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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 05-21-2009
BillDiehl
 

Posts: n/a
Auto Updating
First a little background: We are a school system in Virginia. Each year
our kids take Standards of Learning tests online. When the test opens,
anything that happens in the background will kick the student out of the test
but will not tell you why, just that something is runnnig in the background.
We have set up bare bones systems - Windows XP Pro SP3 / Office 2003 /
Acrobat, Java, Shockwave, Quicktime. About an hour after the computers are
turned on, something is happening that will boot the kids out of the test.
We have disabled auto-updating on Windows. Deleted the c:\Program
Files\Common Files\Adobe\Updater5 folder. Disabled Jave and Quicktime auto
updates from the control panel. Disabled Media Player 11 updates through the
registry. I can't think of anything else that updates. I think it's a piece
of Microsoft that is going on it's own without going through the Windows
Updating service. Now the question: What am I missing?
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 05-22-2009
Harry Johnston [MVP]
 

Posts: n/a
Re: Auto Updating
BillDiehl wrote:

> First a little background: We are a school system in Virginia. Each year
> our kids take Standards of Learning tests online. When the test opens,
> anything that happens in the background will kick the student out of the test
> but will not tell you why, just that something is runnnig in the background.
> We have set up bare bones systems - Windows XP Pro SP3 / Office 2003 /
> Acrobat, Java, Shockwave, Quicktime. About an hour after the computers are
> turned on, something is happening that will boot the kids out of the test.
> We have disabled auto-updating on Windows. Deleted the c:\Program
> Files\Common Files\Adobe\Updater5 folder. Disabled Jave and Quicktime auto
> updates from the control panel. Disabled Media Player 11 updates through the
> registry. I can't think of anything else that updates. I think it's a piece
> of Microsoft that is going on it's own without going through the Windows
> Updating service. Now the question: What am I missing?


Well, the Shockwave updater for a startup. But in general there are probably
any number of things, not necessarily related to updates, that will run in the
background at regular intervals.

My advice? Get the test software fixed so that it doesn't do that. Windows
isn't designed to run just a single program at a time. The software either
needs to not worry about background processes, or use a different OS. (At a
guess the best solution would be for the test software to live on a
self-contained bootable CD.)

However, assuming that isn't feasible in the short term, you could try using
pslist from a remote machine to see what processes have recently launched.
(Search for "pslist" or "sysinternals" on Microsoft's web site.)

One other thing you could try would be to change the shell process from
explorer.exe to the test software. That would eliminate any periodic task that
gets launched via explorer. IIRC, the shell process is defined somewhere in the
winlogon key which lives here:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WindowsNT\Cu rrentVersion.

Harry.
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 05-22-2009
Robert Aldwinckle
 

Posts: n/a
Re: Auto Updating

"BillDiehl" <BillDiehl@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote in message news:664BD30A-7A43-4BE6-ACEE-74EC13FE872C@microsoft.com...
> First a little background: We are a school system in Virginia. Each year
> our kids take Standards of Learning tests online. When the test opens,
> anything that happens in the background will kick the student out of the test
> but will not tell you why, just that something is runnnig in the background.
> We have set up bare bones systems - Windows XP Pro SP3 / Office 2003 /
> Acrobat, Java, Shockwave, Quicktime. About an hour after the computers are
> turned on, something is happening that will boot the kids out of the test.
> We have disabled auto-updating on Windows. Deleted the c:\Program
> Files\Common Files\Adobe\Updater5 folder. Disabled Jave and Quicktime auto
> updates from the control panel. Disabled Media Player 11 updates through the
> registry. I can't think of anything else that updates. I think it's a piece
> of Microsoft that is going on it's own without going through the Windows
> Updating service. Now the question:


> What am I missing?



Why not ask the suppliers of the software? ; )
E.g. perhaps they have a diagnostic mode
or already are adding an entry into the event log
explaining why they are aborting the test session?
Etc.

If the test software only objects to new tasks *starting*
after the test is started you could try having some diagnostic
program such as ProcMon tracing such activity for you.
You would want a *trace*, not just a list, in case whatever
the objectionable task was, just started and ended before
you got a chance to list it. However, for this case ProcExp
with a really long Different Highlight Duration might be enough
for you to use that tool instead.


