Tech Blog Import from previous Blog

MAY 13, 2013


Mitsubishi Grandis Key Fob

Key fob lost sync again today. Tried a different method than last time

With engine off
press and hold both buttons on the remote until the light stays on permanently(usually about 10seconds).
Start the engine
Press the lock button on the key fob
Then turn the key to the off position
Try the remote

NOVEMBER 29, 2012


Consolidating vmdk files with missing descriptor files on Vsphere 5

Hopefully I won’t find myself in this place again or anyone else will but just in case here are a few notes on how I sorted the problem. I don’t now a lot about VMware so take this advice at your own risk and make a backup but it certainly got me out of a hole.
The issue came from having a live server that I thought I didn’t need it any more and hitting the delete button. I thought I had gotten away with it but when I came to do some server moves I removed this particular server from the inventory and went to re-add it and couldn’t find any server description file. When I went to re-create the server and just add the disks I then found there were no disk description files either and to make matters worse each disk of which there were 2 had 2 delta copies as well.

First task was to create a new descriptor file for the flat disk. To do this I connected with SSH to the server and navigated to the directory that had the files.

I assumed the disk was created with lsilogic and that was what I was going to use on the new server. I ran the following command to get the file size of the disk
ls –l
I then created a new disk of exactly the same size as the flat file disk using this command
mkfstools -c 41949184 -a lsilogic -d thin temp.vmdk
I created it thin to save on time and space. Replace the 41949184 value with the size of the disk you got back from running ls-l
Next I copied temp.vmdk to be the same name as the disk I was working with so in this case the flat file disk was server-000001-flat.vmdk so I ran the following command
Cp temp.vmdk server-000001.vmdk
Next step was to edit server-000001.vmdk so that it referenced the flat file disk
To do this the bits I changed were the line under # Extent description to reference the flatfile disk in this case “server-flat.vmdk”
The other thing I had to do was to remove a line as my disk wasn’t thin provisioned like the test file I had created so I removed
ddb.thinProvisioned = "1"
which left me with the following file

# Extent description
RW 41949184 VMFS "server-flat.vmdk"
# The Disk Data Base
ddb.virtualHWVersion = "8"
ddb.longContentID = "499d516001b3e0016cb0e84bfffffffe"
ddb.uuid = "60 00 C2 9c ab e2 97 fb-40 d4 58 22 ef fa 5c 34"
ddb.geometry.cylinders = "2611"
ddb.geometry.heads = "255"
ddb.geometry.sectors = "63"
ddb.adapterType = "lsilogic"

Now most of this stuff is on the web and written a lot better than this but the next bit I struggled with for a bit due to the multiple delta snapshot files
So in my case I had the following additional files
I knew from the modified date that Server-000003-delta.vmdk was the latest file and I wanted to consolidate these down to a new vmdk and then I could add them to the newly recreated server.
The next bit I worked out by creating a few snapshots of another virtual machine that I had and looking at how it created the disk descriptor files for that machine.
This is what I ended up with for server-000001.vmdk
# Disk DescriptorFile
# Extent description
RW 41949184 VMFSSPARSE "Servertemp-000001-delta.vmdk"
The important things seemed to be
• CID=ffffffe2 – unique ID for each disk. I just incremented the hexadecimal number by 1
• parentCID=ffffffe1 – Has to reference the CID of the file before it so in this case as this was the first delta it referenced the CID of the flat file
• createType="vmfsSparse" – Needed this in the config for any deltas as opposed to createType="vmfs" which it needed in the flat file
• parentFileNameHint="server.vmdk" – name of the previous file in the chain so in this case the flat file
• RW 41949184 VMFSSPARSE "Servertemp-000001-delta.vmdk" – The size refers to the original size of the flat file and doesn’t need to change for any of the deltas. VMFSSPARSE needs to be added as a command and the vmdk you reference is the vmdk of the delta so in this case it was Servertemp-000001-delta.vmdk
server-000003-delta.vmdk has to reference the previous delta file rather than the flat file and it looks like this continues down the chain so the next delta always references the previous delta. So this file looked like this
# Disk DescriptorFile
CID= ffffffe3
parentCID= ffffffe2
# Extent description
RW 41949184 VMFSSPARSE "server-000003-delta.vmdk"

Once all of disks now how descriptions so the next step was to consolidate them into a new disk
vmkfstools -i "/vmfs/volumes/4cb36b1c-e52a1b62-5036-001e0b6c4376/server/server-000003.vmdk" "/vmfs/volumes/4cb36b1c-e52a1b62-5036-001e0b6c4376/newserver/newserver.vmdk" -d thin
Point this command at the last delta in the chain as the source and then specify a new disk as the destination

JANUARY 24, 2012


Mitsubishi Key Fob - recode

Had a dead mitsubishi tear drop style key fob for a cobra alarm. Found some text on the internet that suggested you may be able to recode by shorting some pins on the OBD adapter and ended up nearly setting fire to the car. In the end I found a much safer way that actually worked.
The problem I had was the key fob appeared to be working where the panic button worked and when unlock was pressed the little LED inside did light up but the car didnt lock / unlock.
To fix the issue I had to do the following
Face the car door
Press and hold both buttons on the key fob, the red light should flash and then stay on
Release both buttons and the light should go off
Turn away from the door and press the big button once
Turn back to the door and press the big button again

NOVEMBER 07, 2011


XBOX 360 System Update Stopped

Had this issue today with my xbox and found the following on a post in a forum which helped me

When I inserted a new game the console rebooted it came back with the message containing "System Update Stopped ... contact\support ...

I tried turning off/on, re-inserting several disks, unplugging power, holding the sync button down and powering on, nothing worked. I tried to run the latest update (downloaded from the Xbox support updates site) from a FAT32 formatted USB stick: nu luck.

What did the trick for me in the end

1. Look at the second bunch of numbers in the error code which in my case was 351f convert it from hex to decimal to give 13599
2. Then go to and download that version of the update.
3. Unzip the contents and place on the root of a usb stick
4. Insert the USB stick into the xbox and it should resume.

NOVEMBER 16, 2010


Jailbreak PS3

Had an issue with getting my first game from the backup manager onto it tonight. The problem I had was all down to folder struture. The game has to sit in a folder called GAMEZ. Then it has to sit in a folder called BCES-00XXX where xxx is a 3 digit number relating the the game. In there there should be the PS_GAME folder PS_UPDATE and a PS_DISC.SFB file. In my case I didnt know the xxx value so opened up the .sfb file and managed to fine it in there. Once everything was in the correct structure it worked a treat.

NOVEMBER 07, 2010


ESX Put Snapshots into a different Directory

By default, the snapshot of your VM’s are created in the same folder where the VM exist. Sometimes you need to create a snapshot elsewhere. Why?

- There is not enough space on VMFS volume…
- You are not able to power on a VM because this one cannot create a swap file on the VMFS volume (which is full of course).

What do do?

To change the default location:

01.) Power off the virtual machine.
02.) Add the following line to the VMX configuration file for the virtual machine:


For example: workingDir=”/vmfs/volumes/46f1225f-552b0069-e03b-00145e808070/vm-snapshots”
03.) You need to reload virtual machine configuration, run the command at the console:

# vimsh -ne “vmsvc/reload “

When you power on the virtual machine, snapshot files and VSWP files are created in the new location.

DECEMBER 02, 2009


Change the folder for the picture screensaver in Ubuntu

Οne of thе default screensavers included wіth Ubuntu іs onе thаt wіll display whatever pictures уou hаve ѕaved іn уour ‘Pictures’ folder (/homе//Pictures). Τhe screensaver wіll randomly display a picture from thіs аnd аny subfolders.

However, thеre’s no wаy of customsing whіch folder thе screensaver rеads іf уou wаnt to uѕe уour Pictures folder to ѕtore pictures, but manage whіch of thеse images іs uѕed.

A workaround іs аs follows:

Create a nеw folder somewhere (іt doеsn’t hаve to bе undеr thе ‘Pictures’ folder)
Οpen a terminal window (select Terminal undеr Accessories)
еnter thе following:
gkѕu gеdit /uѕr/ѕhare/applications/screensavers/personal-slideshow.desktop(еnter уour password іf prompted)

Scroll down to thе lіne (nеar thе еnd) thаt begins
Εxec=slideshowΑdd thе following аfter thіs command:
--location=(Υou wіll hаve to uѕe standard escape sequences іf уou hаve spaces іn thе pаth.)

Ηere’s аn example:
Εxec=slideshow --location=/homе/myusername/Pictures/Μy\ ScreensaverΑnd thаt’s іt. Ѕave thе fіle, аnd restart уour screensaver. Ιt wіll now onlу search for pictures іn уour chosen folder.

MAY 08, 2009


Dell Latitude D610 Windows 7 Graphics Driver

I installed the RC of Windows 7 of a D610 last night and apart from it being a bit slow due to it having 512MB of ram its running it quite well. There were no Windows 7 / Vista drivers for this machine on the Dell website but all the XP drivers seem to work OK. The one exception to this was the Video drivers.

To resolve this I downloaded the drivers from here

I had to change the properties on the exe to run as administrator and in Windows XP compatabilty mode to install it but seems to be working fine.

MARCH 05, 2009


Ubuntu - Connecting to stuff on my Windows network

I had been using the Dolphin file manager to do this previously as it was easy to use but the problem was when I wanted to play a music file or view photos it would have to copy them to the machine first.

I used the information here to allow me to mount network drives as local folders which works a lot bettr as I can then browse through the content as if it was on my machine.

MARCH 03, 2009


iplayer downloads

This app lets you download shows from iplayer so you can view them offline

to install it in ubuntu

sudo dpkg -i get_iplayer-current.deb
sudo apt-get -f install

you can then run
to get a list of the tv shows

then using the number next to the show you want to download
get_iplayer --get 123

additional commands at

FEBRUARY 27, 2009


Crunchbang Linux

Decided to try a new flavour of linux on the netbook to see if by going with an Ubuntu based distribution there would be more up to date stuff avalable.

I went with crashbang as it looked like most of the stuff worked...even though it had a dodgy name
I followed this guide

I had to rebuild it shortly after as I found that if I installed the recomended kernel I couldnt get my Vodafone mobile Connect USB stick to be recognised by the netbook.

I installed vodafone mobile connect from here
follow the instructions under the Debian, Ubuntu, Ubuntu Netbook Remix, Linux Mint secion

Only other configuration I have had to do so far is to get the mic to work in skype I had to set the inbound sound to use the device HDA Interl (hw:intel,0) from the dropdown options in the skype sound devices configuration.

FEBRUARY 26, 2009


Backing up Acer Aspire One

I usd this method to backup the netbook tonight before I tried a different version of Linux

Had to zero the drive first to reclaim all the space I had been using otherwise my backup was just too large

Acer Aspire One Backup
AA1BACKUP is a backup solution for the Acer Aspire One based on free and open source software. It makes an exact copy of the drive, bit for bit, and therefore works with any file system, partition table or operating system. And to emphasize its operating system independence it can be installed from either Linux or Windows.

In Windows just download the installer from here.
In Linux open a terminal and run the following commands.

wget -O aa1blinux
chmod 755 aa1blinux && sudo ./aa1blinux

The only selectable option is the drive letter or device node.


You can now reboot and press F12 to select the USB drive from the boot menu. The next menu will only have two options: BACKUP and RESTORE. Selecting either of them will start the fully automated backup or restoration process. There will be no further prompts or warnings.


A sufficiently large USB drive is obviously required to store the backup on. If your USB stick or external USB hard drive matches or exceeds the size of the internal solid state disk or hard drive you're set.

In most cases a smaller USB drive will also work due to the data being compressed during the backup. Not already compressed data is compressed by a factor of 2:1 on average at a speed of about 40 MB/s, which exceeds the write speed of any USB stick and most portable external hard drives. Free space is compressed by a factor of 250:1. Note that most of the free space may not be really empty, depending on the amount of data already written to the drive, but just not indexed in the file table. To get the increased compression ratio just overwrite all free space with zeros. There are probably a few freeware tools to do this in Windows, one of them is eraser. In Linux only a single command is required.

dd if=/dev/zero of=zero; rm -f zero

Another benefit of zeroing the free space is an increased backup speed, especially if you only have a slow USB stick. And most of them are very slow. If the write speed is not specifically advertised or mentioned anywhere then it's usually just 3MB/s. External hard drives are usually fast enough, but a 120GB or 160GB backup will take a while in any case.

A fresh system installed from the recovery image with some modifications takes up about 2-4GB of disk space, depending on the amount of actual software removed or installed. The backup fits nicely on a 2GB stick and can then be used as an updated recovery image, which avoids going through all the modifications again on every reinstall.

The backup itself is split into 1GB files and stored in the backup folder in the top directory of the USB drive. The files are automatically removed before the next backup, but you can still keep several backups if you move them to another medium or simply rename the backup folder if there's still enough space for another backup.

And despite its name suggesting otherwise AA1BACKUP is not limited to the Acer Aspire One, but will also work with all other currently available netbooks like the Asus EEE, Dell Inspiron Mini 9, Samsung NC10 or Lenovo S9. Probably most notebooks as well. There is however a limitation: it only makes a backup of the first physical drive and it does probably not work with non-SATA controllers.

As a final note a few words on the software used to realize this project. The installer is a custom version of Unetbootin and the distribution is based on Linux Live scripts with a slimmed down version of SLAX.


Upgrading the Memory in the Acer Aspire One

Bit of a big job to do this... if you are every brave enough instructions are here


Updating the Acer Aspire one Bios

Updated the BIOS today using these instructions

1. You need a USB flash drive (SanDisk or any Generic brand)
2. Make it bootable to DOS by following these instructions:
Just download the file from here
Set the distribution to FreeDOS 1.0 and set the drive letter to be the USB drive
3. Download the latest BIOS and Extract all files from the BIOS zip file onto the USB stick.
4 Reboot and press F12 to select a bootable device. Choose option 5 when prompted by DOS and ignore the error about a missing CD-ROM. Change to drive C: and if that doesn't work try drive B: instead.
5 Run the included batch file to flash the BIOS by simply entering its filename, The AC adapter must be connected or else the flash utility will wait until it is.


FEBRUARY 22, 2009


Vodafone Mobile Connect - Linpus

Found these instrucions to get Vodafone Mobile Connect working on Linpus and my Acer Aspire one. I use a Vodafone USB 3G device E172

Download the installer from here, and save it to your Desktop.

Then, open a terminal, and run:

cd ~/Desktop
sudo sh

When prompted, enter your password

You will be prompted to enter users who should have permissions for this: enter your username, and root


When installation has finished, you should be able to run the utility from the terminal by typing:

sudo vodafone-mobile-connect-card-driver-for-linux

or, if you modify the entry in the Internet section of the Launch menu, so that the command "vodafone-mobile-connect-card-driver-for-linux" is prefaced with "sudo", you can run it by clicking on there instead.


