Outlook 2007 and Windows Search

Posted by on Sep 29, 2009 in General | 1 comment

I had a client whose Outlook 2007 would hang on the splash screen every time he started it up.  However, when started in safe mode, it would open up just fine.

After disabling all obvious add-ins, the problem still occurred.

So, some poking around on Da Net lead to some postings that pointed at the Windows Search service.  So, I tried disabling that service, and Outlook opened just fine.

A quick trip into the Control Panel to reset the index, a restart of the service (and the machine), and all was good in the hood!

An Admission

Posted by on Aug 17, 2009 in General | 0 comments

You know, for someone who is active in technology, I am not very good with tools.  I can handle stuff I know (like replacing a hard drive in a machine), but cannot change the oil in my car.

So, when my daughter managed to break-off the pull cord for the ceiling fan so that it was no longer outside of the fan, my first inclination was to just replace the whole unit (which would also involve calling an electrician, as 220 is no friend of mine).  However, I soon realized that made no sense, and took the thing apart.

As it turns out, the fix was just a $3.99 device, and it took 15 minutes to fix it.

Well, it took two hours, as I had to drive to the store, get the part, bring it home, break it, drive back to the store, get the second part, and then install that.

But, it was well worth it!

Timeslips 2008 and Vista

Posted by on Jul 31, 2009 in Tech Fixes | 1 comment

Here was an interesting problem.

Timeslips 2008 running on a Vista machine.  The preferences file (prefs.prf) file could not be found in the default directory of:

C:Program FilesTimeslips

However, when looking at the preferences file within Timeslips, it would appear to be there.  Here is the answer.  For some reason, Vista was putting the prefs.prf file in the following directory:

c:users<user name>appdatalocalvirtualstoreProgram FilesTimeslips

So, the fix for me was to do the following steps:

  1. Set the security of the Timeslips folder under the Program Files directory so the logged-in user has full rights.
  2. Close Timeslips
  3. Delete (or better yet, rename) the preferences file found in the Users…. directory
  4. Restart Timeslips, which will recreate the preferences file in the default directory

That is it!

Lessons from a Recent SBS 2003 to SBS 2008 Migration

Posted by on Jul 27, 2009 in General | 0 comments

Here are some lessons learned from a recent SBS 2003 to SBS 2008 Migrations.

  1. Migrating a network you have barely touched is much more difficult than a network you built from the ground up.
  2. Always follow the instructions in this document.
  3. If this is the second migration of the network…especially if the previous network was running Exchange 5.5, you need to stop and uninstall (in that order) the Microsoft Exchange Active Directory Connector.
  4. If installing on a Dell server, be sure to download all of the appropriate drivers for the server (especially the Chipset and Network drivers) before starting, in case you need to ignore the System Management Tool.
  5. Once again, printer drivers are a pain when dealing with a 32-bit client and a 64-bit server.  If worse comes to worse, install the drivers on the client machines.
  6. If others have moved items around in Active Directory (AD) so that they are not in the expected positions for the Migration tool, there will be a fair amount of clean up in terms of security and distribution groups.  If you can, clean up AD to the default settings before the migration.
  7. If you have a client who likes to use Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), they will hate the SBS Console settings.  Download the WSUS installer and install the Admin Console (only) on their machine.
  8. If the client has a spam appliance or filter not on the server, turn off content filtering in Exchange.
  9. Having to have the original SBS 2003 disks to uninstall Exchange is a pain in the ass.  Always keep your disks!

That is it for now.  Best of luck!

An Issue with Xerox….

Posted by on Jul 10, 2009 in Tech Fixes | 0 comments

Here is a new one.

A brand-new Xerox Phaser MFP (Multi-Function Printer) with an ADF (Automatic Document Feeder).

Printer work fine.  Scans work fine on the glass.  Copies work find on the glass.

However, the ADF won’t feed; it claims that there is paper on the glass.

The issue?  Too much light in the room.  Yes; this Phaser apparently writes in blood.  Or steals your soul.  Or something.

Actually, the light reader is just too sensitive.  Sigh…

Dell v. Lenovo

Posted by on Jul 6, 2009 in General | 0 comments

For years, I have been a Dell supporter.  I tend to recommend Dell to my clients for a couple of reasons:

  1. Their support, for the most part, is pretty good.
  2. Their machines, for the most part, don’t come preloaded with AOL crap (looking at you, Sony!)
  3. Finding drivers for their machines is fairly easy, and has gotten easier with newer models.

However, for a long time, Lenovo/Thinkpad had the market beat when it came to updating the drivers.  You could start up the ThinkVantage System Update (TSU) utility, it would scan your machine, and suggest updates that you could use.

Then, for some odd reason, Lenovo decided to stop supporting the TSU utility, and instead insisted on going through their website.  Which would be fine, except for the fact that the downloaded software would not auto-launch the setup/update utility (like Dell would), and as a result it would take twice as long to install.

