After several hours of work today, Powerpoint suddenly gave the error message “PowerPoint was unable to display some of the text, images, or objects on slides in the file, filename because they have become corrupted. Affected slides have been replaced by blank slides in the presentation and it not possible to recover the lost information. To ensure that the file can be opened in previous versions of PowerPoint, use the Save As command (File menu) and save the file with either the same or a new name.”
Now it is all very well giving a really verbose error message, but to totally blank out slides and wipe out missing data is a very peculiar way of fixing the issue. It looks like a hotfix was released in May 2011 but in our case, I saved the file to a usb drive, copied it across to my machine that had office 2010 installed and then opened the file in Powerpoint 2010. I was able to open the file but this time I got another warning about some data being corrupted but the slides that were empty in 2003 were displayed ok. I then resaved the file back to a new filename on the usb drive, opened the new file back in 2003 and we were really relieved to have a working powerpoint file to continue working on.
Not only is the data back, it also means another 4 hours of work does not need to be repeated and instead more time can be spent surfing waves – a great result all around.
Troy Hunt has a nice analysis of some of the passwords that were recently stolen from Sony. As usual, most of the characters are pretty easily cracked, although in this case the hackers didn’t need to as the passwords were stored in plain text. The scary thing is how many of the passwords were the same between the Sony site and the Gawker site that was also broken into earlier. Naturally the key (no pun intended) between the sites is the userid is commonly the email address which then also means there is a fairly good chance of having your gmail account broken into. One of these days I’ll break this information up into a password guide for users to show then how it “really could happen to them” and the risk it generates to the company as well as their personal information. I’m actually surprised at the number of people who use their work email address for things like Facebook and other social applications. After all, work email address’s are not exactly permanent nowadays and definitely not private. It would also be really interesting to take all of our email address’s from our clients and run them against the login id’s from this database to see if anyone was in the database. Alternatively checking previous web site history viewing would give a clue if people were using this site (but would be a very painful and time consuming process). The only problem is the time it would take and the fact that only a subset of the data was made available for download to the general public.
One of the things we now do as part of an SBS2011 or SBS2008 migration is to add a report in the console purely for backup purposes. This gives us the ability to check the backups are running every day and can also be sent to the clients IT technical contact for reassurance. If you log on as the administrator and try to run a report to email, the server fails with “An error has occurred while sending this report. As a result, some of the recipients will not receive this report in email.”
The solution is simple. Log off from the administrator account and use the one that was setup for the migration – this seems to do the trick. The only thing left (for me) is to work out how to modify the report to send me the last 24 hours of backups – not just the last and the next backup job. We backup 3 times a day but only find out the status of the last job with the existing reports.