Acer Aspire one official linux updates

found a website with some easy to install linux updates for the apire one

FEBRUARY 19, 2009


Acer Aspire Netbook

After saying I wouldnt get one I finally decided that at £150 it was too good a bargin too pass up

The netbook comes with a cut down version of linux on it called linpus. Its quite locked down so that its nice and easy to use.

To unlock it I followed the instructions here

First I unlocked the deskop by doing

sudo su -

NOTEPAD style editor

But the thing is, when you replace xfdesktopnew with xfdesktop-xfce, a script called xfce-mcs-manager won’t start up, and that is what some people find so “horrible” about the regular xfce-desktop. If we open up the file xfdesktopnew located in /usr/bin/, we find the following:

if [ -f /usr/bin/ ];then
sudo mv /usr/bin/ /usr/bin/xfce-mcs-manager
/usr/bin/xfdesktop2 & >/dev/null 2>&1
sleep 5
if [ -f /usr/bin/xfce-mcs-manager ];then
sudo mv /usr/bin/xfce-mcs-manager /usr/bin/
As you can se here the script xfdesktopnew starts the application xfdesktop2. What that script contains, I’ve no idea. Try opening the file for yourself, you’ll see what I’m talking about. Anyway, in order for this to work, change the line:

/usr/bin/xfdesktop2 & >/dev/null 2>&1

/usr/bin/xfdesktop & >/dev/null 2>&1
Save it and close it. Next, open up the file /usr/bin/xfdesktop, and change line 6 to look like this:

/usr/bin/xfdesktop-xfce & >/dev/null 2>&1
Save, close, and reboot. You should have a fully working xfce desktop, with icons!

Usually when you’re in xfce you can right-click on the desktop to bring forth a menu. This isn’t enabled as a standard function with the desktop that comes with the Acer Aspire One. To enable it, do the following.

On your desktop, under the File category, select My Documents. When this opens, select File and then Terminal. When the terminal opens, type:

$ xfce-setting-show
This will bring up the xfce settings manager. Select Desktop, Behavior and click the box named Show desktop menu on right click. Voila, that should be it.

Installing Firefox 3

If you want Firefox 3 to be installed properly (via yum), you should add the remi repository:

# wget
# rpm -Uvh remi-release-8.rpm
Edit the file /etc/yum.repos.d/remi.repo, and set enabled to 1 under [remi] and NOT [remi-test].

Then we proceed with removing the old Firefox and installing the new one. Now, a regular yum remove firefox won’t work, as it’ll drag a buttload of dependencies with it. However, this will only remove Firefox, without its dependencies:

# rpm -e --nodeps firefox
Then install the new one:

# yum install firefox
That’s all there is to it.

Now, having said that, a friendly chap named Nacho Marin made me aware of a problem that had totally slipped my mind. It seems that there are several programs that are depending on some libraries that Firefox 2 has, and not Firefox 3. The Acer Aspire One e-mail client being one of them, and the RSS reader too. The missing libraries are,, and

A big thank you to Nacho for the heads up about the library-files.

Update: It seems that several people were complaining about how the e-mail program kept shutting down for no apparent reason. It seems that they need more than simply the library-files. I believe I’ve located the files, and that you now should be able to have both Firefox 3, and the email client working. Give me some feedback to let me know how the script turns out.

I (Jorge) have made a script to make this a bit easier to fix, so stay tuned.

Update: Script is finished, instructions are as follows:

Become root and open a file named

$ sudo su -
# mousepad
Place the following in it:

## Script to recover Firefox 2 libraries
## Jorge Barrera Grandon
## Version 2
## Usage: ./

WGET=`which wget`
MV=`which mv`
CHOWN=`which chown`
CHMOD=`which chmod`
RM=`which rm`
TAR=`which tar`
MKDIR=`which mkdir`
RMDIR=`which rmdir`

cd /root/
echo "## Getting hold of the Firefox-files.."

echo "## Unpacking the library-files.."
$TAR zxvf firefox-files.tar.gz

echo "## Moving library-files.."
$MV /usr/acer/bin/AME /usr/acer/bin/old.AME
$MV /root/firefox-files/AME /usr/acer/bin/AME
$MKDIR /usr/lib/firefox-files/
$MV /root/firefox-files/* /usr/lib/firefox-files/

echo "## Changing permissions and cleaning up.."
$RM /root/firefox-files.tar.gz
$RMDIR /root/firefox-files/
$CHOWN -R root.root /usr/lib/firefox-files/
$CHMOD -R 755 /usr/lib/firefox-files/

echo "## Done!"
What the script basically does is to get hold of the file firefox-files.tar.gz (so be online when running it), moves the libraryfiles, changes the permission, and removes the file and the unnecessary directories it creates. Make the file executable, then run>

# chmod +x
# ./

DECEMBER 28, 2008


Getting full screen video on a second monitor using VLC

This was driving me nuts. I have just rebuilt my machine and previously was able to watch full screen movies using VLC on a second monitor. After the rebuild VLC refused to go full screen.. the picture would always flip to the main monitor. After a lot of playing I finallaly found the option under preferences.. show settings all.. video.... untick embed video.. This seperates the controls from the video window and was the only thing that seemed to work for me.

DECEMBER 15, 2008


Unlock the Vodafone panel on the SE X1

The vodafone panel can be unlocked by changing the key HKLM/Software/SonyEricsson/PanelManager/Panels/Vodafone Panel/Locked to 0.


Hard Reset SE X1

I am sure I will need to do this at some point in the future.

Reset button is located under the Battery cover. Pull your stylus, along the Right side there is a round hole (no need to remove battery!)

Power off you X1.
Hold down the two "Soft" keys and turn power back on to your X1..
Release the two key....
You should see the white screen with blue text asking if you want to restore to the "factory" default setting....Press "r"

NOVEMBER 27, 2008


Dragging a file into command prompt on Vista / 2008 server

When entering commands into the command prompt if part of that command needed a file path you used to be able to drag the file from explorer into the command prompt and it would poplulate the full file path saving a bit of typing. Apparantly due to the elevated security permissions needed to run the command prompt this is no longer allowed. I finally bothered to look for a fix for this and found a work around.
Shift right click on the file in explorer and select copy as path.. you can then right click and select paste into the command prompt.

OCTOBER 15, 2008


The terminal service client %1 has provided an invalid license

Had a problem with an old citrix environment today where they were running metaframe 1.8 on a Windows 2000 server that was also the domain controller.

They had rebooted the box and ICA clients were unable to log in. RDP sessions were fine.

There were no errors getting logged at all in the event log. After some playing about and trying different things I re-activated the Terminal Server licensing service and then restarted it and got a message about the database was corrupt. Entered all the CALS back in but this still didnt resolve the issue although now we were getting

The terminal service client %1 has provided an invalid license

in the event log

With some further digging I found an article that talked about deleting the following registry keys on the server that is running the licensing service.


X 509 Certificate
X 509 Certificate ID

This then requires a reboot to kick in. After rebooting the box this resolved the issue and the clients were able to connect again

OCTOBER 08, 2008


Event ID 12014 on edge and Event ID 12019 on hubcas

Customers Exchange 2007 server was reporting errors with internal SMTP certificates that had expired.

On the hubcas server they were seeing Event ID 12019
The remote internal transport certificate expired

On Edge it was showing they were seeing Event ID 12014
Microsoft Exchange couldn't find a certificate that contains the domain name xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

To resolve this issue the existing certificate was looked at on the edge server to confirm that it had indeed expired
get-exchangecertificate | fl

A new certificate was then requested on the edge server using

was then run again to confirm that the new certificate was in palce and the SMTP service had been assinged to it.

The edge transport server then had to be re-subscribed back to the organisation.

New-EdgeSubscription -FileName "C:\EdgeSubscriptionInfo.xml"

copy the .xml file to the hubcas server

On the hubcas server do the following
1.Open the Exchange Management Console. Expand Organization Configuration, select Hub Transport, and then in the result pane, click the Edge Subscriptions tab.
2.In the action pane, click New Edge Subscription. The New Edge Subscription Wizard starts.
3.On the New Edge Subscription page, in the Active Directory Site: drop-down list, select an Active Directory site.
4.On the New Edge Subscription page, click Browse. Locate the Edge Subscription file to import. Select the file, and then click Open.
5.On the New Edge Subscription page, click New.
6.On the Completion page, click Finish.

to force a sync do

AUGUST 20, 2008


Outlook Web Access on Exchange 2007 gives "service unavailable"

Just had a problem with my Exchange 2007 server where OWA was giving service unavailable.

I also had these errors in the event log

Event ID: 2268
Raw Event ID : 2268
Record Nr. : 3746
Source: W3SVC-WP
Category: None
Type : Error
Machine : ACISERVER2
Could not load all ISAPI filters for site/service. Therefore startup aborted.

Event ID: 2274
Raw Event ID : 2274
Record Nr. : 3745
Source: W3SVC-WP
Category: None
Type : Error
Machine : ACISERVER2
ISAPI Filter ‘C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727\aspnet_filter.dll’ could not be loaded due to a configuration problem. The current configuration only supports loading images built for a AMD64 processor architecture. The data field contains the error number. To learn more about this issue, including how to troubleshooting this kind of processor architecture mismatch error, see


Basically, you (or the software you were installing) switched your IIS site where OWA is installed into either a 32bit mode or ASP.NET 1.1. Since Exchange 2007 Outlook Web Access 2007 only runs on ASP.NET 2.0 in 64bit mode, you need to fix it back.

The easiest fix that I found for this was to run the following

cscript C:\inetpub\adminscripts\adsutil.vbs SET W3SVC/AppPools/Enable32bitAppOnWin64 0

Once thats completed run

cd C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework64\v2.0.50727
aspnet_regiis.exe -i

Restart IIS and that should fix it..... did for me

AUGUST 19, 2008


VMware ESXi Command Line and SSH

ESXi 3.5 does ship with the ability to run SSH, but this is disabled by default (and is not supported).

1) At the console of the ESXi host, press ALT-F1 to access the console window.
2) Enter unsupported in the console and then press Enter. You will not see the text you type in.
3) If you typed in unsupported correctly, you will see the Tech Support Mode warning and a password prompt. Enter the password for the root login.
4) You should then see the prompt of ~ #. Edit the file inetd.conf (enter the command vi /etc/inetd.conf).
5) Find the line that begins with #ssh and remove the #. Then save the file. If you're new to using vi, then move the cursor down to #ssh line and then press the Insert key. Move the cursor over one space and then hit backspace to delete the #. Then press ESC and type in :wq to save the file and exit vi. If you make a mistake, you can press the ESC key and then type it :q! to quit vi without saving the file.
6) Once you've closed the vi editor, run the command /sbin/ restart to restart the management services. You'll now be able to connect to the ESXi host with a SSH client.

AUGUST 08, 2008



Doing some work on a PHP based bulleting board today. I added a module that needed to talk to another web site. It needed to use a PHP add on call curl. I had change the php.ini file to include the php_curl.dll add on but it was still giving me an error saying that it was Unable to load dynamic library php_curl.dll.

The solution was that libeay32.dll and ssleay32.dll must be present in your PATH. In my case I ddint have these files so I downloaded the PHP package package again which included these files and copied the directory with these DLL files and others to my PHP directory and then modified the PATH statement to include this directory. I could of just copied the DLLs to system32 but thought it would be easier to update this way.

MARCH 17, 2008


Exchange 2007 OWA - 440 Login Timeout

A customer had a problem with their Exchange 2007 server today after they applied Exchange 2007 SP1. They were getting an 440 Login Timeout when we tried to connect internally to OWA.

Had a look at all the obvious settings in the GUI and command line and everthing looked ok.

In the end we fixed it by removing the OWA Virtual directory and re-creating it.

1. Run Get-OwaVirtualDirectory -Server to get the name of the OWA directory.

2. Remove-OwaVirtualDirectory -Identity "server\owa (default directory)"

3. New-OWAVirtualDirectory -Name "server\owa (default folder)"

4. restart IIS using iisreset /noforce


MARCH 06, 2008



I found a nice little tool that helps you get to grips with Windows PowerShell. Its an easy to use GUI that includes all of the powershell commands you will need for AD and Exchange. I've been using it mostly for reporting where its easy to format the results and filter just the information that you want. It also shows the scripts that its creating in the background to give you a better understanding of whats going on.

Its a free tool and can be downloaded from

DECEMBER 13, 2007


Exchange 2007 - Securing SMTP with SSL

One of the projects I'm working on at the moment has a customer with a large POP3 user base. They had recently migrated from another POP3 server to Exchange 2007. The previous system wasn’t secured at all so we moved the users without the security initially with a plan to add SSL security at a later date. We are now at the stage where we wanted to test securing the email traffic with SSL. Adding POP and IMAP went fine, we pushed this through an ISA server back to the CAS server and were able to run secure and non secure in parallel whilst we did our testing.

I couldn’t however get SMTP working. For these users we have set it up so that they connect to the edge server. Exchange 2007 creates a default authenticated SMTP listener on port 587. We were already using port 25 for normal internal email. All our clients were configured to that they had to authenticate with the SMTP server and they were configured to use port 25 for SMTP. During the migration we moved the DNS names of the old SMTP server to Exchange 2007 so there was no re-configuration required from the users. We then set up a firewall rule that mapped port 25 to port 587 on edge. This also would get around the bug where Outlook Express doesn’t like to use any other port other than 25 for secure email.

I loaded an external certificate onto the edge server and assigned it to the SMTP service. Now the SMTP service is a weird on. I'm not going to include screenshots as I don’t want to give the customer away so I will try and describe it best I can. When you do the get-exchangecertifcate command the SMTP service is always bound to the default generated certificate and whatever other certificate you assign it to which is different from the other services like POP or IMAP where they seem quite happy to jump certificates. You can’t remove the SMTP service from the default certificate by specifying none as the service and you can’t remove the default certificate.

The problem I was getting was that the server seemed to always be using the internal certificate when the external clients connected. Users were getting a certificate chain error and if you enabled logging on the receive connector it showed that it was indeed using the internal certificate. I tried and tried but I couldn’t find a way to assign the external certificate to this connector. I ended up placing a call with Microsoft and after 4 days they found a solution. The solution was remarkably simple but not obvious.

The receive connector has a setting where u can specify the FQDN of the exchange server that it responds to clients when they do an EHLO or HELO command. The certificate that Exchange will use it tied into this FQDN. I had not bothered to change this and it was therefore using the internal certificate. As soon as I changed this to the external certificate name everything started to work. I didn’t need to stop any services it just kicked in straight away. Checking the receive logs for that listener I could see that the external certificate was now being used.

