Customers that have upgraded their Windows Vista Service Pack 1 computers to Service Pack 2 only to subsequently be plagued by frequent crashes can access a solution from Microsoft. The Redmond company notes that it is well aware of the issue. According to the software giant, some customers that made the jump from Vista SP1 to Vista SP2 have experienced repetitive crashes and have also come across the following stop error message “Stop 0x000000FE BUGCODE_USB_DRIVER”. Microsoft also mentions that the same problems affect customers that upgraded from Windows Server 2008 to Windows Server 2008 SP2.

“After you upgrade from Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) to Windows Vista SP2 or from Windows Server 2008 to Windows Server 2008 SP2, your computer crashes frequently and you receive the following stop error message: Stop 0x000000FE (parameter1, parameter2, parameter3, parameter4) BUGCODE_USB_DRIVER,” the company stated.

While an update is not available from Microsoft, nor likely, except with the release of Vista SP3, a hotfix can be grabbed from Microsoft Support. The software giant notes that the hotfix is the same as a resolve designed to take care of another problem impacting Vista and Windows Server 2008. However, in the specific case of Vista SP1 to SP2 upgrades, the issue “usually occurs on computers that have NVIDIA chipsets. More »

Although the Server Message Block remote file was originally introduced in the 1980’s, the first major overhauling it suffered was with the availability of Windows Vista RTM in 2007. SMB2, as it was labeled in Vista RTM, was subsequently updated the following year, with the introduction of Windows Vista Service Pack 1, and Windows Server 2008 SP1. However, even with the advent of SMB2, Windows operating systems continue to be interoperable with platforms that support SMB1, as the latest version of the remote file protocol has been tweaked in order to provide full support for the connection setup mechanisms of its precursor.

“A key improvement in SMB2 is the way it makes it easy for clients to send a number of outstanding requests to a server. This allows the client to build a pipeline of requests, instead of waiting for a response before sending the next request. This is especially relevant when using a high latency network,” Jose Barreto, technology evangelist with the Storage Evangelism Team, explained. More »

Forget Windows Vista Service Pack 1, Service Pack 2 is here already. Well, at least the Beta build. In the second half of October 2008, Microsoft delivered the first taste of Vista SP2 to a small pool of customers, as an integral part of the service pack’s Technology Adoption Program. Starting on December 2, the Redmond company has broadened the Beta for the second service pack for Vista. In this context, Mike Nash, corporate vice president, Windows Product Management, Microsoft, announced that MSDN and TechNet subscribers would have access to the Beta bits for Vista SP2 and Windows Server 2008 SP2. However, the two service packs will be made available for all Vista and Windows Server 2008 users starting tomorrow.

“Beginning Thursday Dec. 4th, we will be making the Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 Beta available to everyone through a Customer Preview Program (CPP),” Nash revealed. “The CPP will launch on TechNet and be available to anyone interested in trying out this service pack. The CPP is intended for technology enthusiasts, developers, and IT Pros who would like to test Service Pack 2 in their environments and with their applications prior to final release. For most customers, our best advice would be to wait until the final release prior to installing this service pack.” More »

Making a 64-bit copy of Windows Vista Service Pack 1 confirm that it is actually Vista SP1 might require a minimum amount of effort on behalf of the end user, such as right-clicking My Computer and selecting Properties, but things are a tad different when an application is programmed to identify the operating system versions or the service pack releases. According to Scott McArthur, Support Escalation engineer with the Setup & Cluster team, Microsoft Corporation Enterprise Support, application compatibility problems can emerge when a program will look for the service pack version in the wrong location in the registry. The example given involved an application designed especially for Vista SP1 failing to install on an x64 copy of Vista SP1.

“The application was checking for the OS version in a registry value, specifically: HKLM – SOFTWARE – Wow6432Node – Microsoft – Windows NT – CurrentVersion – CSDVersion. On the x64 version of Windows Vista Service Pack 1, however this value does not exist. The correct value does show up under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE – SOFTWARE – Microsoft – Windows NT – CurrentVersion – CSDVersion however. This highlights an inherent problem with relying on the registry method to capture this information. More »

Desktops 1.0 from Sysinternals is designed to kick the flexibility of the Windows desktop up a notch. The solution to an overcrowded working space has always been simple, and Microsoft is by no means reinventing the wheel. What the Sysinternals utility will do, is allow the end users to stretch across no less than four desktops, delivering much precious real estate area. Users will subsequently be able to jump between desktops using either keyboard shortcuts or the tray icon.

“Desktops allows you to organize your applications on up to four virtual desktops. Read email on one, browse the web on the second, and do work in your productivity software on the third, without the clutter of the windows you’re not using. After you configure hotkeys for switching desktops, you can create and switch desktops either by clicking on the tray icon to open a desktop preview and switching window, or by using the hotkeys,” reads the tool’s description.

Of course that Desktops 1.0 can be downloaded to the desktop and integrated with the operating system. Or it can be run remotely via The tool will integrate seamlessly with both Windows Vista Service Pack 1 and Windows XP Service Pack 3. In addition to Desktops 1.0, which went live on August 21, Microsoft has also updated AutoRuns for Windows which has now reached version 9.33. More »