Category Archives: Windows

How to Add a Classic Start Menu to Windows 2012 Server or Windows 8 without a 3rd Party Program

I helped a user set up a Windows 2012 server with Remote Desktop service enabled. The interface is similar to Windows 8, which is not appealing to most people. There are 3rd party programs to let you add the classic start menu to the taskbar. I later found out that you could actually add the classic start menu without any add-on programs. Here are the steps.

  1. Open File Explorer. Click on View and check Hidden items.
  2. Right click on taskbar and click on Toolbars -> New Toolbar
  3. Browse to this directory: c:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs and click on Select Folder.
  4. The menu appears to the right side of the taskbar. You can drag it and rearrange its position. Here is a screenshot of the final look.

When I first added this classic start menu to my desktop, I thought that the change was only temporary before Windows 2012 R2. I just upgraded the server to Windows 2012 R2. The start button is back, but the menu is still the metro style. I am quite disappointed about this, so I am keeping this classic start menu added to my desktop.

Cannot Delete Folder on Windows – Folder Access Denied (You need permission to perform this action)

I have an external hard drive with some software installation files. The hard drive was formatted as NTFS. After a few years of use, it had a lot of temporary directories used by installers. When I tried to delete those directories, I got this dialog:


If I clicked on Try Again, the same dialog popped up. The only way to get out of it was to click on Cancel. Unfortunately, the directory still remained and nothing got deleted. I later found out that the problem was due to the fact that the folders were owned by different user IDs when I used it on a different computer. In order for me to delete the folder (along with the files and folders stored within it), I had to take ownership of all the files and folders in the folder and set permissions for them. Finally, I could delete the folder. The steps using Windows Explorer were not straightforward and proved to be slow. I tried various combinations of commands and wrote a script to help me delete the folders.

Here is the script.

takeown /r /d y /f %1
cacls %1 /t /e /g everyone:f
del %1\*.* /s /q
rmdir /s /q %1

Create a text file called deldir.bat and copy the above commands to the file and save it. Copy the script to a directory in your PATH variable. If you do not know the PATH variable value, copy the script to c:\Windows\system32. Before you use the script, make sure you really want to delete the folder. The script will not prompt you for confirmation; it will just delete the folder you specified. To use it, first open up an elevated command prompt. Once you are in the elevated command prompt, type in the following to delete the folder:


For example, if I wanted to delete the folder at G:\temp_folder, I would type the following:

deldir G:\temp_folder

You may see some warnings, but the directory should be deleted. In case you were wondering what the script does, I can help explain it for you. The first command takeown lets you take ownership of the specified folder and files and folders under it. The cacls command grants full permission to all users of the files and folders in question. The del command deletes all the files under the folder. Finally, the rmdir command removes the folder.

Please let us know if this script works for you or not.

Note that this script deletes the folders and files that you do not own. If a file  cannot be deleted because some process are locking the file, you’ll need a program called unlocker to unlock the file first. You can google unlocker to find the program. When you install the program, make sure you pick the advanced option and do not install the delta search program that comes with unlocker’s installer.

How to Fix “Another installation is in progress” Error on Windows

Our users reported that they could no longer install applications. Whenever they tried to install applications, they received the following message: “Another installation is in progress. You must complete that installation before continuing this one.”

The problem was due to a registry key-HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\CurrentVersion\Installer\InProgress.

As the name implies, the key is created when an installation is in progress. The key should be deleted automatically after the installation is done. In this case, the installation was never finished and the key was left in the registry. I tried to delete the registry key and rebooted the machine. It did not fix the problem. The registry key was created again after I rebooted the machine. I later found that the registry key was created by a program called ScreenConnect. I had to uninstall the program, but because of the registry key blocking installation and uninstallation, I could not uninstall ScreenConnect.

To solve this dilemma, I discovered that I needed to boot the machine to safe mode with networking, enable Windows installer service under safe mode with networking. Only then could I uninstall the program and fix the problem.

Here are the steps:

  1. Boot the computer to safe mode with networking. On a Windows 7 machine, you can do this by pressing F8 before the OS loads.
  2. Open an elevated command prompt.
  3. Type the following two commands in the command prompt. Note that the first command might be wrapped to the second line. Make sure you get it right.
    reg add "HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SafeBoot\Network\MSIServer" /VE /T REG_SZ /F /D "Service"
    net start msiserver
  4. Install a program. This could be any program using Windows installer. You will be prompted to cancel the previous pending installation. This is fine, so just follow the prompts to remove the pending installation.
  5. If you know which program caused the initial problem, you need to uninstall the program. In this case, our problem was caused by ScreenConnect, so I uninstalled it.

After you reboot the computer normally, you should be able to install applications without getting the “Another Installation is in Progress” error.

How to Configure Internet Explorer 10 for Enterprise Web Applications

Ever since we upgraded Internet Explorer to version 10, we have received a lot of complaints that quite a few enterprise web applications did not run properly any more. I have helped my users to configure Internet Explorer 10 so that they can use these web applications again. Since almost all the applications were developed before Internet Explorer 10, the first thing we tried to configure were the compatibility view settings. This would fix most of the problems. If this still did not work for some applications, the next thing to try was to configure the trusted site settings. Here are the steps. Remember to replace with the domain name of your enterprise applications.

