshoot it... so why not learn now? 

Of course, you could download a small mountain of white papers (mostly written based on late betas and thus are only partially correct), and spend a few weeks testing it to discover the hundreds of changes that 2008 brings... or you could come spend a couple of days with me. In my Server 2008 Support class, I'll tell you and show you what's changed in Server — the good, the bad, the wonderful and the awful ... with a chuckle or two thrown in. Please consider joining me for the two-day Server 2008 class in Chicago on April 27/28.  As some recent attendees commented:

  • "I try to catch Mark's classes whenever he comes to town, especially when we're contemplating a workstation or server update.  He always gives you the 'straight' answer of when to jump in and when to sit tight."
  • "This class was the best tech training class I've ever taken.  I would recommend this class emphatically!"
  • "Great session overall!"
  • "Great job!"

But wait, there's more:

Some of you may know that a quarter-century ago, I was a Washington economist, so I think I can speak with a dab of authority when I say that this ain't no recession, folks, this here economic situation is a depression.  So I'm offering this Chicago class at my special "economic meltdown" price — 200 bucks off the price of every seat for those two sessions.  So please, come join me at one of my favorite cities and let's get techie about Server 2008!  (And I'm also happy to answer any questions that you have on Server 2008 R2.)

The Server 2008, Vista and XP Seminars Available As Audio Sets

I'll keep it short and sweet:  given the current economic conditions, I know that some of you would like to get to my 2008 seminar, but that there is no way that you will be able to convince the boss to let you travel or even leave the office anytime soon.  For you folks, I've recorded the Server 2008 class, my Vista Support class and my XP Support classes in their entirety and you can buy them on a stack of CDs for under a quarter of the price of attending the seminar.

The newest is the Server 2008 set and I want everyone to be able to afford this set, so I've priced it the same as I did our Server 2000 audio set nine years ago.  I've also posted online a free 18 minute sample from the Hyper-V coverage that I hope you'll like whether you buy the set or not.  More info at http://www.minasi.com/2008class/audio/, and I hope you find it a convenient and entertaining way to get the ins and outs of 2008.  You can find out about my other audios (XP, Vista, etc) at http://www.minasi.com/audios.htm; there are sample audio downloads for all of the class CD sets.

The MR&D Forum Conference 19-22 April is This Month

For the fourth year in a row, I'm hosting a conference in Virginia Beach under the aegis of our MR&D forum.  It may be the best deal you'll find this year conference-wise ($450 attendee fee for a four-day conference) and we've got some great speakers as always.  More info at http://web2.minasi.com/forummeet2009/forummeet2009.htm.  Come join us by the shores of the beautiful Chesapeake Bay!

Dave Solomon's Teaching "Windows Internals" in London in April

(The lucky dog; it's been too long since I've been in London!  Gotta set up a class there some time...)  Find out more at www.solsem.com/london.html.  You know Dave -- he and Mark Russinovich write the Microsoft Press Windows Internals book.  You'll learn so much your head will explode.

Tech Section

Fixing Two More Vista "Vysteries:"  WPD FileSystem Volume Failure and a Mysterious Freezup

In the past month, I've come across a couple of mysterious and irritating errors in Vista that I managed to solve, so I thought I'd pass them along. 

The first one happened a couple of weeks ago.  People have sometimes asked me, in the past few years, if I've stumbled across something called the "WPD filesystem problem," and did I have a solution?  I'd say that no, I didn't know what they were talking about, did they have some more details, and no one did, so I couldn't help.  Well, for good or ill, now I've experienced the "WPD filesystem problem," and have a solution; here's the story.

I have what seems like a hundred little USB sticks that range in size from 256 MB to 1 GB that I keep things on and that I use to transfer files from one computer to another.  Once upon a time, I could put all of my "what if" backup stuff on just one 512 MB USB stick -- my PowerPoints, the free PowerPoint viewer and the like -- but I dreamed of carrying around a USB stick that not only had my PowerPoints, but also backups of my VMWare virtual machines for class demonstrations.

