Windows Updates gone awry

Tonight, I scheduled Windows Updates on a customer’s server, and decided to sit through the process myself.

After the 1.9GB of downloads to support 31 updates had downloaded and installed, I pressed the “Restart” button on the Windows Update dialogue box, and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Normally, this server is responsive to Remote Desktop connections after seven minutes. At thirteen, I was concerned. At twenty minutes, I decided to connect to another server on the same network to investigate.

Using Server Manager’s “Connect to Computer” feature, I was able to look at the Services running on the target server. It was up and running, but not responding to Remote Desktop. I restarted the RDC-related services, but still had no joy.

Then I saw that the TrustedInstaller service had failed. It was stuck in “Stopping” mode, which meant I’d have to manually terminate the service to continue the shutdown.

But now I’d have to download PsTools from SysInternals, until I realised that if the server was still running, I could simply connect to the hidden C$ share to grab the files from my user directory.

A few seconds later, I was staring at a command prompt.

First I tried to run it all from one command. I would use psexec to call pskill remotely, to terminate the Windows Installer service.

Eventually I got bored with fighting the commands, and referred to the help on the PsExec page. In order (with appropriate username and password entered), I did the following:

psexec \\remoteserver cmd
pskill TrustedInstaller

As soon as I pressed Enter, the Server Manager window in the background informed me that the server was unresponsive due to a shutdown, and sure enough, the server rebooted and responded to Remote Desktop again shortly thereafter.

Thank you, Mark Russinovich, for PsExec and PsKill.

Move Over, Mrs Markham

I play Philip Markham. I hope you’ll come and see it. The show will be running at the Pumphouse Theatre in Calgary.

Tickets available from Morpheus Theatre direct. Three weeks to go!


3 – 11 October 2014
By Ray Cooney and John Chapman
Directed by Jay Newman

When Philip Markham, loving husband and children’s book publisher, agrees to allow his business partner to borrow his flat to romance his latest girlfriend – well, that’s when everything goes topsy turvy as only a classic bedroom farce can and Morpheus Theatre’s 20th season has officially begun.

All Philip really wants to do is take his wife out for the evening and the conundrums ensue as a parade of lovers begins to arrive to what they believe is an empty apartment, perfectly suited for their planned revelries.

Cancelled plans, couples not expecting anyone else to be home and the unexpected arrival of a popular children’s book author promise to delight, and don’t worry, once you have your ticket booked that seat is yours, no one else will ask to borrow it.


We recently returned from our anniversary trip, which this year was to the Hawaiian islands.

Starting on Oahu, we stayed in Honolulu and saw Pearl Harbour, and paid our respects there.

Then off we went to the Big Island, and stayed in Kona. We took a two-hour helicopter tour over the island, and saw the still very active volcano, plus some magnificent sights including the valleys and waterfalls on the other side. Breathtaking, and it was all on video.

On we went to Maui, which is our favourite of the three islands, but that’s not to say we didn’t enjoy the other two.

This was again through Trafalgar, so a lot of the travellers in our group were older than us. Suits me, because it was a slower pace.

A special shout-out to Reggie Laroche, our tour director. Like Stephanie Glas-Thompson in the UK and Ireland, Reggie took good care of us, was available at all hours, and extremely friendly and helpful. Trafalgar knows how to pick them.