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Windows XP Fault Tolerance and Troubleshooting. 70-270: MCSE Guide to Microsoft Windows XP Professional. Microsoft IntelliMirror (Page 1). Set of Windows XP features that ensures the availability of: User’s data via synchronization Recovery of personalized settings

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windows xp fault tolerance and troubleshooting

Windows XP Fault Tolerance and Troubleshooting

70-270: MCSE Guide to Microsoft Windows XP Professional

microsoft intellimirror page 1
Microsoft IntelliMirror (Page 1)
  • Set of Windows XP features that ensures the availability of:
    • User’s data via synchronization
    • Recovery of personalized settings
    • Software and application installation and repair
microsoft intellimirror page 2
Microsoft IntelliMirror (Page 2)
  • User data management:
    • Using folder redirection, a folder on a user's local machine (i.e. My Documents) can be synchronized with a folder on a network
    • Local or network versions of modified files are updated on the other location automatically
activity 14 1
**** Activity 14-1 ****
  • Synchronizing Files
microsoft intellimirror page 3
Microsoft IntelliMirror (Page 3)
  • User settings management
    • Equivalent of a roaming profile
    • Since a user in a domain network can logon to their personal settings from any machine …
    • If a computer is unavailable or crashes, the user configurations can be transferred to another machine …
      • Or even could be used as an alternative to retaining personal settings when upgrading to a new machine
microsoft intellimirror page 4
Microsoft IntelliMirror (Page 4)
  • Software installation and maintenance
    • If users inadvertently remove applications or system files, or if their systems crash …
    • Windows Installer Service (WIS) can be used to rebuild software (applications, updates and even O/S upgrades)
activity 14 2
**** Activity 14-2 ****
  • Download Adobe Acrobat Reader from:
  • Install program Adobe Reader and Google Toolbar
  • Run Control Panel
  • Select "Add or Remove Programs" applet
  • Select <Change/Remove> for "Google Toolbar"
  • Click <Yes> button to confirm (if necessary)
  • Follow prompts
  • Close dialog windows
microsoft backup utility page 1
Microsoft Backup Utility (Page 1)
  • The only Windows XP utility for making backups using media:
    • Tape drives
    • External hard disks (i.e., network drives)
    • Zip or Jaz drives
    • Recordable CD-ROM drives
    • Logical (partitioned or mapped) drives
    • (Microsoft IntelliMirror technologies are used only to synchronize to a network folder)
microsoft backup utility page 2
Microsoft Backup Utility (Page 2)
  • To launch the utility select Start menu  Programs  Accessories  System Tools  Backup
  • The two methods to back up data are the Backup Wizard (default option when Backup is executed) and manual backup:
    • Click the Advanced Mode hyperlink and the Backup tab to set backup options manually
    • Or click Wizard Mode hyperlink on Welcome tab in Advanced mode to return to the wizard
microsoft backup utility page 3
Microsoft Backup Utility (Page 3)
  • In Advanced Mode, the Backup utilitymain functions are:
    • Back up programs and files
    • Restore programs and files
    • Create an ASR data set (Automated System Recovery)
microsoft backup utility page 4
Microsoft Backup Utility (Page 4)
  • Options include backing up:
    • Everything on computer
    • Just specific files and folders
    • System State data including system’s boot files, COM settings, and Registry data
activity 14 3
**** Activity 14-3 ****
  • Backup "My Documents" to "F:\"
  • Delete a file from "My Documents"
  • Restore files from the backup
microsoft backup utility page 5
Microsoft Backup Utility (Page 5)
  • Select Backup Type tab in the Tools Options… dialog:
    • Copy backup—backs up all files but does not set off archive bit (not marked as updated)
    • Normal (or full) backup—backs up all files and sets off archive bit (marked as updated)
    • Daily backup—backs up only files that have been created or modified the day of the backup (archive bit not set off)
microsoft backup utility page 6
Microsoft Backup Utility (Page 6)
  • Backup Type (con.):
    • Differential backup—backs up only files that have been created or modified since last full or incremental backup (archive bit not set off)
    • Incremental backup–backs up only files that have been created or modified since last full or incremental backup (archive bit is set off)
microsoft backup utility page 7
Microsoft Backup Utility (Page 7)
  • Most backup schemes combine the use of:
    • Weekly full backups …
    • And daily backups of either type incremental or differential
  • Incremental daily backups:
    • Makes daily backup operation run quicker
    • Requires a longer restore period—restore from last full backup; then perform restores of each incremental backup in order created
microsoft backup utility page 8
Microsoft Backup Utility (Page 8)
  • Differential backups:
    • Causes a longer and longer backup period each day (because archive bit is left on)
    • Requires increased storage space on backup media each day
    • Restore time is greatly reduced in comparison with incremental—restore from last full backup; then perform restores of last differential backup
microsoft backup utility page 9
