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(Last modified: Monday, September 4, 2017 2:38 pm)

Windows Vista

How do tell if you are running 32 or 64-bit Windows
Microsoft Security Essentials stops working
Windows Sync Center Always "Ready for First Sync"


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How do tell if you are running 32 or 64-bit Windows

Solution:
Control Panel / System and Maintenance / System
Look for System type: 32-bit Operating System

The environment variable PROCESSOR_ARCHITECTURE=x86 indicates 32-bit, while PROCESSOR_ARCHITECTURE=x64 or AMD64 indicates 64-bit.


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Microsoft Security Essentials stops working

Symptoms:
Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) stops working. The MSE icon in the system tray is red. When you open MSE, Update and Scan buttons are disabled and a message explains that support has ended for Windows Vista.

Solution:
It appears that a recent update of MSE installed a dummy version of MSE that refuses to run.
If you have saved a previous installation download (mseinstall.exe), you can uninstall MSE and install the old version.
If you do not have a saved version, you could google to find an old version for download on the internet. If you can't find one, you could open "Uninstall or change a program", click "View installed updates" and look through the list for Names that contain "security essentials". Uninstall the latest update of MSE.
If the MSE you install does not automatically update the virus definitions, try manually clicking the Update button. If that doesn't work, you will need to manually update. This link describes the process.
This link downloads definitions for 32-bit Windows.
This link downloads definitions for 64-bit Windows.
These links download a program named mpam-fe.exe. This program runs invisibly to update the virus definitions and runs several minutes or more. You can check the Windows Task Manager Processes tab and watch for mpam-fe.exe to disappear from the list. Another way is to start it from a command line like this:
START /W mpam-fe.exe
When the prompt returns, the program has finished. Check MSE to verify the definitions are neweer than before. If not, open an elevated command prompt by right-clicking the command prompt shortcut and clicking on "Run as Administrator". Repeat the run of mpam-fe.exe.
Once you have determined the definitions update works, you can automate this process by using a command line internet download utility (like geturl.exe to download and run the update from the Windows Task Scheduler. It is also a good idea to verify what you download is a valid program before running it automatically with a utility like EXEInfo.exe.
If you do this, go to the MSE Settings tab and uncheck "Check for latest virus and spyware definitions...".
Here is a batch file that may be run from the Windows Scheduler to automate the update process:

IF EXIST mpam-fe.exe DEL mpam-fe.exe
IF EXIST mpam-fe.exe GOTO DELFail
geturl.exe "http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=87342" mpam-fe.exe
IF ERRORLEVEL 1 GOTO DLFail
EXEInfo.exe mpam-fe.exe
SET ERR=%ERRORLEVEL%
IF NOT "%ERR%"=="6" GOTO EXEBad
START mpam-fe.exe
GOTO END

:DELFail
REM (the Delete failed)
GOTO END

:DLFail
REM (the download failed)
GOTO END

:EXEBad
REM (the EXE is bad)
GOTO END

:END
Check "Run with highest privileges" for this task in the Task Scheduler.
You must change "Windows Update" settings to NOT automatically install updates or the disabled version of MSE will be reinstalled right away. Suggest you select:
Check for updates but let me choose whether to download...
Obviously, do not install any MSE updates.
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Windows Sync Center Always "Ready for First Sync"

Symptoms:
Sync Center icon appears in the system tray. When opened, it displays a pending sync that is always showing "Ready for First Sync".
This was probably initiated by accidentally clicking "Always Available Offline" on some network file or folder.

Solution:
Control Panel / Network and Internet / Offline Files
(or, click Start button and type "offline files")
Click Disable Offline Files button and reboot.