Showing posts from March, 2008

Dos Here/Cmd prompt here for Win2k3

If you search for Command prompt here, you get Microsoft's page for WinXP; don't bother downloading this, as it won't install under Win2k3. The solution is a third party version, found here:; but be warned that something funny happened when I installed it - DosHere became my default folder action. It's not clear what caused this, as after I fixed it, reinstalling DosHere did not cause it again. But in any case, here's the fix:

make sure that HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Directory\shell is equal to the string none

see;en-us;321186 if you find this hard to believe. Their page leads me to think this could happen under WinXP as well, though I've installed DosHere on many WinXP machines and never seen this before.

Using Real Rhapsody under Win2k3

Real has a poorly written OS-check that does not detect that Win2k3 is a superset of WinXP; the result is that the in-browser player will not load. The solution is rather easy, however. Just change the user agent:

type about:config in the address bar, and add a new string titled
general.useragent.override; set it to:

Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv: Gecko/20080201 Firefox/

The key part here is Windows NT 5.1; this maps onto Windows XP. If you want to correctly report the version of your FireFox browser, you can get the non-overridden version by typing about: in the address bar.

The wrong way to do this is to launch Firefox in Windows XP compatibility mode. This breaks Quicktime.

Another list of programs (in)compatible with Win2k3

I found this rather short list of program compatibility with Win2k3. Short though it may be, it's still much longer than my list :-). I will continue to update my list...

Make your Canon Powershot camera work under Win2k3

Out of the box, the Canon Powershot software is not not compatible with Windows 2003 Server. But with some tweaking, you can make it work.

First, you need to install SSDP and UPnP services for Win2k3.

Next, make sure that the old Canon software is uninstalled.

Then, set the startup.exe install program on your Canon driver CD to load in WindowsXP compatibility mode. Run setup, and install ZoomBrowser ex, and photo stitch. I've found that version 5.8 does not run well under Win2k3, but that 6.x works fine, so at this point you may need to download and install an updater from Canon's website.

After rebooting, plug your camera in. The Canon software may load automatically. I found that I had to first open the Windows Control Panel for Cameras and Scanners and set Camera Window as the default action when my camera was plugged in.

After doing this the Canon software would load when I connected the camera, but clicking on the download images button did not work. A final step that I had to complete was to open the E:\Program Files\Canon\CameraWindow\CameraWindowDVC6 folder, and set all the EXE files to WindowsXP compatibility mode. I'm not sure this is necessary, since I discovered that some of the files had been set into Win2k compatibility mode from when I had been trying other methods to get the CameraWindow software to work. Win2k mode definitely doesn't work.

After those steps the Canon software works flawlessly. I can download pictures just fine, and all the Canon photo tools work just fine. In the MS event viewer tool, I do see the following, rather ugly message a lot, but I've never seen any actual malfunction:

Generate Activation Context failed for c:\Program Files\Canon\ZoomBrowser EX\Program\MFC80U.DLL. Reference error message: The referenced assembly is not installed on your system.

Installing SSDP and UPNP services under Windows 2k3

Windows 2003 Server does not come with either the Universal Plug and Play service or the SSDP Discovery Service. These services are useful for poking holes in your firewall and supporting image downloading from Canon cameras, among other things.

As it turns out, it is possible to install these services under Win2k3, if you have access to a WinXP machine or install CD. See the last post at this link, or in the case that the link dies, follow the instructions below.

Make a file called XtraServices.inf and save it in c:\windows\inf using notepad, with the following text:

signature="$WINDOWS NT$"
[Optional Components]
AddService=upnphost, 0x410,UPNP_upnphost_Svc
AddService=SSDPSRV, 0x410,UPNP_SSDP_svc, UPNP_Evt
11,, upnp.dll, 1
11,, upnphost.dll, 1
11,, upnpcont.exe,,,"/regserver"
24,%lite_path%,%lite_prog%,,,"stop upnphost"
24,%lite_path%,%lite_prog%,,,"stop SSDPSRV"
11,, upnp.dll, 1
11,, upnphost.dll, 1
11,, upnpcont.exe,,,"/unregserver"
StartName="NT AUTHORITY"\LocalService
ServiceBinary=%11%\svchost.exe -k LocalService
AddReg=upnphost.AddReg.Secure, upnphost.AddReg
HKR, Parameters, ServiceDll, 0x20000, "%%SystemRoot%%\System32\upnphost.dll"
HKLM, "Software\Microsoft\UPnP Device Host\HTTP Server", "MaxConnections", 0x00010001, 0x00000050
HKLM, "Software\Microsoft\UPnP Device Host\HTTP Server\VROOTS",,0x0010
HKLM, "Software\Microsoft\UPnP Device Host",,0x10
StartName="NT AUTHORITY"\LocalService
ServiceBinary=%11%\svchost.exe -k LocalService
HKR, Parameters, ServiceDll, 0x20000, "%%SystemRoot%%\System32\ssdpsrv.dll"
KEY_APPPATHS="Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths"
KEY_SVCHOST="Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Svchost"
KEY_LAME="SOFTWARE\Microsoft\PCHealth\Clients\Dialog Comments"
KEY_COMMENT_LINK="Control Panel\Desktop"
UPNP_DESC="Universal Plug and Play"
UPNP_TIP="Support to host Universal Plug and Play devices and to discover UPnP devices on your network."
UPNPHOST_Display="Universal Plug and Play Device Host"
UPNPHOST_Desc="Provides support to host Universal Plug and Play devices."
UPNP_Display="SSDP Discovery Service"
UPNP_Desc="Enables discovery of UPnP devices on your home network."
MsSHARED="Microsoft Shared"
MSInfo32_DESC="System Information"
MSInfo32_INFOTIP="Displays current system information."
SystemTools_GROUP="Accessories\System Tools"
MSINFOPATHL="Microsoft Shared\MSInfo"