Microsoft Backup Utility (Page 9)
  • Automated System Recovery (ASR)
    • Restores essential system files in event of severe system failure
    • Does not protect personal data or application configuration settings
    • Creates a backup of only those files essential to the boot process
    • Media set consists of both:
      • Backup floppy
      • One or more backup tapes or other media
activity 14 4
**** Activity 14-4 ****
  • Set up a scheduled backup:
    • Backup files and settings
    • My documents and settings
    • To drive C:\
    • Advanced button:
      • Incremental
      • Replace the existing backup
      • Later: Daily (in five minutes)
preventive maintenance
Preventive Maintenance
  • Several mechanisms to reduce user problems:
    • Device Driver Rollback (from Chapter 3)
      • Reinitializes previous driver (was saved by XP)
    • Windows File Protection
    • Automatic Updates and Windows Update (from Chapter 3)
    • Desktop Cleanup Wizard
windows file protection page 1
Windows File Protection (Page 1)
  • Ensures that the correct and uncorrupted version of certain operating system core files is retained on system
  • Files include .sys, .dll, .exe and .ocx files, as well as True Type font files
windows file protection page 2
Windows File Protection (Page 2)
  • Protects list of sacred files from changes due to application installation, infection from a virus, or human error
  • Works in the background invisibly to users (in most cases)
    • Sometimes system may prompt user for reboot
windows file protection page 3
Windows File Protection (Page 3)
  • If write operation occurs for one of these files, the resulting file is compared to a database of known files …
    • The replacement files may be stored in WINDOWS\system32\dllcache, the original Windows XP installation disks or a copy, or a network share
  • If there is a mismatch, the altered file is replaced automatically
windows file protection page 4
Windows File Protection (Page 4)
  • System File Checker (SFC) tool:
    • The system software tool that performs the inspection and replacement of monitored files
    • Usually executed automatically
    • The "SFC" command also can be executed manually from the command prompt
    • The command also can be used to purge and rebuild the DLLCACHE folder
desktop cleanup wizard
Desktop Cleanup Wizard
  • Asks permission to remove unused icons from desktop
  • Launches automatically every 60 days
  • Can be disabled:
    • Select the Display applet from "Control Panel"
    • Click the <Customize Desktop> button on the Desktop tab
    • On the General tab turn off the "Run Desktop Cleanup Wizard every 60 days" checkbox
repairing windows xp professional
Repairing Windows XP Professional
  • Options for repairing or restoring computer:
    • Safe Mode (from Chapter 13)
    • System Restore
    • Emergency repair process
    • Recovery Console
    • Remote OS installation
system restore page 1
System Restore (Page 1)
  • Can be used to return O/S to previously saved state …
    • Reverse system configuration settings
    • Reverse Registry changes
    • Undo the changes made by installed software
    • Does not affect personal files or e-mail
  • Only can be used if system boots
system restore page 2
System Restore (Page 2)
  • Automatically creates restoration points during critical system changes
  • User also can initiate the creation of a restoration point manually
  • To run System Restore:
    • Start  Programs Accessories System Tools System Restore
  • Controlled and managed through:
    • System Restore tab of System applet
    • Setting on/off and amount of memory used
emergency repair process page 1
Emergency Repair Process (Page 1)
  • For problems caused by:
    • Corrupt or missing system files
    • Startup environment
    • Partition boot sector
  • Boot from Windows XP Professional Setup CD (or floppy disk)
    • Press "R" when prompted to select to Repair Windows XP (do not select reinstall), and "R" again to start emergency repair process
emergency repair process page 2
Emergency Repair Process (Page 2)
  • Select from one of two options:
    • Fast repair—automatically attempts to repair problems to Registry, system files, boot volume, and startup environment without user interaction
    • Manual repair—lets user decide to repair the Registry, system files, boot volume, or startup environment
emergency repair process page 3
Emergency Repair Process (Page 3)
  • Reboots automatically if emergency repair process is successful
  • If unsuccessful it might be necessary to reinstall Windows XP
    • Probably also means reinstalling applications and updates
recovery console page 1
Recovery Console (Page 1)
  • For system administrators and expert users, offers more precise control over troubleshooting and repair process
    • Password for Administrator account must be entered to logon to Recovery Console
  • Must be installed from "i386" folder of Windows XP installation disk
    • Use the command prompt
    • Type "winnt32 /cmdcons" to install
recovery console page 2
Recovery Console (Page 2)
  • Recovery Console also may be run from the installation CD-ROM …
    • Press <F8> when prompted and select Recovery Console from alternate boot menu
recovery console page 3
Recovery Console (Page 3)
  • Select "Microsoft Windows Recovery Console" from list of available operating systems when booting
