Open File Dialog Appears when you Click on Links after installing Internet Explorer 7

After upgrading to IE7 in Windows XP, we found that non-admin users were once again seeing the Open File Security warning dialog box.

Once again, the issue can be resolved by visiting the group policy. Open up the appropriate policy file, and follow the path to:

User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Internet Explorer > Internet Control Panel > Security Page

  • Double-click on Site to Zone Assignment and then click ‘Show…
  • Click ‘Add…
  • In the Add Item dialog, type in the FQDN of your domain (eg. mydomain.local) in the first field, and the number ‘2’ in the second field.
  • Click ‘OK’ until the dialogs are closed.
  • Now log a user onto a workstation to check that the changes have taken effect.

All we have done here is added your domain to the Trusted Sites zone, which removes the file security dialog.

Well done, you.

Repair Option does not appear in Windows XP Setup

On some occasions, you might find yourself having to carry out a repair of Windows XP.

The process is as follows:

  • Insert Windows XP CD.
  • When prompted with the Welcome to Setup screen, press ENTER.
  • Press F8 to accept the EULA
  • Select the partition you wish to repair and then press R.

But what if the R=Repair option is not at the bottom of the screen? No matter how hard you bash the key, it will not work.

I’ve been reading on quite a few forums to try and solve this today. There were many technical reasons why it didn’t appear, and I had tried them all (but did them again anyway just in case).

No joy.

For those interested, it’s the general consensus that if you repair the boot.ini file in the root of the drive with the bootcfg command, it will usually sort it out.

Yet, no one seems to have acknowledged this:

Windows XP Setup will not repair a different version!

So, after playing around with the system I discovered that I was trying to repair an XP Pro installation with Windows XP Home media. After changing disks, the repair option appeared and everyone was happy.

Well, actually things really started to go wrong – but that’s another story.

Volume Licence Key Changer

As with the grief of auditing licences et all, you may sometimes find that you need to do a site-wide change of the licence key for Windows Server or Windows XP.

Microsoft have helpfully provided two scripts that will allow you to change the product licence key programatically.

Just run the script with your new VLK, and everything should work wonderfully.

Windows XP Boot Silliness

Spent about half an hour trying to get a PC to boot today.

I think that sometimes you forget what you’re doing so much – you just need to see the obvious.

After cloning an image of a NTFS drive partition, Windows decided that it didn’t want to boot. I had used Image for Windows. After a quick boot, Windows XP wouldn’t start.

Typically, this isn’t a problem as there’s a simple fix. Use fixboot and fixmbr in the recovery console. Which I did. And it didn’t boot.

I did the thing again. And again. And again. Still no booting.

I’ll cut a long story short. In my haste to clone the drive, I failed to set the primary partition as active. Once this had been done, the system booted beautifully.

The moral of this story? Never assume it’s broken when you are rushing.

In-place motherboard change for Windows 2000-based systems

A neat trick I picked up while browsing t’internet is how to carry out a quick motherboard replacement on 2000 or XP Windows systems:

Before you swap out the current motherboard go to device manager and select the IDE ATA/ATAPI Controller and select your current storage controller. Right click, select update driver and select install from a list or specific location. Click don’t search I will choose the driver to install and select the standard dual channel IDE controller.

This will prevent the inaccessible boot device blue screen.

With this method, booting the first time with the new motherboard should be done in Safe mode. XP will install the drivers it needs and you can install the new motherboard drivers. I would suggest accessing the motherboard web site to get the latest drivers and bios updates rather than use the CD media included with the MB. The CD is usually a couple of revisions behind the latest updates.

Thanks to Michael Stevens for that bad boy.