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Category: Windows XP

Resolving COM port conflicts in Mobile broadband cards

I was called out to help with a problem that had stumped a few of our more experienced techs. The problem was that a user was unable to use her Mobile Broadband USB device.
The specific device we use is supplied by one of the major norwegian telecoms, Telenor. It is a Globetrotter HSDPA USB dongle. The nifty thing about it is that it is totally plug and play. It installs itself, with drivers and connection software, when plugged in.
The problem occurs when the install goes wrong. By default, the dongle installs itself set to use the first two consecutive COM ports available for uplink and downlink respectively. The solution to my clients problem was simply to change what ports the dongle used, followed by a restart.
Here’s how you implement the solution:

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WLAN problems after Windows Update

I’ve been seeing a problem lately with a few computers. After installing the latest security updates, their WLAN card stops working. It is unable to acquire a dynamic IP address from any router, and setting a static IP address does not work either.
The cause
The cause of the problem is a Microsoft recommended hotfix, (815485). The hotfix is part of an optional, though recommended update to Windows XP.
The solution
Resolving this problem can be done in one out of two ways, either by uninstalling the specific hotfix, or by rolling back to a previous system restore point.
Uninstalling the hotfix:


Disabling the "New programs installed" alert

I have a habit of trying out a lot of different software, most of which need to be installed. Windows XP has a practical function, which is also at times very, very annoying. It highlights recently installed software. Let me show you what it’s all about. When I open the start-menu, I have this thing glaring out at me:
New programs installed
When I actually open the All Programs menu, an entry is highlighted, like so:
Folder and program highlighted
Granted, this can be a preactical function, but when it malfunctions, like it does for me, as in highlights programs which have been installed, and run, ages ago.
Turns out, this is pretty simple to remedy. Here’s how:

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Windows XP Service Pack 3 – a quick overview

Windows XP is Microsoft’s longest living operating system to date. Released in October 2001, it succeeded the total failure that was Windows Millennium Edition, and has, in turn, been succeeded by Windows Vista. Service Pack 3 is, as implied by the name, the third major upgrade package – Service Pack – released for Windows XP. Unlike SP2, SP3 contains no changes that are directly experienced by the end-user. SP3 was released for download on May 6th, 2008.
SP3 contains all updates released since SP2, and a few new ones. The big thing about SP3 is added back-end functionality, functionality that takes place “behind the scenes” as it were. Some of the functionality in SP3 is previously released, but as optional updates, not as part of a major upgrade. The rest is new, released first with SP3. No functionality stemming from Windows Vista is included, and which includes Internet Explorer 7, although updates to both Internet Explorer 6 and Internet Explorer 7 are included.
Previously released functionality:

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