David Overton's Blog and Discussion Site
This site is my way to share my views and general business and IT information with you about Microsoft, IT solutions for ISVs, technologists and businesses, large and small. I specialise in Windows Intune and SBS 2008.
This blog is purely the personal opinions of David Overton. If you can't find the information you were looking for e-mail me at admin@davidoverton.com.

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  • How to get rid of the installer / configuration dialog when running Office 2007 and Office 2003 on the same system - for Vista and other versions of Windows

    I have been asked this many times following up on the blog entry Installing Office 2003 and Office 2007 on the same system where once people have removed the problem with the End User Licensing Agreement (EULA) appearing every time they start Office they then get the dialogs below every time they switch between Word 2007 and Word 2003. when starting Word 2003 when starting Word 2007 The fix to the problem is very simple as it turns out - simply run the following commands (by pressing the Windows Key+R or typing it into the Start/Run command box. Use the line with Office\11.0 if you have Office 2003 installed and Office\12.0 if you have Office 2007 installed. You can use both if you have both installed : reg add HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Word\Options /v NoReReg /t REG_DWORD /d 1 reg add HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Word\Options /v NoReReg /t REG_DWORD /d 1 That is it. Office 2007 might want to have one more spin round the block with it's configuration dialog box, but that should be it. ttfn David Technorati tags: Office 2003 , Office 2007 Deployment blocker fixed , Word 2003 , Word 2007 , Vista , Install , Same machine
  • How to get the Office Assistant in Office 2003 (clippy) to work in Windows Vista, i.e. remove the "Not enough memory" error messages

    [updated 24th January 2009 with new download location for x64 systems] [updated 31st December 2009 with Windows 7 information] I have been asked this question several times and finally dug into the system to make it work. N.B. while this will work with Windows 7 the "agent" will have a pink background. Given the age of this technology it is unlikely to be fixed. The solution The Office Assistant relies on some "agent" technologies. To fix this we need to install the agent technologies and then copy a DLL across. Since I was playing around it is possible that there is an extra step or two that is not actually needed, but since this is a small process and simple to do I don't think it will do any harm. What is more, I was not about to rebuild a system, load Vista and Office 2003 just to see if I could remove a 10 second step :-) Download the MSAgent technology from http://www.microsoft.com/msagent - select the CORE files, so for me that was this item - Download the Microsoft Agent core components (395 KB exe) Download the MSAgent2.exe file from http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=E11BF712-7862-45BA-826D-44AE3A11836F&displaylang=en Run the download, accepting the UAC prompt (the security prompt) - select the option "This program installed correctly" Open an elevated command prompt - have a look at How to start an administrative (or elevated) command prompt and tell if you got it right (in Vista) if you are unsure how to do this. The window should have the title " Administrator: Command Prompt " if you have it right. type the following commands into the prompt (each line will probably start with "c:\windows\system32>" - don't worry about this (if you are using a x64 (64-bit) version of Windows replace "system32" with "system" in the commands below) copy c:\windows\msagent\agentdpv.dll c:\windows\system32 regsvr32 c:\windows\msagent\agentdpv.dll That is it. If you get error messages check the command prompt has the...
  • Vista now supports 1.9M devices - up 300,000 since the January launch

    I have had a lot of people come to the site for advice on device drivers. The advice is always the same - go ask your hardware manufacturer about support, however this is good news from the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference Responding to low-level but persistent grumbling from users about peripheral devices that won't work with Windows Vista , Microsoft Corp. claimed Wednesday that its new operating system now supports 1.9 million devices –- up from 1.6 million at Vista's launch in January. In a keynote speech at Microsoft's Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) here, Mike Nash , corporate vice president of Windows product management at the software vendor, blamed driver compatibility problems with about 4,000 devices for creating roughly 80% of the user complaints received thus far. "It's a relatively small number of drivers that are driving most of the complaints," Nash said in an interview at WinHEC on Tuesday. Source: WinHEC: Microsoft drives toward better device support for Vista ttfn David Technorati tags: Vista , Drivers
  • Installing Office 2003 and Office 2007 on the same system

    [updated 16:42 9th May 2007 with url for MS Support of this] [updated 9:45 22nd July 2007 with url to fix for install dialog coming up with word] I was recently asked in Office 2003 and Office 2007 can co-exist on the same system. The answer is yes, except for Outlook which as in previous versions get a little precious if this is attempted (it will not let you do this, btw). You can choose to have them both installed to the same drive or one to an external hard drive, it does not matter. The key option is when installing Office 2007 is to customise the options and select to NOT uninstall the previous versions. When you install both copies of Office to be installed on 1 machine that switching between Word 2003 and Word 2007 will result in an install dialog box coming up. See How to get rid of the installer / configuration dialog when running Office 2007 and Office 2003 on the same system - for Vista and other versions of Windows to fix this. For more support information, look at http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx/kb/928091 which details the install order and any key requirements Thanks David
  • Loading Office 2003 into Vista and fixing the problem with the EULA always coming up

    [updated 9:50 22nd July to include link to stop install dialog coming up when installing both Office 2003 and 2007 on the same machine] Having written about application compatibility and repeatedly answered the question as to whether Vista can run Office 2003 (yes it can), I decided to do a set of pictures for every step of the way. In doing this I got to the bottom of a couple of problems - i.e. how to I get the service packs for Office and how do I stop the EULA from constantly appearing. Here is my picturesque walk through. Step 1 - Boot up Vista and insert the Office CD . Insert the CD with Office on it and it should automatically start with a dialog box askign you if you want to run setup. Step 2 - Accept the User Access Control (UAC) dialog . If the dialog does not look just like the one in the 2nd screenshot below then this is a worry! All untampered Office installs should have a "blue bar" at the top of the UAC prompt box Step 3 - Follow the normal Office install Process (Note if it is a corporate version some or all of these screens might be missing). The screen shots below show everything from the setup initialising, entering a product key, entering your personal details, choosing the install type - I personally always do a "complete" install and then the product installing and finishing. Step 4 - Accept the EULA and activate the products. Find word on the menu, run it, accept the End User License Agreement (EULA) and finally activate the product if required to do so. For the update process to work you must exit all open Office applications. Step 5 - Update and patch the product . Skip straight to 5b for the right process or read 5a for more information. Step 5a - Note - this is for information only - this is what happens if you do this (try to use the Office Update in the products or on the web site), however you can go straight to step 5b without any issue. Step 5b - update the product using Microsoft Update (eg go to the start menu and type Updates and select Windows Update from the...
  • Running Office 2003 on Windows Vista and running other applications that work on Windows XP on Vista

    [updated 19th March 14:45 - added App Compat fixes KB article] I seem to be being asked this question a lot, so I thought I would blog the answer. The short answer is yes, you can run Office 2003 on Windows Vista . For that matter, you can run many other applications on Windows Vista too. For those who want details on how to do this, go to this page . Lets start from the top - most Windows applications run unmodified under Windows Vista. Some have been designed to, others have been certified to ensure they do. Details of this list can be found at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/933305 and includes products like Office 2003 (and 2007) and so on including those by Corel and so on. There is also then community maintained lists, such as http://www.iexbeta.com/wiki/index.php/Windows_Vista_Software_Compatibility_List for software that people believes does or does not work. Microsoft have released patches to Vista to increase the number of applications that run without any changes or user interaction. Details of this patch at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/932246 Should you get a program that will not run in Vista then there are a number of features that continue to enhance the ability to run untested / older software on your PC. The simplest of these is the "compatibility tab" where you can go and choose compatibility mode or OS version you wish to run the application as. On the same page will be options to change screen resolution, always run as an administrator, disable visual themes, dpi scaling and desktop composition. You might also find this tab is grayed out - normally due to the fact that the program is not linked to a .exe, but to a MSI install (e.g. the office applications). To get round this you may have to create a new shortcut linking to the actual exe file required. If you don't know how to do this - start the application, open up Windows Task manager (press Ctrl-Shift+Esc) and go to the process, then right click on it and select properties - this should help you. If this fails, which is might...
  • Windows Vista, Office 2007 and the Action Pack - coming very soon

    [updated - see the FAQ at http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/doverton/archive/2007/02/12/windows-vista-windows-xp-office-2003-and-office-2007-action-pack-update-my-faq.aspx for more information on the benefits of the Action Pack and in answer to the questions raised in the comments] I am trying to re-confirm all the details, but this is the latest information I have asked for it to be double checked so as not to upset everyone. Here is the low-down: When will the Action Pack arrive - Before the end of Jan I heard the latest shipment was delayed - It was due to the Office OPK, but should still be there by end of Jan How much is the upgrade to Ultimate Edition - Action Pack subscribers can upgrade to Vista Ultimate for $139 (USD) – per license. Visit www.WindowsAnytimeUpgrade.com/maps to learn more (not active yet) Is the version of Vista an Upgrade or bare metal install (ala recent changes to stop piracy, so not an OEM version) - This is an upgrade, just like the XP discs that ship Can I use this as home - The Action Pack is licensed for use in the Partner Organisation only What is in this shipment? Software • Windows Vista Business • Microsoft® Office Enterprise 2007 • Microsoft Office Project Professional 2007 • Microsoft Office Outlook® 2007 with Business Contact Manager • Microsoft Office Visio® 2007 • Microsoft Office SharePoint® Server 2007 • Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007 • Microsoft Expression® Web • Microsoft Office Accounting Professional 2007 (U.S. only). 2007 Microsoft Office System and Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Partner Sales Tool The launch of the 2007 Microsoft Office system and Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 present a significant opportunity for Microsoft partners. This Reseller Toolkit helps partners articulate product benefits and packaging and licensing offers. To learn more and download this tool, go to: https://partner.microsoft.com/global/resellertoolkit . Office Ready OPK Note: At the time this Action Pack was produced, the 2007 Microsoft Office Ready Master Kit (OPK) was not finalized...
  • Outlook 2007 POP3 performance issues and potential fixes - Roundtrip Solutions Blog

    I think it is credit where credit is due here. The community is slowly resolving the issues we are seeing with Office 2007. I have asked John to log a call with Microsoft so that we can track the issues internally, get bugs issued and get fixes out there. Because any fix we produce has to go through threat modeling and regression testing, we rarely release them with haste unless they are impacting a significant number of users or are a security threat. However, John has documented many of the problems and solutions, so it is worth a look Problem with Outlook 2007 - Email Receive is Broken! 19 February 2007 As people start to use Outlook 2007, there is an alarming pattern starting to emerge regarding performance issues when receiving POP3 email. Even the smallest and most trivial of emails can take ages to download and be available, ranging from 30 seconds to minutes. During this time, Outlook and Windows can become slow to respond or become completely unresponsive, usually returning to normal when the send/receive cycle has completed. Source: Roundtrip Solutions Blog Technorati tags: Office 2007 , Outlook , Pop3
  • What to do when you get the error "This modification is not allowed because the selection is locked" in Word 2007

    I was contacted by Gerald who had this problem and after a bit of research I found the answer. The text explaining how to do this can be found at http://www.word07.com/locking.htm , however to explain a bit more, here are a few pictures and words. The problem arises when you "group" some text in the developer tab, so the answer is to ungroup it. 1st off, ensure the developer tab is showing by going to the file (round pearl menu button in the top left corner) and selecting the button on the bottom of the menu called "Word Options". This will bring you up a screen as below Now ensure the developer toolbar is enabled with a tick as in the picture Go to the document and find the text that you can't modify Ensure the developer toolbar is displayed and click in the document where the text is and then press the Group button in the toolbar and press the Ungroup option as below That is it - you should now be able to modify the text without any problems. If this does not solve your problem, please e-mail me at admin@davidoverton.com with contact details as Microsoft are keen to get further information to investigate the problem and resolve it. thanks David Technorati Tags: Locked selection , Word 2007 , Office 2007 , Developer Ribbon
  • Office 2007 and Vista coming in January Action Pack

    [updated - see the FAQ at http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/doverton/archive/2007/02/12/windows-vista-windows-xp-office-2003-and-office-2007-action-pack-update-my-faq.aspx for more information on the benefits of the Action Pack and in answer to the questions raised in the comments] One of the most asked questions I get is "When will it ship in the action pack". Well, the January Action pack starts shiping in the 2nd week on January, so before General Availability Launch (GA). This is what it will contain: Software Included software in January 2007 MAPS: • Windows Vista Business • Microsoft® Office Enterprise 2007 • Microsoft Office Project Professional 2007 • Microsoft Office Outlook® 2007 with Business Contact Manager • Microsoft Office Visio® 2007 • Microsoft Office SharePoint® Server 2007 • Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007 • Microsoft Expression® Web Because Action pack is for business use, you are not getting Vista Ultimate, but we are working on a special partner rate to upgrade to Ultimate - more news in the action pack. So, have a nice Christmas, not playing with the PC, then power up in the new year with Office and Vista!!
  • Windows Vista, Windows XP, Office 2003, Exchange 2007 and Office 2007 Action Pack Update - my FAQ

    [last updated 8th Mar 2008 Please read http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/doverton/archive/2008/03/08/action-pack-subscribers-get-full-windows-vista-dvds-not-upgrades-and-they-also-get-a-copy-of-ultimate-too-plus-a-stack-of-materials-to-sell-the-product.aspx to read about how full Vista SP1 will be shipped in the Action Pack ] Inside Microsoft we have been toiling very hard to provide solutions that answer the most common feedback. To this end, perhaps slightly before all the legal stuff gets finalised, here is my FAQ on the subject, however the headlines are: You can continue to use the Windows XP and Office 2003 CDs that were supplied in your Action Pack subscription You can Upgrade from Windows Vista Business to Windows Vista Ultimate. This is not a free upgrade, however you get the benefits of this being thought of as a Not for Resale FPP copy AND it does not expire should you stop using Action Pack* (please see legal statements below) Personally I think this is an amazing offer and I am very grateful to the Windows Vista for taking this unusual step Questions: Can I continue to use Windows XP and Office 2003 as previously shipped in the Action Pack, even if my subscription has been renewed? I understand that Windows Vista in the Action Pack is an Upgrade Edition, however I want to do clean installs - how can I do this? I understand that Windows Vista in the Action Pack is the Business Edition, but I want Ultimate , how do I get this? I understand that there are multiple sites available to purchase the Windows Anytime Upgrade from, can I use any of these with the Action Pack DVDs? I need to build a short term demo system , how can I do that without using one of my keys (for any version - from Home Basic thru to Ultimate )? I would like OEM media for Windows Vista? Can I run my business using the Action Pack ? What happens if I need the key again , eg if I have to re-install the OS on the same machine again? How can I create a system that dual boots Windwows XP and Windows Vista ? Can I upgrade from a Vista Home edition...
  • SBS 2003 to SBS 2008 migration thoughts and issues

    I've been part of a lively debate on the Yahoo UK SBS Group about how to migrate from SBS 2003 to SBS 2008 and what the issues are.  The information I have so far is good, but I need much more to take it to the product teams. For sure, the issues so far are: Concerns around the "state" of AD before a migration is started - how do you check it - look at this blog post Concerns around the Exchange migration in terms of time taken and failure scenarios - how to remove the chances of this? Concerns around "on-site" versus "off-site" strategies Concerns around recovery options in the event of failures (restore from backup not being ideal if you want it diagnosed) My problem is that I have no data to take to the Microsoft product teams, which means I can't ask them to fix things so this is a two fold open invitation. If you have had an issue, share it via comments below, but also PLEASE e-mail ( doverton@microsoft.com ) as well so I can get in touch with you and potentially the product teams too.  If you put your mail in the blog then others can see it.  You are also welcome to just e-mail me, but then there will not be discussion in public, which might be a shame. Share other concerns so I can get them documented and addressed, but also use the Microsoft support - you can always send me the SR numbers if you want me to tie them together. That is it - may the knowledge sharing continue!   David Technorati Tags: SBS 2003 , SBS 2008 , migration , Microsoft , Small Business Server , SBSC , Community , Partners
  • Loading Windows SharePoint Services V3 (WSSv3) onto SBS 2003

