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Microsoft and that "loving feeling" …

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Have you ever been just ever so happily poking around on your computer when all of a sudden something unexpected happens and you get that “loving feeling” from Microsoft? 

Well, that happened to me last night … and continued until the morning.  I must say, I’m all “loved” out now.

I won’t go into the details as it will bore most people to tears, but it involved 2 software packages I use on every single windows machine all the time, Zone Alarm (Free) and Trendmicro Internet Security Pro.

Something happened with one or both of these, and turned my laptop into a very very hot brick.  The heat came from the constant 100% CPU usage which was keeping the temp of the CPU between 80c and 85c.  Wonderful.

Read on if you want to…..

Anyhow, the required fix was to uninstall both of these packages.  The problem was I couldn’t get enough CPU time while the machine was booted normally and if I did I’d get a BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death).  Just another way of Microsoft to whisper sweet nothings in your ear.  Sorry, did someone out there say “Boot in to safe mode and uninstall them?”  I’m sure I heard someone say that .. Great idea, except one little tiny problem.  Microsoft decided that while in safe mode “Thou shalt not remove software”  .. ever get the feeling that Microsoft just doesn’t really want it’s users to actually do much on their machines?   Well, it’s true.  You can’t uninstall anything in Safe Mode.  Personally I think this is just stupid.  How else would you be able to remove buggy software safely?  Perhaps they should rename Safe Mode to be something like “Booted but useless mode”. 


Anyhow, after loads of Googling I finally found the solution.  It’s a mostly undocumented process to allow you to run the MSIServer (This is the service that lets you uninstall/install applications in Windows).

I’m really just posting this so I can ensure the process I found is documented on yet one more website to make it easier for others to try and find.

The following instructions were taken from Channel 9 Forums – MSDN.

Somebody Smarter than Myself wrote:

To start Windows Installer in Safe Mode:

1. Restart your computer and press F8 before the Boot Menu or splash screen.

2. Open a CMD.EXE window.

3. Type the following commands and press Enter:

REG ADD “HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SafeBoot\Minimal\MSIServer” /VE /T REG_SZ /F /D “Service”
net start msiserver

NOTE: You can use this technique to uninstall an application in Safe Mode.

If you boot Safe Mode with networking turned on then use:

REG ADD “HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SafeBoot\Network\MSIServer” /VE /T REG_SZ /F /D “Service”

Just a note, the lines above that start “REG ADD…” that should all be on one line when you type it in.


Right, well that’s the end of posting.. As I said, basically I’m just posting this for posterity so others can hopefully find it and make use of it.