NOVEMBER 30, 2007


Vodafone Branding - Grrrrr

I am angry at Vodafone today for making me tired. I got my wife a new phone as an early xmas pressie. A Sony Erricson K850i so she could take pics of Amy whilst they were out and about. The phone has been ok but was let down by some over sensitive soft buttons and a problem where the screen would fade to black at least once a day and then become unresponsive for a random amount of time before springing back into life.

As I hadnt seen too many posts about this problem I had a sneaking suspicion it may be a Vodafone branding issue so I decided to lookin into removing the Vodafone branding.

I did most of my reading on the forums. The people on there recommended using the tools from the website . Most people that had gone through the process seemed quite happy with the results.

I downloaded the client from the latest client from the website and paid my money for 10 credits. I didnt have to upgrade my USB drivers as the ones I had installed as part of the software that came with the phone seemed to work ok but a lot of people in the forms had to do this.

The client I downloaded connected to my phone and gave me the options to install some new firmware. I chose the Customized UK Blue firmware. It then went away downloaded the files and flashed the phone.

The firmware upgrade wipes all the settings in the phone. I had backed up the contacts to the memory card before I started to restoring these were easy. Setting up the WAP settings and MMS settings again for Vodafone wasnt so easy but after a bit of digging around I managed to get it all working again.

The phone acts like a different phone. Navigating around is loads faster, browsing pictures on the phone is really quick now and the over sensitive soft buttons werent an issue any more. I dont know how Vodafone manage to take a perfectly good working phone and make such a hash of it. The whole process took me about 3 hours from starting to read the forums to finally sending an MMS. If you have one of these phones that is Vodafone branded I would recommend you consider going through this process as the difference is well worth it.

Thank you vodafone for costing me £7.50 to remove your crap and 3 hours of my life. By all means add your logo to the phone if you must and pre stage them with GPRS / MMS settings but leave it at that please.

JUNE 22, 2007


Exchange 2007 Free / Busy and Out of Office

Had a few problems with a recent install of Exchange 2007 where Exchange 2007 clients weren’t able to see free / busy information or set their out of office but Outlook 2003 clients were fine. Outlook 2007 uses the availability service for free / busy which is web based, as opposed to public folders with Outlook 2003.
In this case there were two problems that we had. I had to set the internal address of the Autodiscover service which tells outlook 2007 where the Availability service is.

To do this I used the following command

Set-ClientAccessServer -id server2 -AutoDiscoverServiceInternalUri "https://server2.jwarburton.home/autodiscover/autodiscover.xml"

make sure the address matches the SSL certificate name on the CAS server.

The other issue we then had was that everyone was uses a proxy server which was interfering with Outlook when it was looking for the autodiscovery service. A quick exclude for the autodiscovery URL pushed out by an AD policy resolved this.

A useful way to make sure its all working is hold down the CTRL key and right click on the Outlook icon in the task bar and you should see a new entry called test email auto configuration.

MAY 24, 2007


Changing Exchange 2003 routing group connectors in Exchange 2007

Today I wanted to decommission one of my Exchange 2007 servers. The server was running the mailbox, client access and hub transport roles. I had installed these roles onto another server and migrated the mailboxes across. I had also moved the internet connector that this server had been running. The two areas that I was unsure of was I had to move all public folder replicas off this server onto a new box and I also had to move the site connector as this server was a bridgehead for the 2003 servers I had.
To move the bridgehead for the routing group connectors I used the following command
I had to change the outbound server on one connector and the inbound server on the other connector
Set-routinggroupconnector –identity -targettransportservers
Set-routinggroupconnector –identity -sourcetransportservers

Removing Public Folder Replicas
To move all content from a public folder database that you are removing to a public folder database on another server
1. Start the Exchange Management Shell.
2. If necessary, run the following command to change directories to the folder that contains the Exchange management scripts:
Set-Location "C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\Scripts"
3. To move all folder content from the database that you are removing to a public folder database on another server, run the following command:
.\MoveAllReplicas.ps1 -Server MySourceServer -NewServer MyTargetServer
This script operates by modifying the public folder replicas in a server's public folder hierarchy table. When you run the script, first the hierarchy changes are replicated, and then the contents of the public folders are replicated.
When you run this script, both the source and target servers must have a public folder database, and at least one of them must be a Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Mailbox server.
When you run this script, an Exchange 2007 server that has the Hub Transport server role installed is required for replication to and from an Exchange 2007 public folder database.
5. When the script completes in the Exchange Management Shell, wait until all content is moved to the new server. This may take several hours. To check how many folders remain to be moved to the new server, run the following command. (When the move is completed, this command returns no results.)

Get-PublicFolderStatistics -Server
If the source database is dismounted before all its contents are moved, remount the database and run the MoveAllReplicas script again.


Outlook 2007 SSL error messages on Startup when connecting to a single server running all the roles


I’ve done a couple of installs recently for small customers where they haven’t been big enough to warrant having multiple Exchange servers so we have put the mailbox, HUB Transport and Client Access all on the same box. To get OWA and active sync working we put an SSL certificate on these boxes. This gave us an error message when starting Outlook due to the fact that the SSL certificate is bound to the External name of the server and Outlook 2007 connects to the Internal name giving a mismatch error.
Using one of the new SSL certificates is usually the way to go now, where you can assign multiple names to a single SSL certificate to get round this issue, but in these cases I had to re-use existing SSL certificates and couldn’t get a new one.

This article helps you get round that.


Importing .PSTs into Exchange 2007 and the problems of talking to Microsoft.

I’m working on a project at the moment which involves a migration of a mix users from a pop3 / IMAP email system a Lotus Notes system. We are currently going through the Lotus Notes part. Due to the migration being a division which is splitting from the parent company the Exchange server is being built in a new site with no connectivity to the parent systems so a normal co-existence migration isn’t possible. The migration for the Notes users is based on using Quest Migration tools to export from Notes to .pst files and then to ship those .pst files to the new site an import the .psts into Exchange.
Usually the .pst import would of been done with exmerge but when we did the research for this we found it had been dropped in favour of a new command line tool. Now months later from the original concept it came down to start to work out how to script the import ready for a proof of concept only to find that the import tool didn’t make the final cut for Exchange 2007 and was going to be released in SP1 for Exchange 2007.
I found out that SP1 was available in beta form and managed to get hold of a copy from MSDN. I installed the Exchange admin tools from the SP1 Exchange CD onto a new 64 bit 2003 server as I didn’t want to put the sp1 beta on any of the existing Exchange servers. When I ran the tool I got the message saying this has to be run on a 32bit machine. I kinda knew that before I started but I was hoping to get away with it. The reason that was quoted before was that it needed to be 32 bit because of its dependency on Outlook 2003 / 2007. Well I knew these worked on a 64bit machine so I was hoping it was going to work but no such luck.
The problem was I couldn’t find the 32bit version of SP1. I phoned Microsoft to see what could be done, its a big well known customer so I was sure I would be able to get some help. I think I wasted about 3 hours on the phone that afternoon. I phoned up pre-sales, tech support, direct services, MSDN and a few other departments. MSDN told me they hadn’t even seen the beta.. even though the 64bit was on the MSDN website, customer services got into an argument with me that Microsoft had never produced a 32bit version of Exchange as a trial version, development version or any other version and demanded to see proof of where I had obtained this software. After getting a little frustrated I decided to call someone from Microsoft who had done a presentation on Exchange 2007 that I had attended, she was great, she promised me she would look into it and let me know... later that night she sent me an email with a suggestion of where to get it. I downloaded it, tested it and it worked a treat.
I’ve had this issue time and time again with Microsoft. Where you need to speak to someone that knows the product just for some help with some direction. Its not really a support call its just a bit of guidance or something like that... any other vendor are more than willing to help you get their products out there.. with Microsoft there are just too many brick walls, stopping you getting to the people that know.
So.. anyway.. what are these commands for the import... well the ms exchange team wrote about it on their blog recently so here is a copy and paste

Export/Import to PST Requirements
In order to export or import mailboxes to PST files the following requirements must be met:
• Export/Import to PST must be run from a 32 bit client machine with Exchange Management Tools installed (Version Exchange 2007 SP1 or later). The 32bit requirement comes from a dependency with the Outlook client.
• Either Outlook 2003 or Outlook 2007 must be installed on the client machine.
• The user running the task must be an Exchange Organization Admin or an Exchange Server Admin on the server where the mailbox to export/import lives.

Exporting mailboxes to PST files
The most basic cmdlet to export a mailbox to a PST file is as follows:
Export-Mailbox –Identity -PSTFolderPath
PSTFolderPath must be a full path pointing either to a directory or to a (.pst) file. If a directory is specified a PST file named after the mailbox alias will be used as the target of the export. Note that if the PST file already exists the contents of the mailbox will be merged into it.
After the cmdlet finishes execution, the .pst file will be ready in the specified location:
To export multiple mailboxes to their respective .pst files at once you can pipe in the identities of those mailboxes to the export task. Notice that when bulk exporting the PSTFolderPath parameter must forcefully point to a directory since one .pst file will be created for each mailbox.
Get-Mailbox -Database 'MDB' | Export-Mailbox -PSTFolderPath D:\PSTs

Importing mailboxes from PST files
The process for importing mailbox contents from a PST file is quite similar:
Import-Mailbox -Identity -PSTFolderPath
Again, PSTFolderPath must be the full path to the directory where the .pst file lives or to the (.pst) file itself. In the case where PSTFolderPath points to a directory the cmdlet will try to match the mailbox alias with the name of an existing .pst file in the specified directory and import the content of that file.
Just as with the export to PST scenario, when bulk importing mailboxes the PSTFolderPath must forcefully point to a directory and the task logic will try to match mailboxes alias with the .pst file names under that location. If no match is found for a particular mailbox, that mailbox will be skipped.
Get-Mailbox -Database 'MDB' | Import-Mailbox -PSTFolderPath D:\PSTs

Filtering content in Export/Import to PST
When only specific content is desired in the PST file (or back into the mailbox) a common set of filters can be used to leave out the rest of the messages. Export/Import to PST support the following filters: Locale, StartDate, EndDate, ContentKeywords, SubjectKeywords, AttachmentFileNames, AllContentKeywords, SenderKeywords, and RecipientKeywords.
Example: Import only those messages that were created between 1/1/06 and 12/1/06 and contain the word "review" in the subject and any of the words {"project","alpha"} in the body.
Import-mailbox -Identity ricardr -PSTFolderPath D:\PSTs -StartDate 1/1/06 -EndDate 12/1/06 -SubjectKeywords:'review' -ContentKeywords:'project','alpha'

Since I wrote this there have been a couple of updates. The first is that we were able to ditch the migration from .pst option. We went for this as the customer had told us they used shared databases in Lotus Notes but on getting on site we found that this wasn’t the case. We decided to go with creating a replica Notes server with just the users NSF files on it and then ship this server next to the new Exchange server and use Quest tools to perform the migration.
The other update is that I had an email from someone at Microsoft to say that although Exmerge doesn’t work with 2007 all you need is the 2003 admin tools to get it to work, which is a lot less hassle of installing an Exchange 2003 server into the organisation if you don’t have one handy. You would be limited to 2gb mail files though.

MARCH 16, 2007


Windows 2003 Server R2 Lesson Learnt

Was doing some testing today with the new DFS that comes with Windows 2003 server R2 and found out that if you are using this feature you need your domain controllers to be R2 as well, in fact. Microsoft recomend that before you deploy R2 anywhere you should first upgrade your DCs. Before you can do this you must do a schema update. The schema update is done by running

adprep /forestprep from the components folder on the R2 CD.

The only time I had actually worked with R2 before had been in a native R2 site, where the Domain Controllers had been built from R2 media so we didnt have this issue. It does actually give you this info in the help file on the R2 media but who reads them...... :p

FEBRUARY 07, 2007


Finished Exchange 2007 Rollout

I finished my Exchange 2007 roll out and things are pretty much settled now. One issue that I did have thats worth noting was when I was trying to remove the 2007 frontend server I had put it. I couldnt get CAS installed onto the mailbox server. Here is a description of the problem I posted on the newsgroups and the response I got in bold at the end.. which fixed the issue.

I am having problems installing the Client Access Server to our Exchange
2007 server. The server currently runs the Mailbox and Hub Transport roles.

After I tick the Client Access Server box in setup it does a pre requisite
check and passes. It then proceeds to install CAS. It fails part way
through this with the error.

Read only MultiValluedProperty does not support this operation.

The server does show itself as having the CAS role installed in the Exchange
Management Console but things like the POP3 and IMAP services are missing.
It lets me uninstall CAS with no problems.

A bit more info may help. The server that I am trying to install CAS on was
the only Exchange 2007 which was installed into a 2003 org. I was having
problems with OWA and getting it to proxy users that were still on 2003.
After a bit of digging I found that running the CAS on the same server as
the Mailbox server wasnt going to work so during the migration I built
another 2007 server and put just the CAS role on that. This sorted the
problem. We are now finished with the migration and 2003 has been removed.
I am now trying to get rid of the temporary CAS server so I can go back to
having just one server but until I can get the CAS onto the mailbox server I
cant remove the temporary server.

Anyone got any ideas please? I have attached the last part of the DR Watson

[02/02/2007 00:23:23] [2] [WARNING] An unexpected error has occurred and a
Watson dump is being generated: Read only MultiValuedProperty does not
support this operation.
[02/02/2007 00:23:23] [2] [ERROR] Read only MultiValuedProperty does not
support this operation.
[02/02/2007 00:23:51] [2] [WARNING] An unexpected error has occurred and a
Watson dump is being generated: The pipeline has been stopped.
[02/02/2007 00:23:51] [1] Exception :
System.Management.Automation.CmdletInvocationException: Read only
MultiValuedProperty does not support this operation. --->
System.InvalidOperationException: Read only MultiValuedProperty does not
support this operation.
at Microsoft.Exchange.Data.MultiValuedProperty`1.Add(T item)
at Microsoft.Exchange.Configuration.Tasks.Task.ProcessRecord()
at System.Management.Automation.Cmdlet.DoProcessRecord()
at System.Management.Automation.CommandProcessor.ProcessRecord()
--- End of inner exception stack trace ---
input, Hashtable errorResults, Boolean enumerate)
at System.Management.Automation.Parser.PipelineNode.Execute(Array input,
Pipe outputPipe, ArrayList& resultList)
at System.Management.Automation.Parser.StatementListNode.Execute(Array
input, Pipe outputPipe, ArrayList& resultList)
[02/02/2007 00:23:51] [1] [WARNING] An unexpected error has occurred and a
Watson dump is being generated: Read only MultiValuedProperty does not
support this operation.
[02/02/2007 00:23:51] [1] [ERROR] Read only MultiValuedProperty does not
support this operation.
[02/02/2007 00:23:51] [1] [ERROR] Read only MultiValuedProperty does not
support this operation.