    WSS V3 has many new refinements, but putting it on SBS 2003 is something that has to be considered due to the impact. From the documentation, this is what it says: This is Version 1 of this document. To download the latest updated version, visit the Microsoft Web site ( http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=77404 ). The update might contain critical information that was not available when this document was published. The Microsoft® Windows® Small Business Server 2003 server software (Windows SBS) deeply integrates key Microsoft business productivity server products, including Microsoft Windows SharePoint® Services 2.0. A new version of the Windows SharePoint technology, Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, is now available, and it provides enhanced features for your Windows SBS network. However, some of the differences between Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and Windows SharePoint Services 2.0 break the integration between Windows SBS and Windows SharePoint Services. For this reason, if you want to install Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 on a Windows SBS network, you must install it side-by-side with Windows SharePoint Services 2.0. This leaves your existing http://companyweb Web site intact, and it also creates a new Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Web site . When you install Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 on your server, do not choose Gradual upgrade or In-place upgrade. If you do, several Windows SBS administration tools will fail, and you might lose data on your Windows SharePoint Services sites. You must choose No, do not upgrade at this time, which results in a side-by-side installation. You must maintain your http://companyweb Web site as a Windows SharePoint Services 2.0 installation. Upgrading the site to Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 is not supported. After you install Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 side-by-side with Windows SharePoint Services 2.0, Windows SBS administrative tools continue to work properly with Windows SharePoint Services 2.0, but do not interact with Windows SharePoint Services 3.0. Windows...
  • Clearing up some things about Vista, Office 2007 and the Action Pack

    [updated - see the FAQ at http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/doverton/archive/2007/02/12/windows-vista-windows-xp-office-2003-and-office-2007-action-pack-update-my-faq.aspx for more information on the benefits of the Action Pack and in answer to the questions raised in the comments] Hi, there has been a lot of traffic about Vista and the Action Pack, so lets cover some of those off: The DVDs for Vista are for upgrading to Vista from exisitng Windows operating system - however this does not mean that you can not do a clean install - it means that an existing OS MUST exist on the hard disk prior to the install and that the install is started from this OS Updated following 1st comment - You can do a clean install, however a previous OS must exist on the machine and the install is started from this OS. The install process will move all the old directories to windows.old and can be Vista or XP. The clean install will still take a short amount of time. It does mean that there is no need to format the hard disk - it will be a pure clean install. This is NOT a change of policy - Microsoft provided OEM disks for testing, not to enable you to not buy the Windows OS - this is the same for Certified Partners and every type of MS Customer and partner - if you previously thought you did not have to buy the OS, then this was a mis-communication from Microsoft in my opinion The changes to checking for an existing OS is not an Action Pack change, but a Windows Vista change You have licenses for 10 OS -whether they are Windows XP (assuming you subscribed to the Action Pack when we shipped Windows XP) or Windows Vista You can run your internal business using the software provided with the Action Pack - you can not use it at home or at a customer, however you can perform testing with it - the details are on the web sites below. You get 1 product key for Office 2007 which can be used to install on the 10 PCs Having said all this, I have sought formal, legal confirmation around the following areas: How long your right to use Windows XP lasts -...
  • How to get Companyweb (Windows SharePoint Services v2) to work with Office 2007

    [updated 9th August 2007 to add read/write document registry change] A few people said this was a showstopper for them in recommneding Office 2007 to their customers so I figured it had to be fixed. I nixed a huge amount of work from the right stuff blog " Office 2007 File Icons for Windows SharePoint Services 2.0 and SharePoint Portal Server 2003 " and the script work from http://blogs.msdn.com/karstenj/archive/2006/01/03/508888.aspx . The problems were: 1) no icons for files 2) file types not recognised by companyweb 3) downloads could not be opened as the file type was said to be a compressed file 4) could not edit from companyweb OK, so here is the process. 1. Download the icons from here and put them into folder C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\60\TEMPLATE\IMAGES\ (read the item on the the right stuff to pick your files) 2. Update the C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\60\TEMPLATE\XML\docicon.xml file with the information below into the ByExtension section <Mapping Key="docx" Value="docx.gif" EditText="Microsoft Office Word" OpenControl="SharePoint.OpenDocuments"/> <Mapping Key="docm" Value="docm.gif" EditText="Microsoft Office Word" OpenControl="SharePoint.OpenDocuments"/> <Mapping Key="dotx" Value="dotx.gif" EditText="Microsoft Office Word" OpenControl="SharePoint.OpenDocuments"/> <Mapping Key="dotm" Value="dotm.gif" EditText="Microsoft Office Word" OpenControl="SharePoint.OpenDocuments"/> <Mapping Key="xlsx" Value="xlsx.gif" EditText="Microsoft Office Excel" OpenControl="SharePoint.OpenDocuments"/> <Mapping Key="xlsm" Value="xlsm.gif" EditText="Microsoft Office Excel" OpenControl="SharePoint.OpenDocuments"/> <Mapping Key="xltx" Value="xltx...
  • Transition Pack for Windows SBS 2003 R2

    Very small and simple documentation on how to move from SBS 2003 R2 to Windows Server Standard 2003 R2, Exchange 2003 SP2 etc. These documents cover Standard and Premium editions. Download details: Transition Pack for Windows SBS 2003 R2 ttfn David
  • Simple SkyDrive Sync for Windows 8 and Windows RT

    It has taken a while to get there, however this project is now complete. I’ve managed to write a tool that keeps my SkyDrive and my Windows RT slate in sync. I’m now going through the process to publish this in the Windows Store for all to use and enjoy. [updated 8th Feb 2013] I've received a lot of feedback about the colours, gradient fills, rounded corners etc. I am working on a minor update that will change the colours and then a major update that completely change the layout, work on a folder by folder basis. [updated 12th Feb 2013] To see what the next version will look like and the feature changes, please look at my change log post . [updated 25th Feb 2013] The next version has finally been submitted to Microsoft. Details can be found here . What does the tool do? The tool scans a chosen set of folders on your hard disk and compares these to a corresponding set on SkyDrive. It then notes any where the file date or size is different, or where they only exist on one system (either as an updated file on your local storage or SkyDrive). It then presents these in a list which you can either choose to Sync up. How long the sync takes depends on how much data you have and the speed of your network, however to boost performance the system kicks of several copies at once to maximise your bandwidth. As scanning SkyDrive is a slow process, a local two sync file will be placed on your local storage to speed up the sync and Simple SkyDrive Sync will use these to improve performance as best as it can. As the whole process will take some time, there is an option in Simple SkyDrive Sync to keep the screen active. This will stop your Windows 8 or Windows RT device from going to sleep or suspending the application. If the application is suspended, it will need to start the process again as the file information will be out of date. Privacy information Since I have no need of data about you, the system only communicated with SkyDrive from Microsoft and therefore I will collect no information from you. Should the...
  • What is the Killer App for Office 2007 - Business Contact Manager (BCM)

    Many people have asked me what the killer app is for Office and I have always replied that it depends on the customers' needs. This is still true, so I am not doing a U-turn on that, but one thing people are always after is some form of CRM solution, but moving people to MS-CRM has an associated expense and complexity. BCM in Office 2003 was a nice package, but suffered on account of mobility, sharing account information and scalability. Office 2007 has addressed these issues and is now an amazing product. To see what it can do I strongly recommend you go and watch the small flash demo at http://office.microsoft.com/search/redir.aspx?AssetID=HA101759211033&Origin=HH101878561033&CTT=5 . When you load it onto your system (yes, I have it loaded on my work system connected to Exchange) you get the following mail that explains what it can do. I have bolded the sections I think are the most important. One of the really interesting things is that many customers say they want some form of contact management system, but are far less interested in the marketing side. When you drill down into this, it is often because they consider it too hard and complex. Once they have seen how easy it is to deliver a campaign professionally with Office 2007, it is often the area that excites them the most and BCM can manage and monitor this for them, ensuring they understand what gives them value and that they follow up with customers as needed. If your customers could do with a bit of this - then Office 2007 is the product for them. Welcome to Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 with Business Contact Manager, which combines the familiar appearance of Outlook with great new and updated features. Feature Overview New Features! Customization - Tailor Business Contact Manager for Outlook to fit your business needs by customizing forms, lists, and reports. Marketing Campaigns - Manage and measure the effectiveness of the marketing content that you create. Promote your brand, quickly see which Marketing Campaigns help you generate more business...
  • How to configure server backup in SBS 2008

    [updated due to Vlad's link] - to see the rest of the articles on SBS 2008 click here SBS 2008, like SBS 2003, comes with a server backup tool. Unlike SBS 2003, this one supports USB drives as a great removable solution,but does not support tapes. Tapes are not really required unless you need good archival solutions as keeping a rotation of tapes in a warehouse for 10 years would be more cost effective than keeping a stack of USB drives. The Console setup process ( Once SBS is set up, how to do the basic configuration through the management console ) sets up SBS 2008 for use. As you work down the list in the console you will come to backup. The process to enable this is all quite simple: The 1st time I ran the tool I did not have a removable drive attached to the system, so it failed to start the process properly I then attached my 500GB external drive and started again. I picked my device and gave it a name: Chose what got backed up (note that everything from the system drive gets backed up!), when and then confirm everything Since the backup drives are formatted, you are given one last chance, then off it goes That completed the process before you move down the list. Finally, all the SBS 2008 entries can be found at http://davidoverton.com/blogs/doverton/archive/tags/SBS+2008/default.aspx ttfn David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , SBS 2008 , SBS , Tips , SBSC , Small Business , Small Business Server 2008 , Community , Partner , Console , Backup and Restore , Backup
  • How to enable cached mode for Outlook when used inside Terminal Server (which means that BCM can work too)

    OK, this is in response to the people who have posted on this subject. Someone was kind enough to give me the exact details, but I shall protect my sources except to say they know the insides of MS tools well. The warning here is that this is unsupported and could completely destroy your users profiles, so only do this is you are comfortable editing the registry The short description: Open up Regedit navigate to [HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows Messaging Subsystem\Profiles\<ProfileName>\13dbb0c8aa05101a9bb000aa002fc45a] Find the key 00036601 (REG_BINARY) - note the number in it now so you can undo the changes if needed Change the value to one of the following enabled value; 84 01 00 00 - note that on my desktop system the enabled value is 84 19 00 00, so play around with this a little enabled with Public Folders/Favorites: 84 05 00 00 disabled value; 04 00 00 00 FYI - you will need to search for "00036601" and adjust ALL of them since each key is for a different user on your system. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Cached Mode in Outlook , Office 2007 , Terminal Services
  • David Overton's first book - Installing and Configuring SBS 2008, including migration from SBS 2003

    [updated 5th May 2009] Hi, If you are interested in ordering a copy, click here and you will be taken through to the Packt Publishing ordering page, with a choice of electronic (e-book in for form of a PDF) or Softback traditional book or both available for immediate shipment . If you are interested in other locations, click here . For a small amount of information on each chapter, see the items below. Introductions Introduction to SBS 2008 Preparing to migrate from SBS 2003 Installing SBS 2008 and connecting to the Internet Migrating systems and settings from SBS 2003 Migrating email from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2007 Migrating the CompanyWeb SharePoint site Migrating users and data from SBS 2003 Configuring your services Securing your server Managing users and their computers Working with SBS Services as a user Introduction to SBS 2008 management The chapter flow is well described by this picture: To order the book click http://davidoverton.com/r.ashx?1M Small Business Server 2008 – Installation, Migration, and Configuration David Overton Set up and run your small business server making it deliver big business impact · Step-by-step guidance through the installation and configuration process with numerous pictures · Successfully install SBS 2008 into your business, either as a new installation or by migrating from SBS 2003 · Configure hosted web sites for public and secure information exchange using Office Live for Small Business and Office Live Workspaces · An illustrative book for people with basic technical skills and no SBS background Cover price £24.99 Packt Special Offer £22.49 save 10% Multi-buy Discount £20.49 save 18% The book has many screen shots in it to keep things clear. I'm also relying on a group of people to help me keep it on track. They are (in alphibetical order): Alex Stanier - IT 4 Business - http://www.stanier.co.uk/ Gavin Barkey - EJC.IT - http://www.ejc.it Ian Watkins - Oxbridge Technologies - http://www.oxbridgetechnology.co.uk/ Leslie...
  • How to use OCR (Optical Character Recognition) in Office 2007 (using OneNote or a small tool)

    As you know I have been away on holiday and I fly away again tomorrow. While I was traveling I asked my dad to send me a recipe for some scones. He was unable to find the OCR tool in Office 2007, but with the help of OneNote 2007 it was very easy. Paste the image you wish to OCR into OneNote and let it do the rest. I found the answer at OneNote 2007: OCR Rocks this researcher's world | Techwillow where there is more information, but in summary: This is how it works: Take any image of text, paste it into OneNote, right-click on it and select Copy Text from Picture . That's it, you can then paste it anywhere as text. What's more OneNote will automatically OCR and index all your images (if you enable this in the settings) so you can search through your clippings. Now, of course you might not have OneNote, but that does not mean you don't get scanning. As the project at http://www.codeproject.com/office/modi.asp points out, you can use their code and the Office 2007 scanning tools to make it work too. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Office 2007 , OCR
  • Small Business Server 2008 (formally known as Cougar) announcement

    Today is the start of the Server 2008 PR ramp up. I can today tell you a bit more about Cougar, as was, or SBS 2008 as it will be, the new "family" that SBS is part of and a bit more on Windows Essential Business Server 2008 (aka Centro). Hopefully there will be a couple of surprises and also confirmation of some of the rumours around there. I've sliced the press release made today into 3 sections. This blog entry is based on the SBS 2008 section of which there is an extract below of some key points. The whole press release can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2008/feb08/02-20EBFamilyPR.mspx . Windows Small Business Server 2008 Multiplies Business Growth Windows Small Business Server 2008,previously known by the code name “Cougar,” is ideal for organizations with up to 50 PCs, helping them protect business data, expand business productivity and present a professional image to customers. The new version adds a range of features and capabilities to the current, award-winning Small Business Server 2003 R2 product, and is also an example of Microsoft’s “software plus services” vision. For small-business owners and employees, Small Business Server 2008 provides increased security and protection with one-year trial subscriptions to Microsoft Forefront Security for Exchange Server Small Business Edition and the new Windows Live OneCare for Server, and with dramatically simplified server and PC backup technologies. Small Business Server 2008 also integrates with Microsoft Office Live Small Business to simplify setup and management of professional Web sites and private online work spaces. Enhancements to Remote Web Workplace, integration of Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, and support for the latest Windows Mobile devices will help employees work remotely and collaborate effectively. For IT managers and technology consultants, Small Business Server 2008 deployment, setup and administration is greatly simplified and improved. A powerful administration console, new monitoring across servers...
  • How to migrate from SBS 2003 to Small Business Server 2008 (SBS 2008)

    I’ve spoken about migration several times now for SBS 2008 . The short answer is that migration from one box to another is vital. If a customer wants to do migration on the same box, then this is either expensive (and a very long process) or something that requires moving the server temporarily to another system, or as I prefer, virtualising it. Of course, SBS 2003 is not necessarily supported in a virtual environment, but since all we want to do is migrate from it, not “run it”, this should help you get over this. The details of the process can be found in the Windows Small Business Server 2008 technical library . One of the MOST IMPORTANT things to understand is to create the answer file. This is covered in the migration help below: Windows Small Business Server 2008 Migration Help ( Download ) Provides step-by-step instructions for migrating from Windows SBS 2003 or 2008 to Windows SBS 2008. Last Updated on June 30, 2008 Windows Small Business Server 2008 Product Help ( Download ) Provides step-by-step instructions for using the Windows SBS 2008 server software. Last Updated on June 30, 2008 Downloadable documentation for Windows Small Business Server 2008 Before you start – what you need to remember SBS 2008 is a 64-bit solution requiring x64 capable hardware There is NO 32-bit to 64-bit “in-place” upgrade solution SBS 2008 Standard is a single server solution, while SBS 2008 Premium includes the license and software for a 2nd Windows Server system (as part of the domain) SBS 2008 Premium edition does NOT have ISA as part of the solution. SBS 2003 Premium customers with Software Assurance will be able to “make good” their ISA licenses for a limited amount of time after SBS 2008 is released. SBS 2008 Premium edition has the option to use SQL 2008 Standard edition on either server. SQL 2008 can be downgraded Migration options at high level Add a new server to existing SBS 2003 domain and either Remove old SBS 2003 server Purchase SBS 2008 Premium edition and make old server 2nd server using the license as part of...
  • Connect Manager for VPNs into SBS 2008 …er, not really, with CMAK information too

