Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Freeware to Backup and Restore Device Drivers

Double Driver is a great freeware to backup and restore device drivers. It is a stand alone application that you can run from a USB drive or any storage location without needing an install.

it works fine with windows 7. Its a great tool!! no need to worry about keeping track of recovery CDs for old laptops and desktops.

Freeware to Backup and Restore Device Drivers

Double Driver is a great freeware to backup and restore device drivers. It is a stand alone application that you can run from a USB drive or any storage location without needing an install.


it works fine with windows 7. Its a great tool!! no need to worry about keeping track of recovery CDs for old laptops and desktops.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Reset Mailbox Permissions

if a mailbox is being shared between multiple users and for some reason not all folders are visible to all the users. First thing you might want to do is to consider resetting the permissions of the mailbox.

The tool you would use for this purpose is PFDAVAdmin.

  • Instead of connecting to public folder on a given exchange server, connect to all mailboxes of the server where the concerned mailbox is.
  • Right click the mailbox name and select Propagate folder ACEs
  • Check “NT AUTHORITY\ANONYMOUS LOGON” and click on OK

even though the level of permission is none “Anonymous Logon” has to be listed in the ACL in order for the folder to be visible to everyone who has permission to the mailbox.

If Active Directory System Discovery does not work

If you are using Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager and Active Directory System Discovery does not show new computers added to your Active Directory then following will resolve the issue.

There is a bug in SCCM SP2 that does not resolve the LDAP query for newly added computer objects. To make it work:

  • Go to Site Management > Site Name > Site Settings > Discovery Methods
  • Go to the properties of Active Directory System Discovery
  • In the General Tab, Click on the new button to and chose Custom LDAP or GC query query should be based on the following. (remember to check Recursive and Include Groups if needed)


  • To put the above in context: Lets say your domain name is and the name of the LDAP server is then the query will look like the following.  (389 is the default LDAP port)


  • If the same was to be done for an OU named Workstations in the above domain, following query can be used.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Enable Check Boxes for Items in Windows 7

this can be very helpful as you wont need to hold the CTRL key for multiple selections.

Folder Options –> View –> Use check boxes to select items

For more details click here


Monday, December 21, 2009

Cannot start Microsoft Office Outlook. Cannot open the Outlook window.

When opening outlook following error occurs

“Cannot start Microsoft Office Outlook. Cannot open the Outlook window.”



there are two ways of fixing it.

  1. Go to Start menu chose run and type the following and press enter

    outlook /resetnavpane

    This will open outlook, close Outlook and try to reopen it normally. If it still gives you the error then you an do it the hard way and that is following.
  2. Go to %appdata%\microsoft\outlook\(type this in Run and press enter)
    and delete the profilename.xml, outcmd.dat and outlprnt files.

    If you are not sure which xml file to delete just delete all xml files and the two mentioned files at above location.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Move DHCP scope from Windows Sever 2000 to Windows Server 2003 or 2008

Move DHCP from Server 2000 to 2003 or 2008

Microsoft has detailed step by step KB article on it.. in brief.

  • Reduce the lease duration on server 2000 so the clients will renew IP and you will discover issue quicker if there are any.
  • Timing is important –> deactivate the scope on old server before you import it on the new one.

Here are the steps

  1. Download and install the DHCPExim utility on server 2000, it will not create shortcuts so access it from C:\Program Files\Resource Kit\
  2. Open command prompt and stop DHCP Service with the following command

    net stop dhcpserver

  3. Open DHCPExim.exe and following the instructions to export any selected scope data to be exported to a txt file. You can chose to disable to the scope immediately.
  4. Now on your server 2003 copy the txt file on the local drive and run the following command.

    netsh dhcp server import filepath\filename.txt all

  5. Authorize the new DHCP server

Read the this article for moving DHCP from server 2003 to server 2008

Happy Upgrading!!

Great freeware for Windows Administrators – ManagePC

ManagePC is a freeware that can be used by administrators and/or helpdesk in an Active Directory domain to manage remote windows 2000/xp/2003 machines. Following is the features list.

