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IE 8, time zone and USB video driver updates fail to install

At the end of September ’10 Microsoft released two recommended and one important Windows 7 updates that may fail to install automatically on Windows 7 Enterprise editions.

The most important update – Update for Windows 7 for x64-based Systems (KB2158563) resolves issues caused by revised daylight saving time and time zone laws in several countries. This update enables your computer to automatically adjust the computer clock on the correct date in 2010. Microsoft recommends to deploy the most current Windows cumulative time zone update to guarantee the consistency of the time zone database on all systems.

Another failing update refers to the Compatibility View functionality of Windows Internet Explorer 8 – Update for Internet Explorer 8 Compatibility View List for Windows 7 for x64-based Systems (KB2362765)
This Compatibility View List update helps make Web sites that are designed for older browsers look better in Internet Explorer 8. When users install Internet Explorer 8, they will be given a choice about opting-in to a list of sites that should be displayed in Compatibility View. After you install this item, you may have to restart Internet Explorer.

While the third failing update refers to the prevention of unexpected shutdowns or blue screens when you are using a USB video device. After you install this item, you may have to restart your computer. – Update for Windows 7 for x64-based Systems (KB979538)

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Troubleshooting lengthy startups

Windows event logs are a very important tool for monitoring the health of systems and troubleshooting issues when they arise. Since Windows Vista, Microsoft added additional logs known as Application and Service logs, so that applications and services installed on the computer will have individual logs. This category of logs includes four subtypes for which the application or service can provide events, which are Admin, Operational, Analytic, and Debug logs. Details about the category of logs will be explained in a separate article, however, a brief explanation of the Operational events is needed as to help us troubleshoot startup problems!

I have created a small application called Boot Time that helps you monitor Boot times. The Boot Time utility requires administrative privileges to run successfully, hence if you are logged as a normal user without admin rights, start the application by right-clicking BootTime.exe and then click Run as administrator. For further details read below:

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Speed up the Startup process

Although startup times are the result of many variables that differ from one computer to another, the following steps will help you optimize this time. Most commercial applications perform similar actions, therefore, it is wiser to have some knowledge about the startup process and perform the changes yourself, as you are in the best position to decide what is essential or not required in your system. Remember, that third party applications are generic and can do unwanted changes!

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Startup problems and Msconfig

Msconfig allows you to configure startup parameters such as, disabling applications from starting and hence, can estimate if the startup time has improved or not as to identify problematic applications! This tool is specifically designed for troubleshooting and therefore, it allows you to undo any changes. In addition, it reminds you about the changes you have made upon the next restart as to reduce the likelihood of leaving your system into maintenance/troubleshooting mode.

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Advanced Boot Options

The Windows boot options allow you to use repair tools in case the system has loading problems. Press and Hold the function key F8 when the computer is booting from a restart or a power on. If the computer fails to boot from the hard drive, then use the Windows Installation DVD media. The following is a brief explanation of the boot options:

Repair Your Computer more system recovery tools & diagnostics
Safe Mode – Loads a base system with a minimal set of functions
Safe Mode With Networking – Loads a base system with basic functions including networking
Safe Mode With Command Prompt – Loads a base system with basic functions and a command-line interface
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System recovery options

This option in the Advanced Boot Options  gives you further tools to diagnose and repair your system. To access this mode press F8 while booting either from the hard drive or the windows installation DVD media. Select Repair Your Computer option, select a keyboard input method and enter the administrator user password to load these options:

Startup Repair:- Fixes boot problems. Apart, from loading this feature manually, Windows may automatically boots to it if it had starting problems during a previous restart

System Restore:- It’s another option that leads you to a system restore process. It allows you to recover from incorrect system configuration changes that prevent your computer from booting up. In this case, you need to boot from the windows installation DVD media Continue reading

Boot Configuration Data – BCD

Windows 7 boot mechanism is made up of the Windows boot manager (Bootmgr.exe), Windows operating system loader (Winload.exe) and Windows resume loader (Winresume.exe).

The boot configuration is stored in the BCD store and the Bcdedit tool provides a common interface for managing boot options. You must be a local administrator in order to perform configuration changes to your boot options.

  • From the command prompt – (Start menu Search box type cmd and click the cmd icon on top)
  • Type bcdedit /? to list the help for this utility.

For example the option bcdedit /set vga on,  would load windows with a low resoltion VGA display driver on reboot.