Category Archives: Windows

HP Printer Smart Install Problem

Printer installation is usually a trivial job that only takes about five to ten minutes. It took me two hours to finally get one installed today! This printer is called a HP Color LaserJet M451dn. The printer is equipped with Smart Install, which is supposed to simplify printer installation. However, it ended up causing major problems for me.

Traditionally, you connect the printer to the computer and then you specify a driver during printer installation. That’s it. It’s very straightforward. The Smart Install is different. When you connect a printer with Smart Install, the printer connects as a CD drive with the installation software. I tried this route and ran the installation software. It did not work. I then followed the second method in the installation guide that came with the printer. The second method requires you to put the driver CD in the CD drive, run the installation software first, and then connect the printer. Not only did it not work, it also took about 20 minutes each time I tried it.

I found out that I was not alone. A lot of people online reported the same problem.

HP LaserJet Pro 400 Color M451dn : problem installing driver

I tried some of the suggestions, but they did not work either. I finally managed to get it working. Here are the steps.

  1. Make sure the printer is not connected to the computer.
  2. Disable Smart Install on the printer. This is done by using the panel on the printer. It’s under Setup Menu -> Service -> Smart Install
  3. Download the latest universal print driver from HP and install it. Enter your model number in this site to find the driver.
  4. Reboot the computer after you install the latest universal print driver.
  5. Connect the printer to your computer using a USB cable.

This should fix it. Otherwise, the other method to try is to connect the printer to the network and install it as a network printer.

“Adobe Acrobat does not support Internet Explorer’s Enhanced Protected Mode (EPM)” Error Message

One user reported that whenever she opened up a link to a PDF file from Internet Explorer, this error message popped up.



Adobe Acrobat does not support Internet Explorer’s Enhanced Protected Mode (EPM). Either install the latest version of Adobe Reader or disable EPM in Internet Explorer.

This message puzzled me for a while because Enhanced Protect Mode is for IE 10 or above. My user still uses IE 8, and there was no EPM for IE 8. I then checked the version of Acrobat Reader and it was already the latest version, so there was no need to update it.

Later, I found out that there were two Acrobats installed on the machine. One was the Acrobat Pro 9 and the other was the Acrobat Reader 11. The default program to open PDF files was set to Acrobat Pro 9 and this was the cause of the error message. I tried to set the default program to Acrobat Reader 11 and the problem was fixed.

Here are the steps to set Acrobat Reader 11 as the default program for PDF files.

  1. Open Acrobat Reader 11.
  2. Click on Edit -> Preferences.
  3. Click on General on the side bar.
  4. Click on the button Select Default PDF Handler.
  5. Click on the drop down box and select Adobe Reader XI.
  6. Click on Apply and then OK to exit out the dialogs.

How to List Members in an AD Group

We need to list all the members in an AD group from time to time for review purposes. The commands are dsget and dsquery. A problem I had was that I could not remember the proper syntax for this, and every time I needed to use them, I had to look them up again. Here are the commands.

dsquery group -name "GROUP-NAME" | dsget group -members -expand

Replace the GROUP-NAME with your group name. For the first part, query the AD using the GROUP-NAME provided. Its output will be sent to dsget to list the members in the group.

Again, if you are interested in details of the commands, try the following.

dsquery /?

dsget /?

For other Windows command line tips, check out this highly recommended book: Windows Command-Line Administrator’s Pocket Consultant, 2nd Edition

Black Screen After Windows 7 Upgrade

We have been doing a lot of XP upgrades since January. One problem I encountered was with how the machine boots to a black screen after upgrading to Windows 7. There are quite a few articles on how to fix the problem. Here is a short list.

I have tried some of these suggestions, but they did not solve my problem. In the end, I replaced the video card, and I was able to get the machine to boot normally.

I ran into the same problem yesterday. However, I could not just replace the video card because this machine had a more powerful card for a certain program. I do not have a video card with similar specs as a replacement.

I tried to re-install the video card driver but to no effect. I tried to install the driver from the manufacturer’s web site; still, it did not work. In the end, I replaced it with a different card just to test. if It worked after the card was replaced. I then took the video card out and put the original video card in. To my surprise, the machine booted up just fine with the original card.

So, if you have this problem, besides trying out the suggestions in those articles, you can try to swap a different video card and then swap back to the original card and see if it works for you.

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.