You should be able to resolve this issue using Adsiedit. Navigate to
Configuration > CN=Services > CN=Microsoft Exchange > CN=(your Exchange org
name) > CN=Address list container > CN=Offline address list. In the right
pane right-click on the CN=default OAB and go to Properties. Locate the
value MsExchVersion. If that is not set, set the value to 4535486012416.

Hope this helps.

JANUARY 29, 2007


A few issues with the first Exchange 2007 installation

Migrated my company from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2007 last week to get a bit of real life experience with the product.

The company only has around 50 email accounts so the plan was to lump all the Exchange 2007 roles onto one server. We were currently on Exchange 2003. As we had recently brought a 64bit capable server for Exchange we didn’t want to buy more new hardware so the plan was to move everyone onto a temp server and then rebuild the good server to 64bit windows and Exchange 2007.

Built a new Exchange 2003 server into the same organisation and moved everyone off, public folders, message connectors etc which all went smooth enough and followed the recommended procedures for removing the first exchange server a site.

Rebuilt the main server with Windows 2003 Server R2 64bit edition which went on very fast. Prepped the AD and installed Exchange 2007 with Mailbox, CAS, and Hub Transport roles.

The installation automatically added a message connector to the Exchange 2003 server.

I moved myself over to Exchange 2007 and did a few tests and then moved a few other test users over

That night we decided to test Outlook Web Access and Active Sync to 2007. We changed the firewall rules to point SSL to the 2007 box (we are not using ISA or a frontend server to keep down costs). I also exported the SSL certificate from the 2003 server into 2007 just by using the directory security tab on IIS Manager.

At first I forgot that they had changed the URL to /OWA and got all sorts of funny SSL error messages trying to log in with /exchange. With that out of the way we got access to 2007 fine but we could not get it to proxy to 2003. After doing a lot of reading and working out that it should work, /OWA for 2007 users /exchange for 2003 users I decided that the only thing that I hadn’t tried was to put in the equivalent of a frontend server. With the amount of users that we had doing this wasn’t necessary but I wanted to test it to see if this was what was causing the problem. I built another 2007 server but this time only with the CAS role, I then directed the SSL traffic to this server and straight away both 2007 and 2003 Outlook Web Access worked.

I also had a problem getting some of the mobile phones to sync with Activesync. Im not sure if it was just a time issue but shortly after removing the CAS role from the mailbox server so that just the CAS role on the frontend server remained things started to work. Also for the 2003 users we had to turn on Integrated authentication on the security for the Activesync virtual directory on the 2003 server.

Another small thing I had an issue with was when I changed the login information on the /OWA and /Exchange virtual directories so that users didn’t have to enter the domain name in their login credentials I forgot to change the /exchweb directory as well resulting in OWA not displaying correctly.

At the moment of writing I have moved all the users over to 2007 and am just trying to work out 2007 and public folders before decommissioning the 2003 environment. It looks like there is no link to public folders from a users mailbox in OWA now and /public isn’t working for us. I also need to spend a bit more time on managing public folders in 2007 before I am happy enough to get rid of 2003 completely. I may even try a sharepoint installation and see how hard it is to move the folders into that. I will be removing the frontend server once 2003 has been removed to save on licenses.



JANUARY 15, 2007


Exchange 2007 Standard Edition removes storage limit

I had seen that standard edition supported more databases that previous but I had assumed that there was still going to be some sort of storage limit for 2007 but this page from Microsoft shows that this limit which was 16GB pre 2003 SP2 then 75GB has now been removed


Exchange 2007 452 4.3.1 Insufficient system resources SMTP error

Built an Exchange 2007 test environment today and migrated some users from an Exchange 2003 server. Message flow stopped between the two servers. When I looked at the 2003 server I could see the connection agreement that had been created and messages were sat in the queue. If I telneted to the 2007 on port 25 I got the following error. 452 4.3.1 Insufficient system resources SMTP error. I had the server in a VM and at first thought it must need some more RAM but after that didnt solve it I did some more digging and it appears you need at least 4GB of free space on the drive with the SMTP queue. I gave it some more space and this resolved the problem


Funny Wii Japanese Manual


Worlds Smallest PC

It’s only 2×2x2.2 inch! It’s called the Space Cube and it’s supposed to be the smallest personal computer in the world. It has a built-in 300MhZ processor and it’s also equipped with 64MB of SDRAM. There are a bunch of ports visible in the picture, such as USB, Ethernet, Flash memory, a monitor output port, serial connection and even a microphone slot.

The monitor is capable of displaying up to 65k colors at a resolution of 1280×1024 pixels. Less than a year ago, this fancy piece of equipment was retailing ~$325/piece.

JANUARY 10, 2007


Exchange 2007: Platforms, Editions, Product Keys and Versions

This entry comes from but I wanted to make a copy of it as its a useful post.

People are wondering what are the differences between the 32-bit and 64-bit version of Exchange 2007, what are the differences between the Standard and Enterprise Editions of Exchange 2007, particularly on the 32-bit version. People are also wondering what they can do with the trial version of Exchange 2007 posted for download on

Editions and Licenses

First, let's talk about editions. Exchange 2007 comes in two server editions: Standard Edition and Enterprise Edition. These editions are described and compared at As you can see in the Exchange 2007 Edition Offerings table on that page, the primary differences are:

Only the Enterprise edition can scale to 50 databases per server; the Standard edition is limited to 5 databases per server.
In a production environment, only the Enterprise edition is supported in a Windows failover cluster; the Standard edition is not supported in a Windows failover cluster in production; therefore, Single Copy Clusters and Cluster Continuous Replication are only supported on the Enterprise Edition. Notice that I said supported in production. More on this in a bit.
Even though Exchange comes in two edition offerings, these are licensing editions only, and controlled by the use of a product key. There is a single set of binary files for each platform (one for x64 systems, and one for x86 systems), and the same binaries are used for both editions. It is when you enter a valid, licensed product key that the supported edition for the server is established.

Note One important nuance of product keys is that they are for same edition key swaps and upgrades only, and they cannot be used for downgrades. You can use a valid product key to go from the evaluation version (Trial Edition) to either the Standard Edition or the Enterprise Edition; you can also use a valid product key to go from the Standard Edition to the Enterprise Edition. You can also re-license the server using the same edition product key. For example, if you had two Standard Edition servers with two keys, but you accidentally used the same key on both servers, you can change the key for one of them to be the other key that you were issued. These things can be done without having to reinstall or reconfigure anything. Simply enter the product key and restart the Microsoft Exchange Information Store service and the edition corresponding to that product key will be reflected. However, you cannot use product keys to downgrade from the Enterprise Edition to the Standard Edition, nor can you use them to revert back to the Trial Edition. These types of downgrades can only be done by uninstalling Exchange 2007, reinstalling Exchange 2007, and entering in the correct product key.

Exchange 2007 also comes in two client access license (CAL) editions, which are also called the Standard Edition and the Enterprise Edition. You can mix and match the server editions with the CAL editions. For example, you can use Enterprise CALs against the Standard server edition. Similarly, you can use Standard CALs against the Enterprise server edition. The Enterprise CAL is an additive CAL, which means that you buy the Standard CAL, and then add on an Enterprise CAL on top of it. An Enterprise CAL gets you all of the features listed in the last column of the Exchange 2007 CAL Offerings table (note that, as that page says, some of the listed features can only be purchased through a volume license program, and they are not available as retail purchases).

When you're ready to buy Exchange 2007, visit for details. BTW, please note that the above text is my interpretation of what is stated at as of 12/31/06, and my interpretation could be totally wrong. I encourage you to read the page yourself, and if you have any questions, feel free to contact Microsoft Sales using the contact information listed at

32-bit vs. 64-bit

Next, let's answer the platform question: why is there a 32-bit version and a 64-bit version of Exchange 2007? We are working on some product documentation that will provide complete details, but until then, I've compiled a bunch of information that should answer all of the questions I've seen on this issue. We made two platform versions of Exchange 2007 with the intent that one platform version (the 64-bit version) would be used in production environments and the other platform version (the 32-bit version) would be used in non-production environments (such as labs, training facilities, demo and evaluation environments, etc.). You cannot purchase 32-bit version; you can only purchase the 64-bit version. Everyone should know the difference between a production and non-production environment, but in case you don't, KC Lemson and Paul Bowden give a great description of what we mean here in their Exchange Queue and A debut article for TechNet Magazine at As KC and Paul also explain, the lines between production and non-production use of the 32-bit are a little blurred, because we do allow minimal supported use of 32-bit code in production environments. Specifically, as they state, you can use the 32-bit version in production to administer Exchange 2007 servers and extend your Active Directory schema. All other uses of the 32-bit version of Exchange 2007 in production environments is unsupported. At this time, you cannot use either the 32-bit version or the 64-bit version on Windows Vista, or on Windows Server codenamed "Longhorn". One reason is that the Exchange management components (namely the Exchange Management Console and the Exchange Management Shell) rely on Windows Powershell, and at this time there is no RTM version of Windows Powershell for Vista or Longhorn. See for some details on the RTM version of Windows Powershell for Vista and Longhorn.

While the 64-bit version can be the Standard Edition or the Enterprise Edition, the 32-bit version is always and only the Standard Edition. As I mentioned earlier, Single Copy Clusters (SCC) and Cluster Continuous Replication (CCR) are only supported in production on the Enterprise Edition of Exchange 2007; however, we have made an exception in the 32-bit version code to allow SCC and CCR to be used for non-production use on the 32-bit version, even though the 32-bit version is the Standard Edition. This means that you can set up a 32-bit test lab for trying out SCC and CCR in non-production environments. Because its 32-bit, you can even create the non-production environments using Microsoft Virtual Server. I use Exchange 2007 in virtual environments for all of my blogcasts, Webcasts, demos, etc. and it works really well. If you're not sure how to build up such an environment, check out my step-by-step instructions. Also, check out for a blogcast on CCR that uses a virtual environment.

Note We also allow you to install Unified Messaging (UM) with the 32-bit version so you can check out UM-related features in a non-production environment. You can even use the software-based UM Test Phone described at

Exchange 2007 and Virtualization

Speaking of virtual environments and production environments be aware that it will be quite some time before Exchange 2007 is supported in production in a virtual environment. Virtual server support for Exchange Server 2007 is only supported in production using the 64-bit version, and neither Microsoft Virtual Server nor Microsoft Virtual PC support 64-bit guest systems. Our first 64-bit guest support will come with Hypervisor, which is coming for Longhorn within 180 days of Longhorn's release (note that is within 180 days, meaning, it could ship the same day as Longhorn, or it could ship 180 days after Longhorn ships). Exchange 2007 does not yet support Longhorn server (nor does it support Longhorn directory servers, so AD sites with Longhorn directory servers need to be isolated from AD sites that include Exchange 2007 servers). Support for Longhorn will arrive in a service pack (most likely SP1) for Exchange 2007. In summary, there won't be virtualization support for Exchange 2007 in production for some time.

Evaluations and Product Keys

When you install Exchange 2007, it is unlicensed and referred to as a Trial Edition. Unlicensed (Trial Edition) servers appear as the Standard Edition, and they are not eligible for support from Microsoft Product Support Services. The Trial Edition expires 120 days after the date of installation. When you start the Exchange Management Console, if you have any unlicensed Exchange 2007 servers in your organization, Exchange will display a list of all unlicensed Exchange 2007 servers and the number of days that are remaining until the trial edition expires. If you have expired unlicensed Exchange 2007 servers you will also see a separate warning for each expired server. For lab, demo and test environments, unless you have a valid reason for rebuilding the environment, or unless you just love our new Setup wizard so much that you just can't stop uninstalling and installing server roles, I recommend that you get used to dealing with the expiration nag dialog, and not rebuild your servers every 120 days. Either way, the choice is yours, but again, you won't lose any functionality when running on an expired Trial Edition.

You can upgrade from a 64-bit Trial Edition to a 64-bit retail version by purchasing the appropriate license(s) and by entering the Product Key that you get when you make the purchase. You can find the product key on the Exchange 2007 DVD case. It's a 25-character alphanumeric string, grouped in sets of five characters separated by hyphens. Step-by-step instructions for entering your product key can be found at These steps include instructions for entering the key using either the Exchange Management Console or the Exchange Management Shell. However, in the 32-bit version, there is no Exchange Management Console interface for this because you can't purchase 32-bit licenses.

Using either the Exchange Management Console or the Exchange Management Shell, you can see what Edition you're running, and using the Exchange Management Shell, you can also see how many days, hours, minutes, seconds, and yes, milliseconds, are left on the 120-day trial period. Use the Get-ExchangeServer cmdlet and look for the Edition and RemainingTrialPeriod values.

What's Missing from the 32-bit Version

There are some things that are not available in the 32-bit version:

Automatic Anti-spam updates from Windows Updates. Only a licensed 64-bit version will be able to get automatic anti-spam updates from Microsoft Update.
Storage groups and databases. You can have a maximum of 5 databases per server in as many as 5 storage groups on the 32-bit version.

JANUARY 09, 2007


Windows Home Server

Picked this up from various web sites out there.

Microsoft Windows Home Server. This cylindrical, glowing piece of machinery is basically an easy to use, plug ‘n play server for the family. You can share all your movies, pictures, music, files, etc. with up to 10 users wirelessly and can access your files anywhere in the world via a free personalized domain.

Microsoft is actually using these as OEM devices and customizing them to different manufacturers needs. HP is releasing their version in Q2 this year with a storage capacity between 500GB and 1TB. There’s also four USB ports and three extra drive bays in case you run out of storage. Price? Rumors are that it’ll be in the $500-ish zone.

One challenge facing Windows Home Server (WHS for short) is that it is an OEM-only product, meaning that you won't be able to head out and buy WHS at your local retail joint.

Storage and backup
What's in the box? There's the obvious stuff you'd expect to find in a "Home Server," like securable file and print sharing that you can centrally manage. Home Server does not provide a centralized Active Directory, Home Server will sync user accounts and passwords between client machines and the server, so if "Jonboy" changes his password on the downstairs PC, that change will sync to the Home Server.

There's also a fairly robust centralized backup system which will track "previous versions" of files that have changed or have been deleted. Users can opt to store data directly on the server, or the server can be configured to do periodic backups of local machines. Or both.

WHS is about more than file storage, of course. WHS supports disaster recovery functions, including scheduled snapshots of client systems that can be fully restored by booting off of a CD that connects to WHS. This is a killer feature because it obviates the need for all kinds of tech support stemming from a spyware infestation or a hardware install gone bad.

Microsoft has tapped Single Instance Store (SIS) technology to reduce the size of backups. Files are backed up, and then monitored for changes. When changes are made, only the changes are added to the backup, making subsequent backups both fast and small in size. Furthermore, the backup system monitors your entire network for duplicates. If you have Quiet Riot's greatest hits on one PC, the system will not back up that same album on another PC if it determines that the copy is identical. This greatly reduces the size of multiple-system backups, since many system files and applications will not be backed up more than once.