Next, make a file called c:\main.inf using notepad, with the following text:

Signature="$Windows NT$"

Now, you'll need the driver files that this will install. If you have an XP SP2 install CD, you are good to go. Otherwise, you can copy them from your current XP SP2 install. The files you need are listed below; in general just search in your windows folder for upnp, ssd, udhisapi, and copy all those files to a USB drive, and then search for cmnicfg, and copy all the files in that directory to the drive as well.


Now, run this: sysocmgr.exe /i:c:\main.inf

Then launch regedit
Find: hklm\software\microsoft\windows nt\currentversion\svchost
Edit: 'LocalService' Key and add upnphost and SSDPSRV, each on their own line, at the end. Include an empty line afterwards.

Reboot, and finally, open up the Services window (run services.msc), and set Universal PnP and SSDP discovery service to automatic.

Desktop programs that do not work under Win2k3

Here's a list of the Desktop programs (games, productivity, multimedia, end-user hardware, etc) that I've found problems running under Windows 2003 server (Win2k3), and my solution, if any. A typical solution is to right click on the EXE file, and tell windows to run it in computability mode, selecting WinXP as the OS to emulate. Most likely this just changes what OS version number Win2k3 reports...

  • 3DMark®2001 SE Free Version - it just won't run, no matter what.
  • Rhapsody music service - change your user-agent.
  • Canon Powershot software (Camera Window) to download photos from your camera. But, there is a workaround.
  • Samsung ML-1710 Series Laser Printer - the GDI drivers installed fine, but when you plug in the printer it reports an unspecified error. It's easy to fix, however; the driver defaulted to the LPT port (ie the parallel port), all you have to do is switch it to the USB port.

Canon camera (SD850is) and Win2k3 do not work together

It would appear that Canon Powershot cameras, at least out of the box, do not support Win2k3 (but see this post).

After installing the drivers and applications for my Canon camera under Windows 2003 Server, I get the following error on each bootup:

The Canon Camera Access Library 8 service depends on the following nonexistent service: SSDPSRV

Using regedit I searched for SSDPSRV, and removed this dependency (see thread that suggested this) so that the Camera Access Library would load, but apparently it really does depend on SSDPSRV. Turning on the camera does load the Windows Image Acquisition manager (after I enabled that service using the services.msc tool), but does not load the Canon tool for downloading images. Nor does it seem possible to manually load the Canon tool by running the CameraWindow application when the camera is plugged in. I tried various "run in compatibility mode" settings, and none of these helped, either.

I also tried installing the TWAIN driver that is used under Win2k to download pictures from the camera, but on the next boot I got this error message:

szAppName : CameraWindowCompDVC6.exe szAppVer :
szModName : CameraWindowCompDVC6.exe szModVer :
offset : 00006ee3

I tried the Get Canon! program, and altho it could detect the camera's presence after I turned on WIA, it cannot "connect to camera". The program's author confirmed that GetCanon supports neither Win2k3, nor Vista.

I also contacted Canon. After some run-around they told me that Windows 2003 is not a supported platform, though, when I asked, they told me I could not post their official reply to this blog. I guess they don't want to own up to the lack of support, since their website doesn't say anything about it either. They also said that they have no plans to support Win2k3. Their suggestion was to use a card reader! Clearly, they are clueless about what's going on, as WIA does work under Win2k3, so you can always download the photos using MS's feature-minimal photo download wizard. Pretty disappointing, Canon.


No thanks to Canon tech support, there is a workaround that allows the Camera Window program to aquire images from your Canon camera.

QuickTime failed to initialize. Error # 0, With Firefox and Win2k3 server

I recently started getting this message in Firefox:

QuickTime failed to initialize. Error # 0
Please make sure QuickTime is properly installed on this computer.

