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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Windows Update error 0x80243004

By Jacques Bensimon -

Got this error today trying to perform a Windows Update run on a Windows Server 2008 R2 machine.  All the updates were downloaded successfully, but as soon as their installation started, I got this error [0x80243004] (with the message that all updates failed).  Looking up the error code, it just means “updates failed” – no help there.  Tried a second time, same result.

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I noticed however that the tray icon that’s usually there during a Windows Update run was not showing, which reminded me that I had recently added a Group Policy setting to force all tray icons to always be displayed (yet the Windows Update icon was not being displayed).  I removed that policy setting, refreshed policies, manually unchecked/rechecked the “show all tray icons” setting (not the exact name), and the next update run worked perfectly.  Weird!

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Monday, November 19, 2012

The Bensimon Review: Classic Shell on Windows 8

Here’s a review of the Classic Shell by Jacques Bensimon.

clip_image002 Finally got around to testing Classic Shell on Windows 8 – I delayed it for a while to try life without a Start Menu (it’s workable but, bottom line, it blows!).  The Classic Shell review will be brief: it’s absolutely fantastic! Not only does it bring back a great looking Start Menu (complete with Taskbar orb – see screenshot to the left) and not only does it have the usual Programs submenu to access your “classic” installed apps, but it also adds an “Apps” menu that gives you direct access (from the Desktop side of Windows 8) to all your Store (aka Metro) apps  – as far as I can tell, that’s not an easy thing to do:  creating standard shortcuts definitely doesn’t work, and the only such ability I’d found prior to Classic Shell was launching the following Explorer command line

Explorer.exe shell:::{4234d49b-0245-4df3-b780-3893943456e1}

which opens a folder called “Applications” that contains all your installed apps (Desktop and Store) mixed together (many store app icons in that folder look crappy or barely visible until you highlight them).

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When installing Classic Shell on Windows 8, I recommend you don’t select the Classic Explorer and Classic IE features (the Windows 8 Explorer already has a rich ribbon interface with lots of buttons – no need to add a toolbar – and Classic IE is pretty much useless anyway).

SIDE NOTE: By sheer coincidence, soon after I sent the e-mail admitting my previous failure to launch Store/Metro apps from the Desktop side of Windows 8, I ran across a URL type named “xboxgames” in the Registry, so I tried launchingxboxgames:// from the Run dialog and sure enough it started the Games (Metro) app.  It therefore also works from a command line (Start xboxgames://) and from a shortcut (.URL type).  Searching the Registry for other URL types (search HKCR for “URL:” or “URL Protocol” as in the screenshot below, or use NirSoft’s URLProtocolView), it looks as if most (if not all) Store apps have an associated URL type (bingnews://, bingsports://, netflix://, etc.).  I’m not yet sure whether there’s a more direct way to identify the URL type corresponding to a given Store app (I suspect there is), but this is a good start.
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Later,

JB

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