The Home Server will also monitor the health of your PCs, including drive health. Notably, WHS will report the complete status of the Security Center on Windows Vista PCs.

Sharing and searching
In terms of storage for files, music, etc., users of the WHS won't see a "C:\" drive, but instead just a single storage pool which can be almost endlessly expanded thanks to WHS Drive Extender. This is accomplished with a new twist on dynamic disk control. Adding more space will be as simple as adding more hard drives (internal or external, ATA/SATA or USB/Firewire) and using a tool to add that drive's capacity to the central store. The use of dynamic disks will also allow for a degree of data redundancy. This isn't RAID, but something more akin to data mirroring. WHS will duplicate data among two or more other disks (if present), so the system should be protected against the failure of any one particular disk.

One item worth noting is that the file sharing is handled via SMB, meaning that Linux and Mac clients can use WHS. In fact, you can even back up these clients by having them store their own backup images on the server.

On the entertainment side of the fence, WHS' storage system is designed to be used for sharing digital media, including that which you create with various devices like cameras and camcorders. The server will stream music and video to anything that supports Windows Media Connect, including the Xbox 360, which means that Windows Media Video will rule the day on WHS. While we like the idea of streaming media, the format limitation is something that irks us, especially when we know that greener pastures are coming in the form of media- and format-agnostic solutions. Then again, no one is going to buy WHS to just to stream media.

In terms of interaction, WHS is designed as a headless server package. Microsoft has developed client-side software to handle most routine management tasks, but management can also be done via web browser. The Remote Administration tool that runs in Internet Explorer will also allow you to remotely see PC desktops and shared files. As a nice touch, you can download entire directories from the server, and it will compress the download into a zip for you, on the fly.

In fact, Microsoft is planning a Windows Live tie-in that will allow you to remotely connect to your Home Server or network to upload or download files or make changes to settings. You can grant this capability on a per-user basis, too. This tie-in with Live will allow for users to register their own domains with the service, even if their IPs are not static.

Windows Home Server will be entering beta sometime in the next 60 days, with general availability following 120+ days after that. As such, we won't see Windows Home Server in action until the second half of the year. Minimum system requirements are quite low: 1GHz CPU, 512MB RAM, 80GB of free space on the primary drive, and an Ethernet connection.


DECEMBER 01, 2006


Pocket USB Charger

Saw this USB charger on an american site that looks quite handy for charging USB devices such as Sat Navs, Mobile phones, PSP etc... just need a UK version now

NOVEMBER 29, 2006


Exchange 2007 and CCR

Saw a demo of a CCR install today on a website and thought I would take a few notes. I havent tried this yet and not going to bother until I get hold of an RTM copy, but hopefully these notes will help when the time comes.

Windows Cluster Services needs an update before the cluster can be set up

This adds a file share witness feature and a configurable cluster heartbeats feature to Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1-based server clusters

Need to create the File Share Witness share. This is best done on the Hub server in the same site as the cluster.

Create the directory on the hub server that is going to be used as the file share witness
Share the directory out and assign full control permissions to the service account that is going to be used for the cluster server. The Quorum wont use much space, about 10mb but its advisable to make sure that it has enough space reserved for it.

Create the Cluster on Node 1.
• Define the Cluster Name
• Add the first Node
• Add an IP address for the Cluster
• Provide the cluster account
• Select Majority Node Set Quorum as the Quorum Type

Add Node 2 to the Cluster

Once the cluster has been created you need to modify the Quorum to use the File Share Witness. This can be done from a powershell command

Cluster Res “Majority Node Set” /Priv mnsfileshare =\\server\share
This sets up the File Share Witness
Cluster Group “Cluster Group Name” /Move
This Moves the Cluster group as the resource has to be taken offline
Cluster Res “Majority Node Set” /Priv
This tests the Quorum

Once the Quorum has been defined Exchange can be installed.
Install Exchange onto the first Node.
Select a custom install and select Active Cluster Mailbox Server as the option.
Select the CCR option
Give it an Exchange server name and IP

Once complete install Exchange onto the passive node
Select a custom install and select Passive Cluster Mailbox Server

If you need to do a scheduled move of the Exchange server at a later date it is recommended to use the powershell command line.
Move –clustermailboxserver –identity Exchangeservername –targetmachine nodename

NOVEMBER 20, 2006


Tech Ed 06 - Friday

New file server features of Windows 2003 R2 and Windows Server Code name Longhorn

Not a great presenation :( The presenter spoke like a computer. Had very little scenarios and didnt want to make any changes to the server he was demoing. Really struggled to stay interested with this one.

Windows storage system support for SIS single instance storage. This looks for duplicate copies of files and moves a copy to sis cache and leaves a pointer for each instance

R2 has
* File quotas - Email, event log, script reporting. Quotas set on dir or volume. Preset templates or can create custom ones
* File screens - block certain types of files. presets or create custom ones
*Reporting tools - number of preset reports and can be outputted in various formats

R2 improves cifs and unix scalability
Cifs - common internet file system

r2 -DFS-R bit level replication.

Longhorn - possible features

Storage explorer - san management integrated into the OS. One tool to view different storage environments . Doesn't manage just views and has ability to launch out to management interfaces

SMB 2.0 -
More open files and shares possible
More efficient protocol
Client side encryption is possible
--Need longhorn and vista to get all the features


Compliance and Retention in Exchange 2007

Compliance typically enforced by external party
Hr policy - language
Company - certain groups you may not be allowed to communicate with or about certain subjects

Hub transport - all messages flow through this server – makes it easier for compliance

Transport rules – these are like outlook rules on exchange server. Disclaimers - check for certain words etc actions can then be applied to these including customised NDRs

In 2007 journaling is envelope journaling - hub transport level - can be done on per user
Message envelope is the original message with additional info as to who message was sent to , any bcc information, distribution lists etc

Reg key in outlook 2007 to disable pst creation

Managed folders are folders that are created with rules on them so that users can classify their email. Examples such as
Voice mail - deleted after 30 days etc
Business critical - saved for 5 years
Not important delete after 50 days etc
These are created inside users mailboxes under the managed email folder

No calendar journaling currently.
There is a switch to enable or disable voice messaging journaling


Lotus Notes to exchange migration

2007 all existing tools been pulled in microsoft transporter suite for lotus domino

The suite has a console front end - tools designed for 2007 only

All tools are based on powershell commands and GUI is built on top

Directory --
Domino Connector for Domino
2 way sync between AD and Domino
Creates a unified GAL for both notes and Domino
Enables smtp mail flow and free/busy routing

Uses smtp addressing now instead of notes addressing

Get-dominouser : ft name,uniquename, sourceserver

Use gui to select users to migrate
Click on migrate users
Place them in a OU
Creates AD account
Can create mailbox if wanted

R5 supported but r6 for co-existence

Smtp and ical is new connector. Its built into 2007. Nothing to install

Calendar accept / decline meetings and cancel meetings lot more calendar support. About only thing doesn't work is updates to recurring meetings

Domino doesn't support .png graphics on some clients. Screenshots by default are .png in outlook 2007

There is a free busy connector that can be set up

Connects to exchange on 443 so possibly could be done over internet to a front end server

Move Mailboxes

Gui tool
Select mailboxes to migrate
Point to ex server and database
Can be merged with existing messages

Still needs notes client installed to perform the migration.

End user still needs to have given access to the account that is migrating.
Calendar imports automatically now. Not as a file attachment.


Tech Ed 06 - Thursday

Exchange 2007 availability strategies

File share witness (fsw) needs to go in the preferred location (the one with the active node) as if you loose coms to datacentere and fsw is in other site then that will have majority so it will fail to that site. The site that has the majority (2) quorums will win.

Use a cname for file share witness when setting it up if file share witness server fails easier if you recreate it with same name

2003 cluster nodes on same subnet. If you get a node failover communications to the Hub and Client Access Servers would be to the original AD site. Mailbox server to Hub / CAS doesn’t talk across sites.

In failover state if all of original site is gone the failover node won't talk to hub and cas as they are in different ad site. Need to change ip config of either hub and cas or the failover node in failover state. With Longhorn cluster you can have nodes in different subnets…. So this may remote this issue??

Single AD site is ok if fast lan speeds between data centers.

If you move the mailbox server then in failover state you have to recatergorize the queues so that routing can continue. This is done with right click on queue

Recommend a File Share Witeness is provisioned in other datacenter in case of site failure

If fsw in site has failed the u need to use /forceqorum switch to force it to recreate the fsw
Think this is done on cluster service

When moving the fsw back make sure both nodes are up, delete contents of the fsw and then flip cname ip

Don't want failover to happen unless its necessary.

Autodatabasemountdial is a setting that controls how many log files you are happy to through away in a failover. If you are lossless the database won't mount until all logs are available. Two other levels have varying levels of loss acceptable

Transport dumpster on hub transport. In a ccr environment. Messages added to transport dumpster. These messages are used in case of a loss failover. Based on the time windows of the failure it will ask for those messages again.


Unified messaging

Client support built into outlook 2007 and OWA 2007

Spoken commands via telephone is english only even though it can read content in multiple languages. Other languages have to use touch tone for now.

10% headroom over quota limit for voicemail and fax messages

UM server only talks voip to pbx. Can use a voip gateway to work with legacy pbx systems

Dial plan object - users in a dial plan can call other users using just extension. Typical a single pbx config. Extensions are unique

UM ip gateway object has the ip address of the voip gateway

Um test phone is available for download to allow you to test functionality if you don’t have a pbx

Um server object - ex 2007 UM server. Can be associated with multiple dial plans

Basic Steps
Installed UM onto server.
Create new UM dial plan
Enter number digits
Create UM IP gateway
Add an IP address and associate it with a dial plan
Go to properties of server and associate with dial plan

Can add UM mailbox policies - international calls, pin number restrictions etc

Auto attendant - associated with dial plan, can create custom menus , transfer calls etc. Can be scheduled with different messages for out of hours

For a user to use UM they must be UM enabled. Need to have extension number and be associated with a mailbox policy. Select user and select configure Unified Messaging.

Configure the pbx to forward unanswered calls to UM.

When users first connect they can record a personal greeting. The greeting is stored in users mailbox

Auto attendant -has to be associated with a dialplan and given an extension number. Have to enable it to ensure it will answer calls

Recorded messages will be delivered into inbox and user can pick up using owa, outlook or phone. If using outlook and pc has no speaker or u want privacy can play back over phone

Voice functionality very good, has the ability to make calendar appoints move them, cancel meetings and send notifications. Call users in contacts or gal. Etc etc

Ip gateways can range from 4 lines upwards so quite scaleable.
Basic UM server 70 concurrent calls

30 seconds voicemail call 40k in size

Can be load balanced with multiple gateways and UM servers


Installing and administrating exchange 2007

Ex 2007 needs windows 2003 domain function level.
2003 sp1 on GCs

Mailbox server won't use a hub server or CAS server in a different site

/preparead - this command preps the schema and sets permissions for exchange 2007
This can be broken down into 3 separate commands. /preparelegacyexchangepermissions for ex2k domains and 2k3 /preparead

Can pre provision servers so that delegated amdins can install using the /newprovisionedserver switch on the setup command

Preparead can be run from the 32 bit media. That is supported. As 64 bit media is going to need a 64bit server.

Nntp and smtp are not needed
Www service is needed

.net3 *
Mmc 3 *
Poweshell 1
*=Included with R2

Product ID has to be entered after setup otherwise get 120 days useage

Once installed go through the next steps wizard

Exchange must be in native mode. Install 2007 client access servers first as 2003 front end servers can't talk to 2007

2007 checks recipients to make sure they are compliant like smtp addresses. Should be a tool to help check this

If install ex2007 into 2003 and there is no dedicated bridgehead then can have routing probs as mail will go to 2007 and sit there. Best practice is to have a bridgehead with 2003 with smtp connector

Setup /help gives all the commands for setup


Tech Ed 06 - Wednesday

I changed the way I was making notes today. Yesterday I was using the old paper and pen method as I was only getting 90 mins battery life out of my laptop. The days are quite long 9-7 and with some food in the evenings was struggling to write things up so have started to use my mobile to take notes. Thankfully it does have a qwerty keyboard all be it a little small but the battery easiiy lasted all day on it.

Exchange 2007 failover and high availability

Current model is based on hardware failure available but no data failover.

Single Server Mode is called local continuous replication – this is based on log shipping.
It’s designed to copy data locally to a second disk.
Failover is a manual process.
There is some resource hit on the server due to the extra disk activity.
Allows for larger databases due to faster restore

Clusters failover node.
Only the mailbox server role only role cluster aware all other roles have to go on other servers. Up to 8 nodes always with at least 1 passive node is supported in a cluster but if you want data replication only two nodes are currently supported.

Exchange 2007 supports up to 50 databases

Cluster Continuous Replication
2 nodes only
No shared storage
Local copies of both the data and the logs
Local Quorum on both servers.
File share created on another server that is as quorum witness. Recommend it goes on hub server. This is used in case the two nodes cant comminute with each other.
No resource hit like on local replication

There is a blogcast demo of this here

An initial copy of database is taken
As changes to logs are made they are copied to the other node and then replayed
Only replicated closed logfiles not bits of logfiles are replicated.
New service to handle this - microsoft exchange replication service

Each storage group has single set of logs
Each log set has prefix E00 E01 etc
E00 is active and then once used up renamed to next inc number and new E00.log created

Dirty failover - if active node fails then open log isn't avail on passive node as they only get copied once closed. Passive node carries on with some data loss. Starts logs from the number that the original passive node had. There are settings to control this but it’s a toss up between getting the server up and running quickly or recovering all data. There are other ways to get back some of that data without waiting for the original server to be fixed.

If active is repaired it comes up as passive. If logs are still there then there will be a mismatch due to uncopied logs.

Repairs to database can also cause a mismatch to database such as a defrag. This is called divergence. Replication service can detect this.

Log file sizes are now reduced to 1MB from 5MB to reduce information that could be lost.

Vss backups can now be done from passive node. This gives you snapshots in time of the database. Backup notifies the active node to tell it that a backup in process. Once backup complete passive note tells active node and changes made to the active node.

There is a transport dumpster on the hub server. This is only enabled when using CCR. If the recipient of a mail is on a CCR server then its put in a CCR dumpster on the hub. Recommend that this is set to 3 x max message size. The dumpster is used to replay back messages that may have been lost in a failover situation due to the lost log files.

Circular logging. Not supported


Softgrid application delivery

There are 3 components to Softgrid

Sequencer - standalone machine. Recoding process that watches changes made when you install the app. App can also be configured to set the default settings in the application such as file paths etc. Have to also launch the app so it knows which files are necessary to run the app and what are the additional files
Creates 4 files. The files go onto a delivery server that can service 000,s of users per dual processor system

Every time an application is run its logged so you can track who is running what.