It seems it's caused by launching Firefox in WinXP compatibility mode, which I did in order to be able to use Rhapsody's music service, since they prevent it from running under Win2k3. Yucko. In any case, I searched over the web and nobody else had figured out why Quicktime was crashing this way. Perhaps there are other causes, but this one fixed it for me. I didn't even have to reinstall Quicktime.

Using two Gmail addresses at once

If you want to use two Gmail addresses on one computer (say it is a shared computer) then it can be a pain, since you have to sign out of Gmail whenever you want to switch between addresses. The easiest solution is to use two browsers - one person uses Firefox, and one uses IE, for instance. But what if you both really like Firefox? There's a solution - use two profiles. Here's how you do it:

Make a .BAT file that you put on your desktop or in the start menu:

@echo off
start "" "C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" -p 2nd

(Note that you may need to revise the 3rd line to refer to the actual location of Firefox).

The first time you double click this file,Mozilla will load the profile manager, at which point you should tell it to create a new profile, called 2nd. Now, quit all copies of Firefox, and start your regular copy of Firefox, and then your second copy from the batch file. Each will have it's own profile, which means it's own bookmarks and cookies. Because the cookies are separate, you can log into Gmail with each browser, at the same time. The only downside to this is that you will use twice the RAM by running two copies of Firefox (potentially a little less, since the EXE image may be shared, but the Cache cannot). On modern computers, losing ~70MB of RAM per instance of FireFox is not a big deal, however.

Note: if you load the 2nd profile first, then starting your regular copy of Firefox will just launch another window using the 2nd profile. You can get around this by modifying your regular Firefox shortcut to say -p default .

graphics and gaming performance for Win2k and Win2k3

How does Win2k3 compare to Win2k in terms of performance? Ignoring the marketing hype, the general rule is that every new OS is a bit slower than the last. But by how much, if any?

In particular, what if you want to run Windows 2003 Server as a workstation OS? How does its performance compare to Windows 2k as a desktop OS?

I ran a few benchmarks, after installing the latest NVIDA drivers for my Abit NF-7, which has an AMD 3100+ XP processor, and a Geforce2 MX400 video card. Since it's a relatively low-end machine the results should be relatively slow, but the important question is how they compare between OSes.

Quake 2 timedemo(1152x864, map demo1.dm2) was 51FPS, for both OSes, showing that there's no difference in OpenGL performance.

I tried to run 3dMark, but it would work under Win2k3, so I had to find an alternative.

I found a small benchmark (video-card-stability-test) , which tested DirectX performance. Here the average frame rate was 9, for both OSes. So it appears 3d performance appears identical.

Finally, I found another benchmark called CrystalMark. At first it seemed to suggest that the performance was bit slower under Win2k3, but it turns out that the numbers it returns are relatively variable, perhaps by 10%, even when run on the same OS twice in a row. So a best this is only evidence that Win2k3 is slightly slower than Win2k.



3DMark®2001 SE Free Version and Win2k3

In my first attempts to benchmark Win2k3, I found out that the old standby, 3dmark 2001, does not run. It says it needs directx 8.1, which it cannot find. Win2k3 has DirectX 9.0c, so clearly there's some sort of bug in 3dMark...

Upgrading Win2k to Win2k3

I've been using Win2k for many years. But these days some of the newer software released does not support Win2k (such as apple QuickTime). So I decided to upgrade to Win2k3 server (that's Windows 2003 server, in case you were wondering). Because I'm a student I can get Win2k3 for free from Microsoft, legally.

I don't really want to use it as a server tho - just as a replacement workstation OS for Win2k. Why not use XP or Vista (hah, Vista). Seriously, why not XP? Well, I built my own PC, and I didn't want to have to pay for a new OS. Since Win2k3 is free, the question is, can it be used as a desktop OS? There's already a website dedicated to this exact topic:

It appears that you can use Win2k3 as a desktop OS, with minimal adjustments to your settings. The above mentioned website is invaluable for that, though at times it suggests changes that are not necessary. For instance: The newest version of DirectX is already installed in Win2k3 SP2, and DirectX is already enabled by default, as is audio acceleration. But on the whole the website makes it very easy to make the conversion.

One question you might have is how hard it is to go back and forth between your new OS and your old OS? Perhaps you'll find that Win2k3 is not to your taste, and you don't want to trash your old OS install. Well, rest assured that like most other MS OSes, Win2k3 knows how to multiboot between OSes just fine. I was able to have Win2k and Win2k3 co-exists on the same computer just fine (though I did install them to separate hard drives).

Free Microsoft software for Students

If you are a student at a major university or college, you can get Visual Studio Professional (2005 or 2008) Windows Server 2003, and some other less interesting software for free from Microsoft. The website is It was relatively painless to sign up. Supposedly you can only install each program once before the CDKEY expires, but once is enough for me. The give-away is clearly meant to encourage CS students to learn and later, recommend Microsoft programs. I happen to really like Visual Studio, so I don't mind the bribe at all.

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