Month: June 2010

Windows PowerShell: an introduction

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To use and/or control an operating system one or more interfaces are needed. Such an interface provides a working environment wherein users and administrators can do their thing; in a way it can be considered as a “working place” or some kind of “home”. That’s why they are mostly called shells. Some shells are graphical, some are text based and others are some sort of a mix between them (most of the time those are text based with some basic graphical window/tool bar/status bar/menu/… around them). Windows contains 2 default shells, but third party shells can be installed too. Users and administrators almost always use the default shells though and there are different reasons for this, some of them mentioned here:
* most people don’t even know other shells exist; heck, most users don’t even know what a shell is!
* using another shell, especially a graphical one, gives the impression another OS is used. Most people don’t have a good feeling about that.
* other shells have a higher chance to contain more bugs and less features: it’s not made or tested by Microsoft.
* people are afraid they won’t really get to know “the real (default) Windows (feeling)”. This seems a stupid reason at first, but actually it isn’t! Suppose you are reading a book explaining a lot of practice information about Windows. I guess reading such a book while using another shell must be hell! Almost everything and everyone supposes you are using the default shells. Read the rest of this entry »


Error 0x80072F8F in WU/MU

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Everyone has experienced issues with Windows updates not being installed smoothly. There are so many possible causes I’m not going to give some kind of overview (someone who is able to do this must be really crazy). There is one particular scenario though I would like to share with you: the default automatic Windows update mechanism fails to even check which updates are available to download and even consulting the Windows Update or Microsoft Update site manually just fails: error 0x80072F8F is the result.

Normally updates should be installed in a controlled way, following some update policy. Most of the time this means updating happens in an automatic way, but preferably including a test phase before rolling out to production. For a certain reason some of my systems have to be updated manually though. I’m not going to explain you why, because it doesn’t matter here, but I can stress the fact that’s a temporary situation. On most systems this goes very smoothly: surfing to the MU site, checking for updates, downloading and installing them normally doesn’t imply problems. On two of my servers, both of them running ISA Server 2006, all this fails: error 0x80072F8F appears very early, I haven’t seen the available updates yet! Read the rest of this entry »