  • Type "help" at command prompt for list of available Recovery Console commands
recovery console page 4
Recovery Console (Page 4)
  • Commands:
    • bootcfg—boot file configuration and recovery
    • chkdsk—checks and reports on status of every sector on disk
    • disable—to disable a service or driver
    • enable—to enable or start a service or driver
    • exit—exit Recovery Console and reboot
recovery console page 5
Recovery Console (Page 5)
  • Commands (con.):
    • fixboot—writes a new partition boot sector onto system partition
    • fixmbr—repairs the Master Boot Record
    • systemroot—sets current folder to system root
recovery console page 6
Recovery Console (Page 6)
  • Recovery Console often is a better way than the Emergency Restore Process to restore damaged Registry …
    • Registry files in %systemroot%\Repair come from installation of Windows XP Professional
    • Any changes made after initial installation are lost when using ERP
recovery console page 7
Recovery Console (Page 7)
  • To remove Recovery Console:
    • In "My Computer" be certain that on View tab of Tools menu → Folder Options:
      • "Show hidden files and folders" is on
      • "Hide protected operating system files" is off
    • In the root directory, delete the \cmdcons folder and the cmldr file
    • From the "boot.ini" file delete the command C:\CMDCONS\BOOTSECT.DAT="Microsoft Windows Recovery Console" /cmdcons
general principles of troubleshooting
General Principles of Troubleshooting
  • Take action to resolve issues at hand as quickly as possible
  • Troubleshooting
    • Art and science
    • Systematically diagnosing and eliminating problems in computer system
    • Usually fairly tedious process
computer information file
Computer Information File
  • Computer information file (CIF) stores detailed information about hardware and software products that make up computer
  • Not just a single file but an ever-expanding accumulation of manually created data sheets sorted into related groupings
  • Should be stored in protected area and accessible in event of an emergency
  • Constructing CIF from scratch is a lengthy process
system information tool
System Information Tool
  • Provides a list of:
    • Installed hardware and software
    • Details of loaded drivers, and whether or not they are signed
    • IRQ's that are assigned
    • Etc.
  • The starting point for creating a CIF
  • From Start menu  Programs Accessories System Tools System Information
activity 15 1
**** Activity 15-1 ****
  • View the System Information dialog
  • From Start menu  Programs Accessories System Tools System Information
  • Expand and review Hardware Resources, Components, Software Environment and Internet Settings
troubleshooting tools
Troubleshooting Tools
  • Troubleshooting tools that are available in Windows XP Professional include:
    • Event Viewer
    • Computer Management
event viewer page 1
Event Viewer (Page 1)
  • Used to view system messages regarding success and failure of key occurrences
  • Information includes:
    • System drivers or service failures
    • Security problems
    • Misbehaving applications
  • Accessed from Administrative Tools in the "Control Panel"
event viewer page 2
Event Viewer (Page 2)
  • The logs are:
    • System log—internal processes including hardware and operating system errors, warnings and general information
    • Security log—audit events for failed logons, user right alterations, attempted object accesses with sufficient permissions
    • Application log—application (software) events and alerts
    • There may be also Directory service, DNS Service, and File Replication Service logs
event viewer page 3
Event Viewer (Page 3)
  • All logs collect the same meta-information about each event:
    • Date, Time, Source, Category, Event, User ID and Computer
  • Logged events include additional detail about each error (select Properties):
    • Error code number
    • Detailed description with memory HEX buffer capture (dump)
    • A link to Microsoft "Help and Support Center"
activity 15 2
**** Activity 15-2 ****
  • Create an MMC console for Event Viewer
  • Run console and select the System log
  • Select an event in right pane
  • Select Action Properties (or just Properties from shortcut menu)
  • Review the information
computer management tool
Computer Management Tool
  • Large number of tools that are collected into a single interface
  • Grouping them together makes locating and resolving problems easier
  • Accessed from Administrative Tools in the "Control Panel"
  • The console is divided into three sections:
    • System Tools
    • Storage
    • Services and Applications
system tools page 1
System Tools (Page 1)
  • Event Viewer—same information as applet in Administrative Tools
  • Shared Folders—views hidden and public shares, current sessions and open files; viewing and setting share settings for user limits, caching and permissions
  • Local Users and Groups—enhanced tool to manage users and groups (disabled if Active Directory is present)
system tools page 2
System Tools (Page 2)
  • Performance Logs and Alerts—the rather tedious and complex Windows XP "Performance Monitor" tool (Chapter 11)
  • Device Manager—same tool as found on Hardware tab of the System applet in the "Control Panel"
  • Removable Storage—manages floppy disks, tapes, ZIP drives, flash drives, etc.
