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Vista Misery and Mysteries

Wasn't planning to install Vista on my new Toughbook CF-30 because it's been hard to deal with on Mary's new HP; but I did and now have both some misery and an Internet Explorer protected mode mystery which I'd be glad for nerd help with.

I liked the fact that the new Toughbook came with XP installed plus recover DVDs for both Vista Business and XP. That meant, I thought, that I could give Vista a while to stabilize and then install it. Unlike Mary's preinstalled Vista Home, I knew I could even uninstall Vista and reinstall XP since I have the business edition and Panasonic supplied me with both recover DVDs including all the crucial drivers needed to go back and forth.

But then the fine print: you have to wipe your hard drive of all content to install Vista. Do I want to spend weeks getting things the way I want them on a new machine, run a couple of months with XP, then start all over again with Vista and a "clean" machine? No, I decided, since I have nothing of mine on the machine now, this is the time to install Vista. Then I'll get the Vista version of everything.

Right now I'm regretting the decision. And looking for nerd help with a mystery.

Vista is running and isn't noticeably slow on my new machine; it hasn't crashed. That's the good news.

But Vista seems determined to protect me from myself even though I run with administrator privileges.

At first I couldn't get any ActiveX extensions to install. The yellow bar above the browser window which usually warns me that I've clicked on something which wants to install an ActiveX extension now didn't give me the options of installing; it just told me that my security settings didn't permit ActiveX extensions to be installed; this despite the fact that I'd deliberately clicked an option to prompt for permission before installing an extension. Couldn't even get Microsoft's own software verification extension to install to get the latest fixes to Office 2007.

Turning off "Protected Mode" in the browser let extensions install (but without a warning which I don't like either). Then, while trying to figure out why there were no time-wasting games like minesweeper around, I discovered (by Googling, of course) that you can go through Control Panel/Programs/Programs and Features to "Turn Windows feature on and off". This not only lets you turn games on; it also lets you turn on the ActiveX installer service. I've verified that games instantly appeared; haven't stumbled across an uninstalled ActiveX component since so not sure this is working properly.

But here's the mystery:

Web pages that used to work fine including basic Facebook pages now SOMETIMES break because, according to IE, it can't load a DLL (doesn't say which DLL). This never happens when Protected Mode is turned off. It doesn't get cured by a reload but sometimes the same page WILL load without an error much later even when I know the HTML of the page hasn't changed. It never happens in Firefox but Firefox doesn't have a Protected Mode. If it happened in Firefox, it'd be easier to debug because of Firebug. It doesn't seem to happen in Protected Mode on Mary's machine because some of these are pages she goes to often and she hasn't complained (but she's running Vista Home). I can't run a parallel test or compare all the settings on our machines because she and her machine are traveling.

It's not a solution for me to just run Firefox or run in unprotected mode because, as a developer, I need to know why pages sometimes break. If they break for me, they'll break for other people as well.

Haven't been able to Google my way to a solution or find one on Microsoft's site.

Ideas anyone?


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John Clifford

I had the same problems with IE and Vista Ultimate and Vista Business and Vista Premium on 3 different computers. I ended up getting a Macbook Pro to replace Hp Tablet notebook and running Xp under Wmware fusion. I also reformatted hard drive on Vista Ultimate and reinstalled Vista Business SP1 on clean c: drive and run ie with no toolbars like google etc and it has worked so far. I have to run toolbars addins etc in Firefox. I also had lots of crashes when copying files over te network and these have stopped on Vista bus SP1 but continue on Vista Premium with SP1. Lot of hassles with networking that took time to unravel. I used sysinternals software to troubleshoot.



Look in the event logs and more info on the dll should be found.


I'm sure if the problems are the same, but I recently perform the below operation on a Vista machine that seemed to clear up his problem which didn't involve remote desktop but did involve TCP/IP connections. It's easy to undo if it doesn't solve the problem.



Solved: “The connection has been lost. Attempting to reconnect to your session…” when attempting to access a Windows 2003 server from a Windows Vista Remote Desktop Session
October 8, 2007 — Julie

“The connection has been lost. Attempting to reconnect to your session…” had almost made me scrap Vista on my home PC. Ever since my hard drive died and I committed to Vista, I’ve received this error message when attempting to access my Windows 2003 SBS Server. I’ve had no problems accessing Windows XP based machines, but I experienced the exact same issue using Terminals from this machine.

I was sick of having to break out my XP laptop to administer my work network from home, so I decided today was the day to fix this problem. I searched and Googled and read the entire Vista Remote Desktop Connection Authentication FAQ, but did not find the answer.

I hoped setting the AuthenticationLevelOverride registry key would do it, but that didn’t make a difference.

Finally, when I thought all hope was lost (and dinner was on the table), I came across this post, which said to run the following from an elevated command prompt:

netsh interface tcp set global autotuninglevel=disabled

This disabled Vista’s TCP/IP autotuning feature. I didn’t even have to reboot, Remote Desktop has worked great ever since I made this change. No more problems, not even once.

If for some reason you want to re-enable TCP/IP auto tuning, the command is:

netsh interface tcp set global autotuninglevel=normal

Check out my other post concerning problems with Vista’s auto tuning and Microsoft Outlook 2007’s cached mode.

Tom Evslin


Thanks for helping. Did check but Toughbook was good about NOT putting in add-ins - unlike HP.

You are absolutely right that the FB pages are not a reliable test because the ads change. But I was also testing on a page whose content I control and getting strangely varying results.

David James

Could it be third-party crapware bundled with the Toughbook? In IE, try Tools -> Options -> Advanced -> uncheck "Browsing: Enable third-party browser extensions". This will disable add-ins such as Google Toolbar, which may help isolate the problem.

Could it be related to the page content? Facebook might look the same every time, but could there be a different ad showing? Maybe a Flash ad instead of a plain image ad? Maybe Flash/Java/some other plug-in is misbehaving?

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