Virtualization, Cloud, Infrastructure and all that stuff in-between

My ramblings on the stuff that holds it all together

Category Archives: Windows Update

Windows OS Code Patching


Interesting article here from the ntdebug blog on how hotfixes get integrated into the windows code-base and update mechanism.

There have been some excellent posts recently on this blog offering detailed insight into the internals of Windows, if you’re interested in this kind of thing (like me) and general innards of Microsoft I’d also recommend Raymond Chen’s blog.

Many people underestimate the complexity of getting Windows out the door and keeping it serviced, I have to wonder just how well Apple* would cope given a similar scale of operation, and not having the luxury of a single “blessed” hardware platform rather than having to service literally trillions of combinations of 3rd party hardware/software/firmware/drivers etc.

I’ve seen lots of “Windows is rubbish and my Mac is ace” discussions at work and socially recently, whilst Windows definitely has its flaws, a more detailed analysis of the persons problem usually reveals that its a 3rd party app/device/driver that has caused a problem, for example;

  • Outdated DivX codec giving poor performance when browsing directories with thumbnails, or crashing – fix – updated codec
  • Vendor supplied wireless driver/utilities causing issues with sleep or disabling network card – using default Windows driver was as performant and fixed all issues

Microsoft get a lot of bad press around this but it’s actually because they have a pretty open framework and set of ISV/IHV/partner schemes to allow 3rd parties to tightly integrate their products (and thus profit from the Windows cash-cow) they have their HCL/SCL process, but it’s not an absolute requirement for being allowed to install product X from ABC inc.

*Not wishing to start a Mac/PC war – I use + like both, before you flame me, although I have used OSX under VMWare, as well as on Apple hardware #naughty!

Installed Windows Vista SP1 and Have No Sound?


There are probably a number of reasons for this, but I’ve come across a number of people recently that have installed Vista Service Pack 1 from the Microsoft Web site (note: not via Windows Update) following articles on the web about its availability (like mine) and have since had problems with sound or other devices not working.

If you read this KB article you’ll note that cause 5 says if you have some particular devices you will not be offered SP1 by Windows Update as there are not yet SP1 compatible drivers.

I don’t know for certain as I don’t have any of these devices on my laptop by I would think even if you downloaded it manually the SP1 installer would warn of this; so maybe those people just chose to ignore it – none of them could remember 🙂

To be fair to Microsoft I think this is a good idea, previously there would have been no check mechanism for known incompatible drivers, this is definitely a step in the right direction to protect people from themselves 🙂

Pasted from the KB article…  some of the problematic devices are listed below;

To help ensure a positive update experience, Windows Update will temporarily not offer Windows Vista SP1 to systems that have the following device drivers. In some cases, these device drivers are problematic on Windows Vista-based computers when you update to Windows Vista SP1. By installing updated device drivers, you will resolve the issue and enable Windows Update to offer Windows Vista SP1.

Audio drivers
Realtek AC’97

•For x86-based computers: Alcxwdm.sys – version or earlier

•For x64-based computers: Alcwdm64.sys – version or earlier


•For x86-based computers: Sthda.sys – version 5.10.5762.0 or earlier

•For x64-based computers: Sthda64.sys – version 5.10.5762.0 or earlier


•For x86-based computers: Stwrt.sys – version 6.10.5511.0 or earlier

•For x64-based computers: Stwrt64.sys – version 6.10.5511.0 or earlier

Creative Audigy

•For x86-based and x64-based computers: Ctaud2k.sys – version or earlier

•For x86-based computers: P17.sys – all versions (This was originally a Windows XP-based driver.)

Conexant HD Audio

•For x86-based computers: Chdart.sys – version or earlier

•For x64-based computers: Chdart64.sys – version or earlier

Biometric (Fingerprint) Sensors

•AuthenTec Fingerprint Sensor with the Atswpdrv.sys driver file – version or earlier

•UPEK Fingerprint Sensor with the Tcusb.sys driver file – version or earlier

Display drivers
Intel Display

•For x86-based computers: Igdkmd32.sys – versions between and including driver and

•For x64-based computers: Igdkmd64.sys – versions between and including driver and

Other drivers
Texas Instruments Smart Card Controller with the GTIPCI21.sys driver file – version or earlier
Sierra Wireless AirCard 580 with the Watcher.exe application – version or earlier (This application is located in the AirCard 580 Program Files folder.)
Symantec software driver for Symantec Endpoint Protection and for Symantec Network Access Control clients

•For x86-based computers: Wgx.sys – versions 11.0.1000.1091 or earlier

•For x64-based computers: Wgx64.sys – versions 11.0.1000.1091 or earlier

More Useful Things You Can Do With ImageX


James O’Neil has a good post here – an example of how he used ImageX to quickly build and maintain his own vista system image with his typical apps.

Also handy for reference as he shows how to split very large images across multiple CDs using the /split switch.

Make Your own Offline Windows Update CD/DVD

What a handy tool; if you download the app you can select which Microsoft OS/Applications you need patches for and it will download them all via the Windows online catalog to a source directory and then compile a script to auto install them all – it will even generate a .ISO file and handle dependencies and reboots – v.handy (and more efficient) if you need to quickly present it to a bunch of virtual machines with no Internet access or are on a site with slow internet access.

Excellent; now as far as I know Microsoft have no mechanism for doing this other than downloading all the patches manually… even with the Vista RTM images I built last week it had nearly 100Mb of OS patches alone!

Screenshot of the available options in the app – download it here here (updated 14th Sept’09)

OS Updates – multi-language too


Office Suite Updates too


You can even get all the patches for everything and it will compile it into a DVD .ISO image – I’ll definitely be using this – hopefully you can use the info it downloads to slipstream update a vista .WIM image – will have to try that in a couple of weeks.

(original link from a post on slashdot)

Windows Vista SP1 RTM


Windows team Blog post here says Vista SP1 has been released to manufacturing so not long to go now until it’s generally available.

I’ve been using Vista exclusively since it RTM’d and from Beta 2 before that. I got a new laptop with a core 2 Duo CPU and went up to 4Gb RAM from 2 and it made a world of difference – much faster and in the last year my Dell D620 has been rock solid.

The file-copy hotfix worked for me; and a recent video driver update (automatically offered via Windows Update..nice) fixed the annoying screen mix-up when I docked my laptop.

Mark Russinovitch has an in depth post on the SP1 improvements to file copying here.

Does make you wonder if MS wanted/did bring forward the SP1 date because of all the “wait for SP1” brigade… M-m-m-m, marketing!

Not looked yet but I wonder how large SP1 will be, on the Vista desktops build I did recently I had to download c.300Mb of Windows (c.98Mb) & Office 2007 Updates (c.200Mb. good think I have a fast connection – you’ve got no chance on a PSTN dial up anymore!