Monday 22 December 2014

MODX Evo server move causes error about unspecified timezone in PHP

Having just moved a MODX Evolution based website from the old server to a 1and1 VPS, we started getting errors about not specifying a timezone in PHP. Tried several suggestions around updating htaccess but no luck.

Adding this line to the index.php did the trick.

ini_set("date.timezone", "Europe/London");

Apparently its because the default PHP setting on the 1&1 VPS is to use Fast CGI

Monday 15 December 2014

Exporting / copying results from Exchange 2007 Message Tracking troubleshooting assistant

I was trying to track down some specific invoice emails that had allegedly been sent a couple of weeks earlier. Its easy enough to fire up the Message Tracking troubleshooting assistant from the Exchange 2007 Management Console, just look in the Toolbox section. Its a bit like the old Message Tracking Center in Exchange System Manager from the 2003 version.

You specify your message criteria and date range and it shows you all the matching email records. However you really need to get it into Excel to start filtering and sorting the data usefully, especially when it returns 100s of matching emails. However there isn't an obvious copy or export option.

The trick is to click Go Back and look at the shell command that was generated, at the bottom. You can see in this screenshot the equivalent shell command is

get-messagetrackinglog -EventID "SEND" -MessageSubject "invoice" -Start "16/11/2014 07:58:00" -End "28/11/2014 21:08:00"

Copy that line, then start Exchange Management Shell and paste the command (You need to click the shell icon top left then choose the Edit submenu). Before you hit enter to run the command, paste the following to the end of the line: 
| export-csv c:\windows\temp\results.csv
(the | is the Shifted backslash symbol just by Z on the UK keyboard, its the pipe command) 

That will create an Excel friendly report in the Windows\Temp directory

Friday 12 December 2014

Uninstall Exchange Server 2010 SP3 Rollup 8 requires msexchange.msi

Having been caught with an SBS 2011 server that had the Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 3 Rollup 8 loaded, just before Microsoft withdrew that update. Apparently it caused connection problems with Outlook clients, although we had no reported issues.

Before you start make sure you've downloaded Exchange 2010 Service Pack 3 and run it, so that its unpacked in a handy directory.

Going into Control Panel > Programs > View Installed Updates, you should see Exchange 2010 SP3 Rollup 7 and Rollup 8.

Select and uninstall Rollup 8. It takes a while to complete but will prompt for the location of msexchange.msi. This is actually the original  SP3 installer, not anything to do with RU7 which is what you'd expect. So when it prompts, browse to the SP3 directory mentioned above, where you already unpacked the files, and choose that msi file.

The RU8 will uninstall and appear to leave RU7 on the updates list, however in reality your Exchange server is now all the way back at SP3 with no Rollups at all.

Reinstall Exchange 2010 SP3 RU7 to bring it back up to date - and wait for MS to reissue RU8.

Bad week for faulty updates!

Monday 8 December 2014

Offline Files error - 0x80070718 Not enough quota is available to process this command

I was copying files from an old PC to a Win7 64 bit laptop for a client with an SBS2011 server. The laptop was at home, offline, when it started warning about not being able to copy any more files - to be fair there were 20GB of photos involved.

Those laptops are setup to use Offline Files, so the Documents folder is available away from the office. Sounds an easy one, the SBS2011 server has a 2GB file quota for users by default. I checked it was turned off ok, then connected via VPN, tried another copy, still no luck. Double-checked that setting, turned it on and off, again no luck. Had to be something else - not as obvious unfortunately.

Tracked it down to a local limit on the laptop - the offline files disk usage limit was too low. Look in Control Panel > Sync Center > Offline Files > Manage Offline Files > Disk Usage > Change Limits

A more useful error message would have saved a bit of time there.

Monday 24 November 2014

Intel NUC / Ubuntu 14.04 Rise Vision info display needs to turn off as soon as power button pressed

We've got an Intel NUC, one of the DN2820FYK kits - except its really a DN2830 - we use with the Rise Vision platform to run an information display in a reception area. Very nice bit of kit, boots in no time with Ubuntu 14.04 and a Kingston V300 SSD.

(As an aside, we did test with a Raspberry Pi, but it was just too slow. We've got 4 dynamic elements on the screen plus time, date, logo, weather and unfortunately the Pi just kept getting stuck with 100% cpu)

However we need it to shutdown right away if staff press the power button, not prompt with the confirmation dialog. Thanks to maketecheasier we found the following terminal command to sort that:
gsettings set com.canonical.indicator.session suppress-logout-restart-shutdown true

Press the NUC power button and it will be down in under 5s !