ManagePC features

  • Retrieves important WMI data from machine
  • Remote control (via Remote Desktop, Remote Assistance or VNC)
  • Remotely manage machine (via MMC)
  • Reboot machine
  • Remotely edit registry
  • Stop/start services
  • Monitor and terminate processes
  • View local users and groups
  • Remotely uninstall software
  • Export data to Excel, HTML and RTF format
  • All retrieved data stored in XML files for history purposes
  • WMI Query Builder
  • No extra software required on client machines

It does work with Vista and Windows7 machines but there are a few permission issues that need to be fixed, hopefully in next versions. This open source software provides a comprehensive suite of remote management tools with no client or agent installed on the target machine. But make sure that the PSTools are installed on the administrator’s machine for the uninstalls to work, specifically PsExec is required for that task.

Installation is very simple, once the software is installed read the help file its very brief. Happy Managing PCs!!!

Map Windows Live SkyDrive (25GB Free Online space) As Local Drive and Much More

Having 10GB free space from 4shared is great but it has its own limitations. What if there was more space that you already have like 25GB from SkyDrive!! Hotmail users will know what I am talking about.

Gladinet is a tool that allows you to map SkyDrive, Google Docs and others as a Network/Local Drive to your computer. Which mean you can have a drive letter that allows you to automate backing up your data and/or you can just drag an drop files.

I have been using the free version and my experience with it has been great!! It works great with Windows7. Speed and performance is relative to what machine and connection you are using. I use a DSL line and have not seen any issue with the speed..

Gladinet has made life easy when it comes to storing data online!! Enjoy using it.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Another amazing freeware - Gizmo Central

Most of us use virtual cd/dvd mount software and the most complete solution that I have found so far is Gizmo Central.
Following are some details as described on the official site. But this freeware does much more than the following. 
Gizmo Central 2.7 (Features)
  • New Advanced Themes  
  • New Full VHD mounting (Dynamic, fixed, & differencing)
  • ISO, BIN, CUE, NRG, CCD, MDS, MDF image mounting
  • Hex Editor and Syntax Text Editor
  • Mouse & Keyboard Automation
  • Database tools, Query Analyzer, with IntelliSense
I have been using it for a while and have found it very useful, specially the ability to burn any of the mountable files. (not vhd of course) and the txt editor is very handy.
Give it a try and see how useful it can be.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

4Shared giving 10Gb Free space for Sharing or Storing data online!!!!

I have been using 4shared for a few years and have found it to be one of the best data storage and file sharing sites. User interface is very intuitive and easy to use and 5Gb space + 100Mb size file download was already great! Now free 4shared users have 10Gb space and the maximum file size that can be uploaded is now 200Mb.

following is the message sent from 4shared to the free users.

Great presents from 4shared!
Progress indicates generally forward moving and always brings innovations for something better. This time enhancement will be much appreciated by our Free users because we prepared a significant present for them. Basic feature set for Free accounts was altered and these changes are as always in your favor! Storage space of Free accounts was increased to 10Gb, maximal upload file size was doubled – from now on it has become possible to upload files up to 200Mb. The number of your favorite subdomains was also increased to unlimited. You can have as many subdomains like as you wish! Thank you for being a part of 4shared community – community of progressive and forward-looking people! Hope you will like our present. Let’s advance together!

Join 4Shared Now!

Certification Error: Navigation Blocked – Windows Internet Explorer

When trying to access any site with https (any secure site) following error occurs in Internet Explorer or any other browser.

There is a problem with this website’s security Certificate. The security certificate presented by this website was not issue by a trusted certificate authority.


when viewing the details of the certificate, you can see that the Root CA is not trusted by your computer.


Also there might be some other errors like – you are unable to add a blog entry in Windows Live Writer. When trying to add an entry it gives the following error.

An error occurred while attempting to connect to your blog:
The underlying connection was closed: Could not establish trust relationship for the SSL/TLS secure channel.
You must correct this error before proceeding. 



Run Windows Update!!!


