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  1. #1
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    BSoDs from an unexpected source: WMP service




    LANGALIST PLUS

    BSoDs from an unexpected source: WMP service


    By Fred Langa

    A Windows Secrets reader dug deep into Windows to solve his PC's far-too-frequent crashes. He eventually tracked the problem to Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service, a program that can cause crashes or severe slowdowns and one that most PC users don't need.


    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/langalist-plus/bsods-from-an-unexpected-source-wmp-service/ (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

  2. #2
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    WMP Networking Service Isn't Alone


    WMPNetworkSvc isn't the only Windows Service which can behave the way Fred's reader describes. Apple's Bonjour Service is very similar and downloads with iTunes for Windows. I found on my Windows XP laptop (512 MB RAM) that the computer couldn't handle the demands of Bonjour Service, and I disable it and the WMP Networking Service in msconfig. CCleaner also has a Tool which can manage Startups. Editing Services directly may also be necessary, but in these two cases, msconfig or CCleaner Tools can usually get rid of the pests -- until you run iTunes or Windows Media Player. Then you have to uncheck these Startups all over again. Blech! This is why most of my media downloads are played throught VLC Player.


    Fixing MBR


    Some System Imaging programs, including Acronis True Image and Macrium Reflect, save the MBR with the Image Backup if you set them up to do so. Then they can restore a good MBR from a backup archive. I actually have done this on two dual-booting laptops when restore operations trashed the dual-boot's other OS boot routines.
    -- Bob Primak --

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    The only question that this story leaves unanswered is the general question of how and why the MBR can become corrupt in the first place. It's not like you're writing to that part of the HD regularly, after all; this should be the last place you would expect data corruption to occur. What are the larger issues?

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    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Any Restore operation or virus cleanup can wreck the MBR. I've had it happen in dual-boots just in the course of switching from one OS to another. There are many ways the MBR can become corrupted, depending on how the computer is configured and what's running on it (wanted or unwanted). It's always nice to have tools available to fix this situation.
    -- Bob Primak --

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    Windows OS Disks: Installation, Re-Installation, Recovery, Restore, Setup

    I'm swamped by a lack of understanding the various types of disks that can be used to install Windows7.

    I am guessing that a Windows7 disk purchased from Microsoft, or Best Buy, or some other well-known retailer, might be called an Installation Disk. But it might have some other name.

    I converted my new-to-me eBay purchased Dell Latitude E6500 from Vista to Win7ProSp1 by using a Dell OEM "Reinstallation DVD" (purchased from DiscountMountainSoftware, based in Denver). Since then I needed a Recovery disk (no longer available from Dell for an E6500), so I purchased (from Recovery-Disks.com) a package of two disks: a Windows7 Professional Restore Disc --- whose contents look like what I would guess an ordinary Win7 Disk purchased from Microsoft would look like, but I'm an economist and not an IT amateur much less an IT professional --- and a companion Drivers and Utilities Installation Restore Disc.

    And now Fred Langa's very interesting article introduces Setup Disk into this swamp.

    I sure could use a list of different types of disks for installing or re-installing a Windows operating system, with an explanation of what their differences are!

    Roger Folsom
    Last edited by RNFolsom; 2012-11-11 at 00:56.

  6. #6
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Here's what you need, if your OEM reinstall partition and disks can no longer be used:

    (Before you do anything, make a System Image Backup of what's there now.)

    (1) Probably the Full Retail or the generic OEM Retail install disk for Windows 7 would be correct. You can add SP1 later. If you have a valid Windows 7 license key, you could burn your own DVD from an ISO, available from Digital River. I also found this article with direct download links from Microsoft . The ISO when burned to a DVD will function with any valid Windows 7 license key, and can be reused as needed. SP 1 may need to be downloaded, or these ISOs may already contain SP1.

    (2) Before you do any further reinstalling, back up your current system either with the built-in tools from Windows 7, or with a good third party backup and recovery program, like Macrium Reflect Free or Easus Free. I use Macrium Reflect and have burned its WinPE rescue environment to a CD just in case of total loss of Windows access.

    (3) Back up all important drivers using DriverMax Free (don't update with this utility). This backup utility places all your drivers into one ZIP Archive, which when un-ZIPped, can be used directly by the Windows Device Manager to update any missing or incorrect drivers. I store DriverMax Backups with Macrium Reflect Images for convenience and safety, all on an external drive.

