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I've had this issue on a couple of different configurations and wonder if there's a general solution.

I've got a Windows server with the server side of a client/server application running on it.

Every once in a while one of the application's processes will die and rather than logging an error and handling the failure, it throws up a popup window on the server's admin console and waits for someone to click on the OK button.

The application's function is degraded while it's waiting, so I'll eventually get complaints from users so I then know to go look and see if there's anything to click.

Obviously the best solution is to find out what's causing the popups and fix that. This is not always possible.

Is there a way to prevent this behavior in a global way? Is there a way to mitigate it?

Seems like an image of the offending windows might help to clarify things here.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffyoungstrom/8428315696/

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Does it run as a service or is it running in an interactive session? –  squillman Jan 29 '13 at 20:00
    
The software runs as a service. –  Jeff Youngstrom Jan 29 '13 at 20:32
    
The current actual error is "The exception unknown exception (0xc00000fd) occurred in the application". In other words "Stack Overflow". How appropriate. –  Jeff Youngstrom Jan 29 '13 at 20:33
    
Im not going to encourage its use, but if you google enough, there is an app that dismisses console dialogs. –  Greg Askew Jan 29 '13 at 22:28
    
Thanks for the edit, Michael! –  Jeff Youngstrom Jan 29 '13 at 22:46
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2 Answers

The software is flawed. Contact the vendor and tell them that server software has no place throwing GUI errors. Software designed to run as a server service must have NO GUI interaction in the server process and should run without need a logged in session using the built-in Windows service API.

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I completely agree with you, but we're pretty well locked in to the product. Been using it for decades. It's not like this is some fly-by-night operation, my current issue is with a tool by IBM. –  Jeff Youngstrom Jan 29 '13 at 20:30
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It is true that server-class software is not supposed to do stuff like pop up GUI dialog boxes, and that you should be using software that was meant for servers, and you should chide the vendor and make them feel bad...

...but you might want to be able to do something about it right now.

You need some automatable way to detect that the application or service is in this state. Once you've found that, you can use something like WASP for Powershell to automate mouse clicks, or even just Get-Process "GhettoProgram" | Stop-Process and then restart it.

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The trouble is that the exe that is failing is generally running multiple instances (60+ at the moment) and I don't know how to identify which is the issue. The truly stupid thing is that it restarts itself once I click the popup. I'll look at WASP. Thanks. –  Jeff Youngstrom Jan 29 '13 at 20:40
    
Ugh. You're dealing with some crapware alright. Is this SCADA software by any chance? Anyway, try doing a loop of all instances of the process, and examine each object in PS with Get-Member and see if there's anything different about the instance that's hung. A different number of threads or handles? Does the process.MainWindowTitle() change? etc. etc. Good luck man. –  Ryan Ries Jan 29 '13 at 20:59
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We can go deeper if we start invoking Win32 from Powershell, but that's a lot of work I'm not gettin' paid for. ;) –  Ryan Ries Jan 29 '13 at 21:03
    
Thanks for the suggestions. It's looking like the answer to my question is "no" which is helpful as it lets me kluge my own hack guilt free. I'd hate to find out later that all I had to do was set the "DontAllowServicesToGenerateConsolePopups" registry key to 0x47. Maybe the next rev of the software (IBM Rational Synergy) will fix the bug. –  Jeff Youngstrom Jan 29 '13 at 21:21
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