  • Disk Defragmenter—reassembles fragmented files and aggregates unused space
  • Disk Management—views and alters partition and volume configuration of hard drives
services and applications
Services and Applications
  • Services—stop and starts services, and sets whether they initiate at startup
  • WMI Control—controls and configures Windows Management Instrumentation service
  • Indexing Service—related to the indexing of documents to improve searching
activity 15 3
**** Activity 15-3 ****
  • Check to see if "Workstation" and "Server" services are running
  • Launch Computer Management (from applet Administrative Tools in "Control Panel") and drill down to Services and Applications  Services
  • Right-click service for Properties
  • Click hyperlink to Start, Stop, Pause or Restart a service
troubleshooting wizards
Troubleshooting Wizards
  • Many troubleshooting Wizards are associated with specific system components or services
  • Click the <Troubleshoot…> button to start the process (or for some applets the button may be labeled <Repair…>
  • Answer each question until a solution is determined (the focus is on accomplishing tasks, not just informational)
troubleshooting installation problems page 1
Troubleshooting Installation Problems (Page 1)
  • Windows XP Professional installation is susceptible to several types of errors:
    • Media errors—physical problem with CD-ROM or the copy of distribution file on the network, or problem with the network link; replace media and restart the installation
    • Domain controller communication difficulties—if attempting to join a domain; could be mistyped user name, password, or domain name; check spelling and check connection to the network
troubleshooting installation problems page 2
Troubleshooting Installation Problems (Page 2)
  • Installation errors (con.):
    • Stop message errors or halting on the blue screen—most common reason is damaged or incompatible drivers; verify that the driver is correct and compatible with Windows XP
    • Hardware problems—make sure the device is on the HAL or it may need to be replaced; sometimes manual resolution of Plug and Play conflicts are possible
    • Dependency failures—a service or driver does not run at startup; check the Event Viewer
troubleshooting printer problems page 1
Troubleshooting Printer Problems (Page 1)
  • Printing problems occur anywhere
  • Systematic elimination of possible failure points should include:
    • Physical components—cable, power, paper and toner, etc.
    • Printer must be online—check light or LCD message; may be necessary to press Reset or Online button
    • Printer server—it must be booted and running
troubleshooting printer problems page 2
Troubleshooting Printer Problems (Page 2)
  • Possible failure points (con.):
    • Print queue—check for stalled jobs (the print job should show a specific status—if not it may be stalled)
    • Printer driver—reinstall or update
    • Attempt to print from different application or different client
    • Attempt to print using Administrator access
troubleshooting printer problems page 3
Troubleshooting Printer Problems (Page 3)
  • Possible failure points (con.):
    • Print spooler—attempt to stop and restart; check "Spoolsv.exe" in Task Manager (if it is stalled, will be using no CPU time or most of it); change destination where print spool file resides if there is less than 100 MB free space
activity 15 4
**** Activity 15-4 ****
  • Right-click document in print queue and select Restart from shortcut menu
  • Stop and Start the Print Spooler service
    • Launch Computer Management (from applet Administrative Tools in "Control Panel"); drill down to Services and Applications  Services
    • Right-click "Spoolsv.exe" for Properties
  • Back in print queue, right-click document and select Cancel; then try to reprint
    • Or see if remaining job(s) print
troubleshooting ras problems
Troubleshooting RAS Problems
  • RAS—Remote Access Service
    • Allows users to log into system remotely over phone lines (often when users are traveling)
  • Numerous points of possible failure:
    • Phone number, username and password
    • Configuration of the computers on both ends must match, i.e. security and protocol settings
    • Modem settings and power
    • Condition of communications line
      • Old wiring, electrical interference, bad weather
    • Also is call waiting disabled?