Thursday 13 November 2014

iPad Kindle 'Tap to Retry' unable to download books and descriptions - caused by Norton ConnectSafe

On a home broadband connection one simple way to keep the kids away from dodgy websites - pornographic or security - is to use Norton ConnectSafe. Its a free service and just requires a small change in setup on your internet router. Essentially you use their DNS server settings so if a computer tries to connect to a website with suspicious content, you get redirected to Norton's safe page.

Just had reports in the past couple of weeks of a Kindle device failing to download books and descriptions and reporting that the WiFi wasn't working properly. Then the iPad Kindle app stopped downloading books, just reporting 'Tap to Retry'.

Both worked ok on the WiFi shared off my mobile phone, so it had to be the home broadband setup that was at fault.

The fix was to update the router with the latest DNS server settings from Norton ConnectSafe. So the old settings were and

The latest DNS servers that Norton recommend to use are:

As soon as this was updated and the Kindle/iPad network connections renewed (or device rebooted) then they started downloading again. Success!

Just to note there are additional DNS server changes, depending upon what level of filtering you require ...  (was  (was  (was  (was

More details and instructions can be found on the Norton ConnectSafe Configure Router page.

Wednesday 12 November 2014

Run as Administrator turned on, but greyed out - can't remove

Run this program as an administrator
is greyed out and can't be changed
On a Windows 7 Pro PC, in the program compatibility properties for a document management program we use (ie. right-click > Properties > Compatibility) there was a ticked 'Run as Administrator' option causing problems with the program failing to load. Issue was it was greyed out so couldn't be removed, even after clicking Change for All Users and entering the administrator password.

Answer was to start up Regedit and track this key down:
            Windows NT

There was an entry for the exe, specifying RUNASADMIN WINXPSP3 - so we just deleted the RUNASADMIN term and all was fine again :-)

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Another obscure Trustwave PCI scan fail - SBS 2011 fails CVE-2010-3332 / MS10-070, vulnerability in ASP.NET Could Allow Information Disclosure

After clearing up the SharePoint issues, there was just one remaining failure issue in the Trustwave PCI scan of an SBS 2011 server.

The fix turned out to be running the .NET Framework Cleanup Tool from Aaron Stebner at Microsoft, and removing .NET 1.0 and 1.1.

There's some more detailed discussion over at Technet

Monday 20 October 2014

SharePoint 2010 on SBS 2011 failing Trustwave PCI scan (aka WSS_Search SPSearchDatabase Database is too old)

[ bonus points - that's got to be the biggest post title yet :-) ]

An SBS 2011 server, all patched up with the latest Microsoft Update fixes failed a Trustwave PCI security scan. When we looked at the detail most of the fail points were around SharePoint vulnerabilities.

Looking at the SharePoint Central Administration console, the Health Analyzer was throwing up warnings about out of date databases and upgrades required. they're no entirely straightforward because there's a difference between content databases and other databases.

With SharePoint updates you do need to run the upgrade tool sometimes after Microsoft Updates have been loaded, to get the database to upgrade too.

Start a Command Shell with administrative rights (or the SharePoint PowerShell) and run this command;
PSConfig.exe -cmd upgrade -inplace b2b -force -cmd applicationcontent -install -cmd installfeatures

That cleared all but one of the Health Analyzer warnings for us. The remaining one was the "WSS_Search SPSearchDatabase Database is too old" or more strictly, WSS_Search_servername. We had trouble tracking down that database GUID to issue a PS upgrade, as mentioned on the Technet forum.

Restarting services and rebooting didn't seem to clear either. The only info we could Google was the upgrade command above. In the end, having run the command repeatedly, the database upgraded and the warning cleared. It appeared to take 2-3 repeats of that command before WSS_Search was up to date.

Let you know about the PCI re-scan, I've just requested it ...

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Sage Payroll keeps prompting with an older update

Sage Payroll 2014-15 v20
Every time we exit from Sage Payroll 2014-2015 tax year - version 20.02.203 - it prompts to install an older v20.01 update 1. Choose ok and nothing happens, or leave it (and nothing happens!) but you'll get prompted again for the update next time round.

Tried manually loading the update from a download - no luck - tried using Run as admin - no luck - tried editing the version number in the PayrollVersion.dat file - no luck.

So after 15 mins on hold to sage support, here's the trick ...

Look in C:\Programdata\sage\SBD Software Updates
and delete the files

Restart Sage Payroll and no more prompts, yaaay!

Friday 19 September 2014

Can't Empty Deleted Items in Outlook, until synchronization with server is complete

Using Outlook with Microsoft Exchange. It looks like a damaged email in Outlook, stuck in the Deleted Items offline folder, which then fails to complete the Empty Deleted Items action. You get this error message:

"Outlook is synchronizing local changes made to items in this folder. You cannot remove this folder until the synchronization with the server is complete."