    (4) You may want to use a formatting and partitioning utility. I like Acronis Disk Director, but there are free utilities which will do the job just fine.

    (5) If any installed software needs to be reinstalled, have installers and license keys ready, also on an external drive and the keys somewhere where you can easily get to them.

    Now you have the basic necessities to get the computer up to speed without losing all your drivers.

    Having gotten the computer on eBay, I would wipe out everything on the hard drive. You don't want to be dealing with someone else's downloads, data, programs and configuration errors. Not to mention the possibility that something somewhere is not properly licensed.

    Just do a Format and then install from the Full Retail or OEM or burned from ISO download Windows 7 SP1 DVD. Then reinstall any drivers you need, and any software you have the licensing rights to reinstall. For Windows 7, the Full Retail or OEM Retail are the only complete versions available. Use the 64-bit version, if your computer will support it (which it probably will). As I said above, SP1 may or may not be included in your installation DVD.

    Once the system looks like it has a good and clean Windows 7 installation with good drivers, download and install security software, most likely Microsoft Security Essentials. Now go to MS Updates and take all Critical and Important Updates which are not drivers. This may take several rounds of rebooting and revisiting MS Updates.

    After that, all you need to do is install whatever software you want. Maybe also get Secunia PSI 3 on there, to keep track of needed security-related software updates. You might also prefer a non-IE browser, which can be added at this stage as well.

    That's what I would do with any used computer running or able to run Windows 7. It's entirely generic advice, and should work for almost any used computer.

    Some OEM software may be missing, but all you probably will need should be there after this process. Dell may be able to provide any missing OEM components from there. Many OEM software features are not model specific, so you may be able to use updated OEM offerings from Dell if you need the features they add. Some Dell software may be free; other features might require additional purchases.

    The main difference under Windows 7 between OEM and Full Retail is that Full Retail is not tied to one hardware configuration. Whereas OEM does become tied to the hardware on which it is installed.

    Windows 8 versions and licensing are different, but this is Windows 7 we are dealing with here.

    In Windows 7, Setup is a manufacturer disk set.

    OEM is for installing on one computer only.

    Full Retail is for installing where there is no underlying previous OS license, and where you want to be able to move the installation to another computer or partition or Virtual Machine somewhere down the road.

    Upgrade Disks require an underlying previous OS license.

    Restore Disks (Imaging software) are bootable CDs or DVDs which can rescue a system where Windows will not boot. They contain a small version of the recovery program. Your BIOS must be set up t o Boot From DVd first, which is not standard.

    Windows 7 Recovery Disks contain the Recovery Console, which can repair or restore part of or all of the Windows 7 installation. These are created by the user, and can offer a non-destructive way to get back up and running after a disaster.

    Manufacturers may also offer System Recovery Disks, which contain drivers and OEM software, as well as a customized Windows installation. Some offer a non-destructive recovery option, and all can do a destructive recovery (reformat and reinstall to OEM conditions). These may or may not be supplied with the computer.

    Many laptops use a Hidden Recovery Partition instead, and your eBay purchase could be like this. The Partition can be burned once by the user to DVDs. You can try doing this burn now, but the option may already have been used by a previous owner.

    The model you list in your post is still available at the Dell Outlet . That means the Install Disks should be available from Dell Support for a price. What they now include with the refurbished laptop is Windows 7 Pro Dell Install Media. Drivers and Support links are here. There's even a Reimage How-To Guide in PDF format linked on that page. Yours is a 1st Generation Dell Latitude E Family laptop with the business client OEM package. Follow the instructions accordingly.

    If you have an older version of this model with Vista, a Windows 7 Upgrade ISO or DVD plus SP1 would work just fine. But the Fresh Install method would be better if someone else has been using this computer. The important thing to make sure of is that you end up with a valid Windows 7 Pro license key. Which you may need to buy.

    Never purchase Branded OEM Reinstall Disks from third-parties. They usually are counterfeit or misappropriated and often do not work. I respect Discount Mountain, but I do not trust any third-party supplied Dell Install Media. Too many possibilities that there's something a wee bit different in your model's OEM configuration.
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2012-11-25 at 04:51.
    -- Bob Primak --

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