    [updated with “roll your own” information and how to make a 32-bit version of the exe file] I love it when people challenge me to solve a question and today’s prize goes to Simon (thank-you for the questions Simon) who asked me where Connection Manager was on SBS 2008? You remember Connection Manager right, to auto configure the VPNs… Well, the instructions in SBS 2008 are a little less simple. Rather than downloading a pre-configured tool you now need to roll your own. The reasoning, which is quite sound, is that you can access almost everything via the Remote Web Workplace, but for some things, you want a VPN and the way to get it can be found here - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc513974.aspx If you want to create a Connection Manager Install for SBS 2008 you need to add the CMAK to the SBS 2008 install. Go to Server Manager and click to add a feature. Install the CMAK by pressing Next. To start the kit, go to the Start Menu, Administrator Tools and then select Connection Manager Administration Kit. Click next until you need to select the target OS. Select to create a new profile and provide the name and filename (8 characters max) Provide the domain or realm name and include the “separator” character – eg “mydomain\” without the quotes. Select no profiles to merge and press Next Embed the VPN Connection name (eg remote.myserver.com as that is what the SSL certificate will say) into the file and then accept the VPN entry Remove the automatically update phonebook options and leave blank Accept the default entries for VPN, Routing tables, IE Proxy, Custom Actions Now accept the default graphics or add your own logo Accept the default information on help files, support information, User EULA screen, additional files Finally accept the answer and build the file: . You can now chose to put the EXE file somewhere your users can access and then they can download it. One problem solved, more to come. IF YOU ARE DEPLOYING TO A 32-BIT WINDOWS SYSTEM, YOU...
  • Microsoft Office Small Business 2007 60 day trial (download)

    Microsoft Office system - Office Small Business 2007 English 60 Day trial (Not to US - [ed - makes a change for it to be excluding US rather than only US]) (download it) Source: Microsoft Office Online Technorati tags: Office 2007 , Office Small Business , Office Live , Trial
  • Office Accounting Professional 2008 ships in the UK ... download the free Express version, buy or try the Professional version for extra features (Multi user, SQL support, sales order, purchase order etc) and also sign up for online services (Paypal, BACS

    Microsoft Office Accounting Professional 2008 It is finally here!! There are 2 major versions - the free version and the paid for version, plus a number of add-on services you might want to buy too. You can get lots of information at http://www.msofficeaccounting.co.uk/default.aspx and if you are an accountant then the Microsoft Professional Accounting Network is for you ( http://accounting.microsoft.com/mpanuk.aspx ). You can download the Express Version here: You can Download Free Trial here It says about itself: Microsoft® Office Accounting Professional is an easy to use, comprehensive accounting package that works with other Office applications you already know. Easy to learn and use Works just like Word, Excel and Outlook Get started in minutes with wizards that import your data Save time managing everyday tasks Share and reuse data across Word, Excel and Outlook Manage customers, suppliers, employees and stock Pay bills, track expenses, send invoices and bank online Get a complete view of your business Run customisable reports so you always know how you’re doing See all your important data in one glance with the Digital Dashboard Get reminders of important deadlines, pending bills and overdue invoices Product Overview information is available here: Product Overview Product Overview Below are the product features and the comparison between the 2 versions Top Features Click for details Get up and running in minutes Import data from Sage © or Excel * Choose from dozens of business templates to set up your company Work in the familiar Microsoft Office interface Visit the Resource Centre to get help with common questions Save time on everyday tasks Track your income and expenses Manage customers, suppliers and employees Print cheques, create quotes and invoices Bank online and download transactions Get paid faster with PayPal invoices Get reminders for recurring documents and activities Save time with Office integration Track billable time, create quotes and send invoices in Outlook Export reports to Excel with one...
  • How to repair the .NET Framework 2.0 and 3.0 on Windows Vista

    My boss had some problems on his PC after installing some tools onto it and upon further diagnosis it appeared to be that the .Net Framework had been corrupted. We did all the usual things of looking in "Add/Remove Programs" etc, adding service packs etc all to no avail. I then came across this blog entry and a fix started to come to light How to repair the .NET Framework 2.0 and 3.0 on Windows Vista Since the Windows Vista public launch in January 2007, I have been receiving questions about how to repair the .NET Framework 2.0 and 3.0 to try to resolve various bugs. As I previously described here , the 2.0 and 3.0 versions are installed as OS components on Windows Vista and do not appear in the Programs and Features (formerly known as Add/Remove Programs) control panel. Many of the customers I have heard from have tried to use the .NET Framework cleanup tool , but it does not list the .NET Framework 2.0 as a valid removal option when it is run on Windows Vista. This is by design - the cleanup tool does not offer the option to remove any version of the .NET Framework that is an OS component on the OS it is being run on. Aaron Stebner's WebLog : How to repair the .NET Framework 2.0 and 3.0 on Windows Vista The important things seem to be: Don't use the clean up tool Try the command " sfc /scannow " from an elevated command prompt Repair the (V2) framework with the command " %windir%\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727\ngen.exe update " again from an elevated command prompt The 1st item stops corruption, then 2nd checks the OS's binary (core internal files) are correct and matching their signatures and the final one re-creates all the "native" files from the IL code. ttfn David Technorati Tags: .Net Framework , Support , Windows Vista , Vista
  • How to size the hardware required for SBS 2008

    This question has been asked many times and was once again asked today on an internal forum.  It is hard to come up with an explicit answer, but I feel I can give you some (personal, non-binding, your mileage may vary, please take with a pinch of salt and don’t sue me) opinions.  For SBS 2003 the non-scientific sizing appeared to go like this: “between 2 & 4GB of RAM, depending on number of users”.  I often saw a machine for around 25 users with 4GB of RAM and there was headroom. Disk – don’t buy 1.5TB disks, but don’t by 30GB either.  Buy largish and try to size data before you make the decision 1 CPU or 2, or perhaps more importantly, a box that can take 1 CPU or 2? The the time SBS 2008 arrived the difference in cost of a 2GB or 4GB box was trivial.  Now SBS 2008, if you want to be scientific about it would look something like this: Minimum specs are found at http://www.microsoft.com/sbs/en/us/system-requirements.aspx Think Windows Server 2008 for x users, plus Exchange sizing for x users plus some wiggle for all the SBS 2008 bits, including WSS, Backup.  Since working all the above out, I tend to use the following guides: 4GB of RAM for 1 User, 8GB for more than 30 or so, however this is MY opinion and not tested Disk as above, mirrored in h/w (yes, mirrored, not raid 5) Dual core for a starter system going to multi-cpu & multi core for a very busy system The Premium node is sized as any other Windows Server 2008 system SQL or Terminal Services or ISA… etc Now while this might sound very sketchy, I’ve never benchmarked any SBS systems and this is my rule of thumb.  I’ve seen some 5-person businesses that stressed a 4GB 2-cpu Xeon SBS 2003 system and I’ve seen 40 people lightly load a 1 cpu, 2GB RAM system.  Sizing is not a science and you should always put in more than you need as it is easier for something to be sat idle than to be “in need”.  Finally, on the sizing, consider your own system.  Put in SBS 2008 for yourself and can use yourself as a reference...
  • Help and Support Service not working / there after Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 (SP2) is applied to a machine

    I had some apps fail on my machine yesterday after I got back from the TechNet event, so off I went to diagnose. It was then that I discovered that the help and support service had gone. Vanished, Vamoosh. I did find this little baby in the event log though: Event Type: Error Event Source: HELPSVC Event Category: None Event ID: 16387 Date: 14/03/2007 Time: 11:44:31 User: N/A Computer: SERVER Description: Service could not be deleted Being of a speedy nature I fired a mail off internally only to be told "yep, we know about and are investigating and we have already blogged about it" - http://blogs.technet.com/sbs/archive/2007/03/20/help-and-support-service-missing-after-installing-windows-2003-service-pack-2.aspx There is a fix there, which I used, works and is great, so no harm done, just a small panic.
  • SBS 2008 now available for download on MSDN

    Hi there folks, so following on from my recent post on the fact that SBS 2008 has released to manufacturing (which means it will be in the shops soon), I saw today that SBS 2008 is now available to download from MSDN : I did notice that there is currently a slight mis-print in that it appears there are two disks for the x86 Windows Server 2008 disk, where as the 2nd one is actually the x64 disk (as noted in the ISO number).   It is also worth stating that for SBS 2008, to remove any issues around “Compatibility”, for those applications that are fussy, simply run them on the premium server which is Server 2008, so runs anything that you could run on Server 2008.   Go grab if you can’t wait to get it any other way … note that you only need disk 1 to install, but the rest to understand recovery and Premium solutions.   Thanks David Technorati Tags: SBSC , SBS , Small Business Server 2008 , Small Business , Developer , MSDN , Partners , Microsoft , Download , SBS 2008
  • Are you finding Outlook Web Access (OWA or e-mail from Remote Web Workplace) is showing errors or "image not found" red crosses when accessed from Vista? Another catch by Kevin at Neoblog

    I'm beginning to think I need a subscription from Neoblog to appear higher in my list. I have not tested this, so let me know if there are any issues, but here is the information he has posted. OWA and Vista Posted on February 14th, 2007 by Kevin Higerty If you use Outlook Web Access and have recently upgraded to Vista you will find that you can’t reply or do any action on an email, typically the edit area shows a ‘image not found’ red x in the corner. This is because Windows Vista no longer includes support for the ActiveX control that is used for HTML editing in Outlook Web Access, you need to apply a hotfix to Exchange. Source, more details and the link to the fix: neoblog » OWA and Vista ttfn David Technorati tags: Windows Vista , Vista , Exchange 2003 , SBS 2003 R2 , SBS 2003 , Small Business Server 2003 , Outlook Web Access , OWA
  • Active Directory Health Check - Make sure your AD is healthy before you migrate SBS 2003 to SBS 2008

    [updated 29/9/12 with new link] Given the recent comments about AD validation I thought I would share this excellent document on verifying your AD before you begin a migration (or at any other time) Active Directory Health Check - Active Directory This document outlines a basic procedure for validating the health of your domain and is a good practice for iterative maintenance and an excellent pre-check before doing any potentially dangerous domain operations I would add a couple of extra tests to the list in this document, which would be placed after the 1st DCDIAG test, also perform: DCDIAG /test:DNS /DNSALL /e /v DCDIAG /test:DcPromo /e /v DCDIAG /test:RegisterInDNS If you system passes these tests then it is a good indication of health. ttfn David Technorati Tags: SBS 2003 , Windows Server 2008 , Active Directory , migration , Microsoft , SBSC , Partners
  • How to use the Windows Anytime Upgrade tools

    [Please also read the Action Pack FAQ on this blog at http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/doverton/archive/2007/02/13/windows-vista-windows-xp-office-2003-and-office-2007-action-pack-update-my-faq.aspx ] If you want to electronically upgrade from one version of Vista to another then the Windows Anytime Upgrade tools are for you. To understand what versions you can upgrade from, have a look at Why Windows Vista Home can only be Upgraded to Home Ultimate online, but can upgrade via retail . You then need to go to one of the merchants. Mike P posted about this pointing out: So i notice the upgrade links are now working (www.windowsanytimeupgrade.com/maps and https://emea.windowsanytimeupgradestore.com/WAU_DIRECT/home.aspx ) although I'm a little puzzled as to why it costs £110 PER LICENCE!!!!!!!!!!!! MS has arranged several merchants to provide this upgrade service to consumers (as well as providing it direct throught he urls above). There is a huge discrepancy in the pricing... Comet -> https://comet.windowsanytimeupgrade-emea.com/WAU/Home.aspx -> £94.99 PC World -> https://pcworld.windowsanytimeupgrade-emea.com/WAU/Home.aspx -> £109.99 FNAC -> https://fnac.windowsanytimeupgrade-emea.com/WAU/Home.aspx -> £118.00 Vaio -> https://vaio.windowsanytimeupgrade-emea.com/WAU/Home.aspx -> £80.00 To see the complete list of EU merchants see https://www.windowsanytimeupgrade-emea.com/WAU/SelectMerchant.aspx From a Microsoft Action Pack Subscription point of view, you can either use the Microsoft site with software at our recommended price or one of the others. Mike posted the numbers above, so don't shoot me if the prices change. One thing to note, if you have a legel legit Vista DVD (action pack, OEM, FPP etc) then you DO NOT need to order the DVD with the kit. Finally, the upgrade is just that, so expect to still have to comply with the upgrade requirements of Windows Vista. ttfn David Technorati tags: Windows Vista , Vista , Action Pack , Windows Anytime Upgrade
  • How to change spam settings on Exchange 2007 / SBS 2008 to enable some / all / more spam to be delivered to an account for analysis

    One of the settings I wanted to change in SBS 2008 was the spam filter settings – some mails that I was receiving were being deleted without any option for me to review them. Since I had to go and read the manual on this, I thought I would share the answer on this. Open the Exchange Management Console Select the Organization Configuration and then Hub Transport Select the Anti-spam and look at Content Filtering By default the “Reject messages” SCL rating is set to 7. I change this to 8, enable "Quarantining messages” for messages above a level of 6 Finally, you need to enter the e-mail of a mailbox to receive the quarantined e-mail You can see how this impacted the e-mails themselves in the daily report – notice the number of mails still rejected / quarantined: That is it. See all the other SBS 2008 items at http://davidoverton.com/blogs/doverton/archive/tags/SBS+2008/default.aspx ttfn David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , SBS , SBS 2008 , Small Business Server 2008 , Exchange 2007 , Tips , Spam , Content Filtering
  • How to add Public Folder Contacts to the list of Address Books in Outlook so anyone can send e-mail to a shared contact

    I was recently asked by someone how to do this. Considering the fact that there are pre-defined public folders in SBS, including those for contacts I thought it was worth sharing this with a wider audience. Set this up for a customer using SBS and they can easily share contacts across the whole business. Add the contacts folder to the favourties list and they are also cached offline :-) I found the answer by experimentation, but then this article describes it well too. The magic tab in Office 2007 (and 2003) is pictured below from my system. How to add Public Folder Contacts to the list of Address Books First thing you need to make sure that the public folders has a contact list created. Also, double check the permissions so that your users can view the contact list. To setup the Contact List in the Address Book navigate to your public folder and find the contact list you want to add. Right-click on the Contacts Folder and click properties . Click on the Outlook Address Book tab. Check the box next to “Show this folder as an email address book. If the check box is unavailable you need to add the Outlook Address Book to your profile. Click on the Tools menu and then click on Email Accounts . Click Add a new directory or address book, and then click next. Click Add additional Address book, and then click next. Click Outlook Address Book , and then click next. Click OK and restart outlook. After this is complete you can go back to the contact list and then follow the steps on adding the contact list to your address book. Source: How to add Public Folder Contacts to the list of Address Books - AppRiver ttfn David Technorati tags: Outlook , Public folders , contacts
  • How to install Microsoft Search Server 2008 Express - including how to install on Windows Home Server

    I wrote about the search products the other day, but I then decided to take it for a spin. The easiest server for me to install on was a Windows Home Server, so here is the process. Download the software and run the setup program and run the preparation tool: Now run the installation tool. For me, I don't want much installed on the C drive, but I do have some drives known as E and F. Once this is done, now go via the web to configure it. I asked for it to crawl my file shares, web sites and more I then did a test search and it all worked :-) Now, when I went back to the WHS sites, things were not so good. I discovered that the new site that Search Express clashed. There was 2 things I needed to do. One was to change the host header for the search site so that it did not clash with the default site. This is done in IIS admin and if you need instructions on how to do this, just drop a comment for me to know. Anyway, do this, but that was not enough. It enabled the default web site to start, but now search was broken. To fix that I had to set up SharePoint so that it knew about the new name for the site. The place that documents this is http://store.bamboosolutions.com/kb/article.aspx?id=10460 . Use the information to create a new site for "SharePoint - 80". Use the new host header you put in for the site and don't forget to add an entry to the DNS if needed! That was it, Search installed and WHS back to normal. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows Home Server , Search Express Edition 2008
  • Version 7 of Sync for SkyDrive