Softgrid is integrated into sms so people with sms can still leverage the benefits that sms gives with asset management and tracking. Sms can meter softgrid as well so it can watch both local and softgrid apps in one place

Softgrid is 4 years old so have a number of large existing customers all ready

Softgrid very useful for citrix environment as you don't need to build silos due to application conflict. Bad behaved apps may still need to be silo’d but conflict silos aren't needed

Desktop optimization pack - available in Jan. Includes
Asset inventory
Advanced group policy

Works out roughly 10$ per user per year. Hell of a lot cheaper than when I looked at this a year ago.

Softgrid for terminal servers is different product

A good reason to install office locally is that COM is only possible between a virtual app and the desktop not between two virtual apps as most apps need to talk to office and office shares between apps install local is a good idea

NOVEMBER 14, 2006


Tech ED 06 - Tuesday

First Day of Tech Ed in Barcelona.

Exchange Multi Forest Migration

Not a very good session this one unfortunately as it was the first one I went to. One of the presenters wasn’t that good and there was no structure to it. I know it was meant to be a chalk and talk but I did feel like there needed to be a bit more structure and good examples. Came away from this one with not a lot learnt. Stuff I did pick up

Exchange 2007 has a cross forest migration tool as standard

If you do build a multiple forest, where one of the forests is for Exchange and another contains the resources then the Exchange forest can’t also have mailboxes in it.

When you use the move mailbox migration tool OST files can be lost when the user logs back into Outlook. Running the tool with the /clone switch will prevent this from happening. Saves a lot of time in deployments with remote users.

There are two version of MIIS. A cut down version which is free will allow you to GAL sync multiple forests. It sounds like very basic functionality is there but anything other than the basics requires some tweaking.

IOREPL is a tool that allows you to sync the free / busy times between exchange organisations.

Exchange 2007 doesn’t use free / busy it uses an availability service if you are in pure 2007 and outlook 2007 mode. If you are using Outlook 2003 then it has to create the free / busy public folders for compatibility. Exchanged 2007 can connect to other Exchange 2007 organisations and read / busy information built in. You create a connector to the URL of the Availability service.


First time I had seen softgrid under the Microsoft banner. The hall was quite packed for this one so obviously a lot of interest. It was a lightning demo, which was basically a 25 minute slot to get through the basics of what softgrid does.

To deliver an application you have to sequence the application first. This gets it ready to be deployed by softgrid. We didn’t actually see this happen but I imagine it’s a bit like any packing software where you install the app and it records the files needed and registry changes and stores them into a sequence file. Applications can be dos / 16 bit or 32 bit

The rights to be able to run the applications are controlled in AD using security groups.

Apps can be published as icons / start menu items. File extensions can also be configured.

It is best practice to NOT deliver office using softgrid. The main version of office should be deployed to the desktop using other means so it is running natively. Other versions of office that are needed to run can be deployed using softgrid to avoid any conflicts.

When a user is added to the security group they get the application icons. Clicking on the icon streams the application down to the PC. Looking in task manager the application appears as a process on the PC and is using resources on the PC. All the files and registry entries needed are stored in the streaming cache.

Because registry entries and files are in the cache this leaves the PC very clean. Applications can be added and removed without disrupting the core build.

Due to the sandbox effect this has then applications don’t need to be tested against each other as inter application conflicts wont happen.

Not all of the application is streamed down. Only the bits that are required to run what is needed are pulled down.

Application settings are stored in the users profile much like in Terminal Server where specific settings are saved into users folders so that as they move from server to server applications retain the user customisation.

Softgrid has an offline mode where applications can be pre cached so that the application is available when off the network


just been out for pizza and Sangria so notes might ramble a bit now

An Introduction to Exchange 2007

Exchange 2007 is expected to go RTM in December 2006

5 Server Roles

Edge Server – Placed in DMZ and no direct AD access. Used for SMTP gateway and Anti Virus and Anti Spam provided by Forefront. Uses a local copy of AD. ADAM. Push sync using LDAP.

Mailbox Server – holds mailboxes

Hub Transport – Replaces MTA. All email flows through these even email between two people on same server.

Client Access – Outlook Web Access / Active Sync / RPC over HTTP / IMAP / POP3

Unified Message Server – Voice server / Fax. Opens up mobile email to anyone that has a mobile phone. No data costs.
Supports Localisation so messages can be read in other languages
Can be used as receptionist greeting callers and putting them through to extensions based on voice prompts and lookups in the GAL.

Continuous replication – Log shipping. Ability to log ship to another disk on server to protect against disk failure or send to another server. Can be clustered

Transport rules can be applied which are like content checking. Outlook rules but on a server level. Can be used to re-route email based on content, bounce it, add headers and footers etc

OWA auto complete addresses is now supported in OWA. Auto complete cache stored on server.

Activesync supports Out of Office setting and ability to search through all email stored on Exchange server and will return a list of results which can be viewed.

2007 can be piloted without a license and then to move to production a license can be added. No need to re-install.

Exchange databases can be moved between servers and easily mounted.

Microsofts deployment of Exchange 2007 is currently
80 mailboxes
All inbound mail is via 2007
All routing is done in 2007

They also have 202 early adopter customers with 35,000 mailboxes.

Exchange 2007 routing

Exchange notes connector still works in Exchange 2007

If clustering Exchange 2007 then the cluster cant run the Hub Role

Hubs auto load balance. Hubs are AD site aware. Load balancing occurs locally in the site.
Inter site communication is hub to hub
AD sites are used for routing. No configuration is needed

Routing will always try and make a direct connection from start to end server rather than hop. If that isn’t possible then will hop. It is possible to force it to use hubs using a command.

If you installed 2007 into Exchange 2003. 2007 appears as another routing group. A connector is auto configured.

If you create multiple 2003 – 2007 connections then you must disable Link State on all 2003 servers first



NOVEMBER 06, 2006


Microsoft Live Barcode Beta

Microsoft are releasing some software for Windows Mobile devices that will take a picture a new type of barcode using the phones camera and read the information from it. These barcodes can be added to business cards for example and contain the persons name, address, telephone details etc and be converted directly into a contact.. no more copying information from business cards. They can also be used in advertisements and contain information about things you see and like including web addresses so you can have a look in more detail using the browser on your phone. - software for it is scarce at the moment but this site does allow you to create your own barcode to see how it works.


Xbox 360 Autumn 06 update will steam movies from non media center PCs

After the rumour came out saying that they would do then, they denied it, with the latest update to the xbox 360 you can now .. finally.. stream movies from a windows XP machine. Unfortunately only wmv is supported but its a step in the right direction...

Videos can be streamed from a PC running Windows Media Connect, Windows Media Player 11, or the new Zune client player, and can also be played from Optical Disc and most USB mass storage devices.

How do I create videos that will play on my Xbox 360?
Windows Movie Maker, a standard feature of Windows XPSP2, will output WMV video files compatible with the Xbox 360 console. Either use the default settings when you finish a movie and click "Save to my computer," or just make sure that the output video format you select shows the file type as "Windows Media Video (WMV)."
Videos will usually look best when they are closest to the original resolution that they were created with. Try to create video files at least 360 pixels high in vertical resolution in order to minimize content upscaling on the console.
If you decide you want finer control of the output video file format, download a version of Windows Media Encoder ( and then start encoding away. Optimal size and bitrate settings will vary depending on the source material you are encoding. As a general guideline though, 1.5 Mbps is a typical bitrate that should be suitable for most standard definition content, and 8 Mbps is a common bitrate for high definition content.

OCTOBER 16, 2006


USB Batteries

Saw these on the net today. AA batteries that you can recharge directly by plugging into a USB slot. Nice idea as you no longer need to carry a charger with you. I can charge my mp3 player and mobile phone via usb and its very useful for someone like as I'm never far from a PC with a USB slot.

OCTOBER 12, 2006


Mobile Skype

My mate just got his hands on one of these. Basically this thing looks and feels like a mobile phone but runs Skype software. You can make and receive Skype calls just like you can on your PC. The phone connects to WIFI connections, so anywhere with WIFI you have your free skype calls.

This got me thinking as I had skype on my mobile but had never used it due to the high gprs / 3g costs. But had never considered using it in anger with WIFI so thought I would give it a go.

I had just put a new version of ROM onto my phone to get AKU 3.2 and this ROM had pre-installed Skype. I have a skype account hooked up to my home phone so created a new Skype profile for my mobile. The application works pretty much as it did on the PC. The only problem I has was as it was an application the sound by default works through the phone speaker as opposed to the ear piece which I found to be very quiet and hard to hear. After a bit of searching on the net I found this which allows you to divert sound through the headset.

start a registry editor on the phone and go to hklm\software\oem\voicecommand and set the value of "launchapenable" from 1 to 0
when activating voicedial from your headset (press connect button at the headset 2 sec.) it diverts all audio to the bluetooth headset. Pressing the button again disconnects the bluetooth and the main speakers are active again.

The dedicated device is a neat solution that seems to work really well and claims up to 50 hours of standby time... .for my phone to work I have to have wifi on and bluetooth.. I will probably get a standby time of about 5 hours.. now we just need a device that does both skype and mobile well... with more and more places getting wifi connections can truly have a single contact number that can follow you around and have free calls :)

PS3 Rumours

Couple of rumours I saw today.

Sony may use xfire as their online gaming service. Rather than try and come up with something themselves they may use the already established xfire service to take on xbox live.

Sony PS3 may be region free. If this is the case it would mean that importing one shouldnt be so bad... if you can get your hands on one.

SEPTEMBER 08, 2006


WM 11 wont stream video to 360

Windows Media Player won't stream video to Xbox 360

One of the more disappointing things about the Xbox 360 is its very limited streaming video options. Without hacking, it has only been possible to stream video from a Media Center PC, and even then, it has only supported Windows Media Video, MPEG and related formats (DivX and Xvid are not supported, for instance). While Microsoft does offer some streaming capabilities with Windows Media Connect for Windows XP, those are limited to music and picture playback and presentation in most configurations.


With this week's release of Beta 2 of Windows Media Player, Microsoft caused a little bit of excitement in the so-called blogosphere with this quote:



If you have a home network (wired or wireless), you can use Windows Media Player 11 to stream the contents of your library to networked devices. For example, if you have an
Xbox 360 or other digital media receiver (DMR), you can use Windows Media Player to stream music, pictures, and videos from your computer to that device.


The upshot was that you could use WMP to stream video to an Xbox.


The bad news is that it was an error on their part. While WMP does support Windows Media Connect for pictures and music, video is not supported.

ya boooo sux


Retro Mac Video - Here is an old presentation video of some old Mac wowing the crowds.

XBOX 360 Firmware Flash

Last week I had a go at flashing the firmware on my XBOX 360. I have built up a decent collection of £40 games and wanted to ensure that I could back them up, and also fancied the challenge of having a go to see if I could do it.

The first thing I did was do a LOT of reading. The machine was still relatively new and could end up being a rather expensive paperweight if I got it wrong.

Most of the reading I did was on there are some very good tutorials and forums to plough through.

The idea is that by flashing the firmware of the DVD drive on the xbox it fools it into thinking that a backup game is in fact an original and the xbox will load it.

After getting an appreciation of all the steps involved I decided to give it a go.

The first thing I did was to order some media, so that I had something to try at the end of it. All games have to be burnt to Dual Layer DVD+R media. I've had a dual layer burner in a machine for some time but never used it due to the comparable expense of dual layer media compared to single layer £1.50 / £0.20. Quite a bit of a difference.

You need to know what type of DVD Drive you have in your xbox as the method to flash the drive will vary. There is a good picture at to show you the differences in the tray design so you can tell without opening it up.

The outer shell of the xbox 360 is completely screwless and to flash it you need to get inside. To help me get inside I used three sources. - v40 Toshiba-Samsung and Hitachi-LG guides - worth searching the site for an updated version. - A decent description for getting inside - youtube video of some one opening their xbox.

With those three guides I was able to work through it and its a lot faster doing it a second time. Its just a question of working out which of the air holes to stick the screwdriver through for the side bits. The worst bit is the bit at the back. A lot of the guides show making a key to help with this bit out of a CD Case. I used an old credit card which worked a treat.

Once inside it you have to hook the dvd drive to the PC via a SATA cable. All the guides talk about making sure that the xbox and the pc are grounded. I used a wire to do this between the cases of the two. You have to leave the drive connected to the xbox for power but just unplug the sata cable from the dvd drive and connect it to your pc. The xbox and PC are going to need to be quite close to do this. There seems to be a limited number of supported SATA bios versions that will work. I found that a pc with an onboard VIA chipset that allows you to change between RAID and IDE types worked. There is a recommended PCI card you can get if you’re having problems. I unplugged all other CD / DVD drives to be on the safe side and to save any confusion.

For my xbox I used the autoflasher program that is out there. After reading up a bit more I wish I hadn’t, there has been a few people that have not got on with this program where as the manual method seems to have more success. If I was to do it again I would spend the extra time to do it manually.

The autoflasher program comes with some software to format a USB stick so that its bootable. Once you’ve done that and copied the files over you can boot your PC from the USB stick. The autoflasher gives you a couple of menu options and repeats them for different SATA chipsets. After repeatedly trying the VIA option without success I tried the general chipset option with option 1 of the menu which reads the firmware from the drive. This worked first time.

The next bits got a bit messy with the autoflasher. Option 1 of the autoflasher says it extracts the firmware and patches it. Well I got some text saying it had read the file then it said something about cant patch in dos mode please reboot. After looking at the batch file it looked like I needed to run it in windows. I rebooted into windows and ran option 1 manually with the xbox connected. It failed to read from the drive as it was disconnected but the patch part of it seemed to work. I then connected everything back up and booted off the USB stick again and selected option 2 which was to write the new patched firmware back to the drive.

I checked that I could still boot an original game to make sure I was no worse off, which worked ok. The next bit was to make some backups of my games. I wont go into that here, there are plenty of guides on it. The backups that I made worked great. I started off using an old NEC DVD burner and have switched to a Pioneer 111D which is giving me a lot better success.

With the Hitachi drive the procedure to flash the drive was a lot different. You first have to set the xbox into Mode B. To do this you still have to open the xbox and connect it to the PC but you then boot off a modified linux boot CD. This boot CD is a modified version of Slax and can be found here Once it gets to the login prompt the xbox will be in Mode b. You can reset your PC but leave the xbox powered up.

This time when windows boots you should be able to see your DVD Drive. I first tried this with a SATA hard disk in the PC and didn’t have much success, luckily I had an ATA disk with XP on so switched drives and tried that. It didn’t look pretty due to all the drivers being messed up as the disk was for another machine but it did the job.

Once at this point it was easier than the Samsung as the Autoflasher.. was the preferred way to flash this drive. Had to download the autoflasher for this type of drive. I used OPA-XTREME-HITACHI-7IN1-V2_1.

