In event logs, you can sometimes get errors that mention DCOM as a source. Usually, the event ID is 10000 or 10005 and the error message reads something like: The server <a class’s ID goes here> didn’t register with DCOM within the required timeout. As a result, you might experience problems starting or using an application or service on that computer. Usually, the problem is created by a corruption in DCOM’s class database.

A tool that might solve the problem is dcomcnfg.exe, a built-in Windows utility that lets you configure DCOM settings in the registry. One way you can access it is to select Run on the Start menu, type dcomcnfg, and click OK. You can also access it through Administrative Tools, Component Services.

In the Component Services window that appears, navigate to Component Services, Computers, My Computer, DCOM Config. Highlighting the DCOM Config folder fetches a list of all the DCOM objects on your machine. (You might experience a short delay during this time.) Besides fetching the objects, dcomcnfg.exe detects any missing registration. If the utility detects any, it will ask you whether you want to register that component with DCOM. Click Yes. You might be asked this question several times if the utility detects more than one unregistered component. Afterward, you’ll be able to see all the registered DCOM components.

You can then close dcomcnfg .exe and check to see whether the problem disappeared. Curiously, sometimes the problem gets fixed, but if you re-open dcom-cnfg.exe, you’re prompted again for registration.

Note that the dcom-cnfg.exe utility doesn’t solve all DCOM problems, but you have a good chance of solving a problem by spending no more than a few seconds to perform the procedure just described. Also note that after any change in DCOM, Microsoft recommends that you reboot your computer.

—Apostolos Fotakelis, systems administrator, NATO, and freelance IT consultant