    Thank-you for your interest in Sync for SkyDrive. Following all the feedback from version 1, 2 and 6 I’ve finished release 7 (version number 7.0.0.2 in the store) and submitted to the Windows Store where it will be available here: The tool is not free, but it is at the lowest price point I can make for the Windows Store (from the UK). The purpose of the tool is very simple, to enable you to synchronise chosen folders from Microsoft SkyDrive to a Windows RT (or Windows 8) device. While I would like this to be something that happened automatically, the processing time required does not fit into the Microsoft allowed timings for a Windows RT/8 device for battery consumption, so this is still a “user initiated process”. While Windows 8 has a synchronisation tool for the desktop, Windows RT does not, so here is my offering in this space. How does it work The tool scans chosen folders on SkyDrive and the matching folders on your Windows RT device and draws up a list of differences. You can then choose which of these files to sync across. The first time this happens, if you have manually copied down files from SkyDrive, then the file with the latest time/date stamp will be seen as the most up to date and the application will sync it for you. Once the initial sync has taken place the application will match the files and highlight and updates, new files or files deleted. There is one SkyDrive Restriction to be aware of, while the application can download any file you have on SkyDrive, it can't upload files greater than 100MB. Should you select a file > 100MB to be uploaded, a warning will be displayed and the files will be de-selected. It also cannot download files with a .url extension, again due to a limitation put in place by Microsoft. Warning This tool will be overwriting files in the process of it’s actions – this is after all what syncing an update does. While every attempt has been made to ensure that this is not damaging, no responsibility is taken if data is lost through the use...
  • If the Action Pack changes are annoying you, then it is time to stand up and be counted ... by Microsoft

    I'm going to give you a small insight into the inner workings of Microsoft. It is very simple. We work on numbers - some would say just like any computer ;-) Anyway, one number we monitor is partner satisfaction and one measure of this is by how many people are phoning or mailing us and complaining about things (or saying how great they are). I was recently told that while the feedback from this blog and others is spurring change the impact of the Action Pack is not being seen on our satisfaction scores and that the numbers have been favourable (i.e. less people have been phoning in and complaining). So... If you want Action Pack changed - you need to tell us through an official channel for it to be heard louder. It is as simple as that. If 1,000 partners phone Microsoft to complain about it, that is a stronger message than if 100+ people post comments on the blog. How do you contact Microsoft - click this link and the telephone numbers for all around the world can be found! Link to Contact Microsoft thanks, and happy calling. David
  • How to start an administrative (or elevated) command prompt and tell if you got it right (in Vista)

    I have had a few people tell me that they have had problems getting an administrative command prompt up and running in Vista. If you have done it correctly then a windows will open just like the one to the left. Notice that it has opened into the X:\windows\system32 directory and that it has the title "Administrator: X:\windows\system32\cmd.exe. Anything else and I would be suspicious. The process is simple - do either of these Click Start , click All Programs , and then click Accessories . Right-click Command Prompt , click Run as administrator or Click Start Type cmd into the search box and wait for Command Prompt or cmd.exe to appear in the list Press CTRL-Shift-Enter Either way, you should get an User Account Control (UAC) prompt appear with a BLUE banner on the top - press Continue here. For more information on User Account Control go to here ttfn David Technorati tags: Windows Vista , Elevate , run as Administrator , Vista Ultimate , Security
  • SBS 2008 Install process (in pictures)

    Having announced the SBS preview at SBS 2008 RC0 Public Preview I’ve tried to capture the SBS install process in pictures – I don’t think it needs much explanation. If you have an OEM then much of this will be resolved by the Answer kit. To find out about the OEM install process, have a look at TechNet Edge Video- SBS 2008 setup . Other blogger's have covered the release: http://sbs.seandaniel.com/2008/05/windows-small-business-server-2008_28.html http://blogs.technet.com/windowsserver/archive/2008/05/28/announcing-small-business-server-2008-rc0-public-preview.aspx http://blogs.technet.com/sbsaustralia/archive/2008/05/29/sbs-2008-public-beta-now-available-come-get-it.aspx SBS 2008 starts with something akin to Windows Server 2008 and / or Vista Setup Once this is completed, there are extra steps that are specific to SBS 2008: It is possible that your system does not meet quite the right specification – mine has less than 4GB of RAM, while not a blocker, is a warning! You need to set the clock correctly (time and time zone) to ensure all the certificates work correctly Install updates is a good idea!! Some more installs Enter the information about your organisation Now it tries to name your domain, user etc. The marketing messages while install happens: That is the setup part of the process done. The next entry will be the SBS console process to finish the install (and a few mistakes I made). See all the other SBS 2008 items at http://davidoverton.com/blogs/doverton/archive/tags/SBS+2008/default.aspx ttfn David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , Partners , SBS 2008 , SBS , Small Business , SBSC
  • How to resolve errors like "Cannot connect to the RPC service, make sure your RPC service is running" with Hyper-V Server and Hyper-V Manager

    In my last post on installing Hyper-V for my home setup I said I had a number of issues.  One was that the Hyper-V Manager kept on showing the error "Cannot connect to the RPC service, make sure your RPC service is running".  This turned out to be several issues. To start with my Hyper-V box is in a workgroup, so security is manually configured.  Then there is the connection ID security - by hand and finally there is the client setup too.  I spent a long time with John Howard's blog which got me the following commands for the Hyper-V server: netsh advfirewall set currentprofile settings remotemanagement enable netsh advfirewall firewall set rule group="Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI)" new enable=yes netsh advfirewall firewall set rule  name="Remote Administration (RPC-EPMAP)" new enable=yes profile=domain netsh advfirewall firewall set rule name="Remote Administration (NP-In)" new enable=yes profile=domain netsh advfirewall firewall set rule name="Remote Administration (RPC)" new enable=yes profile=domain netsh advfirewall firewall set rule name="remote desktop (tcp-in)" new enable=Yes profile=domain net localgroup “Distributed COM Users” /add David There was then a few things to do on the client PC where it would not connect.  Again the postings at http://blogs.technet.com/jhoward/archive/2008/03/28/part-2-hyper-v-remote-management-you-do-not-have-the-requested-permission-to-complete-this-task-contact-the-administrator-of-the-authorization-policy-for-the-computer-computername.aspx helped me solve the problems. I've put all this here as a reference really, because John has been a busy boy and now has a tool that does this for you called HVRemote . So, learn from my pain and use John's tool.  You should be able to add a user and set the permissions very quickly.   One thing I will say is that I use OneCare on my OC client and I had to add some rules in the OneCare firewall:   - Port 135 for...
  • Hyper-V Management console stops working after a month or so with error “Cannot connect to the RPC service on Computer ‘xxx’. Make sure your RPC service is running.

    [updated with net accounts command 20/2/2009] This can help diagnose and resolve the issue if like me, it was running fine and then it suddenly stops about 4-5 weeks after it all got started. My initial thought was that some update had changed things as the blog post here documented the initial setup where the same error was seen. The error once again looked like this: However checking all the same firewall and other settings revealed nothing. Finally I discovered that the user I had created had a password setting that meant the password had expired. Simple, yet checking from the command line is a right royal pain. To fix, these were the commands I used: net user <username> “<new or existing passsword>” /active:yes /expires:never /passwordchg:no net accounts /maxpwage:unlimited Simple, yet the cause of so much time trying to fix. Hopefully this will solve it for you too. Thanks David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , Hyper-V , Error , User , Password
  • Was Vista's arrival a surprises to anyone? No? Then how come so many people were unprepared - hardware vendors, ISVs, even Microsoft to an extent

    Lets start off by saying this is a RANT. If you don't like rants, look away now. I saw this in CRN and it made me laugh and cry. We have seen news that iTunes has undisclosed issues with Vista (even after being fixed ), poor drivers from nVidia and others and even enough to stop a BBC reporter from getting it going , yet from the list below, most are down to 3rd parties. I have only a little sympathy for hardware partners who didn't get drivers out - I was at WinHEC 3 and 2 years ago when the need to build drivers was hammered home. I have seen the offers of help to ISVs to get their applications working. I have seen the large amount of online training available for partners of all sizes to understand the benefits of the products. However, I have also seen the difficulties people have in when to bet on Vista and deploy the resources - I think its success has taken a few people by surprise! Microsoft is certainly happy with the launch . If like me, when you have 2 years to solve a problem it is always tomorrows problem, until eventually the deadline looms and it suddenly urgent - perhaps many face this issue. Of course, I am hugely over simplifying the issue. Some people chose not to move, saying that they would wait until there was enough market demand. Others, so the rumours say, have no desire to make older versions of hardware or software work on Vista and are using it as a lever to drive upgrades. Finally, the meaning of "minimum requirements" somehow seems to have been lost on people, so when all editions other than basic recommend a minimum of 1GB, that should not be seen as optimum for all users, but the minimum. I am frankly amazed that some vendors "top" PCs are not Vista compatible and it is because they were not ready - I thought the product was delayed to help these guys get ready - and if lower spec machines are working... gosh! While others have got it all working, on new machines and with new hardware designed for Vista style PCs . For application issues, many uncertified Windows Vista Apps May Work...
  • Action Pack Subscribers get Full Windows Vista DVDs - not upgrades and they also get a copy of Ultimate too, plus a stack of materials to sell the product

    Full, not Upgrade Vista product Well anyone who says we don't listen is just talking rubbish!! What am I talking about - I'm talking about the Action Pack and Windows. We moved to non OEM media and boy did it cause a stink, but that has changed again. According to Important changes for Action Pack Subscribers regarding Windows Vista while you are still required to have a legal license for a machine (FPP or OEM) you can now apply full copies (i.e. do a bare metal install) without having to do a double install. There are also a stack of sales materials coming too (I've copied some of the points from the link below): Partner feedback has enabled Microsoft to make the Windows Vista operating system even better. Now you can reap the benefits. Sell more with hardware, software and services built around Windows Vista with Service Pack 1 (SP1). And learn how we're making it easier than ever for you to learn, use and sell Windows Vista. Based on partner feedback, we've taken action to improve the partner experience in support of Windows Vista: Mid-March 2008 delivery of Microsoft Windows Vista Business with SP1 in a special Action Pack shipment to partners worldwide. To make it easier for you to deploy the final release of Windows Vista SP1 for internal use, all subscribers will receive full code*. Not currently an Action Pack subscriber? Find out how to subscribe . New subscribers will receive Windows Vista with SP1 as part of the April 2008 Welcome Kit. One licence for Windows Vista Ultimate with SP1 (full code*) for internal use, so you can discuss this product's benefits and features with customers who need a single PC to fulfil their work, travel and entertainment needs. This software will be delivered in the regular Action Pack quarterly update (April 2008) for current subscribers and for new Action Pack subscribers starting in April 2008. A comprehensive set of readiness resources to arm you to sell and support Windows Vista SP1 solutions for your small- or medium-size-business customers as momentum...
  • Sync for SkyDrive–version 2 for Windows RT and Windows 8

    Version 2 of Sync for SkyDrive [9th March 2013] A new version of the application is now in the Windows Store. You can find details of it here . Thank-you for your interest in Sync for SkyDrive. Following all the feedback from version 1, I’ve finished version 2 and submitted to the Windows Store. When it is released I will update this with store location. The tool is not free, but it is at the lowest price point I can make for the Windows Store (from the UK). The purpose of the tool is very simple, to enable you to synchronise chosen folders from Microsoft SkyDrive to a Windows RT (or Windows 8) device. While I would like this to be something that happened automatically, the processing time required does not fit into the Microsoft allowed timings for a Windows RT/8 device for battery consumption, so this is still a “user initiated process”. While Windows 8 has a synchronisation tool for the desktop, Windows RT does not, so here is my offering in this space. How does it work The tool scans chosen folders on SkyDrive and the matching folders on your Windows RT device and draws up a list of differences. You can then choose which of these files to sync across. The first time this happens, if you have manually copied down files from SkyDrive, then you will need to “match” them as the time / date stamps for each file will be different. The tool matches the files and highlights the file with the latest date, so it is not too difficult. Once you have completed this, which is done only once, then a few clicks will always bring your local store and SkyDrive up to date. Warning This tool will be overwriting files in the process of it’s actions. While every attempt has been made to ensure that this is not damaging, no responsibility is taken if data is lost through the use of the tool. Having said that, no-one has reported data loss. If you think you are experiencing this, please contact me immediately! Discussion forums I have opened up 3 forums to enable discussions in a more structured way...
  • Once SBS is set up, how to do the basic configuration through the management console

    [updated 5th June 2008 - as last 2 sections now online] I saw Vijays’s post on SBS 2008 RC0 Installation Walkthrough (which points to this post – walkthrough ) and while this article has much good information, I had grabbed the install process in screen shot again :-) There were a few interesting points that I thought I would share too: Once the install has finished, you need to do the post install configuration: If you have done it right you will see a screen like this: If you have had a number of problems in the install then you will see something like this: and then . I got this by hitting the power button on the keyboard while the setup was running and while I said “no” to the “do you want to shutdown” prompt, it appears it killed the setup process in the background. If you get this sort of setup, I spent a few hours trying to resolve and while I did re-install exchange and then load ForeFront, it was easier to just re-format and start again. OK, so if it is working the console should look like this: There are then the following steps that took me about 20-mins to complete: Read the document on how to use the SBS console Connect to the Internet Accept the Customer feedback option Set up the Internet address Configure a Smart Host for Internet e-mail Adding a trust certificate (I don’t have one, but I’ll show you the screen shot) Configure server backup Configure Windows Live OneCare for Server Set up Microsoft Office Live Small Business Web sites Finally, all the SBS 2008 entries can be found at http://davidoverton.com/blogs/doverton/archive/tags/SBS+2008/default.aspx ttfn David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , SBS 2008 , SBS , Tips , SBSC , Small Business , Small Business Server 2008 , Community , Partner
  • Upgrading from Windows Vista Home to Vista Business or Vista Ultimate

    Sometimes some people end up with a copy of Windows Vista Home on a machine that they want to use in a business environment. The Windows Anytime Upgrade provides for people moving to Ultimate, but if you just want to move to Business, then this is what you need to know. Windows Vista Home SKUs qualify to use VUP FPP media As the home SKUs have some features that are not present in the business SKU, you have to do a clean install, the same as for Action Pack Upgrades (see How to do a clean install using upgrade media ). You can however do an in-place upgrade to Ultimate. The only media you can use to perform the home to business upgrade is retail upgrade media To preserve the settings that apply and documents etc, you can export your files and settings and then re-import them on the new system using the Easy Transfer Wizard, although things such as parental controls etc would not be there, so no longer work thanks David Technorati tags: Upgrades , Windows Vista , Vista
  • Setting up Yahoo Mail Plus (the paid for service) for Pop3 download into Outlook 2007

    I have had someone ask me about POP3 mail and Outlook 2007 wiht Yahoo mail, so here is a walk through. Go to the tools menu and select Account Settings. press New selected the top option filled in my details and clicked next let it finish processing job done Going back to Account settings screen I see that the settings are not quite the same as the details at http://help.yahoo.com/l/us/yahoo/mail/original/mailplus/pop/pop-36.html Clicking More Settings the last tab needed some changing from the screen on the left to the screen on the right that is it - SSL based login and e-mail working ttfn David Technorati tags: yahoo mail , Outlook 2007
  • Windows Essential Business Server announcement

    Today is the start of the Server 2008 PR ramp up. I can today tell you a bit more about Cougar, as was, or SBS 2008 as it will be, the new "family" that SBS is part of and a bit more on Windows Essential Business Server 2008 (aka Centro). Hopefully there will be a couple of surprises and also confirmation of some of the rumours around there. I've sliced the press release made today into 3 sections. This blog entry is based on the Essential Business Server 2008 section of which there is an extract below of some key points. The whole press release can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2008/feb08/02-20EBFamilyPR.mspx . <snipped> Windows Essential Business Server 2008 for Midsize Companies Windows Essential Business Server 2008 is designed for the needs of midsize organizations with up to 250 desktops, helping IT professionals take control of their systems, reduce time spent “fighting fires” and focus more on strategic efforts to drive business growth. The solution includes built-in IT best practices and provides a unified console for management of key workloads and product licensing, which makes IT budgeting and purchase simpler and more predictable. Windows Essential Business Server combines the technologies of Windows Server 2008, Exchange Server 2007, Forefront Security for Exchange Server, System Center Essentials 2007, the next version of Internet Security and Acceleration Server and, in the Premium Edition, SQL Server 2008 technology. The product will be demonstrated on IBM BladeCenter S and HP BladeSystem c-Class c3000 hardware at the “Heroes Happen Here” launch on Feb. 27 in Los Angeles, and is slated for availability in the second half of 2008. <snipped> More information about Windows Essential Server Solutions is available at http://www.microsoft.com/essential and http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/presskits/serversolutions . Now much of this is a repeat of what we already know, but I felt I should share it: Based on x64 technology Capable from 25-250 users, so does...
  • How long is the grace period on SBS 2008 (how long can you evaluate SBS 2008 without entering a product key)

