Thursday 24 April 2008

Offline Files warning won't suppress

A client PC on an SBS2003 network kept giving a warning about a PST file not syncing at logout. It was an archive copy of an email account stored in My Documents that was located on the server. At the end of every day the Offline Files would sync and stick with the error, annoying the client who was keen to get out of the door at 4pm ... wish I had those hours ;-)

There's an MS document, KB811660 that talks about suppressing the warning for particular file types and locations. Its a bit obscure but the key point is to add this to the registry to skip warnings for Outlook PST files.

HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\NetCache\ExclusionErrorSuppressionList \\\\*\\*\\*\\*.PST = 0x0000000 (REG_DWORD)

Unfortunately that didn't clear the error, even after the obligatory reboot. The trick to get it to take effect was to reset the Offline Files cache too. Go into My Documents > Tools > Folder Options > Offline Files and use Ctrl-Shift with Delete All Files. For more info take a look at KB230738.

Saturday 19 April 2008

New software from Apple, OS X for your PC

I guess its only a matter of time until a client starts asking about the Safari update to iTunes and I have to explain about Browser Wars 2. Seems a bit of a storm in a teacup but I was interested to see Apple at least separating Updates and New - thanks to Gary for the breaking Apple news. So how long until we see this dialog then.

Tell you what, I'd be front of the queue. Its turning into quite a talking point with clients. I'm regularly getting asked about iMacs and MacBooks whenever anyone needs a new machine. Even last year the answer was don't go there, the transition for your business isn't worth it. However now, I explain Parallels or dual booting and that you can choose Mac or Windows at startup, its a different proposition.

Take into account the compatibility and stability, the security benefits, the fact your staff can't download as much crapware onto the machines and the big impression Apple design gives to everyone, be it clients or staff, sounds like there could be a business case for switching there.

Thursday 17 April 2008

Vista, Suse 10.3 and multiple drives

Just managed to sort out a dual boot with Vista and Suse 10.3. Vista is on the second HD, a Samsung 500GB SATA. Suse was installed to the 200GB Seagate IDE drive which has boot priority to load GRUB. Unfortunately the auto boot settings of Suse were carefully stepping around Vista, insisting on these settings for Windows
title Windows
rootnoverify (0,0)
chainloader (0,0)+1
Even going into YaST Administrator Settings > System > Boot Loader and choosing Other > Edit Configuration Files > /boot/grub/menu.lst and over-writing the Windows entry didn't help. YaST must have known better, not.

As I couldn't boot Vista at this point I tried booting off the Vista DVD to repair startup with bootrec. Using the /fixboot option failed with an error that the volume wasn't compatible

The solution I sussed in the end was manually editing /boot/grub/menu.lst using Kate started via su in terminal and amending to these settings
title Windows
rootnoverify (1,0)
chainloader (1,0)+1

Novell's document on dual booting Vista and Linux has a similar solution.

Sunday 6 April 2008

SBS 2003 server SP2 setup error, failed to install catalog files

Had a problem loading Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 (SP2) onto a Dell PowerEdge this week. First error was that a file couldn't be copied, check permissions. I had to cancel that install and it rolled back ... but I guess not well enough. When I tried to reinstall I got this error:

Service Pack 2 setup error "failed to install catalog files"

Retrying the setup (again), clearing temp files, checking Event Viewer didn't help at all. Finally found this useful article at Microsoft, KB822798. Ignore the majority and jump straight to Method 9, that did the trick and the install completed ok.

Interestingly the original error came about from a file read error which must have appeared whilst SP2 was unpacking. I was able to get over the read error by unpacking to another temp directory, finding the file and overwriting the faulty one. You can unpack to a temporary directory by doing a Start > Run (delete any entry already there) then drag the SP2 file to the Run box and add -X (you may also need quotes if there are any spaces in the directory names)

e.g. Start > Run >
"c:\downloaded files\microsoft\WindowsServer2003-KB914961-SP2-x86-ENU.exe" -x

Thursday 3 April 2008

File Conversion - online, of course

One of the ISPs I use regularly for business clients - very reliable, excellent local support - has just sent their monthly newsletter out and pointed out a new service out on the interweb; Its blindingly obvious, brilliant. Get your file conversions done online. Why haven't I seen something like this already?

I get these calls occasionally where a client has been emailed a file and is wondering what to do with it. Usually end up using FILExt to identify the source and then try and track down a program that can handle it. Half the time this happens out at a client site, Zamzar could be the easy answer. Be intersting to see how comprehensive their conversion filters become. Pleased to see their privacy policy is making all the right noises about protecting emails and files.

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