Good luck

Robert Aldwinckle
---


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  #4 (permalink)  
Old 05-22-2009
BillDiehl
 

Posts: n/a
Re: Auto Updating


"Robert Aldwinckle" wrote:

>
> "BillDiehl" <BillDiehl@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote in message news:664BD30A-7A43-4BE6-ACEE-74EC13FE872C@microsoft.com...
> > First a little background: We are a school system in Virginia. Each year
> > our kids take Standards of Learning tests online. When the test opens,
> > anything that happens in the background will kick the student out of the test
> > but will not tell you why, just that something is runnnig in the background.
> > We have set up bare bones systems - Windows XP Pro SP3 / Office 2003 /
> > Acrobat, Java, Shockwave, Quicktime. About an hour after the computers are
> > turned on, something is happening that will boot the kids out of the test.
> > We have disabled auto-updating on Windows. Deleted the c:\Program
> > Files\Common Files\Adobe\Updater5 folder. Disabled Jave and Quicktime auto
> > updates from the control panel. Disabled Media Player 11 updates through the
> > registry. I can't think of anything else that updates. I think it's a piece
> > of Microsoft that is going on it's own without going through the Windows
> > Updating service. Now the question:

>
> > What am I missing?

>
>
> Why not ask the suppliers of the software? ; )
> E.g. perhaps they have a diagnostic mode
> or already are adding an entry into the event log
> explaining why they are aborting the test session?
> Etc.
>
> If the test software only objects to new tasks *starting*
> after the test is started you could try having some diagnostic
> program such as ProcMon tracing such activity for you.
> You would want a *trace*, not just a list, in case whatever
> the objectionable task was, just started and ended before
> you got a chance to list it. However, for this case ProcExp
> with a really long Different Highlight Duration might be enough
> for you to use that tool instead.
>
>
> Good luck
>
> Robert Aldwinckle
> ---
>
>
>

The problem is something from Microsoft. We installed a computer with
nothing but Windows XP installed and it kicked the kid out too. What I'm
looking for is something like Silverlight or Media Player (both have been
disabled) that comes from Microsoft and has their own updating routines that
either starts or ends one hour after system turn on. I'll a little afraid of
ProcMon anything similar, that will probably kick them out too. There is
really no way to test anything without jeapordizing more tests. Mainly I'm
looking for ideas.

We've been complaining for years that something needs added to the faulting
conditions that will tell us what is trying to run, but the state folks still
haven't changed anything. I've heard in the next year or two they will
change the format so it is web based, that should solve a lot of problems!

Thanks!
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  #5 (permalink)  
Old 05-22-2009
BillDiehl
 

Posts: n/a
Re: Auto Updating


"Harry Johnston [MVP]" wrote:

> BillDiehl wrote:
>
> > First a little background: We are a school system in Virginia. Each year
> > our kids take Standards of Learning tests online. When the test opens,
> > anything that happens in the background will kick the student out of the test
> > but will not tell you why, just that something is runnnig in the background.
> > We have set up bare bones systems - Windows XP Pro SP3 / Office 2003 /
> > Acrobat, Java, Shockwave, Quicktime. About an hour after the computers are
> > turned on, something is happening that will boot the kids out of the test.
> > We have disabled auto-updating on Windows. Deleted the c:\Program
> > Files\Common Files\Adobe\Updater5 folder. Disabled Jave and Quicktime auto
> > updates from the control panel. Disabled Media Player 11 updates through the
> > registry. I can't think of anything else that updates. I think it's a piece
> > of Microsoft that is going on it's own without going through the Windows
> > Updating service. Now the question: What am I missing?

