Category Archives: Windows

Cisco AnyConnect VPN “Failed to initialize connection subsystem” Error after Windows Update on Windows 8.1

After the recent Windows Update applied (February 2015), the Cisco AnyConnect VPN client stopped working on some of our Windows 8.1 machines. Whenever you try to connect, you get this dialog box. “Failed to initialize connection subsystem”.


My colleague has suggested the following fix.

  1. Open Windows Explorer.
  2. Browse to C:\Program Files(x86)\Cisco\Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client on 64bit machine, or  C:\Program Files\Cisco\Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client on 32bit machine.
  3. Right click on vpnui.exe and select Properties.
  4. Click on Compatibility tab.
  5. Click on Change settings for all users.
  6. Click on Run this program in compatibility mode for: and select Windows 8.
  7. Click on OK to close the dialog box, click on OK again to close vpnui.exe Properties window.
  8. Reboot the machine or restart Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Agent service.

Windows could not search for new updates – Code 8024402C Windows Update encountered an unknown error

During a recent security scanning of our machines, we found several machines have not been updated for several months. These machines are running Windows 7 and set up to get updates automatically. Something was not right and caused the machine to stop receiving updates. I tried to do manually update on one computer and got this error message.


A quick search found this article which helps me to solve the problem. The problem of my machines were caused by a registry value. Here are the steps I used to fix it.

  1. Click on the Windows logo on the task bar and type regedit.
  2. Right click on the regedit.exe program and select Run as administrator.
  3. Browser to this key:
  4. Double click on the value named UseWUServer and change the value data from 1 to 0. If you could not find this value or the value data is already 0, the cause of your problem is different. You’ll have to search for other solution.
  5. We have to restart the Windows Update service. In a Windows Explorer window, locate Computer. Right click on it and select Manage.
  6. Locate the Windows Update service. Right click on it and select Restart.

If restarting of the Windows Update service does not help, you can try to reboot the machine. I also found that after the registry change, one machine is still not able to do Windows Update correctly. I downloaded the Windows Update troubleshooter to fix that machine’s problem. Here is the link:

Open the Windows Update troubleshooter


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.