Month: October 2008

I won a prize in the SMB Nation survey!

A while ago I filled out a survey as a Certified Small Business Specialist and my thoughts on Vista. There were 75 prizes up for grabs so the odds were pretty good for winning. I had completely forgotten about it until a package arrived in the post this morning. I won a rechargable torch (flashlight for the US readers). Alas I didn’t win a Microsoft jacket but a torch is always handy – I have a small keychain LED light that I use way more than I thought, so this one will also be helpful to have in the office toolkit – beats having to work in the dark when the normal torch has run out of batteries. It’s pretty powerful and I now have green spots in front of my eyes as I looked at the LED’s to see how many were on.

Windows 958644 direct download locations.

I have spent all day patching servers, workstations and trying to find a direct download for the 958644 patch that got released last night. I was amazed when Microsoft even called us to join in a webconference for Microsoft partners about this patch – that is something new.
I was not so pleased when I called PSS to ask for a direct download to the patch as kb958644 does not have direct links, windows update services was timing out and the catalog website is badly broken. PSS informed me that as it was not a hotfix they could not provide me with the file and there was an 8-12 hour delay on callback from the server team. So instead I’ve been configuring wsus for servers (that were not already configured), approving patches and downloading by visiting windows updates – a VERY time consuming.
Anyway, without wasting more time – here are the download locations – I’d grab them before the server falls over too.

Thanks to Larry and Derek for the help in finding these.

Dell’s omclean to remove Open Manage remnants

If you ever get a problem with Dell Open Manage failing to install because previous components are already installed AND you can’t remove the old components as the setup program will not initialize, take a look in the support\omclean directory and double click omclean. Click ok if it prompts you with the same errors that you got when you tried to uninstall from add/remove programs. You will be prompted to reboot at the end of the process. I’m not sure if clicking the ok button forces a reboot, but you can click the close button and the machine won’t reboot. At that point in time the offending software is no longer listed in add/remove programs.  Arrange a reboot when convenient and install the new version of Open Manage, – 5.5 came out earlier this month. (omclean is also bundled in this download)

Outlook address not updated from AD when not in cached mode

There are tons of reports on regenerating the offline address book and forcing outlook to download a new version once a change has been made, but that doesn’t really apply when outlook is not being used in cached mode.

I had renamed a couple of distribution lists but they were showing up as the old name in outlook for all my users. Turns out that I had renamed them on a server without the exchange add-ins which made it harder to troubleshoot as it all looked good on there! However, because of this I had not changed the Exchange General tab which includes the Display Name – sure enough this was showing the old name.  I changed this and the users address book came up properly.  Next time I’ll do ALL renames on my exchange server 😉

Second Shot enhancements

The Second Shot promotion is still running on Microsoft’s website, but now has an extra reward if you pass the exam on the first attempt. If you take a test before the end of the year and pass on the first attempt, you will now get a 25% discount on your next exam (if you take it by June 30th). Looks like it’s time to get the study books out again and push the guys at work to study too. So far for me the second shot promotion has just taken the pressure off of taking exams as I’ve passed each one, so this will be a nice reward. Thanks to Born to Learn for the heads up.

Linksys WRT54G upgrade and WPA2

I upgraded my wrt54g to the latest dd-wrt firmware over the weekend from v23 to v24sp1. The annoying thing is that they highly recommend the unit is set to factory defaults which means re-entering the config in by hand after the upgrade. This is not a quick and easy task, especially whn you have to get the config off the there doesn’t seem to be a “print config” page. However, by using the screengrab firefox extension it didn’t take long to open up each dialog page, right click and choose screengrab, save, complete page.  Saving all the screenshots into a unique folder means I have a nice copy of the config that I was then able to refer to when rebuilding the unit.

The new firmware also supports wpa2 so I enabled that on the router and then found that my xpsp2 box couldn’t see the router. I was pretty sure I had all the updates for xp on the laptop but I guess not.  A quick download of the hotfix 893357, one reboot later and I was connected with wpa2.  I’m sure we’re going to see more of this sort of thing on client laptops so this will also be a good placeholder for work.

I haven’t got the openvpn configuration sorted out, I think I have to set this up from scratch as I forgot to save one of the keys – but openvpn seems to be more integrated in this version – at least there are dialog boxes for openvpn – there didn’t use to be.

Removing pesky paragraph marks

I’m sure you’ve all had the annoying experience when you are typing in a Word document or an outlook email and all of a sudden the screen is filled with backwards P’s – the paragraph marks. I’ve never been able to work out what triggers this to occur until today when I decided to find out after yet another helpdesk ticket came in asking how to turn this function off. (It is especially tricky in outlook as the button does not appear in the standard toolbars within outlook.)
I found that pressing ctrl, shift and 8 (or more correctly ctrl *) will toggle the paragraph mark status. I suspect that the keyboards are registering the ctrl key being held down at the same time as the shift 8 key is being pressed to get a * displayed in the text.
Note that you can find out what other shortcut keys take affect by right clicking an empty part of the toolbar, clicking customize, selecting the Options tab and then enabling “Show shortcut keys in Screen Tips” and then clicking ok to close the dialog boxes. Turning this on helped me determine the buttons to press.