troubleshooting network problems page 1
Troubleshooting Network Problems (Page 1)
  • Hardware devices are just as suspect as software components
  • May need to perform some electrical tests, change physical settings, etc.
  • Check:
    • To see if other clients or network components are experiencing the same problem
    • Faults in NIC, network cables, terminators, hubs, repeaters, routers, etc.
troubleshooting network problems page 2
Troubleshooting Network Problems (Page 2)
  • Check (con.):
    • Protocol settings
    • Restart system
    • NIC drivers using self-test or diagnostic software to see if they are properly installed
    • The domain/workgroup membership of client
troubleshooting disk problems
Troubleshooting Disk Problems
  • Hard drive is the most active component on your computer that experiences so drive failures are not uncommon
  • Use Disk Management tool located in the Computer Management utility in Administrative Tools
  • Back up regularly
miscellaneous troubleshooting issues
Miscellaneous Troubleshooting Issues
  • Other troubleshooting issues:
    • Permission problems
    • MBR problems
    • Dr. Watson—an application error debugger which detects application failures and logs diagnostic details
permissions problems
Permissions Problems
  • Usually occur:
    • When user is a member of groups with conflicting permissions
    • When permissions are managed on per-account basis
  • To test:
    • Attempt same actions and activities with Administrator privileges
    • Examine access control lists (ACLs)
master boot record problems
Master Boot Record Problems
  • If MBR (contains data structure that starts boot process) fails, the emergency repair disk (ERD) cannot be used to repair it
    • Must use one of the recovery tools
  • From Recovery Console, select FIXMBR command which will repair the MBR
  • If unable to run Recovery Console, boot to MS-DOS and use FDISK/MBR command
applying service packs and hot fixes page 1
Applying Service Packs and Hot Fixes (Page 1)
  • A Service pack is a collection of code replacements, patches, error corrections, new applications and version improvements
    • Corrects, replaces, or hides deficiencies of either the original product, earlier service packs, or hot fixes
    • Service packs are cumulative—all the updates for Service Pack 1 (SP1) are included in SP2
    • Not a bad idea to wait a period of time after release before implementing (Microsoft known for service packs with problems)
applying service packs and hot fixes page 2
Applying Service Packs and Hot Fixes (Page 2)
  • Hot fix is similar to a service pack, but addresses only single problem, or small number of problems
    • May not be fully tested so it should be used only when the problem it was designed to fix actually exists
applying service packs and hot fixes page 3
Applying Service Packs and Hot Fixes (Page 3)
  • Important points to remember about patches (service packs and hot fixes):
    • Always back up system before applying
    • Be certain the patch is for the correct CPU type and language version
    • Always read the readme file and Knowledge Base Q documents before installing
    • Update ERD before and after installing
    • Back up the Registry
    • Export disk configuration data from Disk Administrator
applying service packs and hot fixes page 4
Applying Service Packs and Hot Fixes (Page 4)
  • Service packs rewrite system-level files, so disconnect all users, exit all applications, and temporarily stop all unneeded services
  • To determine which is the latest service pack installed:
    • Select Help menu  About Windows in any native Windows dialog
    • In Registry view CSDVersion value entry in HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion subkey
applying service packs and hot fixes page 5
Applying Service Packs and Hot Fixes (Page 5)
  • Many ways to download and install of the most recent service pack:
    • Download from
    • Easy way is to click Windows Update Web site hyperlink in "Automatic Updates" applet of Control Panel
applying service packs and hot fixes page 6
Applying Service Packs and Hot Fixes (Page 6)
  • An integrated installation of a service pack involves integrating it into the installation procedure of Windows XP
    • Download network installation version of service pack
    • Install it in a network server folder and unpack it
    • Integrate files into duplicated Windows XP Professional CD files
    • Share the folder and start the installation
  • Service pack cannot be uninstalled when integrated in the Windows XP installation