Friday, 17 November 2017

3 PCs missing from AVG Avast Cloudcare Console

Strange problem at one site with AVG CloudCare v3.6.4. Only one of 3 particular PCs would ever appear in the console at once. Lets call them PC26 (Maint), PC29 (Chef) and PC31 (Accts). This week PC29 was listed, status ok, updates ok. It even had the correct label name against it showing that is was Chef's computer. I tried reinstalling PC31 which succeeded, but it appeared on the list with the name Chef rather than Accts - and PC29 dropped off the list. I relabelled it to Accts, then PC29 came back on the list instead but with the new label.

Took me a while initially to realise that all three were essentially sharing one database entry and the last change/install took precedence as far as the console list was concerned.

Also tried removing AVG CloudCare off all three PCs at once and using the AVG Remover tool, rebooting, then reinstalling each one. And the same again but with the brand new 4.0.2 release of Avast Business Cloudcare. No chance.

In the end, after 25 mins online with tech support, we used the 'setup.exe -b' command to re-register the clients to the CloudCare database and reset registry keys. This cleared the problem and all clients came up normally.

To use setup -b, start a command prompt with Admin rights. Then change to the appropriate directory, depending upon client and 32 or 64 bit, eg
C:\Program Files(x86)\AVG\CloudCare   or
C:\Program Files(x86)\AVAST Software\Business Agent\

Monday, 3 July 2017

1and1 Cloud Virtual Server outgoing smtp email blocked

Got a new VPS hosting server with 1&1, its one of their Cloud Virtual Servers based on SSD, nice and speedy. Obscure problem with the first WordPress site which wouldn't send outgoing email using phpmail.

Went through all the firewall policy, server settings, Plesk, OS, WordPress - nothing obvious. All you can see is emails queuing in the outgoing queue in Plesk. Look under Tools & Settings > Mail > Mail Server Settings > Mail Queue.

Clicking on the email shows it received by the host.

After double-checking all the settings, again, turns out its an overriding outgoing port 25 block set by 1and1. You have to phone support and get the outgoing block taken off port 25 - it doesn't appear in the control panel(s) or the firewall policies. Good luck finding a first line tech that's heard of it too :-)

Friday, 23 June 2017

Dell Optiplex 7040 Realtek clicking popping audio sounds

Looks like the latest audio driver from Dell has fixed a sound problem where you could hear clicking and popping, sometimes interference, sounds whilst playing music or adverts. It was most obvious on Spotify. This is using the built-in Realtek Audio hardware.

Previous driver was dated 12 Aug 2016 and the update is dated 19 Dec 2016, listed as Dell revision A07. Download Audio_Driver_RT1XX_WN32_6.0.1.6117_A07.EXE 

Worth noting the Dell Command Update utility (v2.3.1) for checking if updates are available, didn't list this particular audio driver update for download. We only spotted it when manually checking the Dell support website.

(Just for completeness - we'd also loaded BIOS 1.5.10 dated 9 May 2017 at the same time, but don't think that was relevant. There was mention of a LAN driver possibly causing audio interference, this system was already on the latest Dell download 20.4 A01 with driver dated 5 Oct 2015 for Intel l219-LM. Intel have a newer release 22.3 ProWinx64 with driver dated 19 Mar 2017. Hyper-V and VMware virtual adapters were present)

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Draytek Vigor 2760n dial-in VPN update

Just spotted a useful firmware update from Draytek for their Vigor 2760 / 2760n / 2760Vn range which adds an important VPN feature.

In a previous article on the Draytek 2760 I mentioned that although the early revision of the hardware (which uses firmware 1.x) has dial-in VPN support (PPTP, L2TP) the later hardware revision with firmware 3.x didn't provide dial-in VPN. Got caught out by that change before!

Guess what Draytek fixed with the firmware - they've added support for SSL VPN Remote Dial-In user connections. Excellent news - will be testing as soon as I get opportunity.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

SBS 2008 Best Practice Analyzer (SBS BPA) out of date, error ocurred trying to access the web

The Best Practice Analyzer (BPA) for Small Business Server 2008 (SBS2008) reports 'An error occurred trying to access the web' when it tries to update.

If you click on the 'About the Best Practices Analyzer' link you might see an older update than Configuration File version:

[ We had an SBS 2008 server that blue screened and had to be restored using a SystemState backup and SFC system file check - somewhere along the way we ended up with an old configuation file version of When run, this threw up an error about WSUS 3.0 needing SP1, when SP2 was actually installed. ]

You can manually update by copying a newer SBSBPA.CONFIG.XML file into the C:\Program Files (x86)\SBSBPA\en directory. You can find a copy here; sbsbpa.config.xml version

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Sage 50 Accounts: Email Invoice / Purchase Order / Statement and save in Outlook Inbox not Drafts

When sending an email copy of an invoice or statement or purchase order from Sage 50 Accounts v22 (2016), the customer wanted the email to be held in Outlook before dispatch. That allowed an extra check and for them to be certain it was transmitted.