You can remove the problem item by right-clicking on the Deleted Items folder, then Properties, and choosing the Clear Offline Items button. Press F9 to run a sync

Monday 1 September 2014

Adding mutiple DNS servers with "netsh int ip" batch command in Windows 8.1

I needed a CMD batch file to change DNS servers for some testing but couldn't find the correct syntax to add more than one DNS server, eg set a primary DNS and a secondary DNS.

The basic command (don't forget to use an elevated Run As Administrator command shell or batch file) is
   netsh int ip set dns "Ethernet connection" static

I'm sure on older versions of Windows you could specify multiple servers in one lines using a space or string or comma (or something like that) - maybe I made that up. I googled and tracked down an index option which let you specify a secondary dns server - but not in Windows 8.1 unfortunately. That option is no longer recognised.

Trick in the end was to use set for the primary and add for the secondary, eg.
   netsh int ip set dns "Ethernet connection" static primary
   netsh int ip add dns "Ethernet connection"


Sunday 10 August 2014

Sapphire R9 270X corrupts screen, but only at 1680x1050 on Digimate

Bit of a strange one - and the workaround is even stranger.

Got a Windows 7 PC built around an Asus P5Q Pro motherboard with Intel Q6600 quad core - nice bit of kit, bit dated. It ran an AMD Radeon 4570 X2 (single-handedly responsible for a huge energy bill !) on a Digimate L2262WD. Max resolution 1680x1050. Always worked fine. Anyway the Radeon 4570 finally died.

So we replaced with a good value Sapphire R9 270X 2GB GDDR5 model. Easy install, latest drivers (14.3 then 14.4). However we noticed the screen corrupts, more so when the mouse moves. You kind of get flashing blocks, mostly across the top third of the screen. It only does this at 1680x1050. Lower resolution is ok and higher is too, interestingly. Running at 1920x1080 looks a little fuzzy from the scaling but doesn't corrupt - which is strange because it almost looks like a bandwidth/timing issue - and you'd expect it to be worse at higher resolution.

  • Same problem with all connector types (HDMI, DVI, VGA) and different cables.
  • Clean install of Windows on a spare PC with the 270X and Digimate monitor - same problem.
  • Plugged into a 42" LG TV and all fine.
  • Borrowed a Dell 20" monitor which has max 1680x1050, worked fine.
  • Plugged a Radeon 5450 instead of 270X, all fine
So its something to do with the monitor and graphics card combo. This was where I spotted something strange - connecting a second monitor clears the problem up. Doesn't matter which monitor is main or which combination of cables and connectors you use, as long as there is a second monitor present, then the Digimate works perfectly at 1680x1050 off the 270X.

Sapphire still haven't got back to me with any useful suggestions, although I suspect its in their firmware somewhere. Current version is

Tuesday 8 April 2014

Dell 725 inkjet printer driver setup for Windows 7, 8 and 8.1, 64-bit

Just upgraded a Dell Vostro laptop to Windows 8.1 and the Dell 725 inkjet printer stopped working. At first there were no errors, nothing appeared to happen, no jobs appeared in the print queue. Then it turned into a communications error and a recommendation to enable bidirectional communications - which was already set. Just check that you're on the correct USB port (Printer > Properties > Ports), it appeared incorrectly as COM1 at one point. The correct USB port did show the printer greyed out when disconnected or turned off and then coloured in when online - but still wouldn't print.

I had a lot of trouble tracking down the correct driver. Dell's support website no longer lists Win 7 64-bit for that printer model. However if you look at their full Dell 725 ftp listing, it does show a download ... its just doesn't work with all the spaces in the link. Manually downloading R146546.exe based on that link turns out to be the Japanese version - sigh!

Fortunately Silicon Guide's Dell 725 printer listing has the correct 64 bit Windows 7 / Vista driver, labelled as version G8, A01.

Once run, that should unzip to the c:\dell\drivers\R146546 directory and open a window listing the files. Right-click on setup.exe, click Properties > Compatibility and set to Windows Vista and Run As Admin. Now run the setup and it should proceed normally.

Only problem I came across was one PC where there were still some earlier drivers installed, causing a conflict with this version. Remove the Dell 725 printer from the Devices and Printers Control Panel. You also need to go into Print Server properties too, into Drivers. Click the Change Driver Settings to get admin access. Then remove the Dell 725 driver and package. Look in Control Panel > Programs and uninstall Dell 725 printer. Reboot and look in C:\Windows. Do a search for files starting DLC* and delete the ones you can. That should clear all the old stuff ok, follow the above instructions to install the correct driver. Good luck!

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