    I saw this one come up internally and externally, so I thought I would share the answer.  Remember that SBS 2008 is built on Windows Server 2008, Exchange 2007 and SQL 2008 (for the premium edition).  This means that you are bound by the limits of those products.  For SBS Standard this is Windows Server 2008, which is 60 days that can be extended to up to 240 days using the rearm process documented in the KB article http://support.microsoft.com/kb/948472 . SQL2008 has a trial period of 180 days, so if your evaluating SBS 2008 Premium edition you are limited by that.   ttfn   David Technorati Tags: SQL 2008 , Windows Server 2008 , SBS 2008 , SBSC , Partners , Microsoft , Eval , Evaluation , Trial
  • Hyper-V Security and Management from Windows 7

    [modified 2/11/09 with new link] I’ve seen two Hyper-V announcements this week. One is about the new Security Guide and the other is how to manage Hyper-V from Windows 7. Security Guide Hyper-V Security Guide–Beta Now Available! Are your customers concerned about attacks on their virtualized servers? Help them secure their virtual environments with the Hyper-V Security Guide. The Hyper-V Security Guide , now under development, has tested guidance and best practices to boost the security of virtualized Windows Server environments. Want an advance look at this free guide? Join the beta program. Then bookmark this link to the program site to get the latest information about upcoming events. Hyper-V Management from Windows 7 This is something that caught me out. The Hyper-V Management tools for Vista do not load on Windows 7, but tools have been published. Go to http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=7d2f6ad7-656b-4313-a005-4e344e43997d and install this. Then go to the Windows Features tool in Control Panel and find the Role Administration Tools. Select Hyper-V Tools from there and bob is your uncle. Thanks David Technorati Tags: Hyper-V , Microsoft , Windows 7 , Windows Vista , Windows Server 2008 , Windows Server 2008 R2
  • 70-282 Exam - what has changed, what has not and how it stands now after all the feedback

    Howdy. There has been a lot of discussion recently about the huge changes to the 70-282 exam, especially following people helping us with the 71-282 beta exam work. Having worked many hours as an investagtive reporter (at least 2) and searched many a rubbish bin, I now have a pretty good answer to what happened. I managed to get this statement from the "right people" inside Microsoft. In short - 71-282 was a beta which had some things in it that did not make it into the final revised 70-282 exam. "70-282 Clarification around the introduction of a new version of the exam In Early 2006 Microsoft felt that exam "70-282 Designing, Deploying and Managing Network Solutions for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses" had not been performing at the Microsoft standard. Microsoft constantly reviews customer feedback and exam statistics, and determines if exam item changes or additions are required. To keep this exam current and valued by our customers and partners, Microsoft revised the questions and carried out testing of the new exam with a cross-section of Microsoft Partners and internal staff. This group was made up of people who had sat the previous 70-282 exam and of people who had not yet sat the exam all coming from the Small Business Specialist Community or SBS MVPs. The beta exam was coded 71-282. Candidates who sat and passed 71-282 will be given credit for the 70-282 exam. In March 2006, once testing was complete, the revised 70-282 exam was launched. The exam format has changed slightly, but the content continues to reflect the required knowledge for designing, deploying and managing network solutions for the small and mid-sized business. To be successful, you will need adequate knowledge of Microsoft Small Business Server, Microsoft Windows Server and Active Directory. All existing training and prep materials contain information to prepare candidates for the current exam questions. There are several preparation options available depending on your experience and current knowledge levels. Details of training courses...
  • Microsoft Office Outlook Connector Beta (how to connect Office Live Basics or Windows Live Hotmail to Outlook)

    Don't you love the way the title of a product described what it is? While this product does what it says on the tin, it misses out the most important thing - what can you connect Outlook to. The answer is e-mail and contacts based on our Hotmail service, so this includes OfficeLive. If you sign up to one of the subscription OfficeLive services (i.e. you pay us to use it) then you get a connector which can do all this AND synchronise your calendar items too. Once in Outlook you can do all the searching, filing and manipulation you want to do. Today you can now download the beta of the next version of the Microsoft Office Outlook Connector. Download: Microsoft Office Outlook Connector (Beta) The Microsoft Office Outlook Connector is designed to let you access your Windows Live Hotmail account through Outlook 2003 or Outlook 2007. You will be able to download and install the Connector to sync up your email and contacts in Windows Live Hotmail for free. However, if you are a paid subscriber of MSN Premium, Office Live Essentials, or Office Live Premium you will get the added functionality of being able to sync up your calendar, tasks and notes from Outlook to Windows Live Hotmail. I know many of you probably took note to the statement made on the download page of being able to "synchronize your Windows Live Calendar in Outlook". Windows Live Hotmail currently has a built in calendar service which is essentially your Windows Live Calendar. Your calendar from Outlook is published and viewable through this service in Windows Live Hotmail. The Windows Experience Blog : Microsoft Office Outlook Connector Beta Now Available ttfn David Technorati Tags: Outlook , OfficeLive , Sync , beta
  • Can Windows Server 2003 R2 be added to a SBS 2003 SP1 (i.e. non-R2) domain - Yes

    [updated 14:52 27th June 2007] I got this question yesterday and while I will not name names, I felt this should go public. It is from a customer who I believe has been mis-informed by a partner about SBS 2003, SBS 2003 R2 and Windows Server 2003 R2. Here is the mail I got: To: David Overton I have a question concerning compatibility. I have a SBS 2003 with SP1 as my domain controller.... I am about to migrate to a new ERP package and have purchased 2 additional Windows Server 2003 R2 servers from XXXXXXXXXX. I have been told the new servers will not be able to join the Domain and I must upgrade my SBS 2003 to SBS 2003 R2. Is that true?? Here is my reply You have been mis-informed. Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2003 r2 interoperate without any difficulty. If you are trying to use a specific R2 feature such as remote printer management or FSRM then you might have to upgrade, but joining the domain is not a problem. Also, SBS 2003 R2 enables you to get some extra benefits from your CALs with regard to licensing additional SQL 2005 WG Edition and Exchange 2003 Standard servers. Thanks David Think of this as feedback for company XXXXXXXXX - Windows Server 2003 & Windows Server 2003 R2 work together just fine in a domain, as does Windows Server 2000 and if you really want to push NT4 (OK, so NT4 is ugly). While I have stated that you have to only worry if you are using an R2 specific feature, if you have Active Directory in your domain then you will need to do a schema update IF your R2 boxes are to become DCs in the domain. It is worth saying that at http://technet2.microsoft.com/windowsserver/en/library/5022eea0-54bc-422f-b98b-ddb836c8ee851033.mspx?mfr=true it states: Update the Active Directory schema on domain controllers. In Windows Server 2003 Active Directory networks, you will need to update the Active Directory schema before: • Installing Windows Server 2003 R2 on a domain controller. • Configuring a Windows Server 2003 R2 server to be a domain controller by using the Active Directory Installation...
  • David Overton moving on to pastures new

    With a tear in my eye the time has come for me to move my stick hut somewhere new. I have loved working in and with the small business community and with a set of awesome partners who can complain and nag, but normally with good cause and that are more willing to say thank-you and "good job" when the time is right. To you all I take my hat off for making me feel so welcome. As a legacy we now have SBSC up and running, partner groups that support themselves, a voice into Microsoft from the smaller end of the partner community and a better understanding of the motivations of both Microsoft and our partners. We also have a new level of engagement with customers. I wish I could take credit for all of this, but I am just a figurehead for a great team of people inside Microsoft. A nice chap called Mark in the OEM team will be helping to drive Cougar knowledge through the community when the time comes (no, this is not the time yet, trust me), SBSC has been supported by Jen as many of you would have seen from the e-mails and SBS has a product manager who cares in the form of Sonal. Finally campaigns like Mr Busy prove that while we still have some implementation details to improve on, the ideas are getting better and better and the team responsible for these will continue to push forward on this front. They say you can take the boy out of the small business, but not small business out of the boy and this will be true for me - the blog will continue and I will still try to be a voice of reason and rant as I feel appropriate and pass on comments to the right people internally within Microsoft, just realise that I have less time to do this now. This points to the fact that I will still be with Microsoft. My next challenge is to help those ISVs (Independent Software Vendors) who wish it to move further along a path with Microsoft to do so, whether they already work with us today or not. This should be a fun challenge - viewing all of the Microsoft world as a platform rather than a solution, but this is something I have...
  • Vista SP1 beta vs XP SP3 beta and performance - what a load of old <insert your favourite derogatory term here>

    I saw the article at ZDNet ( Windows XP outshines Vista in benchmarking test - ZDNet UK ) and at various other places and decided to comment. It compares a 1GB XP machine and a 1GB Vista machine and says that Vista is slower - both using beta service packs. This article links back to the blog of a certain benchmarking company ( http://exo-blog.blogspot.com/2007/11/windows-xp-sp3-yields-performance-gains.html ) and the result was an article with quotes in it like: "Vista, both with and without SP1, performed over two times slower than XP with SP3 in the test, taking over 80 seconds to complete the test, compared to the beta SP3-enhanced XP's 35 seconds. Vista's performance with the service pack increased less than two percent compared to performance without SP1 — much lower than XP's SP3 improvement of 10 percent." Now this annoyed me twice. So did they turn off things like the pre-loading of applications, was this a fresh PC or one where the inbuilt tools could optimise themselves? Did they turn off new features like and anti-spyware and search engine, the graphics etc? You can't add a bundle of new features and get it all for free - they have to load and boot up time is the most likely time. "The tests, run on a Dell XPS M1710 test bed with a 2GHz Core 2 Duo CPU and 1GB of RAM, put Microsoft Office 2007 through a set of productivity tasks, including creating a compound document and supporting workbooks and presentation materials." Now this also annoyed me, even more. a Vista machine with the recommended MINIMUM amount of RAM, but XP with eight times it's minimum recommended. Microsoft clearly recognised that Vista's new features require more memory, as do Office, so they have one machine that is 5 years skinny on features and another that has 5 years worth of extra features and security built in. Come on. What about trying it on a 2GB machine, or one that the tests have been run on a hundred times so the optimisation engines in Vista can get to work. I've done benchmarking...
  • Getting up and running with Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008, including getting my external SATA drives working, adding network drivers, enabling the remote management tools

    [updated 7th Dec 2008 with links to more answers] It has been a while since I posted on the blog - I've been writing a book and installing and upgrading SBS 2008 a few times. I decided that rather than have a bundle of servers under my desk I would buy one large server (well, quad core anyway) and run my operating systems using Hyper-V server. Let's start with the ingredients that you will need: Download Hyper-V Server - http://www.microsoft.com/servers/hyper-v-server/how-to-get.mspx Hyper-V Configuration Guide - Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 Configuration Guide Hyper-V Getting Started Guide - http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=26426203-DE3C-4D74-851E-4E1388A81D5F&displaylang=en Download Management Tool (you probably only need one of the below) Vista 32-bit - Download the Update for Windows Vista (KB952627) package now Vista 64-bit - Download the Update for Windows Vista (KB952627) package now Server 2008 32-bit - Download the Update for Windows Server 2008 (KB950050), 32-bit edition package now Server 2008 64-bit - Download the Update for Windows Server 2008 x64 Edition (KB950050), 64-bit edition package now Server with good dose of RAM - mine has 8GB at the moment Server with multi-core CPU - I bought a new motherboard with an Intel Quad Core 9550 chip - heat is not bad and performance is much better than the P4 I had been using!! External disk array - I chose this one - http://www.scan.co.uk/Product.aspx?WebProductId=898755&Product=EdgeStore+DAS401+4xBay+USB+RAID+1+DAS+Enclosure+via+eSATA - 4 SATA drives that you slot in, 1 eSata cable and a PCI-X eStata card. So, you download the ISO, burn it to a disk, boot, install in about 5 mins and reboot. You then follow the configuration guide which is menu driven, but I did have a few problems. No network card was detected - below The external disks were not detected Once the network card was detected, I could not create any Virtual Machines - network issues with remote management No NAT networking I wanted to move from my existing...
  • SBS 2008, Installation, Migration and Configuration – Chapter 3 - Preparing to migrate from SBS 2003

    Preparing to migrate from SBS 2003 If you are migrating from SBS 2003 to SBS 2008 then there are a number of preparatory steps you need to complete. In this chapter I will cover off the preparation required to migrate from SBS 2003 to SBS 2008. This will cover off the following steps: Checking your SBS 2003 server is healthy Backing up the server Installing required software Changing SBS 2003 to prepare it for migration Completing the migration tools I will also answer some questions that enable you to decide when and how to perform a migration. I then explain the steps of migration that you will need to follow: Plan the migration process including how you will move 3 rd party applications Communicate plan and impact to users and get agreement on impact Checking the health of SBS 2003 Active Directory Backup existing server Change network configuration to match SBS 2008 design requirements Update software on SBS 2003 Change Active Directory functionality level Confirm SBS 2003 is currently configured at best practice levels Remove unnecessary e-mail from Exchange Check permissions are set to allow a migration Prepare SBS 2003 Time Synchronisation Run the migration tool on SBS 2003 Prepare migration of line-of-business applications Complete the answer file for SBS 2008 migration One of the most important steps in migrating is moving from a SBS network design with two network cards to a solution with one network card (as per the two diagrams below) To order the book, go to http://davidoverton.com/r.ashx?1M . To find out more about my SBS 2008 BOOK - SBS 2008, Installation, Migration and Configuration click here thanks David Technorati Tags: SBS 2008 , Book , Microsoft , Migration , Installation , Configuration
  • How to find out what is causing a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) by using the kernel debugger tools

    Having had James take up an offer to find out what is causing his BSODs, her has now asked me how I found out which driver appears to be having the problem. While there is no substite for lots of debug work, a very simple process is to run the crash dumps through our debugging tool (full dumps are best, followed by kernel dumps and then finally mini-dumps). The first thing is to find the dump files - it will either be c:\windows\memory.dmp or mini-dumps under c:\windows\minidump. Find the file you want and copy it somewhere so you can examine it. Then get the debugging tools - http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/devtools/debugging/default.mspx and download the x86 (32-bit) version. Once the tools are extracted, open a cmd window and go to c:\Program Files\Debugging Tools for Windows and type kd -z c:\mydumpfile.dmp -v -y SRV*c:\websymbols*http://msdl.microsoft.com/download/symbols . Wait for it to load and do an analyze. The debugger will open and if it has not done it already, type !analyze -v and see what drivers get listed as possible errors. Press Q to exit :-) An example output might be like this: kd> !analyze -v ******************************************************************************* * * * Bugcheck Analysis * * * ******************************************************************************* TRAP_CAUSE_UNKNOWN (12) Arguments: Arg1: 00000001, Unexpected interrupt. Arg2: 00000000, Unknown floating point exception. Arg3: 00000000, The enabled and asserted status bits (see processor definition). Arg4: 00000000 Debugging Details: ------------------ ***** Kernel symbols are WRONG. Please fix symbols to do analysis. Debugger CompCtrlDb Connection::Open failed 80004005 Connecting as Provider=SQLOLEDB.1;server=CCDSQL03;OLE DB Services=-4;database=Un ifiedCompCentral;UID=compcentralro;PWD=compcentralro ************************************************************************* *** *** *** *** *** Your debugger is not using the correct symbols *** *** *** *** In order for this command to work properly, your symbol path...
  • Skype vs Windows Messenger

    As a rule I use my mobile to make calls - I know this makes me very 20th Century, but since I still listen to some 80's music, I guess we'll all just have to live with this. When I have used various VoIP solutions I often find the mike on my PC has let me down (I often forget the headset) or the comms is just not up to it in the hotel I am staying in. Having said that, many people use skpye. When looking at this option again, I came across these blog entries which I thought game interesting food for thought. Do you read the EULAs?? Why Skype is Bad Why Skype is Bad (part 2) Unified Communications and more about Microsoft ttfn David
  • How to do a clean install using the Action Pack Windows Vista Media

