Fixed – “an error has occurred while sending this report” when sending reports in SBS2011

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.

Blat crashes when an email is sent – fixed.

I had an issue with blat yesterday with a new script I was working on. Every time I sent an email, it would crash and I would get “A Win32 command line eMail tool has stopped working.” As this was also running on a Windows2008 server this was also affecting the reliability index on the server – one of the things we check as part of our checkups.
I spent a good while trying to work out what was wrong, typed out the command to send mail and it worked – so I knew the issue was not blat itself. After calling over a colleague to help, demonstrating the (reproducible) problem of pasting the script line and crashing blat I asked what was wrong. The two of us still took a couple of minutes before he realised I had mistyped the server name used to send the mail. Instead of domain.com.s6a1.psmtp.com I had entered domain.com.s6a1.pmstp.com
Sure enough – if the mail server hostname can not be resolved by blat – it will crash. I was also able to reproduce this on my Windows7 machine at home too.

A simple fix but difficult to find after looking at code for a long time – getting someone else to look at your code often does wonders.

Fixed – Group Policy settings show “An error occurred while generating report: An unknown error occurred while the HTML report was being created.”

Whilst doing some troubleshooting work for a client’s group policy settings that were not being applied to a vista machine I launched the Group Policy Management Console (gpmc) and when I went to view the Resultant Set Of Policy (RSOP) of a client machine and when I tried to view the default domain policy I received the message “An error occurred while generating report: An unknown error occurred while the HTML report was being created.” All other group policies appeared fine – it was just the default domain policy – arguably the most important one and not an easy one to restore. My first step was to use a DC that did not have the gpmc installed to use the native group policy tools within the Active Directory Users and Computers snapin. Fortunately this tool worked and I could see the settings…..lots of them.
As I knew the group policy did not seem to be corrupt I then went back into gpmc and attempted a backup of the group policies. All but the default domain policy backed up successfully.
The error message almost looked similar to issues when trying to view web pages on a server with the enhanced ie security enabled but it didn’t really make sense that it was only affecting one group policy.

After a few minutes of digging I found an entry on tek-tips (a site I don’t like to use due to the popups and nag screens) but in this case the answer worked. From Roadki11’s posting on tek-tips.com:-

Cause:
Seems to be something with importing IE security settings.

Solution:
Edit install.ins inside: {GUID of Policy}\user\MICROSOFT\IEAK

[Security Imports]
ImportSecZones=1

Set it back to “0”

Using gpmc I obtained the guid of the policy by right clicking the policy and choosing properties then I connected to c:\WINDOWS\SYSVOL\sysvol\domain\Policies\{guid}\user\Microsoft\ieak
First I made a backup and then edited install.ins, set ImportSecZones to 0 and was then able to edit the policy in gpmc.
Hopefully the background information and the instructions on how to connect to the correct file helps others.
Whilst you are in the gpmc make sure you go down to Group Policy Objects, right click, Backup All, select a location, enter the date and time stamp for the description and back those policies up. Document where the backups are stored so that if you need to restore them they are easily accessible – even on another computer.
I’ve now added the backup to our checkup and system documentation instructions so at a minimum we will have monthly backups of the group policies and a documented location for where this information is kept. In an ideal world, printing off the settings would also be a good way to document the information too.

Fixed – “Manage Network Connections” is missing in network section of control panel of Windows 2008 R2

Occasionally you may see references to Manage Network Connections in the Microsoft Documentation. I came across this item when following a link in the Best Practise Analyzer for the dhcp server that complained that the binding order was incorrect on the server. Step 1 of the solution reads

Click Start, click Network, click Network and Sharing Center, and then click Manage Network Connections.

Unfortunately Manage Network Connections is actually called Change Adapter Settings. If you click this, the rest of the instructions make sense.

I’ve added a comment to the Technet article – hopefully it will get changed. The documentation is also incorrect in the BPA itself.  If anyone knows how to log a service request with microsoft to get the documentation changed then please let me know.

Firefox slow, especially gmail? – remove skype extension.

Ever since I updated the home computer to run the RTM version of Windows7 my gmail and greader experience has been very frustrating in Firefox. GReader just had no idea what data to display in the right hand side of the screen and gmail would just stick in the “please wait”, “loading” or “still working” status after sending an email (but would actually send the email).

Rebooting firefox into safe mode, or running ie8 worked fine so I knew it was not the computer but had to be an extension. Fortunately this was 100% reproducible so I was able to do some diagnostic tests.

I disabled all the likely culprits – flashblock, adblock,greasemonkey, better gmail, web developer, noscript but I still had the same problem. It wasn’t until I disabled the skype extension that the performance of google reader was back to normal and I could now send mail again.  Seeing as though I only really use Skype to call my parents I don’t need the extension so it is now disabled. For some reason the uninstall button is disabled.

I did find a thread on the Google Help forums with the same solution which was nice to know that I wasn’t the only one with the problem and I came up with the same solution.