Well, the TSU is back, and I am happy again.  Now, if only they made their machines less…boxy.

A New One Every Day….

Posted by on Jun 26, 2009 in General | 0 comments

Here is a new one.

I have a client who just purchased a software package.  For reasons that shall be soon made clear, I cannot mention any names.

The client wants to load some data from another source into the new software.  In looking through the help file and typical menu locations, I couldn’t find a logical way to do this.  So, I called Tech Support.  Their solution?

Either pay them to do the work….or sign a NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) so they can send me a white paper.


How to Fix Printer Spooler Crashes

Posted by on May 19, 2009 in Tech Fixes | 1 comment

I recently installed a Canon printer driver on several laptops.  On two of them, the driver caused the printer spooler service to crash all of the time.  After searching on the web for an hour, I found the fix here.  Thanks to DevinCollier.com for pointing me in the correct direction.  Note:  As with all processes that involve editing the registry, this may cause other problems.  So, always backup before starting if you can.  On the off-chance the blog post gets pulled down:

  1. Start in safe mode
  2. Delete all files and folders in the following locations: C:WindowsSystem32SpoolPrinters and C:WindowsSystem32SpoolDriversw32×86
  3. Open RegEdit and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlPrintEnvironmentsWindows NT x86. Keep the Drivers and Print Processors subkeys and delete the rest of them.
  4. Locate the following key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlPrintMonitors. Keep the following keys: BJ Language Monitor, Local Port, PJL Language Monitor, Standard TCP/IP Port, USB Monitor. Also, if you have the Adobe PDF key, keep it as well. Delete the rest.
  5. Try restarting the Print Spooler service.
  6. Restart the machine.
  7. Reinstall the previously functioning printers, but find a different install file for the printer install that flummoxed your machine previously.

That is what worked for me.  Good luck!

Network Scanners and Exchange 2007

Posted by on May 14, 2009 in General | 4 comments

There are some nice additions to Exchange 2007, and one of the items is the ability to have it easily accept emails from in-network machines (like MFPs, Copier/Scanners) so you can scan to email without having to set up a separate user.  The problem is that it will only accept emails that are addressed to accounts within the same domain (eg, user@company.com).  However, with a little work, you can set up another SMTP Receive Connector to allow emails sent to out of domain addresses (eg, user@homeaddress.com).

Thanks to the fine folks at Petri for pointing me in the right direction.

  • Open the Exchange Management Console and go to Server Configuration/Hub Transport
  • Click “New Receive Connector”
  • Give the new connector a meaningful name (“scanner”), select Custom as the type, and a port other than 25 or 587 (which are used by the default connectors).  Obviously if you have changed the default ports then you need to pick something other than those.
  • Right-click the new connector, go to Properties make the following settings:  Permission Groups Tab; Anonymous Users only.  Network Tab; remove the default IP address range and add the IP address(es) of the appropriate device(s).  Authentication Tab; Transport Layer Security (TLS) only.
  • Open the Exchange Management Shell and run the following command:  Get-ReceiveConnector scanner | Add-ADPermission -User “NT AUTHORITYANONYMOUS LOGON” -ExtendedRights “ms-Exch-SMTP-Accept-Any-Recipient”. Note that the “scanner” name is what was used in this example, and you should change the command to match waht you named the new receive connector.
  • Restart the MS Exchange Transport service.
  • Use your favorite MX Record checker (like MXRecordToolbox) to ensure you haven’t created an open relay.
  • Configure the Scanner/Copier/MFP to use the SMTP connector, including the port number you set up.

Now, go forth and scan some more!

Windows XP Log on, Logging Off Problem (Karate Kid Edition)

Posted by on May 5, 2009 in Tech Fixes | 4 comments

Here is a new one.

A client had a computer where when she went to log in, the desktop picture would flash, and then it would immediately go to “logging off…” back to the startup screen.  This would happen in safe mode as well as standard mode.

As one would suspect, her machine was virus infected.  Here were the steps I took to fix it.

  1. Boot into Recovery Console from a Windows XP disk.  Having one that was of the same Service Pack is needed.
  2. Check under C:WindowsSystem32 to confirm that userinit.exe is missing.
  3. Run this command:  copy d:i386userinit.ex_ c:windowssystem32userinit.exe, assuming that D is the CD drive, and C is the boot drive.  Your mileage may vary.
  4. Restart
  5. Assuming all is well, run Malware Bytes with the latest updates, as well as ComboFixWARNING:  Use of ComboFix has the potential to damage your OS install, but I have yet to have it cause an issue.  Also, restart inbetween each scan job.
  6. Update the machine with the latest MS patches and AV software.

Note; this particular virus ruined Microsoft AutoUpdates, and this fine Wiki helped me find the answer, although the “C:Winnt…” didn’t apply, as that path wasn’t available.

Good luck!