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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    Windows Update broke PDFs, Security, etc. (WinXP Pro SP1)

    I'm always wary of running Windows Update, but based on the recent information (WWW and others) I ran Windows Update on two XP computers, with bad results. There were a bunch of updates waiting, so I can't tell whether it was the latest ones that cause the problems.

    On one machine, Windows Update ran smoothly and it works fine as far as I can tell, except for one thing: The "Security level for this zone" controls in InternetOptions|Security is now disabled.

    On the other machine, most updates installed, except for the following three:

    Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer 6 Service Pack 1 (KB832894)
    Security Update for Microsoft Data Access Components (KB832483)
    814078: Security Update (Microsoft Jscript version 5.6, Windows 2000, Windows XP)

    Actually, it's only the third one that fails, but all three continue to show up in Windows Update. I've tried everything, one at a time, various permutations, downloading and running the patch files locally, all to no avail.

    HOWEVER, this computer has suffered from Windows Update: It will not open PDF files in IE anymore. Instead it just displays an object placeholder. I suspect this may have to do with my restrictive security settings, but now the "Security level for this zone" controls are disabled on this computer, too, and I can't check or change anything.

    In fact I have seen this PDF and disabled Security controls problem on a friend's WinXPP/SP1 computer last week as well. She had not yet applied the February patches, so it must be an older patch that does this.

    Has anyone seen this before? Any ideas for a cure?

    Hans

  2. #2
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Windows Update broke PDFs, Security, etc. (WinXP Pro SP1)

    Hans,

    It's not a good idea to install a bunch of updates all at one time. As you have found out, you can't reall tell which one is the troublemaker.
    Can you go to ADD/Remove programs and remove the KB hotfixes, one at a time to see if the removal does it for you?
    Do you have a Restore Point set to a date before the addition of the patches?
    That would be my first steps to resolve the problem.

    Bob
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  3. #3
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    Re: Windows Update broke PDFs, Security, etc. (WinXP Pro SP1)

    Hi Bob,

    Thank you for your reply. I know it's not ideal to do it that way. On the other hand you never know how long it takes to find out that something is broken. Constant patching means having the creeps all of the time...

    I don't trust the Restore Points because it's not clear exactly how they work. But I have GoBack and backups, and if no one has a better idea, I'll go that way. Since I've seen this on 3 out of 3 WinXP SP1 computers, I thought this might be a known problem...

    Thanks again!
    Hans

  4. #4
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Windows Update broke PDFs, Security, etc. (WinXP Pro SP1)

    > They aren't going to hurt and they might help fix your problem.

    I've never had to restrore, but it seems possible that if you roll back too far, some installed applications might become inoperable because their settings were cleared from the registry. Seems one should only roll back as far as one can remember what is being (and intended to be) tossed out.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Windows Update broke PDFs, Security, etc. (WinXP Pro SP1)

    There are ways to disable the entire Security tab using "group policy." It seems unlikely that Microsoft would disable it by default for all users, rather than leaving this decision to corporate IT departments, but perhaps it was an oversight? If that is the cause, you might be able to reverse it using the local policy snap-in.

    Start > Run... > mmc.exe

    File> Add/Remove Snap-in > Add... > Group Policy > Local Computer > Finish > OK

    Then expand the tree and check the settings for these policies:

    Local Computer PolicyComputer ConfigurationAdministrative TemplatesWindows ComponentsInternet Explorer

    Local Computer PolicyUser ConfigurationAdministrative TemplatesWindows ComponentsInternet Explorer

    Hope this helps. (I tested on XP Pro, not sure if XP Home is the same.)

  6. #6
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Windows Update broke PDFs, Security, etc. (WinXP Pro SP1)

    Hans,

    Use GoBack and restore to the point just before installing all the hotfixes. My bet is you'll be fine.

    Bob
    BOB
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  7. #7
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    Re: Windows Update broke PDFs, Security, etc. (WinXP Pro SP1)

    I've never heard of that happening after collecting SR articles and threads for a good while. One thing that comes into play is that although in some places MS says SR defaults to 90 days, and other places they say less, you're creating restore points with 5 default criteria all the time. Take a look at System Restore on some machines. Practically you can't go back all that far and theoretically it tracks programs and doesn't lose them. I'm sure there could always be a case. Also unless you do it in Safe Mode, you should be able to reverse the restore very quickly if you're unhappy with it.

    In Home, you have use of the MMC, but not the Group Policy snap-in and wizard. GP is only available in XP Pro.

    SMBP

  8. #8
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    Re: Windows Update broke PDFs, Security, etc. (WinXP Pro SP1)

    I'd trust the System Restore Points. They aren't going to hurt and they might help fix your problem. They work by getting "registry snapshots" at certain default times or you can set them. People forget that if they do an SR and don't like the result, they can reverse it with a couple clicks. You aren't going to lose applications; it tracks their files but you may have to install hotfixes. RGB may be worth running; it has issues with configuring the Windows MBR, defragging, and it can be impossible to uninstall if things go wrong with it. If you have any questions about SR or how it works let me know:

    SR FAQ
    SR Is Easy To Use
    System Restore Win XP
    HOW TO: Restore the Operating System to a Previous State in Windows XP

    SMBP

  9. #9
    New Lounger
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    Re: Windows Update broke PDFs, Security, etc. (WinXP Pro SP1)

    Thank you all for your helpful links and suggestions. I'll be away for a week, but when I get back I'll try them all (saving GoBack for last as the ultimate safety net) and report back how it turned out.

    Hans

  10. #10
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    Re: Windows Update broke PDFs, Security, etc. (WinXP Pro SP1)

    Finally I'm back as promised...

    Indeed, I had
    Use only machine settings
    Do not allow users to change policies
    Do not allow users to add/delete sites
    enabled. I believe, at the time when I did this and before installing a host of updates, this still allowed Administrators to change the settings.

    Anyway, it turned out that it wasn't the security settings that kept my PDFs from loading inside the browser, but rather I had to start Adobe Reader and enable

    Display PDF in Browser

    under Edit|Preferences, Options, Web Browser Options.

    How this could become disabled in the course of installing a host of Windows Updates is a mystery to me, but since this part of the problem is solved now, I'd rather not spend additional time to narrow this down.

    The other part of the problem in my original post remains, but since no one commented on that, I'll start a new thread with more details.

    Thank you all for your help!

    Hans

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