In Sage, under Settings > Email Defaults, you can specify for each type of attachment (Invoice or Sales order or Statement or Purchase Order or Remittance) whether the Sending Option should Save to Mailbox or Send Immediately.

They also wanted the email to be held in the Inbox of the Outlook 2010 client, not in the Drafts folder. This is an Outlook setting, not a Sage one. Look under Outlook > File > Options > Mail > Save messages > Save to this folder: Inbox

Monday, 5 September 2016

Dell Vostro 3300 fails to upgrade to Windows 10, error 0xC1900101 - 0x30018

A Dell Vostro 3300 laptop failed to upgrade to Windows 10 on several different attempts. Interestingly after fitting a new hard drive and performing a clean install of Windows 10, it completed without issue - suggesting that there was a driver issue with the existing Windows 7 configuration.

After much troubleshooting, we pinpointed the issue to the ExpressCard port. Simply disabling this in BIOS and then re-running the Win 10 upgrade, completed the upgrade without issue.

To disable, keep tapping F2 at startup when the Dell logo is on the screen. Move right into the Advanced Menu, then the Configuration options. You should see ExpressCard most of the way down the list. Press Enter, choose Disabled, then Enter and use Esc to quit, saving changes.

PS Make sure you've already loaded the latest A12 BIOS update from Dell Support.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Cheaper TomTom Maps for Mazda NB1 SatNav

Not the usual IT support problem - TomTom Home (v2.9) wouldn't connect to the shop using Windows 10, so I couldn't actually pay for the maps upgrade. This is for a Mazda NB1 satnav fitted to a Mazda CX-5. That started me looking at alternatives. The same version on Windows 7 was ok, connecting to the shop and quoting £59.95 for 12mo updates (ouch!)

I tried looking at the TomTom website to directly purchase maps. There was a Western Europe map for £44.95 on offer. Part way down the screen it says type the first two letters for your TomTom model - thats DP in the case of the Mazda NB1 - however its not compatible. Sigh!

In the end, I worked out that you need the full European map for this model. This was listed at £59.95 (reduced from £69.95) plus there was an offer for 18 months of updates, instead of 12mo. I looked on vouchercodes and there was also a new customer code of WELCOME15_UK giving another £8 discount.

Once purchased you could allocate the map against the NB1 registered on your TomTom account (assuming you've already plugged your Mazda SD card into the computer and logged in via TomTom Home)

Then click on Update My device and the new European map will appear on the list to download to the memory card. One last issue, its too big to fit, so I ended up selecting EU Zone 8 which seemed to include UK, France, Spain and Germany (that's this summer's road trip covered).

So £52 for full European map with 18mo updates seems a much better deal than the one offered on the automatic download via TomTom Home. Sounds like there are 30% codes available too, depending upon the time of the year.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

SQL Server Express 2008 error -2146893007, service won't start for Microsoft Office Accounting 2009

Just discovered the old accounts package, Microsoft Office Accounting 2009 won't load. It reports ExecuteRestricted.exe crashed, then tries to load MS Office Accounts again and prompts to start a new company. After a bit of digging through Event Viewer for useful error codes we found that trying to start the SQL Server (SQLEXPRESS) service failed, reporting error -2146893007.

Event Viewer indicates that this is an SSL related error. So, we realised that TLS 1.0 had recently been disabled on this PC in line with PCI recommendations. We use the excellent IISCrypto utility to achieve this quickly and simply. Reinstating TLS 1.0 (no reboot required) allowed the SQLEXPRESS service to start up again.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Dell Vostro 3550 blank screen during Windows 10 upgrade - Intel HD 3000

We're seeing a few interesting Windows 10 upgrade issues as everyone takes advantage of the free update before the end of July. We've got a pretty packed schedule updating businesses before the deadline. Its definitely worth doing, especially from a performance and security point of view.

Just had a Dell Vostro 3550 which was on Windows 7 Pro. Initial stages of the update progressed normally but then we got a completely blank screen (that model uses the Intel HD 3000 graphics adapter). We could see a lot of hard disk activity but no messages - it stayed like this for over 30 minutes.

We didn't want to cancel the install and have to revert, then start again - possibly with  complicated restore issues. However we spotted on an external monitor connected via VGA that the mouse pointer was still visible.

We then found that pressing Ctrl-Alt-Del brought up a menu and Task Manager would show processes, but 0% CPU. You could just see a 'Preparing Security Options' message flash up in the background as the menu appeared.

In the end we had to do a reboot from that menu. There was no uninstall fortunately, the laptop rebooted normally but still no display on the laptop monitor. However we did get a desktop on the external monitor. Windows 10 had completed but was suffering repeated file explorer  crashes and restarts.

► The fix to get the laptop monitor working was to upgrade the BIOS from A10 to version A12 (use an external monitor).

► The fix to stop Explorer crashing was to uninstall the IDT audio software.

We couldn't actually get to the Control Panel because it crashed every time the mouse moved over. Top tip - in the Cortana search box (or in the Run box - press Win-R) type APPWIZ.CPL to go straight to Programs & Features.

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