>
> Well, the Shockwave updater for a startup. But in general there are probably
> any number of things, not necessarily related to updates, that will run in the
> background at regular intervals.
>
> My advice? Get the test software fixed so that it doesn't do that. Windows
> isn't designed to run just a single program at a time. The software either
> needs to not worry about background processes, or use a different OS. (At a
> guess the best solution would be for the test software to live on a
> self-contained bootable CD.)
>
> However, assuming that isn't feasible in the short term, you could try using
> pslist from a remote machine to see what processes have recently launched.
> (Search for "pslist" or "sysinternals" on Microsoft's web site.)
>
> One other thing you could try would be to change the shell process from
> explorer.exe to the test software. That would eliminate any periodic task that
> gets launched via explorer. IIRC, the shell process is defined somewhere in the
> winlogon key which lives here:
>
> HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WindowsNT\Cu rrentVersion.
>
> Harry.
>

It's not Shockwave, we put in a system with nothing but Windows XP on it and
it failed. It's not necessarily an update, that's just the thing that makes
the most sense. The test is designed this way on purpose; this way kids
can't open a new window to try to cheat. I'm not sure what it would do if I
changed the shell, but looking from outside after a test has failed makes a
lot of sense. Thanks for the ideas!
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  #6 (permalink)  
Old 05-22-2009
PA Bear [MS MVP]
 

Posts: n/a
Re: Auto Updating
Try the Clean Boot troubleshooting technique, Bill:
http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=310353

[Does Conestoga High School mean anything to you?]


BillDiehl wrote:
> First a little background: We are a school system in Virginia. Each year
> our kids take Standards of Learning tests online. When the test opens,
> anything that happens in the background will kick the student out of the
> test but will not tell you why, just that something is runnnig in the
> background. We have set up bare bones systems - Windows XP Pro SP3 /
> Office
> 2003 / Acrobat, Java, Shockwave, Quicktime. About an hour after the
> computers are turned on, something is happening that will boot the kids
> out
> of the test. We have disabled auto-updating on Windows. Deleted the
> c:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Updater5 folder. Disabled Jave and
> Quicktime auto updates from the control panel. Disabled Media Player 11
> updates through the registry. I can't think of anything else that
> updates.
> I think it's a piece of Microsoft that is going on it's own without going
> through the Windows Updating service. Now the question: What am I
> missing?


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  #7 (permalink)  
Old 05-22-2009
BillDiehl
 

Posts: n/a
Re: Auto Updating
I don't want to do this on 2400 computers... ;-) I haven't tried to run a
test in config mode, don't know if it would work or not. If it does, it very
well could tell me what's happening. Let me get back to you.

We do these tests every now and then throughout the year. Even last month,
we had no problems. Do you know of anything that's changed in the last
month, or did I just get lucky before?

Don't know Conestoga High. I'm in Gloucester, Virginia.



"PA Bear [MS MVP]" wrote:

> Try the Clean Boot troubleshooting technique, Bill:
> http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=310353
>
> [Does Conestoga High School mean anything to you?]
>
>
> BillDiehl wrote:
> > First a little background: We are a school system in Virginia. Each year
> > our kids take Standards of Learning tests online. When the test opens,
> > anything that happens in the background will kick the student out of the
> > test but will not tell you why, just that something is runnnig in the
> > background. We have set up bare bones systems - Windows XP Pro SP3 /
> > Office
> > 2003 / Acrobat, Java, Shockwave, Quicktime. About an hour after the
> > computers are turned on, something is happening that will boot the kids
> > out
> > of the test. We have disabled auto-updating on Windows. Deleted the
> > c:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Updater5 folder. Disabled Jave and
> > Quicktime auto updates from the control panel. Disabled Media Player 11
> > updates through the registry. I can't think of anything else that
> > updates.
> > I think it's a piece of Microsoft that is going on it's own without going
> > through the Windows Updating service. Now the question: What am I
> > missing?

>
>

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  #8 (permalink)  
Old 05-22-2009
PA Bear [MS MVP]
 

Posts: n/a
Re: Auto Updating
Yes, test it on one (1) computer.