  1. Find a computer where you don’t get the error. If don’t have another computer than download the Root CAs file here. (this file will not be updated)
  2. If you do have a computer where you don’t get the error then just type mmc in run and press enter
  3. After the MMC opens go to file menu and click on Add/Remove Snap-in…
  4. Click on the Add button, select Certificates and click on Add again.
  5. Select computer account, Next and then Finish
  6. Close the standalone snap-in window and click on ok on Add/Remove Snap-in window.
  7. Now navigate to Trusted Root Certification Authorities > Certificates
  8. Now click on Action > All Tasks > Export.
  9. Give the file a name and save it, once saved come back to your problematic computer again and follow step 2 to 7.
  10. Right Click on Certificates > All Tasks > Import
  11. Just find the file and click Next and you might have press yes a few hundred times :-|
  12. If you have Windows SDK and .Net framework installed you can use the certmgr.exe with the following command.
certmgr -add -all -c "Savedfile.p7b" -s -r localMachine Root

Enable Wake On LAN (WOL) on all Dell PCs in your domain

Wake on LAN can be very useful for all Systems Administrators and Helpdesk. Do you remember last time when all your users were asked to logged off and none of them left their computers OFF? …….. No! thought so.

Well that can be solved, in my case I just have to deal with Dell computers so it was easy enough. I used the following method.

  1. Download and install the following utility from Dell on one of the computers
    Dell Client Configuration Utility
  2. Use the following instructions to prepare an exe file that can be deployed to all the Dell computers to modify BIOS settings to enable Wake on LAN.
    Create BIOS Settings Package
  3. Once you have the BIOS settings file, use GPO or PSexec to deploy it to all computers.
  4. And finally you can use a command line utility like WOL.EXE to wake up a computer (MAC address required)

To get the MAC address use following commandline
getmac /S computernam

the above was the most basic that can get anyone started with WOL, like Dell there are other manufactures that provide similar utilities to deploy BIOS settings or in some cases it might already be enabled. If you have Lansweeper or Configuration Manager in your domain then you can use these to wake up computers as well.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Mouse gestures in Google Chrome?

I have always been a great fan of developing Human ability to interact naturally with machines and Using Gestures is one of the basic methods I incorporate and appreciate in my daily computer usage. Its great feeling to not to have to use buttons and menus to interact with a program or OS itself.

I had not been able to use Google Chrome for a while because I am used to using gestures while browsing  and with some third party tools I was able to make it work but didn’t have much choices when it came to customizing the tools to create my own gestures and with some it was just not compatible.

Not until I found gMote, I was fully able to move to using Chrome. I have been a loyal user of FireFox and IE, but due to some recent concerns expressed about the increasing vulnerabilities of FireFox, I had to make some choices and I think for now I will chose Chrome. IE will still be in picture for many reasons.

gMote also works great with Windows 7, Microsoft should really think about incorporating gestures in the OS!! It makes a great difference.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Organization wide RAM usage Inventory using Configuration Manager - SCCM

You are asked to give a comprehensive hardware inventory of all computers in your organization, specially how many DIMM are in use of which computer and how much RAM each computer has. And if you are one of those people like me who have no concept of saying NO, then following will help you greatly!!!
If you have System Center Configuration Manager then this task becomes easy.
  1. First copy the following text to (on the SCCM server)C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Configuration Manager\inboxes\clifiles.src\hinv\sms_def.mof
    (end of the file is a good place)
    [SMS_Report (TRUE),SMS_Group_Name ("Physical Memory"),
    SMS_Class_ID   ("Microsoft|Physical_Memory|1.0") ]
    class Win32_PhysicalMemory : SMS_Class_Template
    [SMS_Report (TRUE)] string BankLabel;
    [SMS_Report (TRUE), SMS_Units("Megabytes")]  uint64 Capacity;
    [SMS_Report (TRUE)] string Caption;
    [SMS_Report (TRUE)] string DeviceLocator[];
    [SMS_Report (TRUE)] uint16 FormFactor;
    [SMS_Report (TRUE)] string Manufacturer;
    [SMS_Report (TRUE)] uint16 MemoryType;
    [SMS_Report (TRUE)] uint32 PositionInRow;
    [SMS_Report (TRUE)] uint32 Speed;
    [SMS_Report (TRUE)] string Model;
    [SMS_Report (TRUE)] string Name;
    [SMS_Report (TRUE)] string OtherIdentifyingInfo;
    [SMS_Report (TRUE)] string PartNumber;
    [SMS_Report (TRUE),Key] string    Tag;
    [SMS_Report (TRUE),Key] string    CreationClassName;

  2. If you do not have a deadline for submitting the inventory you can let SCCM run the hardware inventory on its on schedule, but if it is urgent that you get this done as soon as possible then you can force a hardware inventory.