    [Please also read the Action Pack FAQ on this blog at http://uksbsguy.com/blogs/doverton/archive/2007/02/13/windows-vista-windows-xp-office-2003-and-office-2007-action-pack-update-my-faq.aspx ] This has been discussed lots on the aliases and in the comments on this blog, so here is what I did to do a clean install. In Summary, the process was: Boot Windows XP on the machine Log in (I used an Administrator Account) Insert Vista DVD Start the Install Type in Product Key Select Advanced install Select the disk and clean install Wait for Install to complete (I am not going to talk you through entering your name etc) Log into Vista Run the "Free up Disk Space" tool from the control panel to remove the Windows.old programs If you are worried about clean installs in the future, use the backup tool to do a hard disk image backup now In pictures, it looks like this: Just to clarify a few things - yes, before you blow away your old OS, don't - you can move it to one side and then migrate any documents and then remove the old install using a tool designed to do just this. Things that will lead to misery are: Trying to do the install by Booting from the DVD Doing an install without entering the product key (yes, you can do this) as when it comes to activate, it will fail as the product key required a Windows XP OS to install from Trying to work around the WGA checks Formatting the Old Windows Off the machine before doing the upgrade If you need to build a short term VPC for test of Demo use then simply do not enter a product key and you get a version you can use for a short time without issue. If you need a longer term demonstration system then order the Demonstration Toolkit at windows vista demo readiness toolkit - last time I checked it was still showing a RC build, but expect this to change very soon. ttfn David
  • The price of Vista in the UK - some really, really bad maths

    OK, so this has really got my goat - I read that there is a £100 difference between the UK and US prices for Vista Premium Edition, so I thought I would add my PERSONAL view on this. Microsoft does not set the prices, the resellers do - some offer products at a loss to bring you in, some add plenty of margin because they believe the market can bear it When comparing prices we need to do so on as close to a level playing field as possible - so no VAT & state tax etc There is some difference due to the unusually high exchange rate - and using the market exchange rate rather than a normal punter exchange rate does not reflect the man on the street pricing The figures stated don't seem to bear out in reality in my opinion I found a typical story here : UK customers face disparity and confusion over the pricing of Microsoft Windows Vista , Computing Which? has discovered. Windows Vista Home Premium has a recommended retail price of $240 (£125) in the US. But to buy the same software in the UK would set consumers back £220 – almost twice as much. The process I will use is very simple: Lets take an example - Vista Home Premium - I'll use two retailers I know online (I found cheaper in both countries) www.dabs.com price - £182.30 inc VAT, so £155.15 excl www.bestbuy.com - $239 excl taxes Thomas Cook currency rate 1.87 dollars to the pound. This gives us numbers to put into our equation - The Best Buy product converts to £127.80. So there is a difference between the two products - £27.35. Add shipping, local cost differences etc and all of a sudden it becomes a much less important question as to where the money goes - VAT and other local costs soon make the real difference. The £100 becomes just £27 once tax and a real price is taken (since the RRP is not actually provided by Microsoft in either country). The best prices I found in both countries (using Pricewatch and Kelkoo) led to just a £11.55 difference before VAT. Shopping around can make the difference. ttfn David
  • If you want Windows XP Pro on a new machine, buy Windows Vista (Business or Ultimate) and then downgrade

    I’m not sure how many people are aware of this, but if you buy a Windows Vista Business or Ultimate then you can use a Windows XP CD (which you have legal access to) to load Windows XP onto that machine. When you need the product key / or need to activate, this will potentially fail, but a quick call to the activation centre with your Vista product key should give you all the details you need. Then when you are ready to put Vista onto that machine, you can do without the cost of buying it anew. Alternatively you can buy Windows XP today and should you ever want to load Vista, you can give more money to a shop to get a copy again. For further information go to http://oem.microsoft.com/script/sites/public/licensing.htm More information can be found in this one page document OEM Downgrade from Vista to Windows XP ttfn David Please Note the following (in legalese) Windows Vista Downgrade Rights Clarification Per the EULA and OEM DTOS Agreement, the end user customer is responsible for supplying media for the OEM or customer to create the downgrade product image on the customer system. Neither Microsoft, the OEMs, nor the system builders are responsible for supplying this media. VL customers already have the necessary media. For non-VL customers, the easiest way to obtain this media is to buy a single FPP copy of Windows XP Pro or use an existing FPP copy of Windows XP Pro if they already own one. That media can then be used to downgrade Windows Vista Business or Windows Vista Ultimate machines to Windows XP Pro. If the customer uses a product key for Windows XP Pro that they’ve previously activated, that machine will likely fail activation. If the downgraded machine fails activation the customer will be prompted to call the product activation call center to request a key that will enable them to pass activation. The customer should mention that they’re exercising their downgrade rights to the customer service representative in the activation call center.
  • You can't use Outlook Web Access because you can't send or reply to mails. You've seen a server update will fix it, but you can't get the server updated - here is the simplest way to work

    I have to thanks Lauren for bringing this to my attention. She had found my posting on how to update Exchange so that this did not happen, but she could not get the SBS / Exchange Server updated. Her research said that using Firefox would fix the problem , but to me this was just a huge sledgehammer to crack a nut, so I guessed there must be a much easier solution and there is. Use "basic" or "light" mode. This may sound complex, but it is about as easy as it gets. Here is the Exchange 2003 login screen, simply select "basic" client and you are done. Here is the Exchange 2007 login screen, simply select "light" and you are done. Gosh, so easy. For the technically minded the issue comes from the Active-X control that Exchange is using. The answer is to either apply the update to the Exchange web components, or use a browser without the Active-X control. ttfn David Technorati tags: Outlook Web Access , IE7 , Internet Explorer
  • Microsoft, web services, new business models and small business

    In the IT market the term "change is the only constant" has been around for years (well, certainly since I left ICL where change was not constant, but that was due to the contract that dictated that everything did not change, so fell behind). Note, this post is purely the ramblings from my mind, not a statement from Microsoft in an Official or Unofficial capacity We've seen big iron, then smaller systems, the rise of SMP, the reduction in IT hardware and software costs for solutions, the rise of Microsoft servers, client server, 3-tier, clustered computing, multi-core and now internet enabled computing. There is much more, of course, to come, but how we deliver IT to customers has changed too. Of course, this is all generalised and some people have always been at one end or the other, but general acceptance is always shifting - remember the ASP business model of the late 90's - dead, yet here it is again with Software as / plus service. The pricing of some services even appears to be £0, yet you pay by clicking on adverts or by others buying adverts for you to see. Business Models Google and salesforce.com have once again shown that non-distributed computing means that a central failure grinds everything to a halt, just as Terminal based computing did before SAS was being considered. While you can architect to reduce these impacts, when they happen, hundreds to millions of people are impacted and if that is your business, it can be fatal. Once upon a time it was building PCs, then custom PCs, then servers, then core infrastructure, now ICT. However this is all the technical "stuff". We now deliver solutions more than just boxes (I know some always did) and the need to move beyond core infrastructure is a business necessity if you have not already moved this way. Excitement about a new "gizmo" (OS, application, gadget etc) is now tempered with "So what can it do to improve my business and is it worth it." One of the conversations I have had repeatedly with partners over...
  • An amazing deal for UK Students to get Office 2007 ULTIMATE for £39 to own or £13 per year to "rent it" - tell them all about it!

    This offer is called "The Ultimate Steal" and I have to say I can see why. Microsoft is now offering Office 2007 to university students for the sort of price that would normally suggest this was a con or stolen software, although as Steve Clayton has already verified, it is real . The Offer is simple "Get Microsoft® Office Ultimate 2007 for just £38.95 to own or £12.95 to use for one year" As I said this is only open for people in education, but if you go to The Ultimate Steal presented by Microsoft you can get lots more info. A summary, but not complete, eligibility requirements are: You must hold a valid email address at a U.K. educational institution ending in .ac.uk (for example, leina@contoso.university.ac.uk) Be actively enrolled with at least 0.5 course load. You must be able to provide proof of enrollment status (ie, student card) upon request by Microsoft. If you are unable to provide proof of enrollment, you will be required to pay the full retail price of Office Ultimate 2007 (approximate ERP £599.99). Here is how it works: Buy the product offer you want Download it or order a CD Enter your product key and use away You can download the Office Ultimate 2007 trial software anytime but to gain unrestricted access, you’ll need to activate it by entering a genuine product key! Own it. Use it for one year. I think this is pretty amazing!! ttfn David Technorati Tags: Office 2007 , Students , Offer , UK
  • Whitepaper on Migrating SBS 2003 to New Hardware

    It is funny how things happen. I was debating with my dad which was better - building a new server and re-joining the clients, migrating via AD in a VPC to give the server the same name or adding the server and dealing with the fact that the "server" has a name change. I then told my dad that I had blogged about this and he should have read the document, only to discover that I had not. I've seen it covered in a few places. I'm always open to feedback on this sort of information. I am pro-VM based migrations but people seem to think they are too hard, so more on that would be really good. The Official SBS Blog : Migrating Windows Small Business Server 2003 ... Migrating Windows Small Business Server 2003 to New Hardware - E-Bitz ... Whitepaper - Migrating SBS 2003 to New Hardware Microsoft has released a new whitepaper and set of worksheets entitled: ” Migrating Windows Small Business Server 2003 to New Hardware “ Sections include: Migrating Windows Small Business Server 2003 to New Hardware Worksheet 1 Source and Destination Computer Information Worksheet 2 SMTP Connector Settings Worksheet 3 Exchange Server 2003 Global Settings Worksheet 4 Location of Data for Line-of-Business Applications and Location of General User Data Worksheet 5 Windows Small Business Server 2003 Settings Worksheet 6 Shared Folder Information The whitepaper outlines the following steps for migrating from an existing computer running Windows SBS 2003 to new hardware: Evaluate the current status of the source server. continued at Whitepaper - Migrating SBS 2003 to New Hardware | NoGeekLeftBehind.com ttfn David Technorati Tags: SBS 2003 R2 , Migration , Tips
  • Answers to some of the questions about SBS 2008 (32-bit 2nd server, SCE, beta upgrades, migrating users

    [updated 23rd Feb 2008] After posting on SBS 2008 the other day I've had a few questions, so here are some answers Can the 2nd server be x64 or x86 (32-bit) and can it be used for Terminal Services / Hyper-V / a.n.other purpose The 2nd server can be 32 or 64-bit. It is essentially Windows Server 2008 Standard edition, however it does check it is part of a SBS domain. Therefore it can be used for almost anything a Windows Server can be used for (and SQL can be loaded on it too) Why was System Center Essentials removed from SBS 2008 The short answer is that this was not the right product for SBS owners, however SBS can be used / works with SCE. For this reason SCE can, for example, be loaded on the the 2nd server Can I install SBS 2008 beta (cougar) in my production environment and upgrade to RTM when it releases The answer here is one about the fact that betas are betas and have bugs, so there are risks. Officially the answer is “don’t consider using Cougar beta in your production environment unless you are on the TAP as any problems / migration / upgrades will be unsupported. Should you do so, your only access to any support and guidance will be via the newsgroups” If someone has recently purchased hardware for SBS 2003, can they move to SBS 2008 SBS 2008 has migration wizards that will enable the move from one machine to another. For those where they wish to use existing hardware there is NO in-place upgrade, however you should be able to do the following (assuming the hardware is x64 capable): 1) Copy their existing setup to a virtual machine 2) Install SBS 2008 onto the original hardware and use the migration tools to move SBS to the same box or 1) Backup their SBS 2003 system 2) Install SBS 2008 on the existing hardware 3) Add data back from backup (this is a manual process) Can SBS 2008 be used with Hyper-V Yes, we’re in the process of testing which virtualization scenarios SBS 2008 and EBS 2008 will support, and will provide more information in the future. Can SBS 2003 CALs be used with SBS 2008 No, SBS...
  • Setting up your internet connection in SBS 2008 console

    The Console setup process ( Once SBS is set up, how to do the basic configuration through the management console ) sets up SBS 2008 for use. One of the first steps is setting up the internet connection. This is the process I followed: The routines automatically detected the router IP address – I had not set it anywhere Then finished off The process of enabling others to communicate with SBS and setting up firewall etc can be found here . Finally, all the SBS 2008 entries can be found at http://davidoverton.com/blogs/doverton/archive/tags/SBS+2008/default.aspx ttfn David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , SBS 2008 , SBS , Tips , SBSC , Small Business , Small Business Server 2008 , Community , Partner , Console , Connect to the internet
  • Setting up services for the internet in SBS 2008 console (domain name, web site, Remote web workplace, e-mail)

    The Console setup process ( Once SBS is set up, how to do the basic configuration through the management console ) sets up SBS 2008 for use. Once the internet settings are completed, the next big steps is setting up the internet facing services. This is the process I followed: 1) The 1st time I had to create a domain for my server 2) I chose to do this using the provided tools (this then provides DNS management of www.domain.com going to Office Live, but remote.domain.com going to this server and the MX record pointing to the SBS box too. 3) Once you have chosen your provider you go off to a web page to purchase the domain 4) Then you enter your login details It you already have a domain then the process looks like this: 1) Enter your domain and provider details 2) confirm the details and enter them as per step 4 above Continue the process from above as the tool configures the system. Note that if your router does not accept UPnP (or it is turned off, as per mine), then you will get the warning and errors shown in the middle picture below One again that is it for this stage. Finally, all the SBS 2008 entries can be found at http://davidoverton.com/blogs/doverton/archive/tags/SBS+2008/default.aspx ttfn David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , SBS 2008 , SBS , Tips , SBSC , Small Business , Small Business Server 2008 , Community , Partner , Console , Set up internet services
  • How to encrypt backups and optionally the system disks on Windows Server 2008 and SBS 2008 and Windows Vista too

    Hi, someone asked in the forums how if the backups on SBS 2008 and Windows Server 2008 were encrypted and the answer is no, even if the drives being backed up are BitLocker protected ( more details here ). However you can get encrypted backups with a bit of effort. To do this you will need to at least BitLocker enable your removable drives and optionally your system disk. I used the information at http://blogs.msdn.com/askdavid/archive/2007/06/08/enabling-bitlocker-on-removable-drives-usb-flash-drives-usb-hard-drives.aspx as a guide to putting together what I needed to do, so many thanks David Chandra for this. This same process can also be used on Windows Vista There are a couple of snags however and you need to work out which scenario you wish to have (if you have a TPM chip then option 2 & 3 can be replaced with entering a key into the TPM prompt: encrypt just the backup disks you will need to run a script each time a volume is added back to the system encrypt the system disk and the backup disks and you will need a USB key or key information to be entered every time you reboot the server encrypt the system disk and the backup disks, but store the system unlock information unencrypted on the server so you do not have to enter decryption information every time. Given the choices above the steps are as follows (they build from option 1 through to option 3): Option 1 Add BitLocker to the server Encrypt the Backup Hard Disks Add an unlock script Option 2 Prepare the system disk for BitLocker encryption Encrypt the system Option 3 Store the unlock key on the boot partition for automatic use Option 1 (encrypting the backup disks) You will need to repeat the steps below (excluding adding Bitlocker to the system) for each disk you want to encrypt. You can do this to an existing disk or a new disk. Add Bitlocker role To start this task we need to add the BitLocker role to SBS 2008. While BitLocker is built into Windows Server 2008 it is not installed. To install it start Server Manager from the Start Menu and then scroll...
  • How to get SBS 2008 to "fix" managing WSUS after you have manually upset it

    Today's post covers what to do when SBS says it no longer can change the WSUS settings from the console.  The exact message is "Windows Small Business Server Update Service is not running because it automatically turns off if you customize Windows Server Update Services (WSUS)". One way round this problem is to manually change all the settings in the WSUS console (from Administrator Tools, select Microsoft Windows Update Services 3.0 SP1) and change the settings as per instructions found at http://blogs.technet.com/sbs/archive/2006/07/13/441594.aspx .  I'm a sort of "quick fix" kind of guy, so the easier way is to go to the same tool, but then run the wizard.  The steps are: Start the Wizard   Click through the first two screens and set the updates to come from Microsoft Update Configure the proxy if required and press next.  Then press Start Connecting.  When done, press Next again. Select the language(s) you want to download Make sure "All Products" has been ticked Tick all the classifications - you can optionally leave out "Drivers" if desired Set the schedule - for me, 5am is a good quiet time on my server Tick to begin sync and press Finish.  Now SBS Console will be back on the case for you.   Ttfn David Technorati Tags: SBS 2008 , Small Business Server 2008 , Microsoft , SBSC
  • Great Weekend sailing that ended with me in A&E and St Mary's Hospital on the Isle of Wight