So I sent Amazon about a hundred bucks, and soon received a brand-new 64 GB USB stick.  (Picture me chortling maniacally as if I were Ming the Merciless and I'd just received my WorldBuster (tm) total-mass-to-energy conversion bomb.  And there's no need to email me with the bad news -- I know, the 64GB USB sticks aren't the fastest things in the world.  But they are pretty danged small, size-wise and capacious data-wise, so Ming's still happy... heh heh hee hee heh.)  I popped it into my trusty T61 laptop...

... and was concerned to see the system announce, "now loading device drivers..."  I was even more concerned when it revealed that it lacked a driver, and could I supply one?  I mean heck, it's just a USB stick ("... even if it is such a wonderfully large one, heh heh heh...," he said, rubbing his hands together gleefully), why would it need a driver?  I closed the "looking for a device driver" dialog box, only to get this message:

Step One in troubleshooting this, of course, was to find another computer running Vista, shove the USB stick into it and see if it would function with the other Vista system, so I found another Vista box and, sure enough, the USB stick worked fine.  At this point, I'm sure that many of you are thinking exactly what I was thinking at this point:  "ahhh... excellent."  I'd established that it wasn't a Vista problem, just a Vista-on-Mark's-laptop problem.  Next stop:  Device Manager.

Back at my laptop, I looked in Device Manager, under "Disk Drives."  I saw a number of recognized devices in the "Disk drives" section, but I did not see a USB stick with a yellow triangle or red circle next to it.  Thinking that the whole thing might be a conflict, I started disabling things.  What finally did the trick was removing my PCI Express e-SATA interface card, which Device Manager reported as a SCSI device.  (Don't let that confuse you when you're smoking out a storage problem in Windows -- basically if it's a disk drive and it's not IDE/internal SATA, it often comes up as some kind of SCSI device.)

With the e-SATA card removed, I popped the USB stick into the laptop, and it --finally! -- showed up in Device Manager as expected:  "JetFlash Transcend 64GB USB Device."  I'm not 100 percent sure what happened there, but my theory is that the e-SATA interface was the most recently added mass storage interface and -- here's the important part -- there must be some sort of daisy-chaining going on between storage device drivers, and I'm guessing that whoever wrote the e-SATA driver dropped the ball on properly including devices added after it to the chain.

So, I wondered, what happens if I re-insert the e-SATA adapter while the USB stick's still inserted?  Closing all files in anticipation of a blue screen, I popped Monster Blue (the USB stick really needed a nickname by now) into a slot on the laptop, held my breath... and everything worked fine. In fact, I've not had another e-SATA/USB stick problem since.

Anyway, the bottom line is that if you find yourself dealing with a WPD filesystem failure, then try to disconnect or disable as many storage devices as possible (again, save all of your work before doing that please), and then try re-inserting whatever caused the error.  I hope this helps!

I said that I had the answer to two Vysteries this month, so here's the second.  At Windows Connections in Orlando, I did a new presentation on Active Directory in Windows Server 2008 R2.  I made it through a few PowerPoint slides without trouble, but then I stopped and talked about a concept for a few minutes (the new PowerShell commands in Active Directory, which are a real paradigm-shifter if you're not currently a command-line or PowerShell junkie but that are worth taking out for a spin), and then tried to advance my PowerPoint presentation... only to find that my laptop had frozen up.

This, of course, was the cause for much merriment amongst the audience, many of whom knew that I run Vista and that I regularly tout Vista as a fairly reliable, robust operating system.  I knew what was going on, however, and how to fix it.  Ever since Vista came out, I've run it daily on one or two 64-bit laptops, an HP and a Lenovo system.  Both run quite reliably, except for this embarrassing lockup that occurs now and then.  The cause?  Power management on Vista.  If I start a presentation with my system's power setting at "Power Saver" rather than "Balanced" or "High Power" and walk away from the computer, then Vista starts trying to save power, and that seems to be where the system locks up.