  3. Still I suggest you run this overnight and the next day create a query with the following attributes.


    Or use the following in Query Language

    select SMS_R_System.Name, SMS_R_System.IPAddresses, SMS_R_System.MACAddresses, SMS_R_System.LastLogonUserName, SMS_G_System_PHYSICAL_MEMORY.* from  SMS_R_System inner join SMS_G_System_PHYSICAL_MEMORY on SMS_G_System_PHYSICAL_MEMORY.ResourceID = SMS_R_System.ResourceId

  4. Now you can export the list, open it in excel and make a presentable report by using pivot table.

Unable to send emails to a mail enabled Public Folder

When trying to send emails to a mail enabled Public Folder your users receive the following NDR

Delivery has failed to these recipients or distribution lists:
There's a problem with the recipient's mailbox. Microsoft Exchange will not try to redeliver this message for you. Please try resending this message, or provide the following diagnostic text to your system administrator.

Sent by Microsoft Exchange Server 2007
Diagnostic information for administrators:

Generating server:
#550 5.2.0 STOREDRV.Deliver: The Microsoft Exchange Information Store service reported an error. The following information should help identify the cause of this error: "MapiExceptionNotAuthorized:16.18969:E70F0000……

Error: MapiExceptionNotAuthorized makes it apparent that the issue is with permissions.

Check the public folder permissions, use PFDAVAdmin or Microsoft Outlook for it. Make sure that Anonymous has Contributor permission level.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Auto Delete Old Items from a Public Folder


Open Public Folder Management Console from Exchange Management Console, open the properties of a public folder and go to Replication tab and entre the “Local replica age limit (days)” value.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Windows 7 – Features I Love

Have been using Windows 7 since the first beta release and have been quiet impressed with how much thought Microsoft has given in to this Operating System. Following

  1.  Jumplist - I love it, as an Admin it comes very handy
  2. Snap, Shake – specially the use of Windows button and arrow keys works well with dual monitors.
  3. Taskbar – You can use the mouse roller button to close or open applications without having to look for the close button.
  4. Sharing music, document and more through homegroup now works with no expertise at all.
  5. Windows Search – Finally I can rely on it.
  6.  Windows Media Player 12. I still have not given up using VLC though :-)
  7. Snipping Tool. No need to get a third party tool for this function.
  8. Gadgets
  9. Windows Live Essentials (these can be accessed in older OS as well)
    • Writer – I am posting this blog with writer and it works great!!
    • Movie Maker – Easy to use and can save in many different formats or publish directly to youtube.
    • Family Safety – (still needs work) but can work well for conscious and smart parents and guardians out there.
  10. Windows XP Mode – Application incompatibility is not a question at all.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tired of “Are you sure you want to move this file to Recycle Bin?” dialogue box?

If its annoying to confirm the deletion of files after you have clearly asked it to be deleted, do the following in Windows 7 and it will listen to you at once!!


Uncheck the option “Display delete confirmation dialog” in the properties of Recycle Bin. From now on when u delete a file it not ask for confirmation.


Free up Drive space by deleting Installation Patches (.msp) files remotely

Came across with many computer in domain with less then few GB space left on the local drive. This was concerning cause we have allocated enough drive space for the OS and program files. I needed to know what is taking so much space?

So I used an open source tool called WinDirStat, it doesn’t just calculate the folder size but also gives you a very nice GUI to evaluate which filetypes are taking most amount of space. So I scanned on of those computers by selecting A Folder in WinDirStat and \\computername\c$

Well, I found that 88% of space on the local drive was taken by .msp files, my first thought was – lets just delete these files. It is safe but I wont be able to uninstall any programs on that computer. So I chose a safer direction to solve the issue. I recently posted about uninstalling software on remote computers  where MsiZap was used to remotely remove a software, this will work even if you are unable to remove the software from Add/Remove programs.  MsiZap also provides you the ability to remove unused or extra installer patches on a computer with following command.

msizap G!

G – For All users, removes any orphaned cached installer data files.

! – Forces a “Yes” for any response prompts.

So again to automate this process a batch file can be created to run the following command on many computers remotely using PSexec.

psexec –cd \\computername “path\msizap.exe” G!

I was surprised to see that it deleted most of the .msp files and it created a lot of space. Might come handy for some of you out there.