    I seem to be able to find trouble at the moment. I attended part 1 (3 of 5-days) of a competent crew training course designed to get me on the ladder to bigger and better sailing experience and finally teach me what the wind has to do with sailing. Over the three days we started with the basics, like how to make a distress call, only ever abandon a boat when you will be stepping up into a life raft, clothing, life jackets and how to use a toilet on a boat. We then progressed to the basics of sailing, so the naming of the various parts of the boat (I have real trouble remembering the shrouds). Finally we got on with the sailing and had some awesome days learning to sail in all weathers. As should be the way with sailing, each night was spent with much merriment and drinking, but as many of you know, I don't drink, smoke or swear ever, so I was always 1st up :-). We also arranged it so that the 3 men on the boat all had cabins and the 2 ladies shared the communal area - this might sound mean, but the men managed a snoring symphony, so being behind doors was good for everyone. On the second night we stopped at a lovely location - The Folly Inn in East Cowes and even managed to berth alongside the Inn, something most of the skippers and experienced sailors had never done before. The time here was spent having great food, some nice drink and watching the wedding party and two stag groups having fun besides the 6 sailing boats that we had brought. Bindi found an amazing dog that she brought out to show us, so we decided to set her a challenge of bringing us one of the stag boys and in less than 10 seconds, she bounded back with one as shown on the picture on the left. On the final day we had started late and had been sailing for about 2 hours when we decided to anchor up for a warm lunch before sailing back to Port Solent. We had already experienced a very rude Wight ferry that tried to run us down as we dared to sail the solent, even though they have the maneuverability and are supposed to avoid sail boats, meaning...
  • Vista and Office for Small Businesses - replying to Susanne's and Vijay's blogs

    Wow, I go on holiday, spend some time catching up on e-mail, and what do I find " There’s a whiff of coffee in the air… " asking if Microsoft can help position Vista and Office for small businesses and then Vijay also asking " What’s the Value Proposition…?? ". Now these two blogs acknowledge that there is value in both products, just that the communication of that value is not getting through. It is also worth me saying that I thoroughly appreicate and desire this sort of discourse. Without getting the occational slap around the face Microsoft can not improve what it does, especially if the slap is deserved. Lets start with some ground rules: Vista & Office are not something that every business has to buy either on the 30th November or the 30th January, some people can or will wait a month or two before they feel the need :-) Microsoft does not have all the answers - that is why we rely on a fantastic partner network to fill the gap between MSs view and the customers The products value is additive - one feature by itself is not necessarily enough, but putting things together and they will often solve enough problems to justify the purchase - sometimes the ROI is pure cash to the business, sometimes increased productivity and sometimes it is something that the business owner wants or knows will help them change their business the way they want. It is time to change how you and your customers work. Places where value was added before will now be in the box, ways of working will change for both partners and customers. This is something that has to be accepted by everyone. Standing still and clinging onto the past will not work in the IT industry Lets start answering some points raised by Susanne at UKSMBGIRL: The new ’start’ button - someone tell me again why this needed changing? If it was only a minor change that we shouldn’t be worried that lots of R&D money was spent on then why is it one of the first things everyone mentions when presenting? Minor change, well perhaps, but it is often one of the 1st things...
  • What to use to replace FrontPage (Expression Web or SharePoint Design) and get a free trial

    I asked my mate James Akrigg what to do for all those people who use FrontPage 2003 today to edit web pages and wish to progress - here is his response: If I am not modifying SharePoint sites then I would suggest Expression Web .. I have been using this for creating simple sites and creating Vista gadgets. It’s bang up-to-date with all things webified And so if you do have SharePoint then use SharePoint Designer .. without a doubt... At first glance Expression Web and SharePoint Designer look very similar.. but there are some subtle differences, the good news is that it is very easy to use both applications. For more information on SharePoint Designer go to http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepointdesigner/FX100487631033.aspx . You can get a free trial at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=BAA3AD86-BFC1-4BD4-9812-D9E710D44F42&displaylang=en For more information on Expression Web go to http://www.microsoft.com/products/expression/en/expression-web/default.mspx . You can get a free trial at http://www.microsoft.com/products/expression/en/expression-web/free-trial.mspx ttfn David Technorati tags: SharePoint , Expression , SharePoint Designer , Expression Web , Trial
  • How UKSBSGUY.com and DavidOverton.com use Dynamic DNS and why it broke the site … anyone have a better provider?

    Hi, My site is hosted by me on the end of a dynamically changing IP address (well, it could change, but has not for about 18 months). To get round this I have bought a number of domains, but they are all changed and updated by a magical piece of software that sits on my server that updates the DNS records for my domains whenever they change. This would be great, except for the fact that having had network/ISP trouble I now have Dynamic DNS trouble: When it works it is great, when not, it is very poor. In this case my provider is http://www.deerfield.com and I use their DNS2Go service – I’ve not found anyone better, so if you have a recommendation, let me know. One nice feature for these guys is that the 1 tool updates 5 domains ( http://davidoverton.com , http://uksbsguy.com , http://ukvistaguy.com are the main 3). If this all sounds a bit wondrous, here, in pictures are the steps: My basic architecture consists of my server, the Dynamic DNS provider, my Domain Registrar, you and the software provided: To set things up I had to register my domain and point the nameservers to the Dynamic DNS service providers servers: I then had to load the Dynamic DNS service providers software onto my server. Some routers also have this built into them, but then the service providers are limited: Then, in terms of how it works – my IP address will be changed by my ISP – at this point no-one will be able to connect to my server: The software will then update the Dynamic DNS provider with the new IP address – this is typically almost immediate which for me is just fine: Then when you come along with your browser, you can still get the correct IP address to find my site: Job done – this can be applied to almost any server!! ttfn David Technorati Tags: Personal , Dynamic DNS , ISP , Internet , UKSBSGUY.com , David Overton
  • Small Business Server 2008 downgrade rights questions and answers

    Last night I was at the Merseyside Partner group in Liverpool and once question that got asked again (and was in TPV and London too) was around downgrade rights from SBS 2008 to SBS 2003, so I dug for about 30 seconds and found these items on the Licensing FAQ site Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2008 : Q: What are downgrade rights? How do I exercise them? A: Downgrade rights, in general, means that you can use an earlier version of the software acquired. For Windows Small Business Server, this means you are allowed to install and use Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 Premium Edition instead of Windows Small Business Server 2008 Premium Edition, which is what you purchased. You can also install and use Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 Standard Edition instead of Windows Small Business Server 2008 Standard Edition. At any time, you can install the software you purchased and cease to use the earlier version. If you obtained your server with Windows Small Business Server preinstalled from a partner or OEM, in order to exercise your downgrade rights you must already have the earlier versions of Windows Small Business Server media available. If you purchased Open Licensing, Volume Licensing, Software Assurance, or the full retail product of Windows Small Business Server 2008, contact Microsoft fulfillment services in your region. Q: Are my Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 CALs valid to use to access my Windows Small Business Server 2008 network? A: No. You must have the CAL version that matches the version of the server software you are running. That is, if you have a Windows Small Business Server 2008 domain, you must have Windows Small Business Server 2008 CALs. Note: If you choose to run an earlier version of the server software (by way of using downgrade rights), you would still be in compliance with your license by acquiring Windows Small Business Server 2008 CALs. Q: How do I obtain CALs for earlier versions of Windows Small Business Server when they are discontinued? A: You will need to purchase...
  • How to get great moving Aurora background on your Vista desktop today

    There is a benchmark / system test tool in Vista called WinSAT. You can test all sorts of things and those of you who want to poke around in it you can. However I found a less than used feature and it gives you an expensive Aurora backdrop in Windows. To make this work, open up an elevated cmd prompt and type the following: start /B winsat aurora & net stop uxsms & net start uxsms This will set the winsat tool running and give you a nice backdrop and re-enable aero on your desktop. You may need to press the Windows key to see yoru task bar again. Please note WinSAT is a test program, not designed to be a backdrop displayer, but it does look very pretty. ttfn David
  • Its not often I get a comment that makes me respond on a personal level, but here is one. Action Pack, life expectance of Microsoft and your business

    I got this comment recently on one of the blogs and decided to respond to each part as it covers so many topics. It seems you have some useful info, albeit widely available, info here, thanks. MS raised its action pack pricing by 50% a few years back. And yes, if you were to use the various server licenses, it would be a fair value. I choose the word fair intentionally, as the intent is, or should be, for IT companies to become experienced with its product, in order to do what?… sell it! The action pack is all about generating sales. We should get it free. The info here is available in other places, but people were having trouble finding it, so I brought it all together in one place. With regard to the Action Pack being free - I completely disagree - If you are selling almost any other product (in any industry) - you might get demonstration items, one or two people might even get the odd free item, but many people will not be able to run their business of of it. You can get eval copies of Vista & Office - online trials etc, but if you can't see the value in the products (yes, even the upgrades, Office 2007 and the servers) when you are paying a fraction of the price that your customers are paying then I personally doubt it is right for you - at £200, £500 or £0. You are running a business, just like your many of your customers - you invest in that business and this is not a large investment. Does Intel or AMD give you free processors for all your systems when a new one comes out? How about your hardware, Internet connection or so on. If you are selling to home users, they have to pay quite a chunk for the hardware, software and your time - if you can't honestly say "I would spend that money on that" that I am sure your customers will figure it out. End user experiences, either SMB, corporate, individual or otherwise should be the primary concern. In short, I obviously don’t have direct access to the volume of consultants you said you do, but I can’t find anyone, online or otherwise, that’s happy with this “upgrade...
  • Remote Desktop Connection (mstsc) always has the wrong domain name, IP address or always prompting me about security - here are the fixes

    One of my UK SBSC partners asked me how to do a couple things in Remote Desktop using the new Vista RDP v6 client as they were bugging the hell out of him and others (I asked him how Vista was going). Since he admins a number of SBS boxes, these were his top (valid) gripes: Stop putting in IP addresses for the domain name Stop the pre-prompt for credentials when TSing to another system Stop the statement about security every time I try to remote admin into things The good news is that much of this has been documented else where. Stop putting in IP addresses for the domain name Problem is that you fill in a screen like this and get a prompt as below. Notice it has the domain name as the IP address? The quick answer is to type the username as <domain>\<username> - eg abusiness\administrator. This will change the domain name. Stop the pre-prompt for credentials when TSing to another system Now the pre-prompting for credentials is the process we have just seen above. This is required in domains where Network Level Authentication will stop the TS connection without the appropriate credentials before the connection is made. Details of this can be found at http://blogs.msdn.com/ts/archive/2007/01/22/vista-remote-desktop-connection-authentication-faq.aspx#_When_to_use Stop the statement about security every time I try to remote admin into things This is again due to increased security levels. It can be solved by either editing your RDP file (the default.rdp file is in your documents folder - it is a text file) or by going tothe advanced tab and tellit it to always connect. This information can be found at both http://weblogs.asp.net/owscott/archive/2006/11/10/Vista_2700_s-Remote-Desktop-Prompt.aspx and http://blogs.msdn.com/ts/archive/2007/01/22/vista-remote-desktop-connection-authentication-faq.aspx#_How_to_eliminate ttfn David Technorati tags: Vista , Windows Vista , Terminal Server , RDP , Remote Desktop , Credential Prompt
  • How to add external contacts to the GAL (global address list or the list of names found by default in Outlook) by adding them to Active Directory

    So you may remember the call for help that led to the article How to add public folders to the list of contacts in Outlook : We currently have several public folders which contain email address and contact information for people outside of our company that we want to keep up with. I would like to put these in the All Contacts list on the server, so everyone can open it and reference it when sending email. The only thing I can find it to put them in Active Directory so they can be on the list. Surely there is another way to get this done, but how. I also am not opposed to manually typing them in (and weeding out old contacts), but don't feel very comfortable putting 800 outsiders in my AD. Having proposed the solution in the above link, I then got back the following reply: Thanks David for the reply. I have some address books in the public folder that I have done that to, but was trying to move away from the public folder and have the addresses included in the "All Contacts" under the "All Addresses" section for the organization. Is there a way to do that? Well there is a way - there is a huge difference between a contact in Active Directory and a User. If you add “contacts” to the AD they will appear in the address lists. Personally, I would suggest that to avoid anyone accidently sending a mail to a customer instead of someone internally you did not merge the two lists together, but you could export your contacts via Outlook and then use a script to load them into AD as contacts. A scripted way to add contacts from a CSV or Excel file can be found at http://computerperformance.co.uk/vbscript/vbscript_contact_create.htm#Example_2:_Script_to_create_a_Contact_from_Spreadsheet_Data_ Ttfn David
  • How to open Office 2007 (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007) files on Office 2000, Office XP and Office 2003 by downloading the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for File Formats

    I get asked this question quite often, so I thought I would point out the download location for the tool to make files work between Office 2000, XP, 2003 and 2007. Just to cover off some details - Office 2007 can save in Office 97-2003 file format as well as the new Open XML and PDF file formats. Using this download, files can be opened and saved in Office 2007 format in Office 2000 and later. Of special note is that if you are using Microsoft Office XP or 2003 you MUST install all High-Priority updates from Microsoft Update before downloading the Compatibility Pack . Also, if you don't have those Office programs, but you have the viewers (Microsoft Office Word Viewer 2003, Excel Viewer 2003, and PowerPoint Viewer 2003) then you can use the pack to view files saved in these new formats. For more information about the Compatibility Pack, see Knowledge Base article 924074 . Also Note: If you use Microsoft Word 2000 or Microsoft Word 2002 to read or write documents containing complex scripts, please see http://support.microsoft.com/kb/925451 for information to enable Word 2007 documents to be displayed correctly in your version of Word. Finally, if you are planning on installing this for lots of users the administrative template for the Word, Excel, and PowerPoint converters contained within the Compatibility Pack is available for download. thanks David Technorati tags: Office 2007 , Office 2003 , Office XP , Office 2000 , Word , Excel , PowerPoint , Open XML , file compatibility
  • How to configure SQL Server 2005 to allow remote connections on Windows Server 2008 (Longhorn) / Windows Vista

    Just a quick one - I was playing around with SQL2005 on my Longhorn server and I could not connect from a remote machine - Ahh I thought, the firewall is in the way, but it turned out I had to do 3 or 4 things to get things working. The Microsoft KB article that pointed to the light was How to configure SQL Server 2005 to allow remote connections which covers how to enable the firewall for the 2 programs you need and so on. When you try to connect to an instance of Microsoft SQL Server 2005 from a remote computer, you may receive an error message. This problem may occur when you use any program to connect to SQL Server. For example, you receive the following error message when you use the SQLCMD utility to connect to SQL Server: Sqlcmd: Error: Microsoft SQL Native Client: An error has occurred while establishing a connection to the server. When connecting to SQL Server 2005, this failure may be caused by the fact that under the default settings SQL Server does not allow remote connections. This problem may occur when SQL Server 2005 is not configured to accept remote connections. By default, SQL Server 2005 Express Edition and SQL Server 2005 Developer Edition do not allow remote connections. To configure SQL Server 2005 to allow remote connections, complete all the following steps: Enable remote connections on the instance of SQL Server that you want to connect to from a remote computer. Turn on the SQL Server Browser service. Configure the firewall to allow network traffic that is related to SQL Server and to the SQL Server Browser service. Well, the above is all well and good, but we also need to remember that in a Vista and Longhorn setup the "admin" accounts do not have admin control over the database, so you may well also need to run the SQL 2005 Surface Area tool that enables you to add administrators I also found I had to enable network connections by going to the SQL Server Configuration Manager and enabling TCP connections on my IP v4 network. ttfn David Technorati tags: SQL , Vista , Longhorn...
  • We listen to you - changes that you have requested for Action Pack and where we are with them

    People often wonder what happens to the feedback provided through the blog and the Regional Support Centers, so I thought I would give you a quick update. Below are some things that you have asked for and the current status of them. I know not all the answers are what you want to hear, but at least you know we are working on things Things we have solved Problem Answer Business Contact Manager was not included in Action Pack Product will be included (probably from July) Lack of 64-bit Windows Server Shipped as a special shipment and will be standard from July pack Damaged Actions Packs and missing CDs We apologise for this and ask you to contact the regional support center for replacements. At the moment we are not getting too many complaints about this, but will monitor Can I have 64-bit Vista Hopefully this will be shipped in the next kit Things still in progress (the light is closer for these items than the 2 items in the last section) Problem Answer Downloads for AP subscribers – when will this be generally available? We are aware of the need. In the short term if you want downloads, please look at TechNet, which also provides you with two support calls as part of the cost Shipment of Office OPK We are still trying to work through this Groove in the next version of MAPS? Nothing to announce yet, but again, working on it Things we can't fix yet, but are still trying to find a way to fix Problem Answer Absence of SharePoint Designer from MAPS This is not currently due to be shipped in the Action Pack Ability of MAPS edition of Office 2007 to run on Terminal Services There is currently no Volume License software in the Action Pack and it would be a significant change to vary from this. While we understand the issue, we can not resolve this at this time. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Action Pack , MAPS
  • Fix for Excel 2007 and Excel Services calculation errors