BillDiehl wrote:
> I don't want to do this on 2400 computers... ;-) I haven't tried to run
> a
> test in config mode, don't know if it would work or not. If it does, it
> very well could tell me what's happening. Let me get back to you.
>
> We do these tests every now and then throughout the year. Even last
> month,
> we had no problems. Do you know of anything that's changed in the last
> month, or did I just get lucky before?
>
> Don't know Conestoga High. I'm in Gloucester, Virginia.
>
>
>
> "PA Bear [MS MVP]" wrote:
>
>> Try the Clean Boot troubleshooting technique, Bill:
>> http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=310353
>>
>> [Does Conestoga High School mean anything to you?]
>>
>>
>> BillDiehl wrote:
>>> First a little background: We are a school system in Virginia. Each
>>> year
>>> our kids take Standards of Learning tests online. When the test opens,
>>> anything that happens in the background will kick the student out of the
>>> test but will not tell you why, just that something is runnnig in the
>>> background. We have set up bare bones systems - Windows XP Pro SP3 /
>>> Office
>>> 2003 / Acrobat, Java, Shockwave, Quicktime. About an hour after the
>>> computers are turned on, something is happening that will boot the kids
>>> out
>>> of the test. We have disabled auto-updating on Windows. Deleted the
>>> c:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Updater5 folder. Disabled Jave and
>>> Quicktime auto updates from the control panel. Disabled Media Player 11
>>> updates through the registry. I can't think of anything else that
>>> updates.
>>> I think it's a piece of Microsoft that is going on it's own without
>>> going
>>> through the Windows Updating service. Now the question: What am I
>>> missing?


Reply With Quote
  #9 (permalink)  
Old 05-22-2009
Robert Aldwinckle
 

Posts: n/a
Re: Auto Updating

"BillDiehl" <BillDiehl@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote in message news:49077D00-418E-4CED-BDE9-8E8AF20E2856@microsoft.com...
>
>
> "Robert Aldwinckle" wrote:
>
>>
>> "BillDiehl" <BillDiehl@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote in message news:664BD30A-7A43-4BE6-ACEE-74EC13FE872C@microsoft.com...
>> > First a little background: We are a school system in Virginia. Each year
>> > our kids take Standards of Learning tests online. When the test opens,
>> > anything that happens in the background will kick the student out of the test
>> > but will not tell you why, just that something is runnnig in the background.

....

>>
>> > What am I missing?

>>
>>
>> Why not ask the suppliers of the software? ; )
>> E.g. perhaps they have a diagnostic mode
>> or already are adding an entry into the event log
>> explaining why they are aborting the test session?
>> Etc.
>>
>> If the test software only objects to new tasks *starting*
>> after the test is started you could try having some diagnostic
>> program such as ProcMon tracing such activity for you.
>> You would want a *trace*, not just a list, in case whatever
>> the objectionable task was, just started and ended before
>> you got a chance to list it. However, for this case ProcExp
>> with a really long Different Highlight Duration might be enough
>> for you to use that tool instead.
>>
>>
>> Good luck
>>
>> Robert Aldwinckle
>> ---
>>
>>
>>


> The problem is something from Microsoft.



Even if it is just a web app, Microsoft didn't write the
"Standards of Learning tests online".

Ask the authors of that program *how* some new task
starting up could possibly cause their web app to stop.


> We installed a computer with
> nothing but Windows XP installed and it kicked the kid out too.



The web app (if that is the implementation) did.


> What I'm
> looking for is something like Silverlight or Media Player (both have been
> disabled) that comes from Microsoft and has their own updating routines that
> either starts or ends one hour after system turn on.


> I'll a little afraid of ProcMon anything similar, that will probably kick them out too.



Then that is another thing you could ask the authors of the test service.


> There is really no way to test anything without jeapordizing more tests.



That also, seems unlikely. E.g. the test service *must* have a way of testing
its own service without involving real test subjects and their records.


> Mainly I'm looking for ideas.



We're at an impasse then because you need to get more information
and the best way to get it IMO is either to ask the authors of the service
OR use the diagnostic tools we have suggested.


>
> We've been complaining for years that something needs added to the faulting
> conditions that will tell us what is trying to run, but the state folks still
> haven't changed anything. I've heard in the next year or two they will
> change the format so it is web based, that should solve a lot of problems!
>
> Thanks!



BTW since this clearly has nothing to do with Windows Update
you might get other ideas from a newsgroup or forum which
specializes in web app development.


Good luck

Robert
---


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