It's apparently some combination of dimming the screen and running PowerPoint 2007 that causes the system to lock up.  The answer seems to be to remember to put Vista in "presentation mode" via the Mobility Center (Windows key + "X"), but I never remember to do that.  Anyway, my fix is just remember to leave Vista in either the High Power or Balanced power plan when presenting.  (I normally do that, but I'd been taking notes in sessions the day before and the meeting rooms lacked power outlets at the tables, so I was trying to stretch my battery life as far as possible, and forgot to set it back to High Power.)

What's Going On With the Windows Server 2008 Books?

Many of you have emailed me to ask where the heck the 2008 books are, and the short version is, "they're still delayed, but I'm working on a short book that covers all of what's new in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2."  More details at my site at www.minasi.com/2008class/bookupdate.htm, and many apologies for the delays.

Conferences

Where Rhonda and I will be in the next few months:

TechEd US Los Angeles May 11-15

This year, Rhonda and I get to do the the TechEd preconference session introducing the world to Windows 7.  But that's not all:  I'll also offer a breakout session presenting an overview of the neat new Active Directory stuff in Server 2008 R2, and then I get to do three cool security talks.  First, I'll reprise my popular "12 Tips To Secure Your Network" talk, revised for 2009 realities, my new "Cracking Open Kerberos" talk, as well as "Uncovering Vista's Two Security Stars," an in-depth -- and contrarian -- look at User Account Control and Windows Integrity Levels.   Rhonda's got a fantastic session on Windows Deployment Services that you will not want to miss, as no one can explain this very useful tool as she can!

Find out more at http://www.msteched.com/teched/default.aspx.

TechMentor Orlando June 22-26 (WITH DISCOUNT IF YOU KNOW THE CODE!!!!!)

They've asked Rhonda and me to return to the Royal Pacific Resort and their Powers That Be have kindly agreed to offer a special deal for my readers!  Get more details at http://techmentorevents.com/2009/orlando and, if you do decide to register, use priority code "minasi" and they'll knock a hundred bucks off the registration price.  (I've been asking for this for a while, and I'm delighted that they've been kind enough to give it a try.)

Microsoft's MMS April 27-May 1

Rhonda's at MMS in Vegas this year (I wasn't invited <sniff, sniff!>) doing some really cool talks:  her WDS overview and "What's New in Windows Deployment in Windows 7."  If you're going to be in Vegas and want to see how to save a boatload of money on your rollout tools then don't miss these talks!

Info at http://www.mms-2009.com/ .

Bring Mark to Your Site to Teach

I'm keeping busy doing Server 2008 and Vista seminars and writing, but I've still got time to visit your firm.  In just two days, I'll make your current NT techies into 2008, Vista, security, XP, Active Directory or 2003 experts.  (And better yet they won't have to sit through any Redmondian propaganda.)  To join the large educational, pharmaceutical, agricultural, aerospace, utility, banking, government, telecommunication, law enforcement, publishing, transportation, military and other organizations that I've assisted, either take a peek at the course outlines at www.minasi.com/presentations.htm, mail our assistant Jean Snead at Assistant@Minasi.com, or call her at (757) 426-1431 (only between 1-5 Eastern time, weekdays, please).

Tell Your Friends About Us!

Have a quiet and safe month. 

Please share this newsletter; I hope that it is a useful source of Windows technical information.  Please forward it to any associates who might find it helpful, and accept my thanks.  We are now at over 48,000 subscribers and I hope to use this to get information to every one of my readers. Many, many thanks to the readers who have mailed me to offer suggestions, errata, and those kind reviews.  As always, I'm at http://www.minasi.com/gethelp and please join us at the Forum with technical questions at www.minasi.com/forum.  Thanks for letting me visit with you, and take care. 

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All contents copyright 2009 Mark Minasi.  I encourage you to quote this material, SO LONG as you include this entire document; thanks.