    I know that a few people had the pleasure of throwing a few pies at Microsoft when this was discovered, but a fix is now available. Description of the Excel 2007 hotfix package: October 9, 2007 This hotfix package fixes the following issue that was not previously documented in a Microsoft Knowledge Base article: When you perform a calculation in Excel 2007, the following behavior occurs: The result of the calculation is a number from 65534.99999999995 to 65535. The calculation is performed correctly. However, the result is incorrectly shown as 100000. The result of the calculation is a number from 65535.99999999995 to 65536. The calculation is performed correctly. However, the result is incorrectly shown as 100001. To resolve this problem, apply this hotfix. After you apply the hotfix, recalculate the spreadsheets that are in manual calculation mode. When you do this, the values in the spreadsheet will be updated to the correct values. Excel 2007 Download the Excel 2007 hotfix package now. ( http://download.microsoft.com/download/6/1/3/61343075-aa12-4152-a761-fccc16d6cef4/office-kb943075-fullfile-x86-glb.exe ) Excel Services Download the 32-bit Excel Services 2007 hotfix package now. ( http://download.microsoft.com/download/c/d/c/cdcccd84-86cd-4199-b01c-1df2dac66534/office-kb943076-fullfile-x86-glb.exe ) Download the 64-bit Excel Services 2007 hotfix package now. ( http://download.microsoft.com/download/c/d/c/cdcccd84-86cd-4199-b01c-1df2dac66534/office-kb943076-fullfile-x64-glb.exe ) ttfn David Technorati Tags: Excel 2007 , Excel Services , Hotfix
  • Where to get lots and lots of information on BCM (Business Contact Manager) 2007

    I found this blog and realised several things. 1) The Brelsford family (no, they are not related) are very good in the small business space. 2) I now have a BCM 2007 hero. Who am I talking about? Bill Brelsford - http://blog.rebarbusinessbuilders.com/about.html - who says "For the past 20 years, I have been working with and for small businesses in a variety of roles." I love BCM and here are some of the things he has written about BCM. It is worth noting that Bill does not just write about BCM, but many things including marketing and many other issues that a small business would face. BCM: Setting Up Marketing Campaigns in BCM Tracking Customer Anniversary Dates in BCM Getting Started Managing Suspects in BCM Small Business CRM It has to be worth a look. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Business Contact Manager , BCM , Small Business
  • "Windows Essential Server Solutions family of products" announcement

    Today is the start of the Server 2008 PR ramp up. I can today tell you a bit more about Cougar, as was, or SBS 2008 as it will be, the new "family" that SBS is part of and a bit more on Windows Essential Business Server 2008 (aka Centro). Hopefully there will be a couple of surprises and also confirmation of some of the rumours around there. I've sliced the press release made today into 3 sections. This blog entry is based on the "family" section of which there is an extract below of some key points. The whole press release can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2008/feb08/02-20EBFamilyPR.mspx . To help small and midsize organizations improve business efficiency, increase productivity and drive growth, Microsoft Corp. introduced the Windows Essential Server Solutions family of products, built on Windows Server 2008 and the newest Microsoft server technologies and services. The company also unveiled details about the newly named Windows Small Business Server 2008. The Windows Essential Server Solutions family includes Windows Small Business Server 2008 and Windows Essential Business Server 2008 for midsize companies. Microsoft conducted extensive research and gathered in-depth feedback worldwide to design the solutions, in order to meet the unique needs of small and midsize customers and partners. The products integrate the technologies of Windows Server 2008, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, and other Microsoft products and services into all-in-one solutions that are reliable, easy to manage and able to grow with customers. “There are 31.9 million small businesses and 1.2 million midsize companies worldwide in need of powerful IT solutions, * and they typically have very small IT staffs, or none at all,” said Bob Kelly, corporate vice president at Microsoft. “Windows Essential Server Solutions make the benefits of enterprise-class IT accessible, affordable and simpler for smaller organizations and their technology advisors.” Windows Small Business Server 2008 Multiplies Business...
  • Microsoft job cuts: thousands of UK staff at risk - ComputerWeekly.com - What a load of old rubbish

    [updated post MS announcement on 22nd January 2009] I hate bad journalism and this is a really good prime example. Microsoft job cuts: thousands of UK staff at risk Author: Cliff Saran Posted: 11:08 05 Jan 2009 Rumours are spreading on the web that up to 3000 staff at Microsoft UK could face redundancy. Up to 30,000 jobs worldwide could be at risk, as the company battles with the economic crisis, which has led to businesses spending less on software Microsoft like any other business is facing financial pressure, so I'm sure there will be a squeeze, but there are less than 3,000 employees at Microsoft UK, so cuts of 3,000 staff would remove Microsoft UK from the map. Maybe someone lent on the keyboard too much and put an extra zero or two on the end. I'm absolutely not in the know, but this is clearly (I hope) bull writing at it's best. New people join and others leave Microsoft all the time, just like any enterprise. In the past the balance has been tipped so that more people join than those who want to leave and perhaps the balance will tip the other way, but if this did happen, I suspect it would be the same as many, many other companies. There has already been speculation about this, at http://www.networkworld.com/news/2008/100308-microsoft-denies-hiring.html for example. If there are redundancies it will be very sad and is never nice for those involved, however I don't expect 3,000 of us to go! Just to be sure, I've checked this morning and my pass is still valid! [update] Microsoft have just released the quarters financial statement as well as the redundancy information. While it is unfortunate that some jobs will go, the immediate impact is just 5% of that reported in the article. As I said earlier, reporting a UK figure that is greater than the whole UK company is just plain silly and should never have happened. I appreciate that this was based on rumours, but surely some checking of the facts, such as how many employees actually worked in the UK before they reported every one of them being...
  • Using Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) to share documents and ensure everyone is up to date by using Outlook shared attachments

    So we have great documents, but as soon as often they are shares, they get out of date. Examples of this are price lists product information shared resources list To get over this we are going to look at Document Workspaces in CompanyWeb and Office 2003. Let’s start at the beginning, no matter what I tell people, they do not like going to a web site to load, upload a file etc. Also, setting user permissions is a nightmare and they might even just start passing round usernames and passwords. The most obvious answer for most people is to use e-mail. The very process of creating an e-mail with an attachment and marking it as a live attachment creates a document workspace. It is secured to only those people that the e-mail goes to and the document knows where it came from, so will try ot update the site or get updates from the site when saved and loaded. This ensures that any document sent this way, or using a document work group will auto-update. Documents stored on SharePoint sites like to auto update. Each time the document is saved to the site, a new version is created, so there is an audit trail. They can be checked in and out to provide greater controll over editing and approval can be applied if desired to the publication process. To test this yourself, go to your SBS connected machine, open a new mail in Outlook and type a few names in the too line. Then type something like "updated documents for everyone to see" in the subject line. Then choose file from the insert menu and insert a file from the documents folder. The task pane should appear on the right and click live attachment. If it does not appear, then press the attachment options button next to the file inserted. Click Shared Attachment. Notice the extra text inthe e-mail - the link is where your document store will be created. Note the web site is created once the file is sent and it is secured by the people in the to & cc lines. Once this has been sent, go to the sent items in outlook at click the link to open up the intranet site. You may have to...
  • Auto-reply tool for Windows live Messenger

    Simple tool - allows for automatic (a bit like out of office replies) to Windows Live Messenger. http://www.frameworkx.com/Frameworkx/software.aspx?id=205 ttfn David
  • We came, saw, listened to the feedback and now Office 2007 will work with Open Document Format documents to enable interchange

    So, what we are not doing is throwing away the excellent Office Document XML standards as these make accessing information inside a document a dream compared to other standards, however we are ensuring interchange can happen. Darren has more info on his blog . One thing, if you don't believe me about the two XML formats, create a document in both and see which is easier to extract the info from :-) ttfn David
  • SBS 2003 R2 delay and what people are saying baout it - especially Vlad

    Sometimes you have to shout about when you think things are right while others are putting it down. SBS 2003 R2 - I have had sooooooo many conversations over the last 9 months about why this feature is in or out. I ended up being very blunt, saying, this is the 2nd release of SBS 2003, it has a bunch of new features ala Windows Server 2003 R2, yes, it might not have everything in we wanted, but the "Green Check" and SQL 2005 are significant enough that NEW customers and existing customers should look at it. Now, here we are, having just releases SBS 2003 R2 and we are pulling it back in due to bugs, before it has reached the shelves for most people. I was expecting flak, but instead I see comments like this at Vlad's site saying thanks for us actually being bold enough to fix the problem. It is also worth going to his site to see the video!!! This is why I love the Small Biz community - we can be honest with each other. At the Small Biz Blog we were able to say that there is a quality issue and we wanted to fix it before it got out the door. We get credit from Larry for making this move. I have spent 5 years in MS working with partners and also journalists, and this is easily the nicest response I have had for this type of issue, so THANK-YOU small business community for making this an enjoyable place to work ttfn David
  • Microsoft software for Charities in the UK

    OK, so once upon a time I used to give out software for charities, but those days are gone. However, there is a fantastic deal available for charities via the Charity Exchange. The software is donated by Microsoft (and others) and then an administration charge is added. There are various criteria to be met to use the Charity Technology Exchange, but the overall pricing is VERY good for charities - and of course, if the software is discounted as this is the right thing to do, perhaps so should the services too ;-) Anyway, the site can he found at http://www.ctxchange.org/ctx/browse_products/microsoft/default.asp and the prices include software assurance, so the Office 2003 and Windows XP prices entitle the charity to Office 2007 and Windows Vista Enterprise (as it is a Volume License). An example would be a 50 seat SBS Premium solution with Windows XP and Office 2003 (both upgradable - also note that a previous Windows OS is required on the PC to load the Windows OS - it is an upgrade, not a version that can be installed on a bare hard disk) SBS - £37 5 CAL Pack x 9 - £11 x 9 = £101 Windows XP Upgrades x 50 - £4 x 50 = £200 Office 2003 Pro x 50 - £11 x 50 = £550 Grand Total = £888 - +VAT - including Software Assurance While I don't have UK prices, SBS would be $1,500, the CAL packs would be 9 x $495, Office is around $450 I think - so this marks a HUGE saving. These were the prices yesterday. Now, tell me why every Charity can't upgrade? ttfn David
  • Outlook 2003 with Business Contact Manager and Small Business Accounting 2006 - Update for Vista and Office 2007 support

    Service Pack 4 for Outlook 2003 with Business Contact Manager Update and for Small Business Accounting 2006 fixes the following issues that were not previously documented in the Microsoft Knowledge Base: Application compatibility with Windows Vista Application compatibility between Outlook 2003 with Business Contact Manager Update and Office Accounting 2007 Source: Description of Service Pack 4 for Outlook 2003 with Business Contact Manager Update and for Small Business Accounting 2006 ttfn David Technorati tags: BCM , Business Contact Manager , Small business , CRM , Service Pack
  • How to remove those spaces before, after and inbetween paragraphs in Word 2007 (Part of Office 2007)

    I got this mail on the blog today, so decided I would post a solution: 2007 Vista Student and Office Edition does not allow me to create one line spacing in Address Headings but okay within the body of the letter, is this a glitch. I have never experienced this in my former Word Programs. In the dialog box it does specify single spacing. Any advice would be appreciated I have created a simple document and you might notice that there is a big gap between each sentence. This is caused by both line spacing and space before or after the paragraphs. I will walk you through the process I went through to make things look less spaced out. To do all of this I will be using just one icon on the ribbon bar - the one circled below If I hover over this, you can see it is for line spacing. The 1st thing I did was highlight my text and try setting the line spacing to 1.0 - you can see the result is that the text is slightly closer together. Next I clicked the "Remove Space Before Paragraph" option and you will notice that things now look as they should do. Now if I select the top line as a heading, all the space has gone, but there is a huge chunck of space at the top, doing the same as above to the heading sorted that out too :-) The finished product ttfn David Technorati tags: Office 2007 , Tips
  • Trial Software Kit for Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2

    I was recently asked how to get a trial of SBS. You can't download one, but as a customer you can order one here. Note that if you go to the international pages you might have to scroll around a bit to find the right bit of information. If you are a partner and wish to give them to use them with your customers then you only need one copy as you can re-use the key we provide you and you can get it from the Partner Marketplace For customers: Trial Software Kit for Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 North America – Order your CD package here. Other Locations – The SBS 2003 R2 Trial is not generally available outside North America. Please select your country from the SBS Worldwide page to determine whether the trial software is available in your location. For Partners: Partner MarketPlace - eg Market - Partners - Microsoft UK You searched for items of collateral related to the Small Business Server (SBS) group. To add items to your order, select a quantity from the drop down box. Description Type Audience Price Quantity Gear Up Sales Toolkit The Microsoft Gear Up Sales Toolkit is the licensing and sales 'product encyclopaedia' that will help you generate up-sell and cross-sell opportunities. Marketing Kit Sales £0.00 Selling to Small Business Guide This guide explains Microsoft's approach to the Small Business market, and offers advice to Partners on how to maximise their sales and marketing efforts to this audience. Partner Guide Sales £0.00 Windows SBS 2003 R2 Integrated server solution for small businesses Evaluation Software All £0.00 ttfn David Technorati tags: Evaluation , SBS 2003
  • Action Pack subscription changes - you should know about them, but they start on 1st March

    I know that this has been well sign-posted and people have discussed the merits etc in the past, however this is a reminder!! As I’m sure you’re aware, from March 1 st all subscribers wishing to renew must pass an assessment. This is what you need to know: 1. We’ve made available on the Partner Portal an enrolment and re-enrolment guide, which will help people with renewals (see: www.microsoft.com/uk/partner/actionpack and https://partner.microsoft.com/UK/40049696 ). 2. The portal also contains all the info that those interested in MAPS need, however if anyone is experiencing issues renewing, we do want to encourage them to call the Regional Support Centre (RSC) for assistance. In the UK that number is: 0800 917 3128. Also if you have any questions regarding your current Action Pack subscription, please call 0870 60 70 700 (press option 1) thanks David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , Microsoft Partner Program , SBSC , Action Pack
  • Simple items in the SBS 2008 Console setup

    The Console setup process ( Once SBS is set up, how to do the basic configuration through the management console ) has a few items that are just one or two screens, so rather than dedicating a separate post to them, here they are by themselves: There are then the following steps that took me about 20-mins to complete: 1. Read the document on how to use the SBS console 3. Accept the Customer feedback option 5. Adding a trust certificate (I don’t have one, but I’ll show you the screen shot) ttfn David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , SBS 2008 , SBS , Tips , SBSC , Small Business , Small Business Server 2008 , Community , Partner , Console
  • Server line-up for small businesses (and home) is increasing in options (or complexity for some) - SBS 2008, Home, Foundation, Windows Standard Server or BPOS - how do you choose?

    This is a long running question that people ask me - how to position the various server options from Microsoft for small businesses. The more choice Microsoft offers, the more complex it can become if you do not have a starting point to find the right product for a customer. So, Home Server, Foundation Server and SBS - what is it all about, especially when you look at something like Windows 7 or BPOS too? N.B. To get a detailed feature comparison between SBS 2003 and SBS 2008 have a look at the excellent work of Sean at http://sbs.seandaniel.com/2008/08/what-different-between-sbs-2003-and-sbs.html . Well, in the home or the smaller sized business market (think sweet spot of 1-7 users IMHO) there are a number of MS products that could fit the bill… Windows Client PC as a server (don't do this for businesses) Windows Home Server Foundation server Windows Server Small Business Server Online solution Server Options I suspect people know the options here, but here is a very short run-down on each and why you might or might not look at them: Windows 7 Client PC as a server Great to share files between a few PCs on a trusted network. Only with Windows 7 do you start to get better sharing security via the home group and many server oriented pieces of software can't run on it. Great for home hub (my Media Center does a bit of this), but please save your self trouble and get a server for the work environment. You will save of time and money of management very quickly in a business. Also note that server software will often not install on a Client PC. Windows Home Server This is a fantastic home hub server with functionality to hold and protect your shared files by duplicating them, backing up desktop PCs and providing remote access. Today it is built on Windows Server 2003 technology, but it does the job well. If in a business you simply want a place to store files and backups without managed security or any other server functionality and web based accessed to those files, it can do an OK job. For more info of...
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(c)David Overton 2006-13