Extracted the files to the computer. I made sure that the xbox drive was the only cd / dvd drive in the machine and ran
FLASH21.BAT from the command line. The 4 digit number is a number you make up and is used to make the filename.

This will flash your xbox drive and create a BACKUP directory such as "X21-1571.OPA" and the program will store FIVE firmware files:

---- key.bin ---- DRIVE KEY /// DRIVE KEY
---- was.bin ---- Your drive before FLASH
---- gdrXX.bin ---- The untouch original fw
---- XX_21.bin ---- The patched Xtreme21 fw
---- now.bin ---- Your drive after FLASH!

XX in the above names will be the version of your Hitachi

JUNE 03, 2006


Pimp Streamer

Finally found an application that I've been after for a while for my PSP. I found out about it listening to a podcast on the way home from work last week. It basically allows you to stream movies to your psp. So if you want to watch a movie on your psp whilst your in range of your wifi network, this program saves you the hassle of converting the movie and copying it to the memory stick.

The program consists of two parts. Some software for the psp and some software that runs on a Windows Machine. The PSP software has a .ini file that you have to edit to include the IP address of the Windows machine that is running the host software and on the Windows machine all you do is run this software and point it at a directory that contains the movies or mp3s. The software has the relevant codecs for most .mp3, mpeg and avi files.

Initial tests show it to work really well at home. I havent tried it over an internet connection whilst I am out and about but I have heard that at this point in time it doesnt work too well. Still its early days.

Thanks for a great app for the PSP :)

More info at

MAY 03, 2006


Exchange 12 (2007)

Went to the Microsoft Roadshow in Birmingham yesterday, there was some good stuff... and some not so good. By far the most interesting for me was the Exchange 12 / 2007 presentation. Its now been called Exchange 2007.. no surprises there.. One of the Microsoft’s Technical Evangelists, Eileen Brown presented some of the new features of the product, well as much as was in it to date or were allowed to say at this stage.

The presentation was good, she managed to cram a lot of interesting stuff into the hour slot and even some live demos. It looked as if she was working on a newer release than what I had originally looked at as web access worked for a start and the management console looked a lot more finished.

Some interesting things I picked up... Microsoft are now using it, always a winner.. people are wary of new software but when you have a company as big as Microsoft running on it adds a lot of weight to the argument... also that’s a lot of people putting the product through its paces so most of the biggies are going to be ironed out even before it gets to beta2.

The front end server stats that Eileen quoted were pretty impressive.. i forget the numbers now.. should of wrote them down but it was something like 120,000 users coming in through 3 front end servers :| ... NICE...

Eileen did push 64 bit servers, now.. this is something that I have been telling my customers for last 6 months now.. if your are replacing your exchange hardware go 64 bit now so you are ready for the next version.. but.. what she did add that I hadn’t considered was the fact that there will also be big advantages in deploying 64bit servers for AD as well.

Continuous replication will be available in both single and clustered installations. I need to get some more detail on this but it basically sounds like its the ability to maintain a backup copy of the database that is continuously updated from the transaction logs. Either by having a copy on some other disk on the local machine or having a copy on another exchange server. The ins and outs of it I still need to work out but at least I know that the option is there now so I can try and find some more info..

oo yea.. MONAD.. the command line tool that lets you do everything that in Exchange has been renamed and is now called Windows Power Shell.

To round off the presentation Eileen did a demo of the Unified Messaging part of Exchange. This was good to see as its a completely new feature set and one that I would never be able to look at myself in a test lab. It worked very well and I can see it definitely being of use for road warriors, people in cars that need to pick up their email / calendar whilst mobile.. although.. I was thinking maybe a windows mobile version may be possible using something like voice command. If you have a mobile device that already has all the email / calendar stuff on it and has a continuous connection to Exchange with the new SP2 stuff then why do you need to make a phone call back to the Exchange server? why cant the client device handle it. I guess its just for a generic method for people that don’t have smartphones.. also the demo showed that the virtual assistant on the new Exchange 2007 demo was a bit more intelligent than the smartphone voice command.. Hopefully she can deal with car noise better as well.
Eileen showed examples of connecting to an inbox and having the virtual assistant read emails and calendars and then some voice activated manipulation so like accepting calendar requests, clearing calendars, letting people know you would be late for a meeting etc.. all good stuff

Eileen briefly showed the next version of Outlook Web Access which did seem even closer to Outlook than the 2003 version but.. there was a lot of whole screen refreshing going on, which is hopefully just a feature of the early beta. I didn’t see if you could finally manage someone elses mailbox yet using it.




Went to the InfoSec show last week at Olympia. My company had a stand there and I was the lucky one to pull a 3 day shift on the stand........arrrrrrgggggggghhhh...... thankfully the show was very good and managed to get round and speak to a lot of the other vendors to find out what they were offering. The big things this year seemed to be SSL VPNs and managed email services.

VPN.. lets you connect to your work network from a location on the internet and then work as if you were in the office... .SSL VPN lets you do it from practically any machine without having to have software preinstalled and configured.... all you need to get access is a web browser, a URL and a login name / pass....

Managed email services.... this is something that message labs have been doing for years now.. scanning incoming email and remove any viruses / spam and then forwarding it onto you. Removes a lot of the unwanted email traffic before it even gets to your internet connection and removes the pain of implementing a solution yourself.... What surprised me was just how many other people are now doing this.... Message labs has showed everyone that the model does work and now everyone else wants a slice of the pie.... also shows that more and more of the internet type services could easily move to a hosted model.. mail checking, web checking, ssl vpn / remote access...


Use the internet more at work

Where I work we have open internet access which is great for me but usually this sort of stuff is really locked down and restrictive to what you can do. Found this service the other day which by the sounds of it is great to make sure you make the most out of that corporate connection. they offer a subs based service that lets you do practically what you want through a http (port 80) tunnel so as long as you can do web browsing at work you should be able to shove what you want through that channel.. games, msn, irc, remote desktop etc....


02 Finally release update to XDA exec

... they finally got round to updating their software, I haven't tried it yet. The imate rom I have been using works well and I have had no issues with it... nothing exciting in the o2 rom to merit switching back at this time so going to stick the imate rom for the time being.

APRIL 07, 2006


Push Email :) finally.. just not with O2 rom

Over the last few weeks there have been more and more rom releases for Windows Mobile 5 devices that included push email but still nothing from 02. Oh yea… they did update their XDA website to make it look a bit more pretty but no rom updates. Last night I finally plucked up enough courage to try a different rom on my XDA Exec. I use a Vodafone sim in it so wasn’t too interested in the O2 rom that was on there I was just more concerned over the actually process of flashing it to a new rom and ending up with a very expensive brick.

After reading that a few people were having good results with the Imate JASJAR rom and that this rom did include the push email update I decided to go for it. The process in the end was quite simple. You need the Imate JASJAR rom file which I downloaded from

The file that you need is

First thing to do is to extract the files in the exe. There are two ways you could do this.

You can do this by running the exe file this will extract the files into a temporary directory in your profile.. for example c:\documents and settings\username\Local Settings\Temp, look for a very recently created directory in there, don’t ok the error message that you get when you run the exe as it will delete the temporary files. Just copy the files out of the temp directory somewhere else.


You can use winrar to extract the files from the exe. Extract all the files into a single flat directory. Remove all directory structures so that you are left with just one directory containing all the files.

Then download this file

Extract the .exe in there to the same directory containing all your other files.

Then you need to make a small change to one of the text files. Look in the directory for


Open it in notepad and add this line


That’s about it…..

Usual wavers at this point.. upgrading flash may lead to dead device.. do so at your own risk… invalidate warranty…etc etc

Once you have plucked up the courage connect your device up to Active sync and run the exe file that was contained in the file that you downloaded.

It seemed to take around 30 mins for the whole update process.

Im just going through adding my applications again and setting up the Vodafone GPRS configuration but so far seems fine and push email works nice and fast so I am pleased I have made the change.

MARCH 30, 2006


New loader for PSP

Found a new PSP loader tonight. The main difference with this loader is its ability to load compressed ISO files. Compressing the .ISO file saves some of that precious memory card space and allows you to carry more games around on it. On my initial tests I have been quite impressed. I have been seeing compression savings of around 30%.

Its very easy to use. Just copy the files from the download to the memory stick. There is a piece of software that you leave on your pc to perform the compression. Its very simple, when you run it it prompts you to locate the .iso file, it then asks where you want to save the compressed .dax file and what level of compression you want to use. I found that on a decent PC even the highest level of compression didn’t take too long to complete. Once it has compressed the file, copy it to the ISO folder on your psp and run the loader program. This loader is pretty much like some of the others that are around where you can select which iso you want to load, select the PSP speed etc but it also has a nice feature where it will integrate direct with the MPH game loader so you don’t have to use that separately.

I can definitely see a use for this loader. Im not sure how Im going to manage it though, do I just compress the games as I copy them to my PSP or do I keep a separate copy of the compressed ISO along with the original to save me having to keep compressing it.. time will tell.. well worth a look though.

DAX ZISO Loader 0.4 (by Dark_AleX) for UMDEMULATOR 0.8c and MPHGameLoader - get a copy from

MARCH 12, 2006


Beer Fridge

Not really high tech but cool enough for a mention. Was out shopping today and saw a fridge with what looked like at first a water tap on the outside... nothing new there.. but when I looked again I thought it was rather a large tap for water... and thats when I looked inside and saw the mini keg of larger. The keg had been tapped and a pipe was coming out of it that fed into a soda stream gas bottle at the side of the keg and then out to the tap on the outside of the fridge.

MARCH 11, 2006


ordered a new mp3 player

I ordered a new mp3 player on Thursday of last week. I got an email from sony saying they were doing good deals on refurbished 6gb and 20gb models. I got a 20gb mp3 from sony the last time they did this, but this time round they were even cheaper still and I did have a few issues with my old one so I decided to go ahead and get one.

I have ordered a Sony NW-A3000. Ill post next week about what I think about it. The issues I had with my old NW-HD3 were as follows were only few but niggly

Backlight - Whilst great in the dark it was very hard to read on a sunny day
Dongle - To recharge or to connect via USB u had to use a dongle which looked very easy to break or loose.
Portable HD - Although you could use the mp3 player as a portable hard disk it didnt work on all computers unless you plugged in the power supply.
Sync software - Sonic stage..... sucked

I have already seen that they have got rid of the dongle for the usb cable which is good news although it looks like they have gone for a none standard cable :( which is bad. They have changed the screen type on it so will have to see how good that is compared to the old one. I also noticed that this one comes with some new software.. sonic stage is no more :) just hope this one is an improvement.

If anyone does use a sony mp3 player and is stuck with sonic stage but has their music stored in folder format rather than with good mp3 tags then do a search for a utility called mp3 File Manger. Its freeware and you install it to the mp3 player hard disk and run it from there. It then lets you just drag and drop your music onto your player.

MARCH 08, 2006


Convert .TS to MPEG

Quick one before i go off and get some zzzs.. Finally getting my TV room sorted so I have been able to play some High Definition Video as I got a media streamer that supports High Definition but beacuse the TV room has been out of action for so long not had anything to play it on.

The mediia stream is a showcenter 200 from pinnacle systems. It supports divx, mpeg, WMV etc but a lot of the .. samples.. I have been downloading were in .ts format. To get my media streamer to play them I have been using this nice little utility that converts em to mpeg2 and is very rapid at doing so.


A hard lesson learnt

Today has been frustrating, but there was a light at the end of it all. I was working from home today remotely on one of the servers in the garage when it lost connection. At first I thought the server had gone down as I couldn’t ping it, as I had been having a few power problems I had a quick look at the fuses to see if they had tripped but everything was ok.. I then tried to talk to the some of the other machines in there and couldn’t... ok.. strange.. I checked the switch in my office and it all looked ok although the light for the garage connection was off. Went into the garage.. servers were powered up just no connection... back into the house.. scratched my head a bit.. back outside.. put my head round the back of the garage.. now.. I have a very small.. about 20 cm gap between the back of my garage and my fence.. in there has been some brambles because its always been hard to get too and on the other side was always wasteland.. except they are now building some houses on it.. which is what I put my power problems down too.. anyway... as I poked my head round the gap I saw another face looking back at me.. hello there... I was greeted .. in an Irish accent.. I was just coming to see you... I think I may have cut through one of your wires......................

Whilst cutting down the brambles on my side he had gone thought the network cable... now.. fair play to him the cable was exactly out of the way.. as it was never very accessible round there due to the brambles and the tight space. He gave his sparky a shout and they came round in about an hour... had a chat and went off to get some CAT 5E cable. They put a new cable in for me and then borrowed my crimper to put some ends on copying what I had done before....

This took most of the afternoon and was a little annoying but these things happen.. what I was concerned about was the hassle I had with this cable in the first place... and not just this cable but another cable I had done that connects the ground and first floors of my house.. in that over a certain length I had never been able to get 100mb. The original cable that went into the garage I had to cut back and cut back until I finally got 100mb out of it.. 10mb was always ok but just couldn’t get 100mb. I had tried different types of ends, different quality cables, different switches and always I got about 30M out of it before 100mb just refused to work. Once they had put the new cable in I tested it with a LAN tester and it showed that it was wired correctly so I plugged my laptop into one end of it.. no connection.. forced it to 10mb.. connected fine and could see the servers in the we go again i thought.... I thought.. maybe its the cheap home switches I got so I set off to buy a decent one and on route made a few calls and found that other people had set up runs of 100metres with 100mb with cheap kit and little issues.... so what was I doing wrong...

Got home with a 1gb switch, had been wanting one of those anyway, and plugged that in but same result. After a trawl around the net I came across the solution to this rather long story. I had wired the cable up incorrectly. Now... I knew there was a standard way of wiring up Ethernet cable but I had thought it was just a standard, first few cables i ever did i followed it then forgot what it was and just made something up keeping both ends the same and it worked and have been doing that ever since.... and this apparently is what I have been doing wrong. The standards exist due to something about the direction that the energy flows through the twisted pairs and deviation from the standards can lead to cross talk which can lead to signal drop out.... You can get away with it on short runs but not on long runs... a quick snip of the ends.. and two new ends later I was running at 100mb between my nice new shiny 1gb office switch and the 100mb switch in the garage.

So.. moral of the story.. if you are making up RJ45 cables.. follow the standards.. don’t make up your own.

I used as my reference

MARCH 06, 2006



Came across today and wow... this thing is really cool. Its early days still but some initial testing today has been quite impressive. Basically ORB lets you stream your media from your home to devices connected to the internet. OK.. so here's what’s cool about

  • Streaming movies / music / pics over the internet
  • Very easy to set up
  • Works with mobile devices as well as PCs
  • Its free :)


You can grab the software from I installed it on a Windows XP machine. Spec requirements are quite high due to the video conversion that is going on to ensure that its stepping down the video depending on what connection that you have. Once its installed it will look in your my documents folder for any media and add them to your list. You can add additional folders if you store your media elsewhere.