Configuring Compatibility View Settings

  1. Press Alt key to bring up menu bar if it’s not showing.
  2. Click on Tools -> Compatibility View Settings.
  3. Enter in the “Add this website” box and click on Add.
  4. Click on Close.

Configuring Trusted Sites

  1. Press Alt key to bring up menu bar if it’s not showing.
  2. Click on Tools -> Internet options.
  3. Click on Security tab and select Trusted sites.
  4. Click on Sites.
  5. Enter * in the “Add this website to the zone” box and click on Add.
  6. Click on Close to close Trusted sites dialog.
  7. Click on OK to close Internet Options.


Windows 8 100% C Drive Usage Problem Solved

When I first upgraded my workstation to Windows 8, I did not notice any performance change. The machine was running as smoothly as it had been with Windows 7. However, a few weeks ago, I noticed my machine started to freeze intermittently. I checked the event logs but did not find anything out of the ordinary. I found out what went wrong when I checked the Task Manager. The CPU usage was fine, but Disk 1 (C:) was constantly at 100% usage and caused the machine to freeze. The question was what was causing the C drive usage to be at 100%? I then checked the Processes tab in Task Manager and found that it was the System process. This was not very useful because it was not specific enough for me to pin point the exact cause.

I googled for a solution and there were quite a few people who had the same problem. I tried several solutions but they did not help me solve my problem. This issue had bothered me for several weeks and I was about to reinstall my machine with Windows 7. I decided to give it another try, before I reformatted my drive (and then reinstalled my machine), and did a search again. Finally, I came across this post which solved the problem!

The problem was the Intel Rapid Storage driver. After I installed the latest version of the driver from Intel, the intermittent 100% C drive usage disappeared. Here is the link to the driver that I used:

Intel Rapid Storage Windows 8 Driver

The version I used is and it was released on 03/22/2013. If the link is broken, you can try visiting the Intel Download Center to search for the latest driver.

Intel Download Center

Note that this solution only applies to the Intel Rapid Storage controller. If you do not have the Intel Rapid Storage controller, do not download and install this driver.

To find out what storage controller you have, follow these steps:

  1. Press Windows key and type device manager.
  2. Click on Settings -> Device Manager.
  3. Scroll down and expand Storage controllers to find out what controller you have.

Once you have identified your storage controller, you can then try to visit the chipset manufacturer’s web site to download the latest driver and see if your problem is solved.

Lenovo X1 Carbon Unknown Device Driver on Windows 8

I worked on a Lenovo X1 Carbon yesterday. It’s a very capable machine. The CPU is an Intel Core i7-3667U. It comes with 8GB of DDR3L RAM and a Solid State Drive. The performance is amazingly fast. When I installed some software that would usually take half an hour to install on a recent computer, it only took 10 minutes on this machine. It’s even faster than my i7 workstation because of the solid state drive. The only downside to this machine is that the graphic card is an Intel HD 4000 that is not very powerful, but sufficient for business applications. The machine came with Windows 7 pre-installed. The user had requested Windows 8, so I first tried to do an upgrade installation. The compatibility report showed that there were a lot of drivers and applications incompatible with Windows 8. Therefore, I decided to do a clean installation. After installation, I installed Lenovo System Update. This is a utility to install all the necessary drivers and application for your Lenovo computers. You do not have to download each individual driver one by one. This saves you a lot of time. I wish the other vendors would follow suit and have such a utility. Anyway, after I installed all the drivers downloaded by System Update, I found that one device driver was not installed when I ran the Device Manager.  I usually use PCIDatabase web site to identify the device. It did not work in this case, because there is no vendor ID and device ID. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to find that info through Google. The search shows that it’s a iSCT ACPI Virtual Device (INT33A0) for Windows 8 (32-bit, 64-bit), Windows 7 (32-bit, 64-bit) – ThinkPad X1 Carbon After the driver was installed, there was no more unknown device in the Device Manager.

Movie Maker on Windows 8 Error: Movie Maker Can’t Start

I have used Windows Movie Maker on Windows 7 to make photo slideshows. It worked quite well. With a few clicks, you can produce professional quality slideshows that you can burn to DVDs. When I tried to run the program the first time, I got this error message:

Sorry, Movie Maker can’t start. Make sure your computer meets the minimum system requirements before trying to start Movie Maker again, and the try to update the driver for your video card if Move Maker still doesn’t start.


The message also provides two links for you to troubleshoot the problem. Before I checked the links, I remembered that the Movie Maker was installed before  the Windows 8 upgrade. I tried to download the latest version and install it. Unfortunately, it did not work, either. I received the same error message. I have used Movie Maker on this machine before, so I am pretty sure my computer meets the minimum requirement. I am also pretty sure that my video card driver is up to date because I just updated it a few days ago for Angry Birds. I tried the second link provided by the error message and found a solution to my problem. According to this post, I have to run Movie Maker in compatibility mode. If you are not sure how to do this, here are the step-by-step instructions.

  1. Press Windows key + E to run Windows Explorer.
  2. Navigate to this directory: C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Live\Photo Gallery if you have 64 bit Windows 8. Otherwise, navigate to this directory. C:\Program Files\Windows Live\Photo Gallery
  3. Right click on MovieMaker.exe and select Properties.
  4. Click on Compatibility tab. Check the box “Run this program in compatibility mode for:” and select Windows 7.
  5. Click on OK to close the dialog.

You can now run Movie Maker. If this does not help, there is another post which might be helpful. Give it a try and let us know.