Thursday, April 16, 2015

Getting around failed printer re-directs with Windows 8.1 remote desktop

You may have experienced this:

You connect to a Windows Terminal Server, or remote Windows desktop using MSTSC.EXE from your Windows 8.1 system, and your local client printer(s) do not show up on the remote host as expected.

First, on the local computer, make sure that you have selected to share your printers during the session by editing the settings for the current MSTSC session.

On the remote host, while connected, go to the add-printer wizard, and choose to install a new local printer.  When asked to chooses a port, if you scroll down the list of available ports you will see terminal server (TS) ports.  The ACTIVE ones only will be assigned numbers with the prefix PRN.  These will appear like this:  PRN2, PRN3, PRN4, PRNx, PRNy, etc etc.

Choose one of the PRN ports that is not assigned to a device.  Then continue the install, selecting or downloading the correct printer driver.  When finished choose to print a test page.  If it prints, then you picked the right PRN port.

If it didn't print, open the printer properties (right-click --> printer properties).  On the advanced tab, choose a different PRN port, and try the test page again from the general tab.  Repeat this until the test page prints.

No, there's no other way to know the correct PRN port, but this will get you there eventually.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Generic Trojan Horse Removal

Many of today's trojan horse variants are using the same method to hide from your antivirus software.  They hide in the recycling bin's folder structure.  This method will work for much of the modern trojan horse malware.  I have written this for a user with basic Windows experience, but I recommend getting help if you don't consider yourself to be an advanced user.  The common symptoms of this type of malware are, a slow system, browser re-directs, popups, and a resistance to anti-virus software.  You may also get periodic crashes, and even the dreaded blue-screen-of-death.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Interesting browser crash in XP, and a solution.

I was dealing with an XP SP2 system where Internet Explorer 8 was throwing one of three errors depending on how I configured it.  The action in question was a link to an application that loaded from a webpage.  In this case, it was a scanning tool to control an attached image scanner.  depending on the settings in Window's data execution protection panel, the user would get a generic the memory could not be read message, or this page attempted to access memory in an unusual way, or ie would just close without any error at all.

The setting that fixed it was in the advanced portion of settings.  Un-checking the use SSL 3.0 checkbox did the trick.  I cannot claim this solution was mine, but I credit a fellow coworker who remembered that this was a requirement of a similar web-page-loaded app he had dealt with earlier.  Although I haven't tried it, I would maybe put a check in the SSL 2.0 box instead of the 3.0 box and see if it still works.

Any explanations from my readers?  Respond in the comments.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Getting Your Computer Out Of Trouble

...and keeping it that way.  This is a presentation I did for the Long Island Mobile Amateur Radio Club (LIMARC) last night.  Here are links to many of the utilities I spoke about and a link to download the presentation and handouts.


  • My email address: neil(at)neilgoldstein(dot)com
  • Landing page for all of my blogs:






  • Paul’s rule of software licensing: NEVER RELY ON SOFTWARE YOU DO NOT OWN!
  • Irwin’s rule of discounting: BEWARE OF DISCOUNT PARACHUTES!
  • Neil’s fat-finger rule: Computers do not make mistakes. THEY AMPLIFY THEM!
  • Jill's helpdesk rule: BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP!

The Verge

My former Aol / Engadget colleagues from ThisIsMyNext  have finally launched their new technology site,  Check it out!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

This is my next..

The former editors at Engadget who have left over the last couple of months have a temporary home to publish their reviews and editorials until they get their all new site up this fall. For now you can read posts from Joshua Topolsky, Nilay Patel, Paul Miller, Joanna Stern, Ross Miller, and Chris Ziegler at This is my next .com

Good luck everyone! Can't wait to see the new site

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Quite a number of years ago, I was sifting through the links at a favorite website,, and came across QNX. It was described as a system-on-a-floppy. Now, an OS on a floppy was possible in the PC world. DOS could boot from a single floppy, and contain a few useable tools, and there were also some single-floppy Linux distros out there. QNX was different. It presented the user with a full GUI interface, with network support, a browser, editor, file manager, 3d graphics demo, terminal, and even a game. Pretty impressive at the time when Windows was growing to such huge proportions. You still might be able to find it today, but the drivers are a bit out of date. There are a couple of other projects today that are similar if you are interested, my favorite is MENUET OS, which is also a full GUI OS on a floppy, written entirely in machine code. QNX makes a full-blown version of their floppy OS for commercial use called Neutrino RTOS, mostly for embedded systems. It was fast, and stable. Perfect for kiosks and other public-facing applications that require long-term stability. A real-time OS (RTOS), is usually for use in embedded systems, robotics, research, and other applications where processing time can have an effect on final results, but makes for a snappy, reliable OS on the desktop too.

The reason I bring this up, is that QNX was purchased by RIM (Blackberry) recently and is this base OS for RIM's new tablet The Playbook. With such an efficient design, and 30 years of history behind it, QNX is a good solid choice for RIM to build on. I look forward to trying out the Playbook when it arrives. I also believe that RIM will build a version of QNX for their handsets too. The Java-based OS they currently use is long in the tooth, and not adapting well to the needs of smartphone users. Time will tell, but I think the rumors of Blackberry's demise have been greatly exaggerated.