To get Access to the media you login to orb from another machine. It will display all your content in a web browser and you can browse through and once you find what you want you hit the play button and it will start to detect your connection speed and then start streaming.

I got a couple of friends to test it and they all said it worked. I didn’t even have to configure my firewall, it uses a proxy rather than making direct connects.

I also tried it to my windows media phone. That worked fine as well with no messing. Only issue I had was that Windows media player wouldn’t play the video in full screen... but it never does.. so decided to change the default media program with a reg hack

I changed


change String 1
from wmplayer.exe


"\Program Files\TCPMP\player.exe"

"\Storage Card\Program Files\TCPMP\player.exe" if its installed on SD.

to get it to use TCPMP as the default player.

I’ll try and add some more detail another time but I have been refitting my TV room today and run out of time tonight.

MARCH 05, 2006


RIP AIBO.. nooooooooooooooo

Important announcement
Dear AIBO enthusiast

Thank you very much for your patronage of AIBO and the European AIBO website.

Following the Sony Corporation FY05 3Q announcement, the production of AIBO Entertainment Robots will be discontinued as of end March 2006. As for the sales activity, we will discontinue the sales of AIBO once all remaining stock runs out.

For some product accessories such as the battery, we will have stock available for sale through retail after April 2006. After this retail stock runs out, these product accessories will continue to be available from the AIBO Clinic customer support centre.

The last set of AIBO Custom Datas for AIBO ERS-7M3 will be launched in March 2006. The download service on will continue after April 2006 for these new downloads as well as all existing AIBO Custom Data and other AIBO software. In addition the user guides library (documents available in PDF format) will also remain available.

The AIBO Clinic customer support centre activity will continue for the time period promised after product discontinuation. Please refer to the product user guide.(*)

Thank you for your understanding.

Sony Entertainment Robot Europe


Removed Vista

Had to remove Vista from my laptop today. I’ve have had the CTP release on a machine since December. With the February release I thought I would try it on my laptop as I wasn’t getting to use it on the test machine as much as I wanted. On the test machine I have had no problems with it, I've had good performance out of it and it’s been pretty stable but that machine was of a decent spec. On the laptop it was running like a dog but this is only a 1.7mhz centrino with 512mb ram, and the beta of office 12 on there probably didn’t help much either. The biggest problem was that I couldn’t get decent drivers for the laptop. Most of the major players seem to have vista drivers appearing on the websites, people like ATI and Creative but the Sony Vaio website doesn’t have any support yet. Graphics were sluggish without a decent driver, I couldn’t get any sound and there was no support for the GPRS modem card I had which is my lifeline while I’m out and about.

I will leave it on the test machine for now and just have to try and use it more. I will probably go for it on my games pc when it hits release candidate as the games I have tested on it so far have worked well.

One good thing about putting it on the laptop was I got to see the wireless support and how it was different from XP. Because I upgraded the laptop it was already on the domain and it wouldn’t let me log on over wireless as the wireless network configurations hadn’t come across. It was giving me an error along the lines of no login servers available. Had to login local and set up a wireless connection and make it available for all users on the computer before it would let me login.

To get it back to how it was before I tried a new product called Arconis True Image. It lets u take an image of a machine without having to shut it down and then you can create restore media to then restore that image. I tried to create restore media on a USB memory stick but I couldn’t get my laptop to boot from USB so had to create a CD instead. I had backed up the image to another partition on my laptop so just booted off the CD and selected the image and I think it took around 30 mins to restore the 30GB partition back to how it was pre Vista.



Got an email tonight from the company that supplies my mp3 streamers. They were informing me about a new service that they have teamed up with called Pandora and that I was entitled to a free trial. Pandora is a service that has come about from the fruits of a group of musicians who for the past 6 years have been listening to a lot of music and categorizing it. Not just at your usual title, artist, album, year etc but a bit more involved, actually looking at how the songs are made up at a musical attribute level. They have tried to categorize the songs into unique elements such as melody, harmony and rhythm, to instrumentation, orchestration, arrangement, lyrics, and of course the rich world of singing and vocal harmony.

They claim to have listened to over 10,000 different artists - ranging from popular to obscure - and analyzed the musical qualities of each song one attribute at a time.

Pandora is a web service that lets you build up your own radio station in effect. You give it the name of an artisist or a song that you like and it will suggest similar music. You can then fine tune this selection by giving each song it comes up with a thumbs up or a thumbs down so it can learn your preferences.

You can listen to Pandora on the internet or through the smlimdevice mp3 streamer. Check out for more information. Its available in to flavours, a free version that’s laden with advertisements or a subscription based service with no ads.

FEBRUARY 24, 2006


Thumbs up for Sat Nav

My old PDA has been retired to my drawer. The Sat Nav on the XDA works great. Most impressive is the GPS mouse I got. That thing is awesome compared to my old one. Used to have to make sure it was right under the windscreen for it to get a signal. This new one will even work in my bag on the passenger seat... it even worked the other day when my phone was telling me bluetooth was switched off :|.

Tom Tom does wot Tom Tom does... I was more concerned about performance and trying to juggle sat nav and phone but its been quite a smooth experience. Turn Sat Nav on off you go.. call comes in.. sat nav screen flashes up with who is calling.. answer call using one of the hard or soft buttons or button on bluetooth headset... Sat Nav screen still remains on at the front and it mutes the Sat Nav sound whilst you are in the call.. once your finished with the call sound is automatically unmutted.. cant ask for much more. To make a call either use the voice command software or press the hard call button to switch to the phone screen.

Having the PDA on external power whilst being used for Sat Nav is essential as combination of screen being always on and bluetooth eats battery.

FEBRUARY 21, 2006


Car Holder

Got a car holder for the PDA the other day. This one is only good in PDA mode (without the keyboard out) but will do it in either landscape or portrait mode.

Only problem I had with this holder is that one of the grabs covered up the Green Answer button on the left side of the PDA and the other one covered the volume button.

These weren't an issue for me. I made a small cut in the rubber so that the grab wasn't pressing into the call button as otherwise if I went over a bump it might of done a redial. I answer the phone using the bluetooth headset or can use the softbutton on the PDA screen when an incoming call comes in.

The volume isnt important as again I can control this with the bluetooth headset or the satnav volume with the directional pad.

Importantly it doesnt cover up the power connector.


Sat Nav

I have been using SAT NAV for the last few years on a REALLY old IPAQ, I think it was the first model they did... no memory.. no card slots, no bluetooth. It would of probably been laid to rest in a drawer a long time ago if it wasnt for TOM TOM SAT NAV. Even on this dinosour it worked really well.

I decided to give TOM TOM 5 a try on the XDA. The old GPS mouse wouldnt work on the XDA EXEC without a convertor so I decided to get a new Bluetooth GPS mouse to try and save on some cables and make the solution a bit more portable.

I went for a Holux GPSLIM 236 device from here

Only done a quick road test so far and it seemed to work well. When an incoming call comes in it stays on the SATNAV screen and mutes the directrions volumes. I am off to Manchester in the morn so will give it a good run then.


Low Signal Strength

Had a few problems with low signal strength at home these last few days and I've just made a change to the network setup and it seems to have improved things quite a bit.

By default the phone is set to use network type WCDMA.. I changed this to GSM and set the phone to Vodafone UK rather than search for a network.

* To make the change go to the phone settings.
* Click on the Band Tab
* Under Select your network type select GSM


Still waiting for push email

Push email with Exchange Service pack 2...... thats what we were all promised but it still eludes us. To get push email working Windows Mobile 5 devices need an update. The update has been available for some time now and has been given out to the various mobile provides so they can include in a new firmware update..... *Taps fingers...

Here is about as much as I have been able to get out of O2.

Hi Jon

Thank you for your e-mail, we are sorry for the delay in replying to you.

O2-UK is planning to release MSFP, but unfortunately that is as much information as we have at the moment Jon. We definitely do not have any timescales at the moment.

When available, information should be posted either at and / or

Sorry we cannot be more precise with our answer.

Kind regards
Technical Helpdesk Advisor
Customer Technical Support

:( in the meantime this site gives a good update on what is in store

FEBRUARY 16, 2006


Receiving Bluetooth

Tried to receive a file via Bluetooth tonight and failed. Set up the phone as best as I could and everything looked ok but it just refused to work. Went of to the internet again and found the following.... after making the change it worked..

The setting is at 'HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Obex'
The 'IsEnabled' DWORD value should be set to '1' to enable OBEX and '0' to disable OBEX.
For example, to enable the ability to receive fles via Bluetooth

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Obex\IsEnabled = 1

FEBRUARY 15, 2006


Playing movies from the network

wow.. i just found out that you can connect direct to network shares and play divx movies without having to stream or convert.

first thing you need is tcpmp. Current release is 0.71 and you should be able to get it from

This is a media player. Its small in size, supports a number of different formats and allows video full screen. So well worth looking at as an alternative to media player

Next you need you device connected to your network wirelessly.

Once you got all that load up tcpmp
then do file from the menu

This will take you to a file open dialogue where you can naviagate around your pda. At the top of the screen is a space that shows you the current directory you are in. If you click on this bar you can overtype what is in there.

This allows you to use a unc style name to connect to a windows machine on your network.

So for example you have a movie you want to watch on a machine called server and you have created a windows file share called movies.

In the bar at the top you would type \\server\movies and hit the GO button

First time you try it will ask you for authentication details username, password and domain.

Enter that information and you will be browsing your file share. You can then select the movie that you want to watch and press OK

FEBRUARY 14, 2006


Connecting to the Console using Terminal Services Client

Windows XP lets you connect to a windows 2003 server console using the remote desktop software and adding the /console switch to the startup parameters. The console being the session that you physically log onto if you were stood in front of the server. This is useful if you have left stuff running on the server.

The windows terminal server client that I have on the phone doesnt support the console option nor can I find a client that does.. until I can find one here is a workaround I found and posted in a forum
What I have found is a workaround that at least lets me do what I need until someone can suggest a way of connecting directly to the console.

You can shadow a terminal server session from another session, including the console. So.... connect to your server using the terminal server client, this will start a brand new remote dekstop. Go to the command prompt and type

shadow 0

This will then connect you to the console. For this to work you have to make sure that you enable permissions for the shadowing to take place. Do as outlined in the following article.;en-us;278845

look for the bit right at the end that says

To configure the Windows Server 2003-based server to permit remote control, follow these steps:

although change step 7

7. In the Options box, click Full Control with users' permission, and then click OK.

Change it to without users permission otherwise it will sit there waiting for a response on the console

FEBRUARY 11, 2006


Voice Command with Headset

I use a jabra Headset with the phone most of the time. In looking around the internet I found that you can configure the headsets to use Microsoft Voice Command with the headset rather than speaking into the mic in the phone. By default when you press the headset button it starts the inbuilt voice quick dial. I never use this anymore. This is the standard phone voice dial where you have to teach it everyone of your contacts you want to assign a voice command to.

What this registry change does is load up the voice command software instead when you press the button

Install Voice Command to the default location.
Fire up a registry editor
Modify the string marked "path" from the default \Windows\SDDialer.exe to \Program Files\Voice Command\VoiceCMD.exe

FEBRUARY 10, 2006


Hardware Rest

To get to that list of apps that I wanted to keep I had installed a lot of crap on the device and it was starting to slow. It was time for a clean build. The phone has the ability to do a hard reset wher it will reload the image from the rom.

To do a hardware reset

Press the two -- keys on the keyboard at the same time and reset (the one to the left of the red phone button and the one to the right of the green phone button)

choose Copoorate mode (the code is 0506). This will remvoe the 02 customisation..

When the device came back I noticed that the radio firmware was out of date. Got the updated firmware at

FEBRUARY 09, 2006


List of Apps

ok... ive been trying a few applications out on here and here is my list of what I have found useful. I will go into some more detail on these apps at a latter date.

* voice command - Microsoft Application. Lets you control your phone with your phone. Dont have to teach it either !!! can just say call diane on mobile or call mum at home and it does the business. Will also launch applications and can play music like on commands like play goldfrap.. essential
* adobe viewer - Windows Mobile 5 comes with the office apps but no adobe. If you use ur device for email odds are you will get a pdf document at some point. I am using the clearvue viewer.
* Tube - Software from Visual IT. London Underground map.
* Total Commander - Total Commander. Good replacement for the local File Explorer
* vnc viewer - Viewer for remote desktop software VNC.
* air hockey 3d - Game.. great idea for a PDA game but this one is a little sluggish.
* emus - I've put some emulators on there but not had much of a chance to check them out yet.
* Chaos Strikes Back - A good port of the the old sequel to Dungeon Master
* marble maddness - Port of the classic rollerball arcade game
* pocket mini golf - Pocket Mini Golf Game
* GSP pocket magic - Replacement for the start menu to give it a more nested feel like an xp startmenu and includes some options like close tasks
* Opera - Better browser than ie. Fits twice as much on screen. Only been able to find a japenese version so far though.
* pocketrss - More and more sites are now offering RSS feeds. This is a useful app to connect to these feeds and display them on the PDA
* skype - Popular voice over IP program
* pocket irc - IRC client
* Registry Editor - As its says

FEBRUARY 08, 2006


Phone came today

Phone came today .. w00t.. This may sound sad but the box was very cool... as boxes go. had sliding comparments.. all very clever. Plugged the phone in and let it charge. Will sort it out later and try and load some software on there. Confirmed that I could plug my work vodafone sim in there as the phone had been shipped unlocked so no messing around needed :))))

This is the o2 version of the phone

First impressions.... omg its a huge


Memory Card

Got a 1GB memory card for the XDA. It takes SD cards. 1GB cards are very reasonably priced now.. specially compared to to Sony Memory sticks for my PSP. Larger cards are on their way up to 8GB but 1GB was the best priced one for the moment.

FEBRUARY 06, 2006


Got a new phone :)

Got myself a new mobile phone :) Well more of a PDA that is also a phone. Been after a Windows Mobile 5 device for a while so I can test some of the new email features with Exchange 2003 service pack 2. There were two types of phone that I wanted. Both phones had various names, here are some links to the Imate versions of the phones. It was between an imate jasjar and an imate k-jam.. The k-jam was tempting as it was a bit more of a sensible size than the jasjar but in the end I wanted the larger screen and keyboard of the jasjar so I could use the device for as much as I could whilst out and about.

o2 gave me a shout to see if I wanted to upgrade my current phone which my wife had on contract. I asked them what the price of their XDA EXEC was which is their model of the jasjar. They were willing to do it for £150 on a 1 year contract and knock £10 of my monthly bill. Compared to some of the other prices I had seen this was a good offer so I went for it.

FEBRUARY 05, 2006



Started new blog today.. all the stuff before today has just been inmported from two previous blogs one on Exchange 12 and the other on my Windows Mobile 5 phone.


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